The Chinese Spy who Came in from the Cold

It’s turned out to be quite a week for Chinese defectors in Australia. This is the second bombshell in seven days, and as ex-spy Hao Fengjun opens the kimono to reveal some very dark secrets, the Chinese intelligence chiefs must be totally apopletic.

Amid secret passwords, mysterious faxes and last-minute arrangements to protect him from the alleged Chinese spy network he once worked for, the asylum seeker Hao Fengjun emerged from hiding to talk of the Secret Force.

This force, the 32-year-old Chinese police intelligence analyst says, runs spies in Australia and other Western countries.

Addressing media in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Hao – the second Chinese security official to defect in less than a week – said there were three levels of agents working for the Secret Force: the professional spies, who graduated from police college and were paid to travel overseas to collect intelligence “in all areas”; “working relationship” agents, who acted as businessmen and targeted foreign business groups; and “friends”, who infiltrated foreign countries and became friendly with both Chinese and Westerners.

While the Secret Force’s main job was to gather political and military information, it also closely monitored Falun Gong and other religious or Chinese democracy groups. Mr Hao knows all this because he worked for the “610 Office” in the National Security Bureau in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin. His job, he said, was to collate and analyse intelligence reports sent back from Australia, the US, Canada and New Zealand about Falun Gong and other groups.

Hao and his fiancee are being cared for by local FLG members in Melbourne (the FLG figures prominently in this story). He gave a television interview today with his back to the camera.

Mr Hao said he decided to flee China after being detained for 20 days for making a critical comment about his government’s treatment of Falun Gong, including the torture of its leaders. He said he feared for his seven-year-old son from a former marriage.

He decided to go public after Chen Yonglin went to the media at the weekend with claims that 1000 Chinese agents are working in Australia. Mr Chen, who worked at the Chinese consulate in Sydney, is also seeking asylum.

Mr Hao said he did not feel safe in Australia because of the Secret Force’s presence. He did know how many of the force’s spies were in country, but he supported Mr Chen’s claims.

Mr Chen’s case is gathering support, with Labor yesterday joining the Greens’ call to give him asylum. “There is a strong prima facie case that Chen Yonglin should now be granted an appropriate protection visa,” Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, said….

At the end of the press conference, Mr Hao said he wanted to make an announcement. He had joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1991, but as of yesterday he was no longer a member. He was finished with communism.

“I will never go back to China because I know what waits for me,” he said.

Definitely a bad week for China’s image as the entire world wonders why well-paid, successful young people would flee in dread, risking life and family, from the world’s most up-and-coming country. Trouble in paradise?

The Discussion: 160 Comments

Isn’t “kimono” a word refers to traditional Japanese style clothing?

June 8, 2005 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

It’s an expression: to “open the kimono” means to tell all your secrets.

June 8, 2005 @ 4:20 pm | Comment

here is my “theory” (inspired by dell-lenovo case):

the “evil forces” of pentagang offered huge amount of money to hook these two chinese spies, the purpose is to make australia, the country that moves closer to mainland china, feel “threatened” by china, therefore join the club of containing china.

pentagan has already informed australia not to take these chinese, so they could go to the US

the next tricks pentagang will play are – to murder several F**K*L*G members, so australians will get more angry with china

sounds like bullshit, but anyway, another perspective to see the unusual fleeing of two “spies” in one week

June 8, 2005 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

Wow, that is quite a theory, Bing. What do you base it on?

June 8, 2005 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

pure speculation, richard

look at the dell-lenovo case, and you won’t believe pentagang is not smarter then lenovo’s PR dept, will you?

http://blog.bcchinese.net/bingfeng/archive/2005/06/06/24878.aspx

June 8, 2005 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

Bingfeng,

could also just be that they don’t want to live in China anymore. Easier to believe, honestly, than the pentagon manipulating things. I guess time will tell though. Whenever the CIA (the pentagon doesn’t have a history of manipulation as much as the CIA) did these sorts of things, they failed miserably. The CIA has been cleaned up recently and isn’t being run by the nut-jobs that used to run it – although I don’t know much about the current guy.

June 8, 2005 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

Porter Goss is fiercely loyal to Bush and I wouldn’t trust him for a second.

Whenever the US government tries to manipulate things it inevitably gets caught. Trying to engineer something like this would be incredibly difficult and risky, as a single leak would create a PR disdaster for America. (Not that the current adminstration cares how it appears to the world.)

June 8, 2005 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

BingFeng:

Have you forgotten to take your meds again?

June 8, 2005 @ 9:15 pm | Comment

If we are speculating on wild theories, why not consider that these two Chinese spies are plants by China. There must be some reason OZ and the US does not want the first guy and the second guy comes in under the high media focus on the first guy and doesn’t look so bad.

June 8, 2005 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

oh, meds, obviously you need some too ๐Ÿ™‚

June 8, 2005 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

Currently in Guangzhou I can’t access any Australian news articles on this. Getting to The Age and SMH is ok, but looking at specific articles on the issue is blocked. Dunno if it’s conicidence but I’ve noticed alot more specific and tailored filtering in the last few days. Proxies don’t have much success either.

June 8, 2005 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

Well, it will be interesting to see what happens. I hope this doesn’t just get swept under the rug and the Chinese sent back. I’d like to see if their intelligence is accurate.

It would be a pity if the U.S. contrived this. I don’t think they did. I don’t think China is using them as double agents either. Conspiracy theories are too convenient and too complicated. More likely they are mostly telling the truth.

June 9, 2005 @ 3:12 am | Comment

Re bingfeng’s speculative theory, I’ve noticed that a lot of mainlanders uncritically embrace some of most wild and outlandish conspiracy theories (coincidentally all evil plots against China, never the other way round) for true.

It never fails to amaze me the high levels of foolishness that some people are eager to believe.

The critical point in all this, however, is that anti-China conspiracy theories provide a convenient way of not having to face the awful truth.

In this case, the “awful” truth being that Chen doesn’t want to return to China. The fact that he has a good job, probably better than most Chinese people, makes the truth even more difficult to face.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:56 am | Comment

god forbid people be altruistic and get fed up of monitoring FLG – a movement, as one of my chinese teachers once put it – of old men and women.

June 9, 2005 @ 6:05 am | Comment

“The fact that he has a good job, probably better than most Chinese people, makes the truth even more difficult to face”

sometimes i find it’s pretty funny how SOME westerners show their own “inferiority-superiority complex” by making comments about china and chinese.

the “awful” truth is – many chinese who come back from australia cant find a decent job here, one of my former staff (now a friend of mine) told me that the most exciting moment of his 10 years in australia is watching the helicopter putting out a fire in sydney (certainly he didnt mention the moments in red light zone)

while bashing china being such a big fun for somebody here, a little fresh air and light will make them jump to the ceiling

laowai 19790204, FLG is a heathendom, if you read chinese history, you will find they are not something new. i know many people who joined FLG here, and i can tell you what it is – it has nothing to do with spiritual believeing, religion, charity or medical treatment, it’s a shitting stupid thing, the fact that most of them are old people and women tells something about it, and that doesn’t change the fact FLG did a lot of stupid things and bad things to them. and cracking down FLG has nothing to do with religion intolerance

June 9, 2005 @ 7:18 am | Comment

Bingfeng, I think it would be wise to regret deeply your last post, and enter into some good old fashioned communist self-criticism. You’ve just revealed youreself to be a first class fool, and an ignorant bigot. You may like to get upset with me for being abusive to you, and if so, then I have no problem with that. That has to be one of the most god-awful stupidly pigheaded things I have ever seen on this blog … if there has been worse, Richard has deleted them. Perhaps he will for this one too.

June 9, 2005 @ 8:09 am | Comment

I think the thing that most people don’t understand is why they need to be “cracked down on” in the first place. If they are really such loonies, they will discredit themselves over time. The fact that they exist in many countries where they are not persecuted and cause nobody harm there is noteworthy.

As for China, the FLG remains popular in my opinion because the CPP is so adamant in opposing them. If the FLG didn’t have the whole “we’re persecuted” card to play, then nobody would pay attention to them. This is one area where the CPP has backed itself into a corner. Allow dissenting voices, and you reduce the power of their message…but you still have dissent…which can be “potentially unstabilizing.” Forbid dissenters and you automatically lend a slight bit of credence to their claims that you are unjustly persecuting them…causing others to pay more attention to your own failings.

FLG a stupid thing? Maybe…but people often rally around stupid things. Even stupid things can have an impact if they attract enough attention.

June 9, 2005 @ 8:17 am | Comment

Oh…and as a last minute addition, it is wise to remember that some of the most shocking events in history have arisen from underestimating “stupid things.”

June 9, 2005 @ 8:22 am | Comment

FLG is a low end heathendom, while some others are “high end” heathendoms. i see the problems resulted from the way how FLG was treated, but having friends, family members and colleagues hurt or murdered {i mean murdered!} by it, i have to say the short term considerations should outweight the long term ones.

as for FSN9’s personal attacks, i have nothing to comment.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:00 am | Comment

With two Chinese seeking asylum in a matter of days, the Australian government has got a lot of diplomatic leg work to do. The biggest risk the Australian government runs is offending Beijing. With trading issues at stake – China is a big buyer of Aussie steel (and the market gets bigger everyday) – the Australian government wouldn’t want to offend Beijing. Knowing the Australian government as I do – I am Australian – they will wait until media attention fades before acting. If their refugee and asylum seekers history is to be a guide, more than likely they would send the asylum seekers back home all in the name of maintaining good trade relations with a government whose policies are far from admirable.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:04 am | Comment

bingfeng, you’re on your own if you want to get into inf/sup complexes again and it’s so very east to dodge any difficult issues by pulling out the old “China-basher” card.

C’mon man, I’ve been listening to mainland conspiracy theories and excuses for years now. The best recent example was of course about the CIA planting SARS in China. I haven’t forgotton the opinion polls suggesting a majority of people believed it. Stuff like that’s the rule rather than the exception.

Anyway, back on topic, a certain Mr. Hao Fengjun (Tianjin policeman who also just fled to Oz), Zheng Young in the US and the tens of thousands of people who pay US$50,000 each year, risking death and years of debt, to be smuggled abroad should really be told about your mate’s inability to secure gainful employment in Australia.

Yes, you definitely win the debate with that anecdote about your mate.

Re the FLG. It’s strange how a bunch of “stupid” “old people” were and are considered a huge threat to and by the CCP.

I agree with you, the crackdown of the FLG had little to do with religious intolerance, it was all about the paranoia and self-preservation of a certain ideologically-bankcrupt and corrupt political party and elite which can utilize the full force of the state to preserve it’s power while it’s officals and representatives continue rob the country blind. Totally agree with you.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:13 am | Comment

Victims of the CCP: 60 million, at least.

Victims of the F*L*G: Zero

June 9, 2005 @ 9:25 am | Comment

come on, martyn, look at what you posted here, you know you are enjoying the bashing thing, just like some chinese enjoying bashing india, in order to satisfy their egos and the fading sense of superiority.

as for FLG, i have no problems with a murderer being abused by another, since the first one is obviously an immediate danger to the life of many people around me. FLG is ruining the lives of people around me when some of you are trying to protect FLG. so pls mind your own business and go back to fuck the “evil” organizations that are cracking down terrorists.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:26 am | Comment

“Victims of the F*L*G: Zero”

richard,

at least 3 i know personally dead from refusing to see a doctor when they are ill because that’s what FLG tells them

btw, it seems you dont mind making personal attacks on your site?

June 9, 2005 @ 9:30 am | Comment

“Victims of the CCP: 60 million, at least.

Victims of the F*L*G: Zero”

victims of the US: ** million, at least
victims of the terrorists: a few thousand

so, richard, do you mean that US shoudnt eliminate terrorists?

June 9, 2005 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Bingfeng, what personal attack are you referring to? You are the one using crude language and being a bit nasty. I really like you and don’t want you to go away; I link to your site and visit it often. So please, step back and take an objective look at your comments in this thread. They are very strange and very hostile, and you usually don’t write like this. What’s wrong?

You know three people personally who died because the FLG told them not to see a doctor? I find that absolutely amazing. Were they held against their will, or did the FLG just give them bad advice? Let us know their stories, because it’s quite interesting — how did they die? To be honest, I am inclined right now not to believe you, because to have three friends die at all at your age is strange, but to have them all die because of the FLG — well, it seems improbable. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and you can tell us all what happened.

FSN9, I won’t delete the objetionable post you refer to because I’m hoping he’ll learn from it.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:43 am | Comment

Who are the millions of victims of the US?

And you are avoiding the issue: The FLG is virtually no threat to anyone, aside from some personal friends of yours. And yet they are beaten, tortured, imprisoned and killed. How do you defend that? And don’t reply that America does worse things. That’s a separate conversation.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:48 am | Comment

Wow bingfeng, you managed to squeeze “China-bashing” “Superiority” and “Mind your own business” into 2 paragraphs, that’s good work even by your standards.

You do realise that you’re not doing yourself any favours by resorting to the usual insults and totally ignoring the points made?

Re FLG, as far as I know, it’s only “illegal” in one place in the entire world: the mainland PRC which als happens to be the only place in the world ruled by the CCP. In Hong Kong, Taiwan, the rest of Southeast Asia and the rest of the world it doesn’t seem to be causing a problem.

In addition, the authorities in each and every one of those countries in which the FLG are free to practice their Tai Qi doesn’t consider them a threat. If they did, they would be outlawed as an “evil cult” as they are in China in a second.

What does the CCP know that the rest of world doesn’t about the percieved “danger” the group represents? Do tell.

By the way, China is also a part of the unfortunate “War on Terror” as it has had several Xinjiang/East Turkestan “terrorist” groups registered with the US as “Banned Terrorist Organisations” and it actively pursues the supporters of these groups as part of the “War on Terror”.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:53 am | Comment

“Bingfeng, what personal attack are you referring to?”

not surprised richard, i really like you because you just show me the emotinoal side of you, which is- how to say it in english – to side with the one who share same opinions and values.

anyway, two are colleagues of my father and one is my relative, i have the chance to read guru lee’s little FLG book and find it’s a piece of shit, quite similar to those shits of “religious groups” in chinese history

btw, do you still think US should not crack down terrorism?

June 9, 2005 @ 9:54 am | Comment

FLG is ruining the lives of people around me when some of you are trying to protect FLG.

People can leave the FLG at will, unlike the Chinese labor camps.

June 9, 2005 @ 9:58 am | Comment

“People can leave the FLG at will”

LOL

yeah, nazi members can leave nazi party at will

terrorists can leave their terrorist groups at will

June 9, 2005 @ 10:04 am | Comment

Why should the US not crack down on terrorists? Should we just let them kill us at will?

If the FLG was committing mass murder in China, I wouild sure want to eliminate them. They’re a cult, creepy and unappealing to me (like fundamentalist Christians and Muslims), but we don’t round up and torture people for belonging to a group we don’t like. Well, they do in China, and if that’s fine with you it tells us something about the way you think. I’m not saying your thinking is good or bad, just different from the way I see things.

June 9, 2005 @ 10:07 am | Comment

bf, I see you’re quietly ignoring everything I’m saying. I am bashing China again?

June 9, 2005 @ 10:09 am | Comment

well, i know many of you habour a strong anti-ccp sentiment, but that doesnt justify the support of everything ccp dislike. i dont believe you cant see the difference between them.

bye-bye, enjoy your sweet dream of a world without ccp

June 9, 2005 @ 10:10 am | Comment

He’s totally ignoring the questions, as though saying “LOL!” makes him right. What a strange debate.

June 9, 2005 @ 10:11 am | Comment

bingfeng:

What on earth makes you think that I support FLG? I know nothing about them. There are thousands of religious groups (quasi or otherwise) and I have zero interest in any of them. I’m about as anti-religious as a person can be.

I’m simply questioning the threat that they pose and wondering why the CCP consider them an evil cult when the rest of the world doesn’t?

If you know something that I don’t, then please share it.

I judge the CCP as I judge as everything, by their actions, and I hate to see the CCP or anybody else claiming that a bunch of old Tai Qi practicioners are a evil cult and imminent threat to humanity.

I can’t see any evidence to support your claims.

June 9, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

“the mainland PRC which als happens to be the only place in the world ruled by the CCP”

first let me have a good laugh at this funny statement. thank you maytyn ๐Ÿ™‚

as for your question why FLG seems not a harm in other places of the world, to be honest with you, i don’t know, FLG has repositioned itself as an anti-ccp organization after it relocated to overseas, perhaps that’s why – its evil energy is redirected with the help of some organizations.

really tired, good night buddies!!!

June 9, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

“a bunch of old Tai Qi practicioners”

so this is what you believe FLG is?

i have nothing to say. i am just shocked by your ignorance. (no offensive)

btw, i am learning Tai Chi recently, my dad give me a Tai Chi DVD and i learn and practice it every morning

June 9, 2005 @ 10:23 am | Comment

Bingfeng, sleep well. As I said, I don’t particularly like the FLG, but that doesn’t mean they should be persecuted and destroyed. Seriously, do you think they should be destroyed? If so, why? Honest questions.

June 9, 2005 @ 10:26 am | Comment

some simple things about FLG.

first, don’t let anyone else tell you who they are. let them speak for themselves.
see Li Hongzhi interviewed by Time:
http://www.time.com/time/asia/asia/magazine/1999/990510/interview1.html

okay, so Li is a quack and if people want to believe that, then that is their prerogative, right? and if the whole country believes in this kind of stuff, it is the people’s choice right?

next, they were not interested in ‘truth’. if you are a newspaper, magazine, or tv station and you allow anyone to criticize them, they will show up with thousands of followers surrounding your office until you apologize. maybe they learned it from the japanese right wingers and their sound trucks. their big mistake was that just because they could intimidate a few local Chinese newspapers and television stations, they thought they could surround zhongnanhai and intimidate the chinese leadership. big mistake! the biggest blowback in the world occurred instead.

if you are curious abou tFLG, read Maria Hsia Chang’s book. there are more detailed exposes but they are mostly in chinese (if you like, you can google the cult debunker Sima Nan and you are guaranteed a wonderful time about his encounters with FLG and others).

June 9, 2005 @ 11:19 am | Comment

eswn, the FLG is definitely daffy and strange, and they aren’t always treuthful (or sane). Do you think they deserve the treatment they get in China? (Don’t mean to put you on the spot, but I can’t tell where you stand.)

June 9, 2005 @ 11:27 am | Comment

What I want to know is this:

Are there reports of FLG members in countries outside China surrounding media buildings, dying because of quack medical advice, or self-immolating? The only thing I ever saw them do in NYC was hand out flyers outside the Chinese embassy. Goddamn that must get annoying.

June 9, 2005 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

Bingfeng – I haven’t read all the posts, and need to do so, but what do you mean by “heathendom”? do you mean kind of like a “kingdom” but based on “heathen” principles? If so, and if you really believe that there is no religious persecution, you might want to switch terms, since heathen has a rather derogatory connotation in a Judeo-Christian background, and implies that any crackdown is based on religious persecution.

That being said, I am very very interested to hear your stories, if you’d tell them. You can email me to – Laowai19790204@gmail.com if you don’t feel like posting here. I know nothing about FLG, except what i read in their english translation. It’s kind of f*cked up if you ask me, but not really any more than believing that the son of god lived, died for our sins and will come back, and that all those that don’t believe in him will burn in hell.

But I’m not particularly religious, so most religions don’t pass the believability test for me.

anyway if you’ve already posted, thanks, otherwise, I’d really like to hear your stories – either via email or here – if you feel comfortable enough to tell them. FLG is sure waging a tremendous propaganda war everywhere outside of China – even here in Cambridge.

June 9, 2005 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Like Laowai, I was confused by the word “heathendom”, bingfeng, and I sympathize with your feelings towards the Fajita Lovin’ Guys, as I now call them. I think they are crazy – ESWN’s article is a good indication – but I do disagree with the Chinese governments approach to them. I wrote a post at my blog comparing China and the Fajita Lovin’ Guys to the US and Scientology (and I threw something in about Germany at the end). Both groups believe in aliens and pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo, but Scientology isn’t repressed like this in the media (that’s one of my favorite links). Count how many times Xinhua uses the word “condemn”, I dare you.

Link: http://silkworms.chinesetriad.org/index.php?p=164

June 9, 2005 @ 1:03 pm | Comment

Guys, look at this one link from that Xinhua site:

During the past few months, some Falun Gong followers had travelled to many places to distribute printed material promoting the group, some had even deliberately tried to get close to hospitals to contract SARS virus for the purpose of spreading the disease

They also shot JFK, and Kurt Cobain, yknow.

June 9, 2005 @ 1:08 pm | Comment

Dave, are you implying Xinhua is biased??

Here’s an excerpt from the ever-objective news service today on a wholly unrelated subject:

Experts praise China’s position paper on UN reforms

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhuanet) — Some Chinese experts have said that China’s position paper on United Nations reforms issued this week,which emphasizes the development issue, shows the country’s “responsible and just attitude” toward handling international affairs.

It just cracks me up, the government praising itself as “responsible and just.” Does anyone believe a word of this drivel?

Sorry, that was a somewhat off-topic rant.

June 9, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

Okay, I’ve read them all.

We’ve got something like that too, in the states – Christian Scientists tend to die because they don’t get medical help. There’s been some controversy, about children in the following etc. I’m a little ambivalent. I don’t think they murdered people just because they convinced them to believe in God in a certain way. It’s your life, you can make decisions.

I think someone made an important point up there – that FLG isn’t a big deal anywhere else. And they don’t do anything either. they make funny movements in the morning, but in the international community I’ve never seen one article detailing wrong doing. And I refuse to believe that it’s because of some Western Media conspiracy.

By those standards of “murder” – how many people have died from sticking to Western herbology or TCM and refusing ‘modern’ medicine? It would be interesting to see statistics.

It infuriates me to no end when chinese people try to tell me the CIA started SARS.

Re: FLG – I think it probably gets diluted as you get outside China because of the western treehuggers that join it. The only real interaction I’ve had with it was out in the high desert of New Mexico where my mom’s old hippy friends live – one of them had gotten into it and gave me the book to look at. Like I said, it looked ridiculous.

Bingfeng – are you pissed off at FLG because they convince people close to you that they are worth believing in, and then you see how it hurts their lives? I can think of a number of movements that do that. Communism for one. Consumerism is another.

Let me just state here, although it’s not relevant, that Justice Brown’s passage through the senate pisses me off.

June 9, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

The most vile part of the Justice Brown story is that the day AFTER she was approved, the NY Times did a profile of her that oproves she’s a dangerous lady (which I knew already). But the Times was too timid to put it out BEFORE the vote, which is when it might have mattered. They call it “the liberal media,” but it’s always stepping all over itself trying to prove how fair they are to Bush. So fair that they cheat us readers of the truth.

June 9, 2005 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

I think a lot of folks are dumping on bingfeng.

why are people like Martyn writing in prose which communicates a sense of surprise about the CCP’s attitude to FG.

from what I’ve read from Martyn in the past, I think he’s already aware that the CPP is an autocratic regime which wants to hang on to power and prefers to control all ideology in china.

this description of the CCP is hardly contentious.

but why then are people expressing surprise that the CCP has cracked down on FG (smash FG, I tell you, smash smash smash)?

FG is a threat to one party communist rule in china.

not only that, but it taps in to a scary tradition.

(doesn’t scare me, but I’m not the ruling regime in china, sadly.)

the Hsia Chang book ESWN mentions is disappointingly unambitious but at least puts the thing into context.

there is a long tradition documented by this book of in china millenarian cults springing up when society undergoes sweeping changes … and overthrowing the existing regime.

that’s what fg is.
so NO WONDER the present regime feels threatened. and if the present regime thinks the best think for china is that the present regime remains the regims in the future, well of course it will want to crack down on fg.

re the americans: if the CIA wanted to invent something to destabilise the PRC it couldn’t have chosen better than FG. But from what we’re told about the CIA, it’s easy to doubt they’d have the brains to create FG. And the historical context of similar movements shows the likelihood of something like FG developing organically and by itself.

still, if I was in the CIA & believed in the CIA I’d certainly be doing my damnedest to siphon funds to FG, help spread those stupid VCDs (probably DVDs these days) that prey on rank ignorance and ill-education and, of course, exploit the fact that it hasn’t exactly been fashionable in china recently to question what you’re told it true.

finally it seems to me that people get off a little bit too much on criticising the PRC the same way other people get off on criticising the US. far too black-and-white self congratulatory onanism surely?

June 9, 2005 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

I think the “dumping” is due to my friend Bingfeng’s labeling the FLG a heathenous, murderous cult that somehow deserves what it is getting. I can understand hating them (I’m no fan, myself). But you have to admit Bingfeng sounded a little over the top when he wrote:

as for FLG, i have no problems with a murderer being abused by another, since the first one is obviously an immediate danger to the life of many people around me. FLG is ruining the lives of people around me when some of you are trying to protect FLG. so pls mind your own business and go back to fuck the “evil” organizations that are cracking down terrorists.

And:

FLG is a heathendom, if you read chinese history, you will find they are not something new. i know many people who joined FLG here, and i can tell you what it is – it has nothing to do with spiritual believeing, religion, charity or medical treatment, it’s a shitting stupid thing, the fact that most of them are old people and women tells something about it, and that doesn’t change the fact FLG did a lot of stupid things and bad things to them. and cracking down FLG has nothing to do with religion intolerance.

Something does not compute. On the one hand, mostly old men and women, on the other a lethal and heathenous threat. I’ll respect his argument on this topic when he just answers the question: What is the awful threat the FLG has posed that merits torture, imprisonment and death?

June 9, 2005 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

well it’s pretty obvious richard.
that’s to say, if organised rebellion against the communist regime is going to be put down, so too is FG.

FG is bad to the government because it was an alternative organisation in what is supposed to be a one party state.

but please note:
I’m not saying I’m sure that the communist regime *should* put down organised rebellion. just that it’s obvious why the govt regards it as a threat — and strikingly more so when put in the context of, as I said, the previous cults refered to in that book.

nevertheless, what bingfeng says _does_ compute, and thus:
1) FG preys on real ignorance and superstition, I know people who believe in the divinity of FG leaders and the reasons are risible.
2) yet if enough people believe in it and defy CPP rule, the CPP falls.

if the short term stability of government in china is a priority, surely smashing FG becomes a priority too, don’t you see?

PS for some people not you richard the whole argument again serves as an excuse for well phrased finely honed anti-China invective which is no more edifying than hearing peole call the US the great satan blah blah.

June 9, 2005 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

KLS, that is competely clear. We all know why the CCP is doing this. Bingfeng is saying or at least strongly implying that this i the right thing to do, and that’s why we’re having the debate.

You go on to support his argument and say:
1) FG preys on real ignorance and superstition, I know people who believe in the divinity of FG leaders and the reasons are risible.
2) yet if enough people believe in it and defy CPP rule, the CPP falls.

So I want to ask you the same quetion: Should a group that displays ignorance and superstition be persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and murdered? Do you think this is the right thing to do?

June 9, 2005 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

the trouble with your question richard is that you said “should a group that …”

ie you don’t say FG, instead you’ve abstracted out.
which makes the answer very easy.
the answer is: it depends.
it depends on who the group is.

that is to say, if this “group that displays ignorance and superstition” is bent on setting off massive bombs across the globe to kill millions, well then nasty repression may be the answer.

but if this “group that displays ignorance and superstition” just wants to do some breathing excercises in the park, I don’t think nasty repression is the answer.

if we’re talking about FG, and if you accept that the CCP correctly regards FG as a threat to CCP rule, then we back to the question I asked in an earlier post:

a) is it right to persecute a few people in order to prevent 20 people starving?

b) and is that scenario in any way comparable to the situation in china today?

what’s the answer richard?

June 9, 2005 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

“what’s the answer richard?”
— sorry, that sounds v confrontational!

June 9, 2005 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

The FLG would pose zero threat to the CCP rule if the Party hadn’t persecuted them, turning them into martyrs on the international stage and making them familiar to everyone in China. And I’m not convinced they pose a true threat now.

If a bunch of “old men and women” steeped in ignorance and superstition can bring down one of the richest and strongest governments on the planet, China is in serious trouble. I do not believe the FLG is a real threat to the CCP, but I do agree the CCP perceives them to be. I will not give them license to crack down on every perceived threat. That’s my big complaint with them — they are always finding enemies and crushing them. I have zero tolerance for that.

I don’t understand the question about persecuting people to save 20 people from starving, sorry. Maybe you can rephrase? Thanks.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:01 pm | Comment

sure I’ll rephrase.

if the CCP falls soon and suddenly, then there’s a good chance that what will follow will be much better .

but there’s also a good chance that what follows will be chaos or warlordism or whatever and loads of people could die.

if you think the latter is more likely … isn’t it worth persecuting a few so that the many survive?

or, far less dramatically and sensational, isn’t it worth persecuting a few so that more people thrive (ie have longer expected lives)?

I’m not too sure right now.

and in response to part of what you just replied, I don’t think the CCP is one of the stongest governments on the planet. it wouldn’t take too much for it to crash down.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

also, accoring to the Maria Chang book on fg, the movement was very very well known across China well before any crackdown, it wasn’t the crackdown that spread it.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

KLS – the ironic thing about calling this webpage close to demonstrating “the US satan” is that, as far as I can tell, we’re all people who would give power to the disenfranchised, better the lives of the peasants, end discrimination and free the working class. I’m more socialistic I think than most Europeans I meet, and certainly more than all Chinese I’ve met. Given the chance I would lead the next working man’s revolution. However, I think it’s interesting that we’re branded U.S. Satanists. I’m arguing against the persecution of those who are not in power. since when was this considered anything but revolutionary? Is it the stubborness that you are refering to, or the message? because the way I see it, FLG members are getting pretty f*cked up in China, for doing the same thing that they don’t get f*cked up in other countries for. Like I said, FLG is weird and I think the bulk majority of people wouldn’t believe in it, but then again, if you told me that the son of God was born from immaculate conception and I was supposed to worship him because he died for my sins, I’d probably also give you a strange look, if I didn’t already come from the background.

the point that you’ve raised about freedom is that freedom exists only until you start to limit another person’s freedom with your own freedom. Then you can’t call it your freedom anymore – this is what we see when we take the “group wielding nuclear bombs” approach. Groups instinctively can meet – it seems natural. But groups depriving others of their freedoms does not.

Has FLG done anything but convince people to do stupid shit? because if so, that’s not really FLG’s fault, entirely. That’s also because people are stupid.

Finally, a quick question: FLG has it’s roots in China. communism does not, being very new. Which is less suited to the Chinese people?

June 9, 2005 @ 5:20 pm | Comment

KLS, the CCP is strong in terms of arms, wealth and power. But you are quite right — a serious crisis could make it come tumbling down. But that crisis would have to be economic — a run on the banks, severe deflation or inflation, or a drought or famine that created massive economic despair. I don’t believe superstitious old women and men can do it. If they ever truly threatened the CCP (like, if they staged a coup and tried to kill the leaders) then I would at least understand the CCP’s tactics. But they did nothing but congregate and do strange exercises and express nutty ideas. How does that justify the repression against them?

Sorry, but I feel like I’m hitting my head against a wall. Please read Laowai’s last comment very carefully, every word. He makes his points better than I do.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

Laowai: firstly, I think you misunderstood the bit about great satan.
I wasn’t saying you were the great satan.
But some people use that as an unthinking knee-jerk or rabble-rousing description of the US.
the truth is more complex but when incendiary language like that is used, the truth becomes ever harder to grasp.
and it seemed to me that rather than be prepared to look at what was wrong or otherwise with FG, some people saw an opportunity to practice their denunciation vocabulary.

so as for socialism, don’t really see where that comes in.
I mean we all know it doesn’t work.

quick answer to your quick question: FG is a bigger force than communism in china but the *communist party* is bigger than FG. so the CCP is at the moment most suited, the facts speak for themselves

June 9, 2005 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

richard, sorry if you’re getting a headache!

here’s where I think we agree:
FG is a bit shitty and has caused some people to die, but it’s not as shitty as the CCP and hasn’t killed as many people.

it would be better if china was not ruled by the very shitty CCP but was ruled by a working and fully participatory democratic regime in a civil society with strong rule of law, full human rights, a pacifist constitution, and could improve the 1.xx billion people’s lives and feed them and help stand up to US hegemony (!).

however, the country is not going to go from the CCP to the governance I just outlined. not in one step.

is it better then for the CCP to fall tomorrow and for the country to try to build a better government out of the ruins?

even if that means a load of starvation across the country for a few years.

or is it more important first to stabilise the country, improve living standards etc, before changing and improving the governance?

I’m not sure of the answer.
but I don’t think many of the above posts acknowledge that there is an argument in favour of keeping a lid on dissent for a period of time.

(note: I’m not saying I agree with the argument, just that I don’t dismiss it)

June 9, 2005 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

I got it, KLS. Better to have an orderly transition. But believe it or not, it is possible to have an orderly transition and allow the FLG to do their exercises. They are not mutually exclusive.

I really want to hear about the FLG track record of murder. I have always heard they were rather peaceful — crazy, obsessed but harmless. How many have they murdered, and why did they do it?

June 9, 2005 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

Socialism doesn’t work? Almost every government in the developed world provides national healthcare for 95% of their citizens, the main exception being the U.S. If that’s not working, please tell me what is working. I’m not here to argue about how well it works, but these are democracies we’re talking about, and if the people didn’t want socialised health care to some degree they’d damn well vote against it. Japan taxes like a maniac, and gives their people a lot. There’s a lot wrong with every system, but socialised programs in the developed world exist as a rule, not an exception.

Where are you from, KLS? I’ll give you a multitude of reasons why socialism works. I know Gordon disagrees with me on this point for the U.S., but it’s hard to argue with the multitude of socialist initiatives the world over. China doesn’t really have them though.

And, sorry, but it sounded like you made a “might makes right” comment back in your last post. Following that reasoning doesn’t get us to very satisfactory positions, I would bet.

I brought up socialism because the CCP has been waging a continual revolution on behalf of (up until the Sangedaibiao) the people since they came into power. I was saying that based on ideology alone, I am way more socialistic than the CCP. In this sense, I was making an argument for why I can escape from the U.S. satan label. What’s socialism – altruism. Caring about people that don’t have power. Not thinking that they’ll sort it out on their own.

KLS, where are you from? Europe? It’s all socialist. Australia? Socialist. Canada? Socialist. Japan? Socialist. Compared to the US, it’s all socialist, and although they may not have as big an economy, many have got better standards of living on average. Russian socialism, Chinese Socialism, North Korean socialism is an excuse for terrorism over the people by the state.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

Okay. We’ve apparently moved on – ignore my last post.

Back to FLG – I believe there are ways that the CCP could deal with them instead of the way they do, and not feel threatened by their membership. Driving movements underground sometimes blows up in the oppressors faces.

June 9, 2005 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

well richard who really knows (yes I know that’s mainly a result of CCP info control) but some say that people have died because fg has told them not to seek medical help for illnesses. and of course there are those who killed themselves for fg. I didn’t say murder anywhere, by the way, that was your word.

June 9, 2005 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

Laowai: this seems way away from where the post began, but I think your definition of socialism is unusual and erroneous.
it is simplistic to say socialism is altruism — otherwise people wouldn’t have needed the word socialism, they could have stuck to the word altruism.
substitute the phrase “a bit of left-wingedness” for the occasions you use, in the context of the west, the word “socialism”, that would be more accurate.
but I still fail to see why you bring up socialism at all

June 9, 2005 @ 6:05 pm | Comment

Okay – Democratic Socialism, then. I explained why I thought it was a good thing to bring up, re:me not being the U.S. satan.

I think we’ve reached a general concensus to the differences in opinion, as KLS has stated. The difference is on the opinions of necessary force to maintain stability. (although this raises a good point about whether or not KLS thinks what the US is doing with “enemy combatants” is a good thing, since it’s kind of a simliar point – or whether Bingfeng does, too. In line with my generally bleeding-hear leftist mantra, I say no – clarity and transparency, no torture, etc.) And no, KLS, you didn’t use the word murder, Bingfeng did.

Self-immolation and death from stupidity or faith isn’t murder though. And although some may say it verges on mind control, I’m not sure it merits the persecution it gets in China. Scientology is a cult in the states, but I’m not in favor of torturing travolta and cruise, even though I think they’re kind of wankers. Anyway, I’m not making very good arguments here (thanks for the compliment, though, richard ) so I’m off to bed.

June 9, 2005 @ 6:17 pm | Comment

time for me to sleep too.
finally though, this may be of interest:

the book I was talking about describes cults from china’s history that have risen from the countryside in times of societal upheaval and overthrown the government.
it notes that the CCP arguably is one such cult.

and quotes The Economist describing the CCP’s reaction to FG: “It takes a cult to know a cult”.

The book says:
“Having come to power by exploiting China’s millenarian tradition, the Communist Party is only too mindful of the potency of such movements.”
The book also concludes that FG is apocalyptic and millenarian — ie it is indeed trying to bring about a change in society, change of goverment.

June 9, 2005 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

I didn’t say murder anywhere, by the way, that was your word.

Actually what you said was:
FG is a bit shitty and has caused some people to die

It may be a word game, but when you cause people to die isn’t it murder? And yes, they are a cult, no question. But as Laowai said, do we persecute Tom Cruise for being a member of the Scientology cult?

This is what I meant when I said I felt I was banging my head against a wall.

June 9, 2005 @ 6:46 pm | Comment

people ask me questions why i don’t take the “best” options in some business situations, and i tell them that those “best” options won’t work in a real world

putting yourself in the position of the chinese government, what do you think you can do with FLG?

i am not saying the way FLG was treated is 100% faultless, but just putting yorself in the shoes of ccp will make you understand there is a big difference between armchair politicians and a member of reality-based government

June 9, 2005 @ 8:29 pm | Comment

laowai,

it’s worse than murder, victims of murder will resist and have a chance to escape, victims of FLG don’t resist and are eager to kill themselves

June 9, 2005 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

Bingfeng, you seem to be getting caught up in a chicken and the egg issue. Which came first? FLG strong opposition to the communist party started AFTER the communist party started brutally suppressing them. So it is not accurate to describe them as a group the government could not have worked with. The Chinese government could easily have made the decision to incorporate them into state structures as another state religion, just like Catholicism and Protestentism. Too late for that now of course, but it was a viable choice for the government, even within the rigid confines of traditional Chinese government practise.

As for all this utter nonsense you keep spouting about what FLG believes in, and what FLG does. Let me assure you that somewhere between 80-90% of the stuff you read in mainland Chinese media about what they believe and what they do is pure fiction. If you’re using that to come to conclusions about them, it just shows that you’re too stupid to tell the difference between very unsubtle propaganda and real information. I just read through a couple of descriptions from the mainland just yesterday … my personal favourite was the one that described how FLG followers had been responsible for 1,700 hundred deaths, including direct murders, especially in the case of one young man who gave poison to lots of homeless and vagrants because he wanted to kill everyone in the whole wide world. His mother said that he was such a nice young man until he got into FLG , and after that he just sat on his bed making strange faces and muttering to himself. Bingfeng, come on! Wake up and smell the roses!

As for the business of refusing medical attention. There’s a religious group that exists in most (all?) western countries called the Jehovah’s Witness (JW for short). They have a number of odd beliefs, including some that mean they will refuse medical attention if it involves a blood transfusion. Oh, no … they’re an evil cult that must be brutally suppressed! Or, maybe they’re just a group of people with different beliefs from your own? Now and then, a case happens when a court orders that JW parents must permit proper medical attention be given to their child … and that’s about the worst of the “suppression” that they suffer. I can’t see that FLG is any worse than this.

And for the record, I’m an atheist. I think ALL religions are nutty.

June 10, 2005 @ 1:31 am | Comment

richard you’re being unfair; it isn’t a wordgame; if people were to describe British troops killing German soldiers in the course of battle in WW2, or a surgeon killing a patient by making one mistake in a v v tricky operation, as “murder” — well that would be wrong and overly emotive and not paying close enough attention to the facts.

bingeng I can’t agree that the fg deaths, and there may only be a few, are worse than murder.

June 10, 2005 @ 1:42 am | Comment

FSN9 I’m interested in where you get your facts from. you don’t seem in your last post better informed about FG than a typical PRC resident.
you said this:

— “Which came first? FLG strong opposition to the communist party started AFTER the communist party started brutally suppressing them.” —

why put the word “strong” there in “strong opposition”. is it because you’re not sure if there was any opposition existing before the crackdown, and you’re just hedging yourself?

or do you know that there was FG opposition (but not strong) to the CCP before the crackdown … but believe that usually the PRC government allows millions-strong organisations that oppose it to exist happily in China going about their merry way? cos that’s pretty naive.

it really seems there are two arguments going on now in this post.
1) was FG a threat the the CCP?
2) is it right that the CCP crack down on threats?

for the record, I think (1) is indisputable, and (2) is troubling.

June 10, 2005 @ 1:52 am | Comment

KLS:

Will you please just make your points and REFRAIN from criticising people? What exactly are you criticising people for this time anyway? Oh, and please drop the China Bashing rubbish.

bingfeng is a big boy and doesn’t need you protecting or patronising him, he’s can give as good as he gets on this site.

You comments lack the gritty reality of those who have spent years of their life in China. I would suggest that if you weren’t in China during one of the times mentioned above-SARS-that you look up Spring 2003 in the Peking Duck archives and see one of the faces of the CCP.

June 10, 2005 @ 1:56 am | Comment

KSL> you put forward some of the wierdest arguments I think I’ve ever seen on this site. The angle that you are coming from is unique. Fairplay, you’re entitled to pedal whatever you want here but you’re losing me here.

June 10, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

zoe, be fair, show where you think I’ve patronised bingfeng.

June 10, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

john01 what do you mean?
all I was saying was that FG was a threat to the PRC and it’s understandable that the CCP cracked down (though this is not necessarily a good thing).
FS9 said FG wasn’t originally a threat to the CCP … but I don’t think this position is backed up by any evidence.

June 10, 2005 @ 2:09 am | Comment

kls, by jumping to his defence and saying that everyone is bashing on him. Everyone’s exchanging views here. That’s it.

You’re also mentioning Martyn by name again when he’s not saying similar to that of a dozen others. He’s one of the knowledgeable people on here like many of the above commentors.

June 10, 2005 @ 2:22 am | Comment

zoe, I said “a lot of people are dumping on bingfeng”.
I could have said “disagreeing” with.
but I said “dumping” because of the emotional level of some of the posts. not emotional against bingfeng but emotional about FG and the CCP.

and this anti-CCP invective appeared to cloud the clarity of some people’s thinking/posting about FG.

that’s to say, if a discussion of FG is conducted largely on the basis of how bad the CCP is, people aren;t going to really address what FG is.

zoe I’m nervous about replying to your “gritty” comment, tell me if you’re chinese first.

June 10, 2005 @ 2:41 am | Comment

i heard from dad that there are many who joined F**kLG and they were eager to peddle Guru Lee’s “theory of the world” (falun dafa) and his shitty little book, and i find some of them become so abnormal that i can’t believe they are the same persons i know before.

during that time, almost everyday i could get news from friends telling me who and who are members of this cult, which made me surprised and just wonder what were the next, another Tiaping Tianguo or Bai Lian Jiao?

i am happy that F**kLG was eliminated from mainland china for the time being, and can sleep well at night

i don’t read ccp propaganda since i know they are propaganda, unlike some of you, who are just too eager to be fed by propaganda of F**kLG and western media, like the “a bunch of old Tai Qi practicioners” statement, because you don’t know they are another type of propaganda

June 10, 2005 @ 3:02 am | Comment

“and this anti-CCP invective appeared to cloud the clarity of some people’s thinking/posting about FG.

that’s to say, if a discussion of FG is conducted largely on the basis of how bad the CCP is, people aren;t going to really address what FG is.”

well said, kls.

but i dont think some people will buy it because they are just too emotional when talking on issues related with ccp

June 10, 2005 @ 3:15 am | Comment

bingfeng+lsi:

bingfeng: you’re describing FLG as a shitty little shitting whatever and saying that they kill people etc. so you can’t therefore have a go a others for being ’emotional’.

People have strong opinions about the CCP largely because of the crimes they commit and the tyrannical way they rule. SARS is a good example of how the CCP sometimes (usually?) operates and I notice that the pair of you have not to chosen to comment on this particular topic.

ksl: you’re saying similar about people being emotional but you’re taking large swipes at people and their opiions as well, not to mention criticising people for speaking in prose(?).

I can’t quite see where you’re coming from by not dismissing certain points and mentioning something about a period of repression might be justified etc.

I am aware that the Taipings and various other quasi-religious movements have popped up during history. The fact that China is now a spiritual wasteland at the moment would, I guess, make it even more prone to the rantings of Guru Li.

However, what we’re discussing here is theFLG and the govt’s reasons for the repression of it.

Of course it’s a threat to it’s power but I do not believe that it firstly, resresents a threat to humanity (I think martytn said it wasn’t supressed anywhere else in the world) and secondly, believe the propaganda of the CCP which bingfeng mentrioned above.

Laowai1979:

You really do make this site a joy to read with your insight and contributions. Excellent points above.

June 10, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

Bingfeng – I think we’re basically all atheists here.

It is funny, though, the way you describe it – it sounds a lot like the little red book of Mao. I wasn’t there during the cultural revolution or the great leap forward, but that was another book that gripped a nation and caused millions of deaths – some were murder, and some, well, maybe they just believed in Mao, and died believing.

Another example of death by belief – War. Men and women who sign up for the military to fight (some do it just for the money, these are different) – the men who sign up to go off and fight for their country. They die. A lot of them, for what they believe.

My point here is that we are used to seeing convinced people go off to die. In fact we rely on it. Why is FLG different? Because it is a religion?

Evangelical christians are just as eager to push their book on you. Jehovahs Witnesses too. Have you been exposed to them? They annoy me more than FLG, because they won’t get out of my face and they tell me I’m going to hell. My cousin became a born-again Christian for a while, but fortunately she’s calmed down. But man, that was a little hard.

It sound like you are really really anti FLG for very emotional reasons. I guess I don’t really want to invalidate this. I’m sorry if you’ve lost friends and family – who have died – because they believed in something nutty.

June 10, 2005 @ 3:40 am | Comment

zoe, what’s sars got to do with FG?
as I understand sars, the CCP behaved slowly, ineptly, secretively, and did not respect human rights.
and some laowais suddenly realised the risks of living (temporarily) in an autocratic regime.
surely neither of these things came as a surprise to you?

June 10, 2005 @ 4:01 am | Comment

kelise/lisa

I’m still slightly struggling to see what general argument you’re putting forward although I think I can see bits and pieces.

Would you be able to summarise in a couple of sentences. That would be appreciated.

June 10, 2005 @ 4:09 am | Comment

I still wanna know; how come I’ve never heard a story of FLG murdering, brainwashing, kidnapping or otherwise getting in the press of any other country? All these FLG people in Australia (and the US and Canada, etc. etc.) are behaving perfectly well?

June 10, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

mike1:

the CCP saw FG as a threat to its power.
-was the CCP correct? I say yes.

the CCP cracked down on FG
-was this right? here I dunno, if the CCP were to fall tomorrow would the situation be better or worse than it is today for the majority of chinese citizens?

the CCP used torture and killing to crack down on FG.
-even if you say it’s better to have the CCP for a while longer, is torture an acceptable method to ensure that?

I think these questions can, with tweaked variables, be raised over any criticism of CCP misdeeds.

but lashing out about how evil the CCP is, getting all worked up about it, doesn’t address whether right now the CCP is the lesser of 2 evils; it isn’t rational. that’s what narks me, cos people seem to be cutting themselves off from a broader perspective.

June 10, 2005 @ 4:31 am | Comment

“I still wanna know; how come I’ve never heard a story of FLG murdering, brainwashing, kidnapping or otherwise getting in the press of any other country? All these FLG people in Australia (and the US and Canada, etc. etc.) are behaving perfectly well?”

Believe or not, they do different jobs in and outside China. They tell different stuff in and outside China. They earn different money in and outside China.

FLG, a bunch of gulls, scapegoats, fools, rogues and fraudsters with a hideous and ugly clown as leader.

June 10, 2005 @ 4:59 am | Comment

If the crackdown of CCP on FLG makes them martyrs, the indiscriminate and one-sided support of other countries only makes most Chinese dubious at their motivations.

Right or wrong, it’s reality.

June 10, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

Hello KLS, you just came on here last night as I was turning in.

First point above about the perceived threat to the CCP I think we can all agree on here as this was squarely the motivation behind CCP supression.

Second point. You’ve mentioned the CCP collapsing several times and I’m not entirely sure why as no one here is calling for that directly. I think it’s because you see the present political stability being beneficial to the majority of PRC citizens?

Again, why are we talking about CCP power and imagining the state of China as it is now and as it might be if the goverment were overthrown? AS you say, ‘the lessor of two evils’?

You asked if anybody was surprised over the govt’s handling of SARS. Actually I was, as I was perhaps naively rooting for Hu/Wen and the start of a slightly more open China. Obviously such hopes were largely dashed after SARS.

EWSN touched upon the behaviour of FLG supporters surrounding Zhongnanhai etc. For good or for bad they were pushing for change in their country as allsorts of movements have done all through history. I don’t accept that they somehow invited/deserved to be brutally surpressed.

KLS> I’m still a little confused about the ‘big picture’ you keep mentioning and why you consider it irrational.

Earlier I was arguing that I didn’t believe the FLG were a threat to humanity. Bingfeng said they were. I’m not entirely sure what that has to do with the CCP collapsing and the present CCP as being preferred to the chaos that would ensue if the country collaped. Your ‘lesser of two evils’.

The CCP isn’t above scrutiny of course but why can’t we call for a more ‘open’ (one of a thousand words one could use) CCP.

Perhaps I’m way off the mark here but are you saying something along the lines of………:

The CCP are perhaps wrong to supress, murder, execute organised groups, dissedents, those who express different ideas etc. etc. and rule in a very authortarian manner but the alternative to CCP rule is far worse because, at the moment, there simply isn’t an alternative and while things might be far from perfect at the moment, the majority of Chinese people are at least can live sort of normal lives and the, let’s say, ‘authoritarian excesses’, are perhaps a price worth paying for this continued stability?

Is the above what you mean when you mention ‘the big picture’?

Oh dear, my head hurts. I have to pop out now but I’ll read more tonight. Thanks.

June 10, 2005 @ 5:22 am | Comment

martyn-i think ksl is saying that and if he/she, is then he/she will get slaughtered for it i think.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:33 am | Comment

KLS posted

“a) is it right to persecute a few people in order to prevent 20 people starving?

b) and is that scenario in any way comparable to the situation in china today?

You keep posting these two comments on different threads. Why and what point are you making?

“and this anti-CCP invective appeared to cloud the clarity of some people’s thinking/posting about FG.

that’s to say, if a discussion of FG is conducted largely on the basis of how bad the CCP is, people aren;t going to really address what FG is.”

You sound like an official of the Ministry of Propaganda. Are you one of those CCP people who are paid to appear on websites and push the party line? If you’re not then you should be.

June 10, 2005 @ 8:12 am | Comment

“and this anti-CCP invective appeared to cloud the clarity of some people’s thinking/posting about FG.

that’s to say, if a discussion of FG is conducted largely on the basis of how bad the CCP is, people aren;t going to really address what FG is.”

You sound like an official of the Ministry of Propaganda. Are you one of those CCP people who are paid to appear on websites and push the party line? If you’re not then you should be.

hahaha, this is exactly the mentality KLS describes in the above statement

thank you john to back KLS’s point with a vivid example

June 10, 2005 @ 9:00 am | Comment

Bingfeng, I just tried to access Bingfeng’s Teahouse via both this site and Google, I got: “Server Error in ‘/’ Application.” and a whole page of other messages.

What’s going on?

June 10, 2005 @ 9:14 am | Comment

martyn,

bcchinese.net is undergoing a maintaince, now it recovered

June 10, 2005 @ 9:25 am | Comment

Personally I think China (and the US) could much more effectively counter cults through education than repression.

You say advanced FLG followers can walk through walls? Okay, you choose the wall, and we’ll set up the CCTV cameras. You can show the world the true power of FLG!

You say FLG practicioners don’t need conventional medicine? Fine. Let’s ask some Canadian or WHO doctors to monitor a test of patients with the same disease, some FLG with no treatment, some receiving standard medical care. Then we’ll show the results on a big CCTV special.

For that matter, I would like to see many more controversial topics treated this way: healing crystals, homeopathy, conversations with the dead, dousing, police psychics, etc.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:43 am | Comment

shanghai slim,

“You say advanced FLG followers can walk through walls? Okay, you choose the wall, and we’ll set up the CCTV cameras. You can show the world the true power of FLG!”

as a matter of fact, the government has tried this approach to enlighten people of similar cult, inviting people like Sima Nan to have live show in CCTV. you know what, cult people say the show is a fake one.

if you have ever talked with a FLG people, you will realize they don’t think in the way you think. very very strange way of thinking …

June 10, 2005 @ 9:52 am | Comment

Shanghai Slim,

Have you ever met somebody who believes in nobody and nothing else but his/her authoritarian and charismatic leader, and would love to give all they have to worship the living God in order to be blessed or transformed into another being?

June 10, 2005 @ 10:01 am | Comment

Have you ever met somebody who believes in nobody and nothing else but his/her authoritarian and charismatic leader, and would love to give all they have to worship the living God in order to be blessed or
transformed into another being?

That reads like the mission statement of a lot of evangelical churches.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Or personality cults.

June 10, 2005 @ 10:50 am | Comment

kelise/lisa

I’m still slightly struggling to see what general argument you’re putting forward although I think I can see bits and pieces.

Mike1 – if you’re asking me, I’m not Kelise or KLS and haven’t commented on this thread. I think I’m the only Lisa here…

June 10, 2005 @ 11:42 am | Comment

look, I’ve posted far too much on this thread already, feel like I hijacked it earlier, I need to take a cold shower perhaps.
martyn’s longer post earlier about what I said is almost 100% right I think, no surprise there.

I think it’s good to document the sins of the CCP — we need that stuff on record.
but John’s comment just now, I mean come on! you sound like someone with very black and white views, no readiness to concede grey areas. that’s what leads to committees on un-american activities.

I’d also like to point out that me and Lisa are one and the same.

ok, that’s plainly nonsense.
I have nothing to do with Lisa.
(except enjoy reading what she writes.)

Kelise is an obvuious chinese version of my english name, thought I’ve now been signing off as KLS to prevent folks assuming I’m chinese.

June 10, 2005 @ 5:52 pm | Comment

though not thought (prev para) … obvuiously!

June 10, 2005 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

KLS, I guess where John is coming from – at the risk of speaking for him – is where you say we are coming down too hard on the CCP for its actions against the FLG. I think you need to see it from the perspective that I believe most Americans see it:

There is simply no justification for the arrest, torture and persecution of a religious-spiritual group or even a “shitty” group (as Bingfeng says) along the lines of what the CCP has done to the FLG. Period.

I completely understand the arguments. The FLG suck. They are nuts. They tell followers not to get medical treatment. They believe in aliens and that they can walk through walls. They set up noisy protests and write a totally screwy newspaper. And they’ve hoodwinked a lot of Western media into thinking they are just another Tai Chi-practicing “exercise group.” I know, I know.

But any strongarm government that persecutes any group — like Nazis against Jews — is in our eyes repulsive and inexcusable. Even if the group is a “threat” (which none of us believe the FLG is), violence and repression are not acceptable answers. We are hard-wired to think this way, and for good reason. It’s at the very essence of the ideals of toleration, freedom of expression and justice. No matter how dreadful the FLG may seem, there is simply no excuse for their torture and murder. So John and I and others are at a loss when you say or imply that we aren’t being fair toward the CCP or that we are being biased. We ask ourselves, how can any sane, compassionate person NOT be biased against a government that does such things? It’s beyond comprehension. I respect your viewpoint and am glad you are commenting here, and I want you to understand why John might suggest you are a plant of the CCP. (I don’t believe that, by the way, and think John was being somewhat facetious.) I hope that helps.

June 10, 2005 @ 6:14 pm | Comment

richard,

while i don’t believe the propaganda telling us that FLG people organized group suicide, i don’t believe FLG or western media telling us that they were persecuted like the jews were persecuted by nazis (as you put it), for i am the one who could learn some first-hand stories and i assure you many FLG members in my dad’s organization (a very large one in shanghai) were treated well and not discriminated by their colleagues. sure, they were asked to give up their activities and guru lee’s shitty little book was confiscated, some hardcore members refused to give up and they were invited to talk with their supervisors several times, but i never heard they were persecuted. i know this is not the whole picture, but my friends and classmates from north-eastern provinces, beijing, shandong, zhejiang … all share the same opinion that these FLG members have a hard time to readjust to the new situation but not treated in a way unacceptable.

one question you fail to address is – provided FLG is not only a treat to ccp but also to the chinese society as a whole, what is your suggestion that the chinese government and people should do to cut this tumor?

maybe you are not convinced by me that FLG is a tumor to chinese society, if so, i suggest you do a small survey among chinese readers here or elsewhere, and come back to my honest question above.

as i said before, many people including me understand the way FLG was treated has many negative results, and probably moral defects as well, but compared with the evilness and danger of decomposing the social element (like what they did in my dad’s organization), these defects are tolerable.

i was often annoyed by my friends’ comments on some of my business decisions, because they could offer me “the option” that are not workable, while i have to make the business move on with a lot of constraints liek timing, human resources, capital, guan-xi, etc. etc. in short, i have to make decisions that are critical to the business, sometime could decide its survival or death.

similarly, the government need to make that decision as what to do with FLG when the functions of the whole country were at risk by a group of fanatic abnormal guys who think in a way you can’t understand and who are in fact can not communicate with in a “civilized” way. so tell me what to do with them?

richard, sometimes i just wonder why you name yourself as “a member of reality-based community”? i like this very much since i see myself as a reality-based person, but i think that does’t fit with your mentality very well, sometimes at least.

June 10, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

richard,

besides my personal experience with FLG, another factor that makes me so disgusted with it is its evil nature that echos and attracts so many ordinary chinese people – the idol worship, irrationality, fanaticism, group thinking, etc. all too familiar to me after reading similar stories in chinese history. the evil nature revealed by FLG was the source of many troubles and disasters in chinese history and i hate to see it start to ruin the people around me and my country again.

June 10, 2005 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

maybe you are not convinced by me that FLG is a tumor to chinese
society, if so, i suggest you do a small survey among chinese readers here or
elsewhere, and come back to my honest question above.

With all my heart, I believe you are absolutely right on this. They will also tell you strong things abouyt Taiwan and about Tibet and about the Japanese. Remember, there is a very strong propaganda machine at work in the PRC, and these points are good proof.

I will address your other points after dinner. Thanks.

June 10, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

>>>>besides my personal experience with FLG, another factor that makes me so disgusted with it is its evil nature that echos and attracts so many ordinary chinese people – the idol worship, irrationality, fanaticism, group thinking, etc. all too familiar to me after reading similar stories in chinese history. the evil nature revealed by FLG was the source of many troubles and disasters in chinese history and i hate to see it start to ruin the people around me and my country again.

I respect your feelings, Bingfeng. Would like to see less police crackdown and more transparency though. FLG is winning the PR war overseas. I feel like the CCP would benefit from a slightly different approach that could still be considered to be combatting the issues.

Could you tell us a bit more about how your father’s organisation fell apart and what the organisation was? not too specific because I want you to protect your anonymity – but I’m interested.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:02 pm | Comment

Bingfeng, we are in agreement about a lot of things here. I, too, have said their story has been distorted by the Western media. As I keep saying, the FLG suck. I am very wary of them.

But you are deeply contradicting yourself. You just said if I asked people in the PRC what they think of the FLG they would agree with your viewpoint. And I believe you are correct. And therefore, the FLG poses no threat at all. If everyone holds them as vile psychopaths, what power can they wield?

You refer to them as “evil.” As proof you tell us things your father told you and other anecdotal evidence. And they really may be evil. That is subjective and hard to say. I am sure that, like the CCP, there are many evil people in the FLG and some very wonderful people. But again, if it is universally understood in Chna that they are evil, then where is the threat? How can they achieve anything?

Let’s look at the American Nazi Party. I truly believe they are totally evil, with absolutely no redeeming qualities. They openly advocate evil (unlike the CCP or the FLG or most other groups). And yet, I would never suggest they be arrested and tortured. In fact, when the American Civil Liberties Union fought for their rights to march in Skokie, Illinois some years ago, I supported them. The best way to deal with evil is to expose it, enlighten people, educate them. But to crack down violently creates martyrdom, victims and a lot of sympathy. That’s exactly what happened with the FLG. No one outside China gave a flying fuck about them until the horror stotries came out. The CCP dug their own grave on this one.

You can keep saying how bad they are, but I want to request that you address these points I’m trying to make, that repression is not the answer. Many people think Jews are evil, that gays are evil, that Muslims are evil and that Chinese are evil. Once you give government licednse to kill and persecute, where does it stop? Who decides.

Please — don’t respond by talking about the badness of the FLG. We are in agreement there. Instead, I request you approach it from the position of what authority government should have over people it doesn’t like. Over people it perceives as a threat. After all, they perceived Liu Di and Shi Tao and Du Daobin as threats — does that justify their extermination?

As a Jew who had great-great-aunts and great-great-uncles carted off to the gas chambers in cattle cars because a totalitarian dictatorship was convinced they were “evil,” I am very sensitive to this question. Who was Hitler to say the Jews were evil? Like you, he had “proof.” He had charts and books and news articles and movies priving my people were evil and deserved to die. Who is the CCP and who are you to make such judgements, and where does it stop?

Again, to most Westerners there is simply no debate here. Even groups that seem totally evil have a right to exist if they obey the law. (And if they disobey, we don’t torture or kill them.) Once we give total power to a group of old men in the Great Hall of the People to decide who is good and evil, we are at their mercy, and no one is safe.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

KLS: Ah ha so I was on the right lines then? i.e:

“The CCP are perhaps wrong to supress, murder, execute organised groups, dissedents, those who express different ideas etc. etc. and rule in a very authortarian manner but the alternative to CCP rule is far worse because, at the moment, there simply isn’t an alternative and while things might be far from perfect at the moment, the majority of Chinese people are at least can live sort of normal lives and the, let’s say, ‘authoritarian excesses’, are perhaps a price worth paying for this continued stability?”

That can be a whole new debate in itself mate.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

Or even a whole new thread, i.e. What price should we be paying for the continued relative stability of the PRC vis-a-vis the alledged crimes and excesses of the communist party?

Is, for example, brutal repression of the FLG at least partially justifiable if it helps to maintain order in PRC society? Bearing in mind that any collapse of the regime any ensuing chaos would likely bring dire and long-term consequences for the majority of PRC citizens.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Sorry to go on so…but now I’m able to put your previous comments into context, you know the ones like, is it worth it for 10 people to go to jail if it means 1,000 can live normal lives?

Sorry for being slow.

June 10, 2005 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

Richard I think it’s a mistake to imply that one of the reasons you’re sickened by the CCP’s crackdown is because you’re American, and that Americans in general are “hard-wired” to think that way.

the US has in recent times a very good human rights record on its own soil.
But its post word war 2 excursions to other countries have often been characterised by plenty of civilian deaths.

is this because the US military is hard-wired to rate the lives of its people far higher than the lives of foreign civilians?

or is it a recognition that the deaths of some civilians might be a sad but sometimes necessary function of a greater good (say, liberating South Korea)?

either way, I think it’s evidence that the world isn’t that black and white.

Richard, you wrote:
— “how can any sane, compassionate person NOT be biased against a government that does such things?” —

do you mind if I use an outlandish example?

say there’s a guy you’ve proved — beyond any doubt at all — has murdered three people for money. he’s been convicted.
people are now “biased” against him because he’s clearly a nasty piece of work.

a few weeks after the trial another murdered body is found. the evidence initially isn’t great, but some of it suggets that the guy you’ve just convicted of three murders, also committed this fourth.

if you’re still “biased” about him, you’ll likely overexaggerate the evidence pointing to him and ignore the evidence pointing to someone else.

even if it turns out that the original guy did in fact kill this fourth person, any responsible person would nonetheless have followed up ALL the evidence in all the directions it pointed.

that’s why I think that for you to say that people should be “biased” against the CCP is an unsafe path to tread.

because it surely isn’t the case that *everything* the CCP does is wrong. just as it isn’t the case that *all* US foreign policy is wrong.

these sound like mentalities that could bring around another cold war, don’t they?

and FG is a good example. when the crackdown first happened everyone assumed that FG was good and the CCP was overreacting.

well that assumption was not 100% correct. and even if it was 70% correct, why allow “bias” against the CCP to blind you to the 30%? (or even 95% vs 5%). why deliberately avoid seeing all the facts?

that’s what I was saying about people using overly emotive language. I think it often obscures rather than illuminates. and it discourages people from thinking about the flip side.

one example of not looking at the flip side, of course, was the West’s support for Islamic militants fighting against the USSR in Afghanistan, look where that got us all.

June 11, 2005 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Martyn: look I’m sorry for not joining the dots of what I’ve been posting.

— “What price should we be paying for the continued relative stability of the PRC vis-a-vis the alledged crimes and excesses of the communist party?” —

exactly. but I don’t see why that is a whole new debate. surely it’s at the heart of any criticism of CCP policy to FG?

June 11, 2005 @ 5:00 am | Comment

Bingfeng: one question you fail to address is – provided FLG is not only a treat to ccp but also to the chinese society as a whole, what is your suggestion that the chinese government and people should do to cut this tumor?

I have now addressed these issues in my last comment – education, awareness, openness are the answers. Who decides what “tumor” to cut? Today Hu is deciding the tumor is the Chinese media. Please go and read my last comment, then rejoin the argument.

KLS, I never said everything the CCP has done is wrong. But any act to suppress a group using torture and murder is wrong. Period. End of discussion. And your whole argument, and Bingfeng’s, is based on the premise that the FLG threatens the CCP. This is crazy. Old men and women exercizing (to use BF’s own language) — isn’t the CCP a big boy by now?

June 11, 2005 @ 10:10 am | Comment

Richard, FG says it has more than 70 million members in China, vs 60 million for the CCP.
Making its leader, to quote a Time Asia article, “a messianic figure with millions of followers.”
The last such figure was Mao, and I don’t think anyone in the CCP wants another Mao.

Just a couple of weeks after the zhongnanhai sit-down, Time Asia did a feature on FG. The headline was “Master Li’s Brave New Age” and the stand first reads:
“FG, a mystical society guided by an absent master, may present the biggest challenge yet to China’s communist leadership”

here is a link to that article: http://tinyurl.com/bjkms

the article notes as you’d expect the long history of millenarian cults springing up and attempting to overthrow the government of the day.
If you read it I’ll be surprised if you remain so dismissive of the FG threat to CCP.
what’s more, the fact that despite the repression many chinese continue to practise FG must make the government even more concerned.

June 11, 2005 @ 11:26 am | Comment

Bingfeng: i assure you many FLG members in my dad’s organization (a very large one in shanghai) were treated well and not discriminated by their colleagues. sure, they were asked to give up their activities and guru lee’s shitty little book was confiscated, some hardcore members refused to give up and they were invited to talk with their supervisors several times, but i never heard they were persecuted.

Well, that depends on how you view persecuted, don’t it? They can’t practice their own beliefs, they can’t own a book (even if it is shitty) and they were subject to far more internal review than other employees because of their beliefs.

I’ll come back to the FLG/Scientology comparison I made over at my blog. What do they have in common? Believe in aliens who play a fundamental role in human history and development? Check. Convince members to devote their pocketbooks and even entire lives to some cockamaney ideas? Check. Have been accused of involvement in deaths, kidnappings, coercion, imprisionment, etc? Check.

Had their books taken away by employers? Nope, diverges there. Been required by contract or law to not engage in their own belief system? Nope, sorry, again there are different approaches to crackpots. Immediately labeled as a threat to all of society, stability and general human decency by government agitprop? No, only China.

Has Scientology destroyed the US, or would it be more destructive if we launched such a massive broadside against it?

June 11, 2005 @ 11:27 am | Comment

A comparison to the wheelers, it is said that the u.s. federal government started a war against the mormons in 18th cen. and killed a few thousand? Will anyone take a look into that?

June 11, 2005 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

Leo, the 18th Century??? I didn’t think the Mormons even existed then, but if you say so…:-)

Look, the US also killed a lot of American Indians and kept slaves. We grew and look at this as a very dark and shameful part of our history.

June 11, 2005 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

KLS, it was bingfeng himself who dismissed them as a bunch of old ladies and old men! Oh, and the article you point us to is six years old. Can you point us to something more recent? I can point you to a lot of half-decade-old articles with all sorts of warnings. And did you notice the reporter said their demonstratiuons were “entirely peaceful.” He never says they are a threat to the CCP’s rule – he says they are a “challenge,” and that is unquestionably true. They are a challenge, he says, because they represent how restive the Chinese population is. That is the fault of the CCP, not the FLG.

June 11, 2005 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

“education, awareness, openness are the answers”

that is your solution?

perhaps you would like to try it with bin laden and his gang first.

“Who decides what “tumor” to cut?”

unfortunately this time ccp is too correct, but they move too slow

June 11, 2005 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Bingfeng, you’re digging yourself deeper into a hole. Bin Laden is a mass murderer and a terrorist. Education is not the answer in his case.

Ther FLG is a friggin’ exercise/meditation cult, a group of old men and women (in your own words). Educate the people about what they represent, using the truth. Tell them the FLG believes in aliens and walking through walls. It is this technique that teaches us in America of the dangers of the American Nazis and the Klan. Open information, truth keeps us safe.

I am especially enjoying your referring to the FLG as a “tumor” that needs to be excised and destroyed. It reminds me of this:

Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst.

Adolf Hitler, speaking to the Nazi Party in Salzburg, August 7, 1920.

This discussion has really opened my eyes.

June 11, 2005 @ 10:01 pm | Comment

“Ther FLG is a friggin’ exercise/meditation cult, a group of old men and women (in your own words). Educate the people about what they represent, using the truth. Tell them the FLG believes in aliens and walking through walls. It is this technique that teaches us in America of the dangers of the American Nazis and the Klan. Open information, truth keeps us safe.”

richard, you are absolutly wrong if you believe “education” could change the mentality of a FLG member. mostly s/he will use the “truth” you provide to “educate” you, and mostly you will be “converted” to be a FLG member, in this sense, FLG is a “tumor” to the society, just as bankrupt Nazi bullshits still convert ordinary people and after they were converted, any “truth” you feed them will reinforce their belief.

and most importantly, you have no time to “educate” million plus mob who could gather over night and block a factory, a city, or government buildings.

your “education” strategy CAN NOT work, and people around me are in immediate danger since these insane FLG peddle their shits like mad

June 12, 2005 @ 1:35 am | Comment

Richard, I’m not bingfeng, just because he dismissed them as old men and woman doesn’t mean I did, doesn’t mean the CCP should have either.
I thought the date of the Time article was very relevant — it was written at the same time the government was about to get tough, so it might help illuminate what the thinking was at the time.

June 12, 2005 @ 3:24 am | Comment

you know I think if a Mikhail Gorbachev figure emerged at the top of the CCP he’d get zero support from most of the people contributing to this thread.

June 12, 2005 @ 3:31 am | Comment

KLS

That’s an outrageuos statement. What makes you say that?

I think many people here have been TOO optimistic about Hu/Wen if anything,

June 12, 2005 @ 3:55 am | Comment

KLS – can you expand some more – I’m too young to remember what gorbie did. And I didn’t study russian history. he basically gave people more independence and broke up the USSR, right?

bingfeng – the way you’re talking now is the way I’ve heard people talk about Americans and their convictions, and how I’ve heard people talk about mainlanders and theirs. There’s kind of a relativism going on here – who’s right? Who’s wrong?

I’m NOT saying that FLG is a good thing. I do think, however, that FLG partly has as much power as it does because of the CCP being so controlling. If people feel like they are in control of their own lives, they generally don’t join weird religious cults. At least that’s my observation about people in the states. It’s when people feel desperate that they do weird sh!t like join FLG.

June 12, 2005 @ 4:47 am | Comment

many of the non-Chinese people posting here know so much about China. and clearly many have a strong emotional tie to the place.

but they are judging it by a very strange yardstick.

I know people should strive towards a perfect society. but look at the US. Last year 5% of its black population were prison and jail inmates.
And rrespective of colour, 2,131,180 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails.
that’s more than china (we think!).

there is clearly in a systemic problem with the American way. and that’s without mentioning the crimes visited by the US on other countries over the years.

or how about Europe, and the massive tarrifs that keep Africa on its knees starving so our farmers can keep their jobs.

or how about the corruption and tyranny that characterises certains governments in Africa.

and do you think FLG would really be allowed to organise thousands of practitioners to meditate and proselytize in the streets of Riyadh?

The point of all this is that I don’t think blanket criticism of China takes into account the real world and the hard decisions a government needs to take.

Although Martyn you sounded receptive to the notion that if the CCP were to fall tomorrow there might, or again might not, be a worse regime taking its place.

Look, I’ve got to jump and will make the Gorbachev link later. but in brief, if it’s all criticise criticise criticise and people work under the assumption that the CCP leadership (in a broad sense) are all evil … then a milder leader will still be castigated and benign changes he hopes to introduce will still be scoffed at.

as for Hu/Wen, I understand that took Jiang years as “leader” before he was strong enough to really assert his own style & leadership. maybe the optimists will be right come 2008 (though I’m not holding my breath)?

June 12, 2005 @ 5:02 am | Comment

btw martyn I hope the join the dots comment I made earlier didn’t sound sarky, hope you didn’t read it that way

June 12, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

KLS –

I have only one thing to say – this is, in fact, a China site. If you want to hear my take on the other stuff you could start a blog on it, and you can hear my bleeding heart rants about systematic racism in the states. Believe me. I have lots to say. I talk about China all the time because I’m stuck in the UK and I want to be in China. But I write my senators letters a few times a month asking them to do what you might expect a guy like me would ask them to do. But this is, after all, a China blog.

June 12, 2005 @ 5:24 am | Comment

Oh, and you might check this post on Hu of mine:

http://publicenemy1.blog-city.com/who_is_hu.htm

June 12, 2005 @ 5:26 am | Comment

And for the record let me state that French farming subsidies really piss me off.

June 12, 2005 @ 5:27 am | Comment

well that’s exactly what I mean Laowai: on this site you’re juging China with a different yardstick than you’d judge anywhere else. you’re not putting China in the context of the real world.
to humbly quote myself from just above:

“The point of all this [reference to other countries ]is that I don’t think blanket criticism of China takes into account the real world and the hard decisions a government needs to take.”

thanks for explaining wai, laowhy!!

June 12, 2005 @ 5:33 am | Comment

KLS- I’m pretty sure I’m not judging it by a different yardstick. I’m just not mentioning all the other things I judge by this yardstick. I apply the same vigour to thinking about and debating everything else you’ve mentioned, just not on this site.

June 12, 2005 @ 5:55 am | Comment

KLS

Not sarky at all, I might not always agree with what you say but you bring a lot to this site. Certainly a unique view, which is exactly why I told you to keep commenting on the 300+ thread.

I’ve got to jump too now but will be back after.

June 12, 2005 @ 6:01 am | Comment

KLS – I’ve thought about this a bit more. You actually don’t have any idea what yardstick I am using. You’ve never asked me about what I think about anything else. If you want to get a picture of what my yardstick is, then ask me. Maybe the problem is that you’re trying to measure me with your yardstick.

I have a few posts on the Peking Duck about Race. If you can find them, read them. You’ll get an idea about what I think about race in general, and concepts of race, and thereby get an idea of part of my yardstick.

June 12, 2005 @ 6:13 am | Comment

richard, you are absolutly wrong if you believe “education” could
change the mentality of a FLG member. mostly s/he will use the “truth” you
provide to “educate” you, and mostly you will be “converted” to be a FLG
member, in this sense, FLG is a “tumor” to the society, just as
bankrupt Nazi bullshits still convert ordinary people and after they were
converted, any “truth” you feed them will reinforce their belief.

You completely misunderstood me, Bingfeng. And I mean completely. I was saying you educate the PEOPLE — not the FLG members — so they understand what the FLG represents. In America, we educated the PEOPLE about what the Klan and the Nazis represent. That way, they know the truth and can make up their own minds whether they want to join the Nazis or leave them alone. Almost all sane people choose to stay far away from the Nazis.

June 12, 2005 @ 10:00 am | Comment

Absolutely, I think it’s this very point (that Richard makes immediately above) where Chinese people completely trip over themselves.

They just can’t get it.

Try explaining this fundamental, fundamental point to a PRC resident and they’ll:

(a) disgree with you

(b) tell you it’s rubbish

and….

(c) tell you they haven’t a clue what you’re talking about!!!!!

June 12, 2005 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Richard my friend!

one magazine wrote an article about the truth of FLG to “educate people”, the tone is mild, guess what, FLG organized thousand FLG members to block the magazine building and demanded an apology, otherwise … i think you should have read some stories of red guards in CR …

your “educating people approach” won’t work because FLG will not allow you “educate people”

now, you have only 3 minutes to make the decision, since more of your friends, colleagues, even your family members are converted to FLG

3 minutes! you have to make a decision – protect innocent people by declaring FLG is a cult, OR, protect the freedom of expression of FLG by allowing more people converted to FLG

3 minutes

June 12, 2005 @ 10:16 am | Comment

You really do sound a bit hysterical about this, BF. You’re talking abouit them as though they’re the hydrogen bomb or an outbreak of the plague.

June 12, 2005 @ 10:22 am | Comment

I find it deeply fascinating to read the comments of bing and bingfeng as it’s genuinely like raising a magnifying glass up to the Chinese psyche (or at least a part of it).

I mean no offence at all here bingfeng, it’s a wonderful way of cultural exchange.

The way you bingfeng look at something like the FG and the way that most non-Chinese look at it is sooooooooo different.

I’m not saying either side is right or wrong, just very different.

June 12, 2005 @ 10:36 am | Comment

Laowai (does anyone else non-Chinese get a certain thrill out of beginning a comment “Laowai”?):
I wasn’t actually after your views on race (I’d already read some of your unconventional comments on UK race relations).
I was merely saying that you should put China within the context of the real world.
I gave some examples of the real world.
I think the real facts in the real world should inform on how we should judge China.
And I think that without allowing them to do so, your judgements of China will remain unrealistic.

June 12, 2005 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

Hi KLS – okay, so what I hear you saying is that in not contextualising China within the range of current world situations in my posts, I’ve committed a faulty judgement. Is this the case?

If so, you would like me to contextualise things how?

June 12, 2005 @ 4:51 pm | Comment

I’d be curious to hear what people think can be done. in the us, christian scientistists who keep their children from doctors can be taken to court under clind abuse laws. this system does not exactly exist as such in china.

education has been presented as an option, but a big stumbling block, I’d think, is that people don’t always trust who’s giving the information. if the ccp gives it its likely propaganda, many will not listen. if western media gives it it’s likely propaganda, many will not listen. is there any group voice in china that the majority of chinese people can generally trust?

I’d also be interested in finding out if there’s a neutral study on why individual practitioners are arrested. eswn pointed out some great resources, I’ve heard stories of my own while here. the majority of the western media generally portreys them as martyrs. ie as someone else said, some are probably sweet people, some dangerous no matter what, some dangerous because they’ve been brainwashed. the only things I’ve been able to find on google come directly from flg, which to me is not exactly an unbiased source.

also, it’s really interesting for me to read the above posts. if you look closely, some people talk about idealistic possibilities (it would be rockin’ if there could be a peaceful shift to democracy and human rights) some more grounded in the unfortunate current reality (it probably won’t happen without a lot of people starving or being shot at).

I think sometimes misunderstandings arise as these two ways of looking at things meet.

June 12, 2005 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

Laowai, love to try to answer your question but I’m now heading away for a few days. will think it out better when I’m away.
Echo, can’t agree more.

June 13, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Echo, you make some good points above and you speak a great deal of sense.

One point, you say brain-washed FLG practicianers, would that be more or less brain-washed than your average mainlander?

June 13, 2005 @ 4:47 am | Comment

KLS, I apologise for not responding to your question earlier. I hadn’t looked back on this thread. In answer to your question, I used the word “strong” because their opposition to the CCP has become strong because of the CCP’s decision to suppress them. Frankly, if I didn’t know better, I’d question your ability to read plain English. But I do know better, and I recognise your tactic for what it is: instead of actually answering someones points, you attempt to discredit the person by puting words into their mouth that aren’t there, but come on KLS … you’re really scratching for something to disagree with there. Your accusation of ignorance is … well, ignorant. I won’t bother to respond to it beyond that. Was FLG challening the CCP’s right to power before the CCP starting suppressing them? I challenge you to find a shred of proof for it. And quotes from “China Daily” do not constitute proof.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:13 am | Comment

paul :
I think we’re all brainwashed to a greater or lesser degree.

cults tend to be a bit more effective, though. no matter their geographical location, they tend to hone in on people who really need love, need family or acceptance. people who are at a low point. when you’re low you need to believe, to grab any shread of hope and cling like hell to it, even if intellectually you might know it’s a bit wonky. hope and love are just about the two strongest things going. fully rational or brainwashed and everywhere in between, most of us will do just about anything for one of those two ideals.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:34 am | Comment

FS9, this thread is old now so I doubt you’ll read this. but if you do, I should reply:

Sorry if I implied you were ignorant, I didn’t mean that in general you were ignorant, I just meant that you were ignorant about FLG (specifically what FLG was like before its brutal suppression).

there *was* opposition by FLG to the CPP before the brutal suppression.

you said “FLG strong opposition to the communist party started AFTER the communist party started brutally suppressing them”

well you and I can debate till the cows come home what constitues “strong” and what doesn’t.

for my part, I’d suggest that 10,000 to 16,000 people protesting against the CCP outside Zhongnanhai is a sign of strong opposition. I’m sure you’re aware of the importance of Zhongnanhai to the CCP leadership.

But perhaps you don’t characterise this “strong opposition.”

Nevertheless, you must concede that this at least constituted SOME opposition by FLG to the CCP. and that this occurred before the crackdown.

and anyway even MILD opposition from a very well organised group with millions of followers led by a guy living the in US would go down very badly with the CCP.

Are you honestly going to disagree with that?

June 16, 2005 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

Once again, KLS, you indict the CCP, not the FLG. A peaceful demonstration, and look how the CCP reacted. You can call it “opposition,” but it was peaceful and non-threatening — except in the eyes of the CCP it was extremely threatening. To them, a post on the Internet is extremely threatening. This is the CCP’s sickness, not the Falun Gong’s.

June 16, 2005 @ 12:21 pm | Comment

Also, when you comment on an old post like this, you may want to alert readers on the newest open thread and direct them to your comment.

June 16, 2005 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

furthermore, FS9, you asked me to find proof for you that FLG was challenging the CCP’s right to power.

you said:
“And quotes from “China Daily” do not constitute proof.”

that last comment becomes you very well.

let me enlighten you on some things.

catholicism: this religion recognises the Pope as its ultimate authority on earth and gives him the ultimate authority to select bishops etc.

but the CCP believes that all its citizens should recognise the CCP as the ultimate authority.
therefore it bans catholicism.
it permits instead a version which excludes the Pope and allows the CCP to ultimately select the religion’s leaders in China.
interesting, huh?

well if the CCP regards the Pope as a threat, how will it regard Li Hongzi.

let’s take a look at a book by Maria Hsia Chang called “FLG.”

“On April 25, 1999, a political earthquake shattered the tight control imposed by the CCP over the vast lands of China…. In their quiet way the [10,000 to 16,000] protestors managed to mount the largest demonstration in the PRC since the 1989 pro-democracy movement.”

“Li quickly attracted followers who revered him as a master and who he called disciples.” (Cf CCP hostility to the Pope’s position as head of the catholic church).

“Despite [Li Hongzi’s] self-avowed apoliical nature, the simple fact of the matter is that by converging in thousand before the CP compound on April 25, 1999, FLG effectively became politicized because all demonstrations are forbidden in China unless they have state permits. That act of defiance precipitated the goverment’s subsequent crackdown, the intensity and brutality of which have astounded and baffled the world.”

June 16, 2005 @ 12:34 pm | Comment

richard, I’m not saying that the CCP’s response to FLG was morally right. really I’m not.

all I’m saying is that I think you downplay how much of a threat FLG really was.
I’m not saying it would have destroyed the CCP, but there really was the potential to hurt it.

how many one party totalitarian states are going to take that lying down.
the Zhongnanhai protest was, as I quoted above, a real challenge.

and this was a movement with an inspirational leader whose millions of followers drew inspiration from his writings. the demonstraters were all holding blue books, copies of Li Hongzi’s writings, for goodness sake!

June 16, 2005 @ 12:49 pm | Comment

My question is whether it is a real or perceived threat. I understand that huge throngs of people suddenly showing up can be very distressing, and their tactics were scary, showing up with signs at the home of those who take issue with them and stuff like that. But when you look at the great threats the world has faced — tsunamis, Hitler, President Bush, AIDS, Al Qaeda, etc. — the Falun Gong are more or a serious nuisance than a seriouis threat. Just as my country’s brutal treatment of prisoners in our goofy war on terror has been a huge boon for Al Qaeda recruitment, so has China’s repression of this mild threat been the greatest blessing the Falun Gong could ever ask for in terms of swelling its ranks.

June 16, 2005 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

richard I never said that FLG was a threat to the wider world, just to the CCP.
and I guess we’ll be agreeing to disagree on that — I do see the ZHN incident as a challenge (intended or otherwise) to the CCP’s monopoly on power and I’m surprised I seem to be the only one.
and I’m also not sure that the crackdown has brought more FLG practitioners to the cause … I’d assume that the number of FLG adherents had been slashed.

PS thanks for your suggestion, I’ll go to the the open thread to alert that stinker!

June 16, 2005 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

KLS Thanks for the direction back to this thread in a highter post. You’re right, I’d never have noticed it otherwise.

All I can say to your responses are “sigh”.
Are you at all aware of the events that led up to the gathering outside the leadership compound? It would seem not. All I can say is that it fits neatly into my category of “response to CCP actions” and not at all into your argument. Go look for yourself.

Secondly, you seem to have trouble differentiating between two rather different ideas. The FL*G challenging the party and the party believing that the FL*G pose a threat to them are not the same thing. Enough said. If you can’t see the implications of this difference for yourself, then there’s no hope to persuade you by rational discourse.

Thank you for saying that my comment with regards to China Daily becomes me. I consider this high praise. After all, you have acknowledged my abilities to see through propaganda and bollocks. Thanks again.

And as for calling my earlier post uncivil … I can understand why you wouldn’t like it, but it was hardly uncivil. Your attempt to attack my argument by pointless distraction was worthless, and I said so. That’s about the sum total of it.

June 17, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

mate you are so cocksure sure you know what you are talking about, but you are wrong.
to wit: there was no “brutal suppression” of FLG before the zhongnanhai incident.
the zhongnanhai incident massively upped the ante.
don’t you agree with those two sentences???

I also think you have a very naive view of one-party totalitarian regimes. I take it you’ve lived a while in China? if so, was it your first and only experience of such a regime?
to re-iterate, such outfits generally take a rather dim view of thousands of illegal demonstrators coming out of nowhere to protest outside their top security government HQ. they get especially upset when their own grip on power is not too strong. and when they discover the protestors are part of a 30 million plus organisation.

so why are you so sure this nervousness is unfounded? why else would they have cracked down? what do you know about the stability of the CCP that the CCP doesn’t know?

but evidently you will continue to refuse to engage your imagination on this one, there’s more likelihood of bingfeng dressing up in a kimono and samurai sword marching through beijing with placards demanding taiwanese independence.

I admire people who see things in black and white, and thank god they so rarely get to run countries.

June 17, 2005 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

I’m going to politely request that we terminate this conversation, as it is getting absolutely nowhere. KLS, I really admire your intelligence. For some reason I simply cannot fathom, you won’t see the subtle distinction between what IS a threat to the CCP and what they PERCEIVE to be a threat. We all are in complete agreement that they perceive the FLG to be a life-or-death threat. What cannot be denied is that in reality, the threat consisted of nothing more than a peaceful demonstration and some very annoying practices, like surrounding people’s houses holding signs. Now, these are very annoying things. These are very troubling things. These are very dumb things. But on the threat scale, they rank very, very, very, very low. You keep referring to how governments like the CCP see (perceive) groups like the FLG. And there, too, we all agree. But this tells us something is wrong with the CCP and other paranoid tyrannical governments. They are the ones who are the threat, they are the ones who are sick, seeing dire threats everywhere and taking insane actions to squelch them.

If you can’t see this, I’m just going to close the thread because it’s pointless to go back and forth over the same point

June 17, 2005 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

fine, actually a v smart move, sorry for banging on and on

June 17, 2005 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

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