The Chinese government enforced its ban on publications on Falun Gong, which Chinese authorities have said is an illegal organization that was officially banned on July 22, 1999.
Falun Gong was founded by Li Hongzhi, a Chinese national who lives abroad, based on traditional Qigong exercises, which combine meditation and breathing techniques to use one's vital force and inner strength to improve health.
However, Li had ulterior motives and pronounced himself the savior of the world and spread heretical, unscientific ideas among Falun Gong practitioners. He also manipulated them and got them to attack the news media and government departments, causing great disruptions in the social order and seriously destabilizing society.
The Press and Publications Administration in Beijing issued a circular stating that no publications related to Falun Gong can be reprinted, copied, or distributed, and that any publications on Falun Gong that appear on the market are to be confiscated immediately and publishers in China are to stop publishing books, pictures, audio and video products, and electronic publications related to Falun Gong, and newspapers and magazines are to stop carrying articles or photos of Falun Gong activities.
The circular says that individuals are not allowed to print, copy, distribute, or sell publications on Falun Gong and that any violation of the ban will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
The circular says that China actually began the crackdown on Falun Gong publications as early as 1996. On July 24 of that year, the Press and Publications Administration issued a circular banning sales of "China Falun Gong" and 4 other similar books. The administration said it believed that the 5 books had, in the guise of teaching Qigong, spread superstitions and unscientific ideas in violation of an administration ban on publications that promoted superstitions and ignorance.
Then, on August 16, 1996 and two years later, on June 5, 1998, the administration banned the distribution of two Falun Gong books published by the Hualing Publishing House and the Huacheng Publishing House in Guangdong Province.
On May 10 of this year, the administration decided to ban cassette tapes and videotapes of a sermon given by Li Hongzhi that were published by the Jilin Educational Audio - Video Publishing House, and some other Falun Gong-related audio-video products and electronic publications from the Heilongjiang Audio - Video Publishing House.
The latest action against Falun Gong publications occurred on June 1 in Qinghai Province, where 4 books, mostly collections of Li Hongzhi's sermons delivered abroad, were banned.
The Press and Publications Administration and the National Anti- Pornography Office have ordered their branch offices to take a close look at local publications and to confiscate all Falun Gong publications.
(China Daily, July 23, 1999)