Beginning in 2001 on the occasion of the new year, mainland Chinese from all over the country have sent tens of thousands of electronic greeting cards to express their appreciation and goodwill for Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted in China for over 14 years.
The greeting cards, often beautifully crafted, are a bright highlight on minghui.org, the main Falun Gong website, and its companion version in English, en.minghui.org.
These sites are maintained by practitioners as a forum for exchanging their understandings of Falun Gong, as an introduction to and history of the spiritual practice, and to document the persecution of the group. Individuals in China use special software to circumvent the regime’s Internet blockade to post their messages.
New year greetings come not only from Falun Gong practitioners, but also from families and friends of practitioners, people who have benefited from Falun Gong, and those who wish to express their support and esteem for Mr. Li. In a sign of respect, he is usually addressed in the greetings as “shifu,” a traditional term meaning “teacher” or “master.”
A general manager of an enterprise in Hebei Province expressed his holiday greeting on behalf of all his employees, adding in a comment showing concern for the moral state of his countrymen: “No one feels secure in mainland China; people live in terror. This is a result of the Communist Party’s atheism. People don’t understand that ‘what goes around comes around.’ They are just after money.”
A card attributed to steelworkers in Shandong Province said: “On behalf of all our family and friends and those who have understood the facts of Falun Gong, we are indebted to Master Li’s salvation! Your compassion enabled your disciples to wake us up from a nightmare. We have been living without a purpose under the deceit of the Chinese Communist Party. We have lost the mentalities of normal people. Our brain has been filled with the Party culture and full of struggle as a result of brainwashing. Master Li gave us hope for a new life, and gave us the traditional, authentic Chinese way of thinking.”
An editor working for a Shandong newspaper who withdrew from the Communist Party wrote: “We have clearly seen through the nature of the Party… The Party is truly a cult. It has killed 80 million Chinese and won’t be able to repay its debts to Chinese people. We hope fellow Chinese who have not quit the Party wake up soon. The compassionate Master Li is still waiting for us. Thank you, Master Li!”
Hu Jun, convener of a mainland Chinese rights movement, sent his greetings to Mr. Li: “I wish Master Li Hongzhi of Falun Dafa the best of health and a happy New Year! Spread Dafa far and wide! May the day that Dafa may be spread to China’s every corner and to everyone come soon; may the day that the Communist Party collapses soon arrive.”
Hu also lamented the dilapidated state of mainland China’s traditional culture as a result of generations of communist rule, saying this made Falun Dafa’s spread in the mainland even more pressing.
Ms. You, daughter of a Falun Gong practitioner from Nanjing and a resident of Hong Kong said: “On behalf of my mother, sister, and myself, I wish the founder of Falun Gong, Master Li Hongzhi, a happy New Year 2014. I hope that more and more mainland Chinese will come to learn the truth and that the Chinese communist government ends the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. It is my even greater wish that all people around the world may come to know, understand, and support Falun Gong.”