Falun Gong is a cult. Let me present the features of a cult and Falun Gong, respectively, to see what they have in common. Before doing so, I should explain one thing: The materials quoted concerning cults are universally acknowledged authorities, while those on Falun Gong are from publications of the Falun Gong organization and media reports. So, it is ensured that this comparison is absolutely reliable.
One: Cult founder worship
The founder of a cult possesses absolute authority and power. What he says is absolute truth; an example is Jim Jones, the founder of the People's Temple. Some of these founders declare themselves to be reincarnations of Jesus Christ come back to earth to complete Christ's mission; some call themselves reincarnations of Buddha, with supernatural powers beyond those of Buddha.
The appearance of Li Hongzhi and his position in the Falun Gong organization embody this feature of cults.
Two: The followers of a cult are re-educated, have their brains washed and start with a clean slate
"Brain washing" means that the founder of a cult, or his organization, instills his ideas into the followers' minds and demands that they completely accept them. Different cults have different methods. The common methods are: 1. New followers take part in collective activities; 2. by means of books, magazines, and audio and video tapes, the founder of a cult tells the followers that if they want to develop their potentialities to the full and make their dreams come true, they should absorb the contents of these materials and comply with what the founder says; 3. the founder convinces his followers that the ideas and beliefs of the past are absolutely wrong, and they must change themselves and become new people; 4. the founder convinces his followers that he is all-powerful and is the only person who loves them.
"If you want to go up a higher level, you should study Zhuan Falun (Rotating the Wheel of Law). Only I, Li Hongzhi, can teach you 'truthfulness, benevolence and tolerance,' save the world and help you extricate yourselves from doom...."--It seems that Li Hongzhi and his Falun Gong organization also embody this feature of cults.
Three: Hawking the theory of "doomsday"
Many cults declare that devils are in power in this world, society has been corrupted, and ``doomsday" will come soon. People who want to be saved must follow the cult founder and his organization only.
Li Hongzhi once said, "The human race, as a whole, is deteriorating, and there are devils everywhere." And he calls people with different opinions "devils." Apparently, Falun Gong embodies this feature of cults.
Four: Amassing dirty money by making use of followers
The cult founder has several ways to amass dirty money, including: 1. Holding training classes and making enormous profits; 2. developing mental healing methods and collecting treatment fees; 3. peddling publications; 4. donations; 5. building a commercial empire.
According to the three cases concerning illegally publishing and selling Falun Gong books and audio and video tapes in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and Jinan, Shandong Province, Li Hongzhi's personal earnings have reached 38.86 million yuan.
Five: Anti-society, anti-tradition and anti-human nature
Generally speaking, cults perform these three antis in the following ways: 1. The founder himself and his followers, at his instigation, are promiscuous or have many "wives"; 2. the followers are encouraged to recruit other people by any means, including luring the opposite sex; 3. weapons are secretly stored and opponents are attacked; 4. state secrets are stolen; 5. government institutions are harassed and turmoil is instigated.
Six: Compact organization
It is easy to join a cult. But if you want to quit, you will be threatened.
The same with Falun Gong.
In a word, Falun Gong embodies the general features of cults.
Cults appeared in China in the 1980s, when some other countries such as the US, Switzerland and Japan had already observed this phenomenon. At the instigation of Jim Jones, the founder of the People's Temple in the US, 914 of his followers committed collective suicide in a Guyana forest in 1978; in 1993, after 51 days of confrontation with the police in the US, 86 followers of the Branch Davidians burned themselves to death; followers of the Solar Temple committed collective suicide in Switzerland in 1994 and in France in 1995; at their leader's instigation, Aum Shinrikyo followers in Japan released sarin gas in a subway system in 1995, killing 12 people and injuring more than 5,000; in 1997, 39 followers of the Gate to Heaven in the US committed collective suicide. In addition, there are also some other evil deeds, such as instigating followers to give up study and work, waiting for "doomsday" and participating in witchcraft. In view of the enormous harm to society caused by cults, the international community always deals with cults by seizing upon criminal evidence of a cult at first, and then strictly banning it, and punishing its members according to law.