Increasing numbers of people in mainland China want to go on record as expressing their gratitude to the founder of the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, even at great risk to themselves.
Since 2001, Falun Gong adherents in and out of China have each year sent tens of thousands of custom-made greeting cards during the Chinese New Year to the founder of the practice, Li Hongzhi.
In addition to these greetings come ones from individuals in mainland China who haven’t taken up Falun Gong but feel the need to give thanks to Li—despite the Chinese regime’s persecution of the practice. An expert on totalitarianism says these greetings are “very meaningful,” simultaneously delivering a blow to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and encouraging the people of China to speak up for themselves.
Li first taught Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) in 1992 in Changchun, China. The practice involves doing meditative exercises and living according to moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Falun Dafa spread rapidly and in early 1999 an official in the Chinese National Sports Commission suggested 100 million had taken up the practice.
The greetings from those not practicing Falun Gong examined by The Epoch Times primarily thanked Li for his “compassion and kindness.” They were emailed and mailed to a Falun Dafa website by people from all walks of life, from children and college students to professionals and seniors.
The well wishes came from as far north as the Greater Khingan Mountains by the China-Russia border, and as far south as the historic city of Shaoguan in Guangdong Province. Some of the cards have computer-generated graphics, while others include original calligraphy and drawings, or just a simple note.
“Master Li, thank you for all your hard work,” relatives of a Falun Dafa practitioner in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong said in their greeting message, which was posted on the Falun Dafa website minghui.org. “For more than a dozen years, we have witnessed with our own eyes the beauty and marvel of Falun Dafa. At the same time, we have also witnessed the cunningness and deceitfulness of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“The compassion and selflessness of the Falun Dafa practitioners have touched all those around them. They have allowed more people to learn of the true situation … choose the compassionate and good side, and allow us to see China’s future. Thank you, the compassionate and great Master Li!”
In the very northeastern tip of China, children of an elderly mother who practices Falun Dafa in Jamusi, in Heilongjiang Province sent greetings to Li to thank him for spreading the beneficial practice.
“For more than 10 years, my mother has been very healthy. It was all Falun Dafa’s doing. In this festive season, we want to wish teacher Li a happy New Year!”
New York resident Levi Browde, a Falun Dafa practitioner since 1999 and the executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, said in a phone interview that the majority of people who sent greetings have seen their friends, family, or co-workers become healthier and more dignified after practicing Falun Dafa.
“I think when people see others transformed by and benefit from the practice, they recognize the value of that,” Browde said.
Traditional Chinese Values
Browde said there is another category of people who wrote to Li because they saw a “bigger picture, like the corruption of Chinese society.”
Browde said this group of people admire and respect Falun Gong and Li for their representation of traditional Chinese values and culture.
“Thank you great Master Li for your compassionate grace. It is an honor for all beings to live in a period during which you spread Falun Dafa,” read a greeting card from all the employees at a law firm in Shandong Province.
This greeting uses the Chinese term “li dashi,” which is translated as “great master” and is traditionally used generally for any Buddhist or Taoist master. Someone who practices Falun Gong would use “shifu.” This traditional term means “teacher” or “master” and indicates a personal relationship exists.
Although the employees of the law firm are not practitioners, they identify with and support the spiritual teachings of Falun Gong. The card from the law firm continues:
“What a great blessing it is to encounter at this stage in history the Dafa based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. People of this world, do not miss this opportunity of a millennium, choosing the Dafa that values truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance can bring a bright future. Fellow human beings, we should only thank great Master Li for his saving grace, instead of listening to the Chinese Communist Party’s lies and fallacies. In this special historic period, do rub your eyes clear to better distinguish the right and the wrong.”
Mr. Zhong Weiguang, an expert on totalitarianism living in Germany, commented in a phone interview on the gratitude of nonpractitioners to Falun Gong for its spiritual teachings. “Many have witnessed that Falun Gong has brought to Chinese society and the Chinese people inside and outside of China a more universal set of values and lifestyle, which includes the deep-rooted Chinese values such as truthfulness, compassion, and beauty, and a pursuit of loyalty and filial piety,” he said.
Continued: Sending a Message