Jilin Province is where Falun Gong originated, a harder-hit area of the fallacies and absurdities of Li Hongzhi. Not long ago, Li Hongzhi established fallacies and apotheosized himself, exerting tremendous power, and finally developed into a big force that brought great harm to the whole nation as well as turning to the overseas. Reviewing and reconsidering this stretch of history, analyzing in depth the cause of the establishment of Falun Gong, and summarizing experiences and learning lessons from history are of great realistic significance in that we would have a profound perception of the long-term, difficult, and complicated fight against Falun Gong organization at present, prevent Falun Gong from staging a comeback, and prevent and curb the producing and growing of all kinds of cults.
The emergence and expansion of Falun Gong
About Li Hongzhi
In July 1999, after the Chinese government cracked down Falun Gong cult organization in accordance with law, the research office of the Ministry of Public Security soon publicized a report entitled "About Li Hongzhi and the Things he did". With the penetration of investigation and research as well as constant revelation, the public has already had a rather clear view of Li Hongzhi. However, from the point of view of the researchers, in recent years, there have been all kinds of doubts now and then with regard to the parentage and life experience of Li Hongzhi. Therefore, the following information we learnt is publicized for reference.
I. About the family background of Li Hongzhi
Li Hongzhi (Li Lai being his old name) was born on July 7, 1952 in Gongzhulin Town (Gongzhulin City now), Huaide County, Jilin Province.
In 1953, the entire family was moved to Changchun. Both his father li Dan and mother Lu Shuzhen were medical workers. li Dan (died in 1996) had a rough life, experiencing four marriages, among which Lu Shuzhen, mother of Li Hongzhi, was his second wife. They met at a medical training session in Gongzhulin Town in the spring of 1951 and got married in the autumn of the same year. Li Hongzhi was born the next year. (Li Hongzhi changed his birthday to May 13, 1951 but lied that during the Cultural Revolution the government made a mistake about his birthday).
After Lu Shuzhen and li Dan divorced, Li Hongzhi, with his younger sisters li Ping and li Jun and younger brother li Hui, lived a poor and broke life with their mother. That's why Li Hongzhi had ill feelings about his father. He claimed several times later that he had broken up the parent child relation with li Dan. living in such a disintegrated family, Li Hongzhi developed an incommunicative and asocial introverted disposition since his childhood.
Li Rui, wife of Li Hongzhi, is 50 years old, and used to work at Changchun Chaoyang Public Bath, Changchun Dingfengzhen Food Products Factory, and Changchun North Electromechanical Device Development Company in succession. She emigrated to the United States later. Li Rui neither believed in Buddhism nor practiced Falun Gong at the time. (Her present conditions are not clear)
Li Meige, daughter of li Hongzhi, is 25 years old. She was taken by Li Hongzhi to the spot of Falun Gong classes when she was only 10 years old or so, performing all the tricks with her father, and was falsely called "my master" by Li Hongzhi. She emigrated to the United States later.
II. About the educational record of Li Hongzhi
According to the personal history written by Li Hongzhi himself, there are two versions of his schooling record: junior high school and senior high school. At present, it is generally believed that Li Hongzhi finished junior high school, and there is also doubt about his record of senior high school. As a matter of fact, the actual education Li Hongzhi had was only primary school. People who experienced the Cultural Revolution all know that the Cultural Revolution started in the early summer of 1966, so the students finished primary school that year did not go to high school. It was not until October 1968 that they began to go to high school, and they graduated by the end of 1969.
In his personal history, Li Hongzhi wrote: 1966-1969, studying at Changchun No. 48 Middle School. However, before October 1968, Changchun No. 48 Middle School was a girls' middle school. This was not something that Li Hongzhi was unaware of, so it was really ridiculous for him to write his personal history in this way. The fact is that Li Hongzhi went to Changchun No. 4 Middle School after October 1968, shifted to Changchun No. 48 Middle School in the summer of 1969, and graduated by the end of the same year. The major task of high schools of the time, according to the "highest directives" of Chairman Mao that "students should give priority to study, and should learn other things including working and farming", was guiding the students in "learning working and farming". There was no real school course at all. The so-called "giving priority to study" meant the study of the "analects of Chairman Mao". (at least it was the case in Changchun)Therefore, the actual education Li Hongzhi had was only primary school. During the Cultural Revolution, there was a "rush for changing names" to show the revolutionariness of people. When at high school, Li Hongzhi changed his name "Li Lai" to the present one. As for the question of whether Li Hongzhi shifted to Changchun No. 48 Middle School for his competence in playing the trumpet, according to the news report of one newspaper, an old teacher recalled that at that time, the "fight propaganda team of Mao Zedong Thought" of No. 48 Middle School was well-known in Changchun, and many students, after graduation, were conscripted by the army to become literary soldiers. Since Li Hongzhi could play the trumpet, he shifted to the school and joined the fight propaganda team. However, this was not the case. Changchun No. 48 Middle School did have a fight propaganda team during the Cultural Revolution, but as all the members were girls, its standard was relatively low. After finishing school in October 1968, all its members "went and worked in the rural or mountain areas". When Li Hongzhi shifted to the school, the fight propaganda team existed in name only. Li Hongzhi lived near Changchun No. 48 Middle School, while Changchun No. 4 Middle school was far away from his home. Therefore, it is more reasonable to say that he just "went to the school nearby".
Then how did Li Hongzhi get his "senior high school" record? He used to take correspondence courses of senior high school sponsored by Changchun Radio and Correspondence College and graduated in March 1986 when he was 34 years old. With his primary school education, it was impossible for Li Hongzhi to finish senior high school courses in such a short time. Since most of the correspondence courses at the time were profit-oriented and admitted all kinds of students, Li Hongzhi just fished in troubled water and managed to obtain a diploma.
After Falun Gong gained ground, Li Hongzhi said mysteriously that the purpose that he did not go to college after finishing senior high school was to avoid having all kinds of concepts, axioms, definitions, rules, men's theories and other established things in the mind, for in his preach the great laws of the universe should never be mixed with any of these human things; otherwise they would be disturbed by men's thoughts. Such weird talking seems very ridiculous today, but it did fool many people at the time. How could Li Hongzhi go to college with his primary school education? And in any case, the state already had age limitations with regard to the college entrance examination at the time.
III. About the question of when Li Hongzhi joined the army
According to the personal history written by Li Hongzhi himself, it was in 1970 that he started to work. However, in the "Profile of Li Hongzhi", appendix of his book "Zhuan Falun", the year in which he started to work was 1972. So there were some doubts about the time when Li Hongzhi joined the army.
According to some insider, after finishing junior high school by the end of 1969, Li Hongzhi did not "go and work in the rural or mountain areas" as arranged by the school; instead, since he could play the trumpet, in January 1970, introduced through acquaintances, he went to the horse farm of unit 201 of the General Logistic Department of the PLA in Inner Mongolia as an "educated youth", and played the trumpet in the propaganda team of the farm. In April, he became a formal agro-pastoral worker with a monthly salary of 32 yuan. This part of experience of his was not taking as a military service; rather, it was still "going and working in the rural or mountain areas".
In December 1972, Li Hongzhi was transferred to the art troupe of the forest police detachment of Jilin Province as a trumpet player, and this was the formal start of his 10 years' military service. In the meantime, introduced by Jie Houfang, singer of the same troupe, (and wife of the famous Chinese singer Jiang Dawei), he joined the Youth League. That's why when inciting the "three quits", Li Hongzhi produced his "declaration for quitting the Youth League" when he was already in his fifties.
IV. When did Li Hongzhi start studying Buddhism
In the beginning of 1988, almost the same time as he came to know something about Qigong, Li Hongzhi went to Changchun Huguo Prajna Temple to study Buddhism after a master (the master has entered parinirvana, and it is not appropriate to reveal his Dharma name), and started burning joss sticks and praying to Buddha at home. In the personal history he wrote later, Li Hongzhi put "Buddhism" as his religion. According to some insider, during the period as a Buddhist, Li Hongzhi also read a few books on planchette writing and divination, and often messed around with some people of crooked means. This part of experience of Li Hongzhi is uncovered because people kept on doubting that whether Li Hongzhi had been converted to Buddhism or whether he used to a lay Buddhist. After establishing Falun Gong in the name of Buddhism, Li Hongzhi often posed himself as "the highest Buddha", requiring that "Falun Gong practitioners are not allowed to convert to Buddhism or pray to Buddha". Therefore, he always kept silent on this issue. And the Buddhist circle was unduly reticent on the subject. Later, Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong publicly "slandered the Buddha", which aroused public anger among Buddhists, and it was not difficult to imagine the situation.
The Emergence of Falun Gong against the "Qigong fever"
On March 11, 1979, an article on Sichuan Daily, Kid that can read by ears is found in Dazu County, written by its journalist Zhang Naiming etc. , told a "weird anecdote" that in Sichuan, a child named Tang Yu could read by ears. At the time, the Chinese people had just been freed from the spiritual shackle of the Cultural Revolution, and their state of mind was still quite a mess. Such a report that was against scientific common sense shocked the whole nation like a heavy bomb. For a moment, discussions were all around, and of course, the news media took the lead in making a great deal of reporting. In a period of time after that, similar reports were found one after another in Anhui Science and Technology Post, Beijing Science and Technology Post, Hebei Science and Technology Post, Guangming Daily, etc. It seemed that there were wonder children all over the country overnight, thus initiating the first round of nationwide fever over "supernatural powers". However, such phenomenon as reading by ears, which is against scientific rules, was soon negated by the scientific circle. On April 24, 1979, Hu Yaobang, Minister of Propaganda of the Central Committee of CPC then, also criticized it severely in his comments.
Unfortunately, the fever was not curbed. In July, an article entitled "Observation Report on Image Recognizing by Non-Optical Organs" was published on the Nature Magazine of Shanghai, pushing the subject of supernatural powers to a climax and greatly shocked the science and technology circles as well as the circle of education. A great number of researchers and teachers set foot in this new research area called "parapsychics" one after another. In Februay 1980, the first seminar on supernatural powers of human body was held in Shanghai; in May 1981, the second one was held in Chongqing. And at this time, wonder children among those people with supernatural powers were gradually replaced by adults.
Being a part of the cultural legacy of the Chinese nation, Qigong was originally an ancient way of body-building and health preservation. At the presence of the ever-growing fever over supernatural powers, Qigong started to revive. Some people tried to build up certain connections between supernatural powers and Qigong, and some even got themselves under the cover of science, making an utmost effort in exaggerating the functions and effects of Qigong. As a result, the door to pseudo-Qigong and pseudo-science that are extremely harmful to the Chinese politics and society was opened.
The appearance of the Qigong fever started from the arising of "Qigong master" Yan Xin. In July 1984, Sichuan Workers' Daily reported about Yan Xin treating patients with "exterior energy" in clinical practice, attracting attention from all aspects. In 1986, Yan Xin made a series of experiments that changed the molecular structure of some substance by using "the exterior energy of Qigong" at the department of chemistry and the department of biology of Tsinghua University, creating great sensations at once. News appeared on the front page of Guangming Daily, with an extra-long title: The scientific research coordination group of Qigong of Tsinghua University finds out after observation that the induced change in physiological effect is the cause for the curative effect of Qigong, and this discovery shows that the Qigong research in China has reached the level of molecules over the level of cells. Shortly afterwards, medias such as the People's Daily (overseas edition), the English edition of China Daily, and the Wen Wei Post of Hong Kong quickly spread the news to the whole world. Yan Xin apparently became a "living immortal" and "modern Jigong" (Jigong was a legendary monk who helped people with his magic fan), holding ten-thousand people lectures with energy around. And the tide of Qigong fever swept through China since then.
Driven by the "Yanxin effect", various schools of Qigong sprang up for the moment just like mushrooms after rain, and all kinds of "Qigong masters" made themselves up and go on the stages one by one. For example, there were the "Middle Gong" of Zhang Hongbao, the "Fragrant Gong" of Tian Ruisheng, the "Central Gong of the Nature" of Zhang Xiangyu, the "Huilian Gong" of Chen linfeng, and the "Intelligent Gong" of Pang Ming, etc. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the big tide of Qigong came in such a menacing manner that tens of thousands of enthusiastic followers were attracted to it, the mind-set of some being quite similar to the star fans today. According to statistics, during this period, there were more than 2400 kinds of Gong Fa, taking account of the ones recognized by pertinent departments only, over ten thousand Qigong masters of all kinds, and the population of practitioners was as much as 60 million.
It was just with such a feverish social background that Li Hongzhi, a saltimbanco from Changchun, Jilin Province, came on the scene, thus creating a world-shocking fraud that afflicted the society and caused baneful influence widely.
Influenced by the Qigong fever of the time, Li Hongzhi, a staff of the security office of Changchun Food and Oil Supplying Company, started to learn Qigong. In January 1989, he attended the class held by li Weidong, standing director of Jilin Research Society of Qigong Science and began to learn "Chan Mi Gong". Later, he also went to "Jiugong Bagua Gong" class held by Yu Guangsheng, employee of Changchun Geology College. While practicing Qigong, Li Hongzhi soon got the "enlightenment" that teaching Qigong was a perfect business for gaining both fame and profit and becoming rich quickly with no investment. Before long, Li Hongzhi, setting up for his accomplishments in Gong Fa, quietly began to "teach". At first, he taught "Jiugong Bagua Gong" at the monkey mountain of Shengli Park in Changchun. At that time, there were only few followers, a dozen or so at the most, and many people doing morning exercises in the park despised Li Hongzhi`s Gong Fa.
In early 1989, Li Hongzhi went to Beijing and got several followers including Li Jingfeng. What he taught there was still the circle of "Jiugong Bagua Gong". Once Li Hongzhi told his followers, "When you walk around the circle, the functional activity of Qi is of 'Jiugong Bagua Gong', and I add lotus (pace) in the outer circle, which makes it Falun Gong. "And that was the origin of Falun Gong, which was a total fabrication of Li Hongzhi himself. In 1990, Li Hongzhi went to Thailand to visit his younger sister Li Ping (who used to be an actress of the Advancing Cultural Troupe of Shenyang Military Region and later married to a Thai Chinese and moved to live in Thailand). There he learned some movements of Thai dancing and came across some propaganda materials of an overseas cult--" True Buddha School". After returning to Changchun, he mysteriously told people that he had learnt something new—Falun Gong. Soon after, Li Hongzhi gathered a few "pupils to be taught by himself", and started to cooperate with Li Jingchao and Liu Fengcai, designing the movements for Falun Gong and compiling "teaching materials". The movements of Falun Gong were based on the movements of "Chan Mi Gong" and "Jiugong Bagua Gong" and mixed with some movements from Thai dancing. And there were five series of the Gong Fa, among which four were of motion and one without motion. Thinking that every preparation was made, Li Hongzhi quitted his job in the form of retaining the position without pay, leaving his organizational affiliation at the food and oil supplying company of Zhujiang Road, Kuancheng District. He was completely ready to "come out".
Before "coming out", in April 1992, unsatisfied with the movements of his Gong Fa, Li Hongzhi made over 70 modifications of it with the help of Liu Fengcai and asked Li Jingchao to memorize the movements and practice them well. In order to apotheosize himself, Li Hongzhi bought a yellow costume at a department store and asked Song Bingchen, a pupil he taught in person, (who was skilled in photographing) to take a picture of him sitting in meditation at Changchun Geology Palace Square. Song Bingchen spliced this picture with paper-cut lotus petals and drew a circle of Buddha light at the back before converting it into a new picture and enlarging to 6 inches. At the same time, Li Hongzhi kept going around and selling his Gong Fa. One Sunday morning, Li Hongzhi went to the practicing spot near the monkey mountain of Changchun Shengli Park and said to some Qigong practitioners, "You are practicing so hard, but you still have symptoms of illness, kind of black substance. How can you accomplish the Gong Fa before you adjust yourselves properly? Look, I have a set of Gong Fa that can bring you to a higher level and accompany you on your way for a while. "Then he performed some of his Falun Gong in public.
On May 13, 1992, Li Hongzhi opened his first session of Falun Gong training class at the lecture theatre of Changchun No. 5 Middle School, with about 60 students at first. The way of his teaching was that Li Jingchao performed the movements on the platform and Li Hongzhi made explanations,the fee being 30 yuan per head. Later, this date was regarded as the "coming out date" of Li Hongzhi on which Falun Gong made its formal appearance.
The quick expansion of Falun Gong organization in Jilin Province and its swift spreading all over the country
In order to expand his Falun Gong organization and create momentum, Li Hongzhi adopted the following ways to spread Falun Gong in Jilin Province:
First, he opened training classes. From 1992 to 1994, Li Hongzhi opened Falun Gong training classes in Changchun 7 times and in Yanji city once. The participants numbered over 9000 in total. Moreover, he also held two public lectures in Changchun, with an audience of over 2000.
Second, he created organization. Li Hongzhi knew very well the importance of the power of organization to realize his personal ambition. Therefore, shortly after he "came out", he started to plan for the organization of Falun Gong. He set up a "Changchun Falun Gong General Tutorial Station" in the first place, and applied to departments such as Changchun Research Society of Qigong Science, the Sports Committee, the Science Committee, the Office of Civil Affairs, etc. , but no approval was given. So he tried the provincial level for support. He found his first teacher Li Weidong, standing director of Jilin Research Society of Qigong Science, to get through some relations. However, after knowing the circumstances, officials in charge turned him down for the reason that "the purpose of Qigong should be disease curing, body building and health preservation rather than trumpeting supersitition". Li Hongzhi flew into rage from shame at this. He told some of his pupils, "These old guys are so stubborn and without any function. They could distinguish high levels from the low ones. And Li Weidong is nasty in nature, fearing that I would win over him in fame and take the bread out of his mouth. "Moreover, he also boasted that "since Li Weidong interfered with the spread of the Dafa, I have taken back all his functions. Now he has none of them. "Despite this, Li Hongzhi persisted in his old ways, setting up secret practicing network in Changchun as well as in the province.
Li Hongzhi was not to reconcile to the frustration. In September 1992, Li Hongzhi got connected with Zhang Zhenhuan, former director-in-chief of China Research Society of Qigong Science, and Falun Gong was recognized as a school directly under the Society, Falun Gong Group of China Research Society of Qigong Science as it was called. Later, with the help of Li Chang and the others, on July 30, 1993, China Research Society of Qigong Science upgraded this group as the "Falun Gong Branch of China Research Society of Qigong Science". On August 14, Falun Gong Research Society was formally registered as a special committee to China Research Society of Qigong Science. With the status as the "school directly under the Society", Li Hongzhi got the capital to show off without any constraint in Changchun. In September 1993, Falun Gong was accepted as a special committee of "Changchun Research Society of Qigong and Human Body Science" registered with the office of civil affairs of Changchun, i. e. Changchun General Tutorial Station. In March 1996, Falun Gong was again accepted as a special committee (secondary society) of "Jilin Research Society of Qigong Science" registered with the office of civil affairs of Jilin Province, i. e. Changchun General Station. The person in charge of Changchun General Station was Xu Yinquan at first, and later was Jiao lixun. Falun Gong set up 9 general stations in cities and counties in the province, and there were tutorial stations under the general stations and practicing spots under the tutorial stations. In this way, "Falun Gong formed a tight organizational system in Jilin Province. By the beginning of 1999, there were 1339 Falun Gong practicing spots in the province and over 100,000 "Dafa followers", among which 329 were key members above the level of head of station or spot.
Third, he propagandized and created momentum. After obtaining the status as the "school directly under the Society", Falun Gong increased its efforts in creating momentum in Jilin Province. It swaggered around firstly. At major practicing spots at the People's Square, Shengli Park, South Lake and University of Technology of Changchun, banners and the portrait of Li Hongzhi sitting in meditation on the lotus were hung high, Falun Gong music played, followers practicing together in large scale, so as to attract the attention of citizens, and propaganda materials (including books and videos) were given out for free to the people who stopped to look on. And when the time came, they were hooked and trapped to join the practicers. According to some insider, the number of the people who only practiced the movements (without sitting in meditation or studying the theory) for the purpose of body building was over 100,000 in Changchun alone during the climax, and for the whole province, the number would probably not be less than 500,000. However, most of the people were not taken in. The second step was organizing extensive propaganda activities,among which the most typical one should be the "Grand Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition for the 5th Anniversary of the teaching of Li Hongzhi". This activity was held at Changchun Nanlin Stadium in the summer of 1997,and the author happened to witness the "great occasion". As a result of the careful planning by the General Station of Falun Gong of Jilin Province, almost all the Falun Gong members in the province were aroused. Tens of thousands of people went to the scene and paid homage to the portrait of Li Hongzhi sitting in meditation on the lotus, the number being able to compete with the audience of a high-level football game. Among the works on display, there were quite a number of works of social celebrities, experts and scholars, and even senior party and government officials. The wife of Li Hongzhi, Li Rui, also went to the scene to support Falun Gong. It should be noted that the display of the painting and calligraphy works of some senior party and government officials at the exhibition caused terrible social influence, virtually boosting the morale of Falun Gong and adding fuel to the flames in the fast development of Falun Gong in Jilin Province as well as in the whole country. Secondly, it held various kinds of "lectures on Fa" frequently to train key members, who would then set up new practicing spots. The most influential "lecture on Fa" was certainly the one held on July 26, 1998,the participants of which were basically heads and tutors of the tutorial stations of different places in Jilin. Li Hongzhi attended the lecture in person. The major topic was to unify thoughts around the scripture of Li Hongzhi entitled "Root excavation". At the lecture, Li Hongzhi repeatedly emphasized the importance to "guard Fa", stirring the followers up to "stand up" whenever necessary. This actually become the general mobilization for the mass riotous activities organized by Falun Gong.
Since Changchun is the hometown of Li Hongzhi, he never forgot to take every opportunity to brag about himself and apotheosize himself. Related information has been revealed a lot, and the following examples are not publicly known. As soon as he "came out", Li Hongzhi started to hold ceremonies of Kai Guang (Light Opening, originally a religious ritual of Buddhism) for the Buddha images brought by the students at training classes. He told the students not to open light at temples, indicating that he was the "highest Buddha". Such ceremony was held whenever there was a class, not only in Changchun, but also in other provinces, which lasted for a very long time. By the end of 1993, Li Hongzhi illegally printed the single-page calendar of his portrait of sitting in meditation on the lotus in Beijing, which was sold by his wife li Rui in Changchun to Falun Gong practitioners and other people, and the practitioners were asked to pray to this calendar. In the fall of 1993, Li Hongzhi boasted in Changchun that as some officials of the national research society of Qigong science were getting too old, a 7-member leading team was about to be set up, and he was one of the candidates. The government would recognize only 100 schools of Gong Fa in the future, all of which being the basis for Falun Gong. In 1994, the state would uniform all the 100 schools into Falun Gong, and all the practitioners would practice the Chinese Falun Gong only. He even said irresponsibly that after 1994, there would be no Buddha in temples; instead, only Li Hongzhi himself would be worshiped,etc. As his frequent "god creating" activities in his hometown took quite a number of people in, many Falun Gong practitioners in Jilin Province were obsessed deeply.
After holding two terms of classes, Li Hongzhi felt that only teaching in Changchun would end up in nothing, so he decided to go to Beijing for "further development". On June 25, 1992, Li Hongzhi held his first term of Falun Gong training class at Ganjiakou Construction Material Auditorium in Beijing, thus starting his non-stopping journey of teaching nationwide. At the end of the training class in Dalian in 1994, Li Hongzhi held 56 terms of classes in total in the whole country, with more than 60,000 participants. For these people, most of them became the key members of Falun Gong later. Li Chang, former general head of Falun Gong in China and commander-in-chief of the "4. 25" event, was the student of the first term class in Beijing. With the uproar of these key members, Falun Gong expanded nationwide quickly, causing serious social harm. By July 1999, when Falun Gong was finally cracked down, a complete organizational system with the "Falun Dafa Research Society" of Beijing as its headquater had been established in the whole country. There were 39 general tutorial stations, more than 1900 tutorial stations at all levels, and more than 28000 practicing spots. The number of Falun Gong members reached over 2 million.
The process of development from greed for money to a cult organization
There was an evolving process for Falun Gong to develop from "teaching Gong to cure diseases" to a cult organization. With the know-how of Li Hongzhi, if there were not a group of more educated people to help him, it was impossible for him to build a complete set of cult theory system. From an objective point of view, when Falun Gong first "came out", its main purpose was to amass money and get rich quickly. This could be detected from the early talking of Li Hongzhi. When his early pupils asked him why he fabricated personal history, Li Hongzhi said, "If I did not exaggerate a bit, no one would believe it. " What a vivid portrait of a swindler!The major means of money amassing used by Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong organization were: holding training classes and charging tuitions; illegally treating patients and curing diseases and swindling money; and marketing various kinds of books and videos about Falun Gong and racking the money of the practitioners that earned with blood and sweat,etc. According to some "old members of Falun Gong", the expenditure of each of them over activities related to Falun Gong was above 3000 yuan. This certainly was not a small figure for retired or laid-off workers at the time. According to the disclosure materials provided by Zhao Jiemin, Song Bingchen, etc. , in the two years from May 1992 to May 1994, the income from training classes and teaching materials sold only was as much as 428,300. As for the income from treating diseases and selling calendars and portraits, it was handled by Li Hongzhi himself so the exact figure could not be fixed. According to some insider, it might be over 200,000. It was verified that after the establishment of "Falun Dafa Research Society", the books of Falun Gong and other related items sold by it valued 135 million yuan in total, and the illegal profit was up to 42. 29 million yuan.
Spiritual control is one of the substantive characteristics of cults. After he "came out", in the beginning, Li Hongzhi imitated other Qigong masters in giving lectures with energy, treating diseases for the participants collectively. However, since his "competence" was minor, there was little reaction on the spot, and every time it ended up in failure. At a lecture in Changchun, Li Hongzhi swore loudly after leaving the platform, "It is all because the Buddha is causing a disturbance. I will tie him (referring to the Buddha) up and throw him into boiling oil. "Li Hongzhi felt that in this way he would give the show away sooner or later. Therefore, he started to change his ways and adopt new means. In the summer of 1993, back from a trip to Changchun, Li Hongzhi no longer organized things like treating diseases collectively; instead, he taught the "Dafa" only. That's why Li Hongzhi often emphasized to the practitioners that "Falun Gong is no Qigong. It is Dafa". This was the primary stage of the spiritual control exerted by Li Hongzhi.
The most important signs of the turning of Falun Gong into a cult organization were: first, the open publication of the book "Zhuan Falun"; second, the establishment of "Falun Dafa Research Society". Who were the true authors of "Zhuan Falun"? Ordered by Li Hongzhi that "all that I have taught should turn into books", Li Chang, former official of the Ministry of Public Security and key member of Falun Gong, by removing the colloquialism in his northeast dialect from the recordings of Li Hongzhi's teaching in Changchun, Ji'nan, etc. , took them down in writing. Li Chang then recommemded Yu Changxin to divide the written material into chapters and subchapters and finalized it himself. Li Zhiheng, retired military attaché of the Department of General Staff Headquarters, was the chief editor. Li Hongzhi was much unsatisfied with the first draft, so he paid Mu Jing, a well-known Manchu writher, much to join the compiling work. Later, as Mu Jing had to compile some book on the party history, she quitted midway. Li Hongzhi also invited Zhu liming the writer to give the whole book another brush. The origins of thoughts of the fallacies and absurdities in "Zhuan Falun" were as follows: distorted Buddhist knowledge Li Hongzhi learnt from Changchun Huguo Prajna Temple; fallacies of the " True Buddha School" founded by the Taiwanese, Lu Shengyan; and the anti-scientific absurdity in "Humans are the Experimental Subjects of Men from the Outer Space" written by li Weidong, Ph. D. of Beijing Normal University. In December 1994, "Zhuan Falun" was formally published by China Radio and Television Press. On January 4, 1995, a ceremony for its first publication was held at the auditorium of Beijing Public Security University. Since then, an apotheosized cult hierarch was established by Falun Gong, a series of spirit-controlling fallacies and absurdities woven and a tight organizational system form.
After the publication of "Zhuan Falun", Li Hongzhi no longer emphasized on practicing, but asked the followers to "study the Dafa primarily". At first, the form of study was discussion. which was spread gradually from Changchun to the whole nation. To be specific, it was like this: every practicing spot was divided into several groups, and the place for study was usually at the home of a key member, three times a week, and two hours each time. They would read a section of the "scripture" of Li Hongzhi first, which was followed by discussions and sharing knowledge gained among the participants. In this way, Li Hongzhi was getting ever tighter on spiritual control.
In order to strengthen brainwash, Li Hongzhi later came up with the requirement of reading through his "scriptures". At the Fa-teaching of July 26, 1998 in Changchun, Li Hongzhi said, "Reading through is a primary thing. Don't stop for discussion after studying a paragraph, then read a paragraph again, and discuss again. That's no good. You should read through again and again. No more time should be spent on sharing opinions than on reading. The most important thing is reading. "After that, with Changchun taking the leadership, the form of studying the "Dafa" was ultimately changed, discussions being gradually turned into "reading through". A converted former Falun Gong member said that she read "Turning the Falun" through for at least 300 times. The serious consequence it caused was that with their mind filled with the fallacies and absurdities of Falun Gong, followers gradually lost their self consciousness. And this was exactly what li Hongzhi had expected.
(Jilin Academy of Social Science, Jilin Anti-cult Association, December 18, 2007)