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Basic features shared by Falun Gong and overseas cults

2008-03-07 Author:By: Qi Zhijiang

Falun Gong has been running wild. There are complicated domestic background as well as even more complicated international background behind it. Let's examine the domestic background first. On the one hand, China has its special religious and cultural background. On the other, Chinese society is in the process of transformation, which inevitably brings about fierce competitions. As a result, some people are excluded from the main stream in the society, thus becoming members of the "weak group". They seek in the religious activities spiritual comfort and emotional let-off, giving rise to the emergence and development of modern cults. The evidences can be found in the analysis that the most Falun Gong followers began their experience with it mainly for three reasons. First, they wish to be healthy and strong, so as to free themselves from illnesses. Second, they seek emotional comfort, so as to forget all about their setback. Third, they hope for spiritual sustenance, so as to fill their empty hearts. As for the international background, cults are rampant in many parts of the world. They have served as both a facilitator and a model for Chinese cults. Moreover, the support from the anti-China forces in the world, in particular, has encouraged the breeding and spreading of Falun Gong.

A Comparison between Falun Gong and overseas cults will reveal their common basic features as cults.

Based on Chanmi Gong and Jiugongbagua Gong, combined with the Thai dance movements that he learned during his stay in Thailand, Li Hongzhi invented Falun Gong. Similarly, Shoko Asahara, the founder of the cult "the Aum Supreme Truth" set up "Aum Immortals" in Japan with the Yoga movements he learned in India. The former tried to deify himself and, taking advantage of the computer skill, he made a picture of himself sitting in meditation on a lotus for his followers to worship. The latter has a similar picture of himself sitting in the air with his legs crossed. It's clear enough that they bear so many similarities in form. Yet what is clearer is their great alikeness in their basic features and their social harmfulness: admiration of the founders of the cults, emotional control over the followers, invention of the doctrines, accumulation of money, secretly-formed association and the great harm done to the society.

First, the cults try to make an atmosphere of terror by declaring the forthcoming of the "doomsday". In fact, The notion "doomsday" sounds familiar to us. There is the religious belief of the Last Day of Judgement, as well as the scientific inference that, 5,000 millions years later, the expanding sun will burn up the earth -- a thing that can only happen in the very distant future. Basicly different from all these statements, cults declare that "the doomsday will come soon". They can even infer the exact date of that last day. The Branch Davidians in the United States interprets some parts in the New Testament in the Christian Bible in their own way. According to their interpretation, the end of the world will soon come and the world will suffer from wars and disasters before that. In the same way, the founder of the Order of the Solar Temple Luc Jouret also declares "the forthcoming of the doomsday." Mun Yong-myong, the founder of the Unification Church claims that we are in the last years of the world, and the third world war will soon break out. During the years he made many predictions of the exact year of the end of the world (his first predicted year is 1967), with the predicted years changing from time to time. "the Aum Supreme Truth" predicts the forthcoming of the destructive war that would destroy the world in 1997, with its followers as the only saved ones, while others would all die in the war. Li Hongzhi learned from all his counterparts in declaring that the world will be destroyed in the great explosion of the earth. Different versions as these theories are, they all point to the forthcoming end of the world. In this way, the cults try to make an atmosphere of terror for the same purpose: to intimidate people into following them, as that's the only way to escape from the forthcoming disaster.

Second, the founders of the cults try to deity themselves, giving themselves the air of the Saviours of the world. Both David Koresh, the founder of the Branch Davidians, and Luc Jouret, the founder of the Order of the Solar Temple, claim themselves to be the second Jesus Christ, and only their followers can escape from the forthcoming disaster. Jim Jones, the founder of the People's Temple, claims himself to be the second Superman from another star with magic powers. Shoko Asahara declares to get the "authentic impartment from the Buddha", and is endowed with supernatural powers. As founder of the Religion of the Aum Supreme Truth, he ruled his followers with a high hand. He claims himself to be the incarnation of Maitreya, demanding absolute obedience on the part of his followers. He promises an "Aum kingdom" of ultimate happiness to them after their escape from the Last War. According to Mun Yong-myong, the founder of the Unification Church, a new world of peace will be created by Messiah after the third world war, with himself as the " Messiah coming back to life". His followers are expected to call him and his wife respectfully as His Excellency and Her Excellency. That's all for the usual way they use to deify themselves. Some cults, on the other hand, have different ways to deify themselves. Among them is Raei, an influencial cult in the west. It was set up by a Frenchman Claud Wosilun in 1973. Claud assumed the name of science in his firm claim that, in the year 1973, on a crater of a dormant volcano, he met a man from the outer space. The man was bearded and his skincolor was green. He gave Claud the name Raei, meaning "messenger". "Hence his proclaimed identity as the Messenger of the outer space. As a result, he fooled quite a lot of people into believing this seemingly convincing story. Li Hongzhi goes even further by boasting himself to be endowed with remarkable abilities at an early age of eight. He describes himself as "the Buddha in the highest level", "the great awakener of absolute power", "the superman with remarkable ability". He declares himself " to be the only one in the world practicing gong to the higher level ", and that he is "doing a thing that no one has ever done before by providing people with a ladder to lead them to the heaven. " In his wild arrogance, he asserts that he has the magic power to postpone the explosion of the earth by 30 years.

Third, the cults engage in false reasoning and practice emotional control over their followers. What we have discussed in the previous part is only a small part of the emotional control. The cults use fallacies as well as psychological suggestions to deceive people. The founders rule their followers with a high hand. Almost all cults make up their own "doctrines" for the followers to read. These doctrines are exclusive in that they drive the followers away from the society, the family and just beliefs. In time, the followers find themselves caught in the cults, unable to free. In this way, the followers' minds are cleaned thoroughly and they subject themselves willingly to the founders' orders, even at the expense of their life and property. Cults tend to seek the supernatural Psychological experience and reject medical treatment. By way of sending gong, the founders produce in their followers photism, phonism as well as hallucination. The followers believe that all these illusions are from the gods, rather than from their brains. Many cults forbid their followers to seek medical treatment in case of illness. For example, the Religion of Christ Science encourages their followers to use "emotional therapy". The Relgion of Witness of Jehovah forbids their followers to receive blood transfusion and all medical treatments. Even women in difficult labor are not allowed to go to the hospital. Falun Gong appeals to its followers to practice Falun Gong to dispel their sins. According to its doctrine, doctors and medicines are only for the ordinary people. For the followers who are far beyond the ordinary, what they need is the practice of Falun Gong. Very few crazy followers thus get deeply involved in Falun Gong, for fear that any departure from it would bring the sins back to them and finally lead to their banishment to the lowest depth of hell with dispersed souls. They are afraid that they could never achieve consummation that they've been after for so long.

Fourth, the cults defraud the followers of their money and belongings for the founders to live luxuriously. David Koresh, founder of the David religion, made his followers to give all their belongings to the church, while he himself lived in great luxury with his wives. Taking advantage of the "donations" from the followers, Jones, the founder of the Religion of People's Temple, opened quite a few big companies. Besides, he engaged in real estate. He bought a vast amount of land in Guyana and made his followers to cultivate for him. He became a man of great wealth -- the amount of the money adds up to $150,000,000. In the same way, Luc Jouret demanded his followers to give their money and property to the church so that he could spend at his free will. Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Religion of the Aum Supreme Truth, demanded the followers give all their property to the church. As a result, he become a man of great wealth. When arrested, he was found to have large sum of money at hand. The Raei claimed to have its followers all over the world, to be exact, 84 countries in total. The founder made every follower give 10% of his income to the church for the construction of the Inn for People from the Outer Space, from which he got a huge profit of more than 50,000,000 pounds every year. What was most absurd about the Raei was their annual practice of "sexual experiment", in which the followers were encouraged to engage in "group sexual intercourse" to satisfy their sexual needs. Mun Yong-myong, the founder of the religion of Union, made it clear that followers should give their private property to the church. Even pedlars and beggars are expected to give every penny they get to the church. Taking advantage of the money from the followers, Mun opened companies and profited a lot. Li Hongzhi is no exception. He gathered money in many ways. He gave public lectures. He ran classes to teach people Falun Gong. He published books like "Zhuan Falun" He sold his recordings, video tapes as well as all kinds of pictures, stamps and the things needed for the practice of Falun Gong. According to incomplete statistics, the volume of Falun Gong's illeagal management was as high as 160,000,000 yuan among which 40,000,000 went into Li's wallet. With this money he bought quite a few luxurious houses and cars and sent his wife and daughter abroad.

Fifth, the cults run counter to the society and the government and jeopardize the public security. The Branch Davidians has become such a radical cult since mid 1980s. In another case, "build a just society" is the attractive slogan Jim Jones used to deceive more people into believing his religion of People's Temple. Jones states further that he is going to" build a new society based on the principle of love, peace and cooperation". The religion of AomuTruth went even further in its attempt to set up a Aomu kingdom which integrated political administration and religional management. The Aomu kingdom is built on the model of the Japanese government, with more than twenty organizations including the Ministry of Intelligence. Different from his claim that "Falun Gong is not anti-government, nor is it related to politics in any way", what Li Hongzhi and his followers did was quite the contrary. They organized sit-in demonstrations and held mass rallies. They distributed leaflets and put up slogans. They surrounded and attacked the buildings of press and government organizations. Not only that, what is alarming is the cults' harm to the society and lives. The following is a long list of the massacres of the followers organized by the cults. The religion of People's Temple: 914 followers poisoned themselves to death in November, 1978. The Branch Davidians: 80 followers burned themselves to death in 1993. The Religion of Temple of the Sun in Europe and the America: 74 followers died between 1994 and 1997. The Religion of AomuTruth in Japan: In March, 1995, they discharged poisonous gas at the Tokyo subway station, resulting in 12 deaths and more than 5500 injuries. The Religion of Gate to Heaven in the United States: 39 followers poisoned themselves to death in 1997. The Restoration Movement of the Ten Commandments, started in Uganda in 1980: It had resulted in more than 1,000 deaths of its followers, of which 530 were burned to death in Kanungu church in the southwest of Uganda, while the founder and a few leaders escaped with large sums of money. Falun Gong in China: It had resulted in at least more than 2,000 deaths and handicapped people since 1992. A few crazy followers believed that they could cure themselves of the illnesses as declared by Li Hongzhi. They refused to seek medical treatments at the proper time and died consequently. Others became crazy with their practice of Falun Gong and went mad. In their madness, they killed themselves or the others. A few crazy followers were stirred to commit suicide to achieve consummation. The self-burning event in Tiananmen Square had shocked the nation.

In view of this, Falun Gong is no different from all the other cults. They share the same basic features as anti-science, anti-humanity and anti-society.

(Facts.org.cn, 2008)