I'm just posting this on here because this is the same response I have to every pro-Falun Gong person who messages me. I hope this post will serve as a reference so that I don't have to keep typing out the same message to the people who fill up my inbox.
I find Falun Gong problematic for a variety of reasons, but let me say I have nothing against Qigong. Qigong exercises are much older than Falun Gong and Li Hongzhi -- he appropriated ancient Taoist and Buddhist exercises and added his own teachings. My problem is not the actual exercise. These are the problems I have with Falun Gong:
In New York City there is a Chinese theater group called the Shen Yun Performing Arts Center. Every year, they put on a Chinese New Year show and claim to represent all of Chinese culture. I paid over $70 to see this show with my family only to find out that it was all anti-China, pro-Falun Gong propaganda. There was no mention that this was a Falun Gong show in neither advertisements (in all forms of media) nor the show itself. I am infuriated at this subversive tactic to rope people in to see something (at a cost, no less!) that claims to be a universal Chinese cultural show and then be something else (a platform for Falun Gong). I find this incredibly deceptive. How am I supposed to give credibility to an organization that cheats people?
Similarly, there are also New Tang Dynasty Television and Epoch Times newspaper. Again, both sources never reveal that they are funded by pro-Falun Gong organizations. Neither openly say where their funding comes from, then spout anti-Chinese news under the guise of "normal," unbiased, and unaffiliated news sources.
Many Falun Gong practioners have urged me to "discover the facts" and "find the truth." How can I? I find it morally repugnant to disguise a company (and worse, a news agency) as an unbiased and honest place, take people's money (in the case of Shen Yun), then spout very clearly biased propaganda.
2. Co-opting Chinese Folk Religion for Political Purposes
Mr. Li takes ideas from Buddhism and Taoism to create his own teachings of Zhen Shan Ren and alters them. That's fine, but then he has the nerve to turn around and insult his original sources by calling them fraudulent and incorrect. He steals their ideas then puts his altered versions on a pedestal, claiming that his ideas are the ultimate truth. As one with a Taoist background, that does not sit well with me.
Another aspect of this is that many Falun Gong practitioners do not believe in Chinese Folk Religion, Taoism, Buddhism, etc. In fact, a portion of them look down on these religions as mere superstition. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but the issue comes when places like Shen Yu co-opt my folk beliefs to extol Mr. Li.
Again, Shen Yu does not reveal itself to be pro-Falun Gong, ropes neutral Chinese people in, then uses venerated deities like Kuan Yin and Tin Hau to spout pro-Falun Gong "truths." At the last New Year Gala I went to, Kuan Yin was put on the stage and sang "Falun Dafa is the best." I am a practitioner of Chinese Folk Religion, and I found this to be incredibly disrespectful. Using religious icons on unsuspecting believers is problematic for me.
3. The Piggy-Backing of Evangelical Christians
This alone makes me want to stay away from Falun Gong. Evangelical Christians love to take up the Falun Gong cause. It would be callous of me to say that they couldn't care less about Falun Gong, but I think it wouldn't be too far from the truth.
Evangelical Christians want to piggy back onto Falun Gong's cause so they can break China's resolve in keeping religion out of China. That way, when China's barriers crumble, they can preach away at us poor ignorant devil-worshipping heathen Chinese. I see the Falun Gong organ harvesting television exposees airing only on the evangelical stations. The ads I see warning people about China's alleged organ harvesting are also funded in part by evangelical organizations.
I do not want Evangelism in China for a multitude of reasons. The first and foremost is that the consequence of aggressive missions is the erasure of traditional Chinese culture. That thought is horrifying to me, and I refuse to go near anything the missionaries touch, which includes Falun Gong.
I apologize if that doesn't make sense to anyone, but my opinions on this will not change. No amount of argument will refute the fact that I paid $70 for a Chinese cultural show that did not reveal it was a platform for Falun Gong...and so on and so forth.
If you really must, you can message me but only if you actually address my points. Don't talk to me about freedom of religion or anything else because my problem isn't with the teachings but with the methods of dissemination of information.
(Facebook, July 6, 2009)
Original text from: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2210802788&topic=8563