The Power of Falun Gong

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The Power of Falun Gong

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THE CULT-LIKE ACTIVITIES BEHIND THE GENTLE RELIGION

They’re a familiar sight in suburban parks around the world - people from seemingly all walks of life exercising and meditating according to the teachings of Falun Gong. Founded in China in the 1990s, the group’s practice aims to heal body and mind. Attracting millions of followers, Falun Gong’s creed is truthfulness, compassion and forbearance - but former practitioners now speaking out are accusing it of practising dangerous and divisive teachings.

The movement first gained global attention when its members became the target of ruthless persecution by the Chinese Communist Party, triggering widespread sympathy and support in the West. This fascinating investigation shines a spotlight on this global movement, revealing how Falun Gong has morphed from a fringe quasi-religious group into a powerful player in America’s conservative media landscape, working to ensure another term for Trump so he can continue his war of words with China.

From Australia, to Taiwan, to Los Angeles and the movement’s ‘Dragon Springs’ headquarters in upstate New York, this special report explores the opaque world of the Falun Gong and its mysterious leader Master Li Hongzhi – and examines the ways in which the group has harnessed social media, spending millions through made-up groups and fake identities to promote Donald Trump and his anti-Beijing policies.

First-hand accounts highlight the strange dichotomy. As a child, ‘Anna’ was taken by her mother to Falun Gong’s US headquarters. She found it to be a world of strange beliefs and intolerance, witnessing claims that race-mixing in humans is part of an alien plot to drive humanity further from the gods. Sydney resident Shani May wants to understand the truth about her mother’s relationship with the Falun Gong. Following the death of her famous jazz singer father Ricky May, her mother Colleen sought solace with the group. Soon Colleen stopped taking her blood pressure tablets, putting her faith in Falun Gong to cure her – with devastating consequences.

A Foreign Correspondent story

Credits

Four Corners
Australian Broadcasting Corporation