The New Year is a time for making a fresh start and reconnecting with those one holds dear. For Falun Gong practitioners the New Year is an opportunity to send greetings to the founder of the practice, Mr. Li Hongzhi, called “master” or “teacher” by his students as a sign of respect.
Since 2002 the Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa) website Minghui [en.minghui.org] has collected and published cards sent from Falun Dafa adherents, both from inside and outside China.
The flood of cards and messages from inside China comes from all regions, social classes, and professions. Some individuals send cards, as do some families. Cards are also sent by groups that study Falun Dafa’s teachings together and by individuals who share a workplace or profession.
The presence of the cards on Minghui are evidence for how the 13-year-long persecution of Falun Dafa in China continues to lose public support. The cards can only be sent by individuals who circumvent the regime’s firewall, which means each card is sent by someone who knows how to get around the regime’s control of the Internet.
Cards are sent by groups of judges, police officers, members of the military—those individuals the regime relies on to enforce the persecution. Some messages are sent from inside prisons where Falun Dafa practitioners have been detained.
Cards are also sent by individuals who don’t practice Falun Dafa but wish to thank Mr. Li for the positive changes they see that Falun Dafa has brought to China. The admiration of non-practitioners in China for Falun Dafa made news this year as in a series of incidents tens of thousands of ordinary citizens signed petitions seeking justice for detained practitioners or their families.
Mr. Li first taught Falun Dafa on May 13, 1992 in the city of Changchun in China’s northeast.
The practice combines doing five meditative exercises and improving one’s character by living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, as set forth in Mr. Li’s writings.
Falun Dafa was taught in China by Mr. Li in 54 seminars from 1992 to early 1995 held in cities throughout China. Perhaps 100,000 people attended these seminars in person.
Yet, far more than that began practicing Falun Dafa. Word of the practice spread by word of mouth, and individuals on their own initiative set up practice sites where people could learn the exercises and study the teachings of Falun Dafa together.
Those who took up the practice have reported in articles published almost daily on Minghui experiencing extraordinary improvements in health and positive changes in their character. Practitioners say they typically gave up addictions, such as smoking, and became kinder, more honest people. Practitioners have also reported their families becoming more harmonious, while at work their colleagues and supervisors have praised their performance.
By 1999 an estimated 70-100 million people were practicing Falun Dafa in China. And the practice spread outside China. The Falun Dafa website lists local contacts in 71 countries or regions. The main text of Falun Dafa, “Zhuan Falun,” has been translated into 39 languages.
In July 1999 the then-head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, ordered a campaign to eradicate Falun Dafa in China. Jiang turned the entire fury of the communist state against Falun Dafa, but the practice has endured.
Now, given the evidence of the cards appearing on Minghui, Falun Dafa practitioners in China appear this winter to be looking forward with gratitude to a bright, new spring.
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