The Chinese regime has been keeping its lips tight about its persecution of Falun Gong. This silence likely has less to do with the brutality of the persecution, but rather due to embarrassment that after more than 15 years its persecution has failed.
Few events highlight the failing persecution better than the Chinese New Year, when people from every part of China—from farmers, to military officers, to government officials—send greeting cards thanking the founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi.
Each year, these greeting cards are compiled and posted online by Minghui.org, one of the main websites used by Falun Gong practitioners around the world. Ahead of the start of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations on Feb. 19, Minghui had already received thousands of greeting cards.
“The persecution has been going on for more than 15 years, and under such pressure it’s really precious for practitioners inside China to express their voices as a mutual encouragement for each other,” said Gail Rachlin, a spokeswoman for Falun Gong, in a phone interview.
“It’s really a statement to the world, that truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance has prevailed over any evil, thus giving hope to goodwill,” Rachlin said.
One greeting card sent from Falun Gong practitioners detained in Tianjin Chadian Prison states “Nothing can shake our strong faith and determination to cultivate.”
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice rooted in ancient Chinese culture that is based on the cultivation of character according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It also includes slow moving exercises, similar to tai chi, and a sitting meditation.
Li Hongzhi made Falun Gong public in 1992 and with its free teachings and strong moral foundation, the practice quickly spread throughout China. By 1999, it was estimated up to 100 million Chinese people were practicing.
It was also in 1999, however, that the persecution started. The then leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, set out to “eradicate” Falun Gong, and began a campaign of lies, torture, and murder of Falun Gong practitioners throughout the country.
The persecution has largely failed, however, and the greeting cards sent to Li Hongzhi by Falun Gong practitioners for the Chinese New Year are an annual reminder of that fact for the Chinese regime’s leaders.
“To me, this is kind of a declaration that we are still strong in our faith and our belief, that we are still strong and will come through,” Rachlin said.
“I don’t think the persecution has lightened up at all, but I do feel that our practitioners in China are very strong, and through these messages that are coming through, they’re showing their gratitude,” she said.
Government and Military
Many of the cards have images of flowers, dragons, cherubs, lanterns, and other representations commonly used around the New Year. Each also includes some writing, wishing the founder of Falun Gong a happy New Year, the general location of where the card was sent from, and a short message. Many of the cards are also sent by groups of people.
A large collection of the cards was sent from practitioners working in the Chinese government, including in the National Transportation System, Tax System, and in government offices throughout the country.
Another collection, posted by Minghui, includes cards sent from Falun Gong practitioners in the Chinese military.
Practitioners from the National University of Defense Technology thanked the founder of Falun Gong, and said they would do better in their practice, and continue working together and exposing the truth of the persecution in China.
A group of military officials also wrote, “It is Falun Dafa that enlightens practitioners, blesses Chinese people, and provides hope for the future. We miss compassionate Teacher very much.”
Other cards include greetings from practitioners in a military academy in the General Staff Department, in the Shanxi Province Defense Military System, in the Nanjing Military Area Command in Jiangsu Province, and many others.
In addition to the greeting cards from inside China, Falun Gong practitioners from nearly every country in the world sent cards.
There are also many from people inside China who do not practice Falun Gong, yet still sent cards to thank the founder of Falun Gong.
“We would like to thank Master Li for helping the practitioners in our family and blessing everyone else,” states a card sent by 10 family members of a Falun Gong practitioner in Harbin City of Heilongjiang Province.
The card adds, “We are fortunate to live in such a critical era and witness Falun Dafa bringing a bright future to mankind.”