President, American Family Foundation (AFF)
P.O. Box 2265
Bonita Springs, Florida 34133
I am writing on behalf of Friends of Falun Gong USA, a human rights organization created to aid victims of China’s ban on Falun Gong and to end violations of the right to practice Falun Gong freely and openly. Our organization is comprised of American citizens who neither practice nor advocate for the practice of Falun Gong. I am writing to request that you, as President of AFF, kindly remove any reference to Falun Gong from your website.
We are aware that some Falun Gong practitioners have had discussions with you and were graciously invited to give a presentation at an AFF conference in Orange County, CA in June 2003. After learning about the true nature of Falun Gong and the severity of the persecution in China, perhaps the AFF is considering changing its opinion about Falun Gong, and if so we would like to give you some compelling reasons to do so.
As a human rights organization we are concerned that the AFF has been targeted to abet the persecution and eradication of Falun Gong in China. First, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses AFF conferences to spread its propaganda and its North American media to report on what was said at the conferences. Then the Xinhua News Agency (CCP-controlled news service) in China reports on the publication of anti-Falun Gong articles in the North American press as if it was an independent event that they were not involved in. Such reporting makes it look as if other countries are against Falun Gong, which helps justify violating the practitioner’s human rights by escalating the brutality, brainwashing, and torture used to get practitioners to renounce their beliefs. The AFF could not know that listing Falun Gong as a cult on its website could result in suffering for hundreds of thousands of practitioners in China.
Also, the lawyer representing a Chinese language newspaper in Canada (Les Presses Chinoise) being sued for slander and incitement of hatred said: “AFF has listed Falun Gong as a cult” in his argument and submitted some articles that were presented at AFF conferences by “anti-cult specialists” as evidence of public opinion about the practice of Falun Gong. Although Falun Gong practitioners have refuted the articles, you can see the watershed effect that the mislabeling of Falun Gong has caused.
China’s constitution guarantees freedom of belief and assembly and yet these good people are being maligned, beaten, tortured, and sometimes tortured to death for upholding their beliefs. Although it is extremely difficult to obtain detailed information about actual events, we have received 840 confirmed reports of Falun Gong practitioners being tortured to death. While sources inside China agree that the actual number of deaths is many times higher than we know, we can safely say that millions of people in China have been adversely affected by the attempts to eradicate Falun Gong.
The persecution of Falun Gong is systematic and is based on using propaganda to vilify and defame the practice. You may have read some of the propaganda that is even published on the Chinese Embassy and Consulates websites here in the USA. We can provide the truth about the fine people that practice Falun Gong and would be pleased to send you information or answer any questions you may have.
Although FoFG does not advocate for the practice of Falun Gong, we do know that people are suffering tremendously for their beliefs. The practitioners in China can use all the help we in Western countries can provide. With the AFF philosophy of providing information about cults and psychological manipulation, we can see that labeling Falun Gong a cult is not appropriate nor are any of the items provided in your “Checklist of Cult Characteristics” applicable to the practice. Although Falun Gong started in China, it is now practiced in 60 countries around the world, and not one case of any illegal or harmful activity by a Falun Gong practitioner has ever been reported anywhere except in China. Please think about this.
Your organization is providing a much-needed service to the many people and families affected by cults and other unorthodox organizations by providing resources based on studies, research, and clinical experience. Surely by now, your research has proven that Falun Gong is not a cult or an organization of any sort. It is simply a way of life that promotes health and improved moral character.
The Strait Exchange Foundation in democratic Taiwan cited in its December 2002 report more than 1,600 extra judicial executions and called this the largest persecution of a spiritual organization in the world today, This persecution is a “blatant and rampant” violation of fundamental human rights, according to Human Rights Watch in its January 2002 publication Dangerous Meditation: China’s Campaign Against Falun Gong. In it they stated: “None of the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners detained, arrested, or convicted have been held in connection with violent actions or threats of violence. Instead, their ‘crime’ is their belief in Falun Gong and their efforts to promote the practice. As such, their treatment violates fundamental human rights—freedom of conscience and belief, freedom to associate with others who share one’s beliefs, and freedom to exchange information within and across borders.”
Mr. Pan Xinchun, Vice Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto, Canada was sued for defaming Falun Gong in a local newspaper. The United States Courts denied sovereign immunity to former Beijing Mayor Liu Qi and the Deputy Governor of Liaoning Province, Xia Deren who were both found guilty of crimes against humanity for their part in the persecution of Falun Gong.
For the sake of clarity, justice, and the integrity of your valuable work, it would be most appropriate for you to remove Falun Gong from the list of cults on your webpage. In addition, it would be helpful to our cause for you to publish the fact that Falun Gong has been removed from the list of cults/psychological manipulators with a statement as to why you have changed your stance about the practice. Many decent and upstanding individuals have lost their lives simply for trying to be good people. Please do not continue to exacerbate a great injustice by mislabeling Falun Gong a cult.
cc: Mr. Michael D. Langone, Executive Director, AFF
cc: Mr. Michael D. Langone, Executive Director, AFF