Exhibition by banned Falun Gong movement coincides with Leeds arrival of Chinese Olympic athletes

First it was the Dalai Lama. Now it’s followers of the banned Chinese spiritual movement, Falun Gong, who are turning up in Leeds.

A touring art exhibition detailing the movement’s spiritual life and “human rights tragedy” starts a two-week run at the Corn Exchange in Leeds on Monday 2nd July. It will be starting its second week just as the Chinese Olympic team arrives in the city for its pre-Olympic training camp on the 9th.

The original plan was to hold the exhibition at the Radisson Blu hotel in central Leeds, but a leaking ceiling apparently forced the transfer to the Corn Exchange.

For details of the exhibition – titled “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” after the movement’s three main tenets –  click here.

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) combines meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with a moral philosophy that stresses those three tenets.

“Serious human rights violations”

Practiced in China by millions after its introduction in 1992, it was initially tolerated and subsequently outlawed by the Chinese authorities and is now officially seen as an “evil cult”.

Imposing the ban on 20th July 1999, the Chinese authorities said Falun Gong was “engaged in illegal activities, advocating superstition and spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability”.

The allegations were used as a pretext for a crackdown on the movement.

“Serious human rights violations—including restrictions on freedom of thought, belief, and expression, wrongful detention, unfair trials, torture, and deaths in custody—have accompanied the Chinese government response to Falun Gong,” said a comprehensive report from Human Rights Watch.

To mark the 13th anniversary of the ban, an early day motion has been tabled in the House of Commons by a cross-party group of MPs expressing their concern over the “infringement of human rights”.

“(The EDM) calls for the release from detention and imprisonment of all Falun Gong practitioners held for peaceful practice of their beliefs; recognises that the Chinese government divides people by class, politics, religion and economic backgrounds; and expresses its concern about this infringement of human rights.”

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One Response to Exhibition by banned Falun Gong movement coincides with Leeds arrival of Chinese Olympic athletes

  1. mary Man says:

    Amnesty International states in their Annual Report 2012:
    “The authorities continued to pursue a systematic, nationwide, often violent campaign against the Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned since 1999… The government was in the second year of a three-year campaign to increase the ‘transformation’ rates of Falun Gong practitioners, a process through which individuals were pressured, often through mental and physical torture, to renounce their belief in and practice of Falun Gong. Practitioners who refused to renounce their faith were at risk of escalating levels of torture and other ill-treatment. The authorities operated illegal detention centres, informally referred to as ‘brainwashing centres’, for this process. Falun Gong sources reported that one practitioner died every three days while in official custody or shortly after release, and said that thousands remained unaccounted for.”

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