I was recently walking into the city here in Auckland and came across these determined elderley people in the rain.
You can see what they are promoting – the practice of Falun Gong, The Epoch Times media group and an “End The CCP” (Chinese Communist Party) campaign. You will see the same type of people doing the same type of thing in many parts of the world. I have seen it in Korea and Australia as well. I’m sure much the same thing appears in many western cities these days.
Good on them I suppose. At least they are taking part in the promotion of their views in society. Most people never actively engage in such a way. We don’t have to agree with them and I don’t.
On the days when I pass by these people, I don’t find anyone who speaks english and as I don’t know Mandarin at all, I’m unable to discuss and share views with them. I would genuinely like to ask why they promote such views and whether they have any respect for the positive achievements of the chinese communist party in raising the standard of living for 700 million chinese people, thereby improving global human rights in the single biggest campaign ever.
Behind this anti-communist party campaign are the seemingly harmless promoters of “Falun Gong” (the elderley people you see in the rain above) and “The Epoch Times” media organization, the free newspapers you see in supermarkets, all over Facebook & Youtube and in many other public places.
Falun Gong’s prime motive is to expose what they consider the “evil” of the Chinese government and “save all sentient beings” in a forthcoming divine battle against communism, destroying the Chinese government in the process. The vast Epoch Times media group is one of their main outlets for such views.
The head of the Falun Gong movement – which the Chinese government, hardly surprisingly, considers a cult – is Li Hongzhi, who created it in 1992. Their global headquarters today is a 400 acre compound in New York state, USA.
Li has railed against what he called the wickedness of popular music, homosexuality and feminism while pronouncing that he is a god-like figure who can levitate and walk through walls.
Li has also taught that sickness is a symptom of evil that can only be truly cured with meditation and devotion, and that aliens from undiscovered dimensions have invaded the minds and bodies of humans, bringing corruption and inventions such as computers and airplanes.
It’s that motivation against a variety of modern technologies and its skepticism against rational thought that helped drive the organization towards Donald Trump in his 2016 campaign for the US Presidency. That move was both lucrative and beneficial for its anti-Chinese government message.
Former practitioners of Falun Gong have said that the world is headed toward a judgment day, where those labeled “Communists” will be sent to some kind of hell, and those sympathetic to Falun Gong will be spared. Donald Trump is viewed by their supporters as a key ally in the anti-communist fight.
“It is so rabidly pro-Trump,” commented a former practitioner, referring to The Epoch Times. Devout practitioners of Falun Gong “believe that Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the Chinese Communist Party.”
Falun Gong’s spectacular growth in western consciousness, via its network of media sites, Facebook and YouTube channels has made it a powerful conduit for the internet’s conspiracy theories, including anti-vaccination propaganda and QAnon, to reach the mainstream.
Through its reclusive spiritual leader, its political vitriol, online conspiracy theories and the rise of Donald Trump and his very public trade “war” on China, Falun Gong and the Epoch Times have become a digital media powerhouse that now attracts billions of views each month.
In 2005, The Epoch Times released the ”Nine Commentaries,” a series of anonymous editorials that it claimed exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s “massive crimes” and “attempts to eradicate all traditional morality and religious belief.” (nothing over the top there right?)
In an April 2017 email to the staff obtained by The New York Times, The Epoch Times leadership envisioned that its Facebook strategy could help turn the media organization into “the world’s largest and most authoritative media.”
Today, The Epoch Times and its affiliates are a major force in far right-wing global media, with tens of millions of social media followers spread across dozens of pages and an online audience that rivals those of The Daily Caller and Breitbart News. But they still make time for the old school media around the world as well. I see these same free newspapers in my local supermarket.
Who knows what the real motivation is for the Falun Gong movement. Perhaps there is some underlying beneficial spiritual belief there. More likely, it is a purely financial initiative. After all, any spritual “leader” who can call the US President a key ally in his crusade and can help convince the Whitehouse occupant to launch a trade war against his enemy, is going to milk that connection for all it is worth right? And it will be worth millions, if not billions.
It wouldn’t surprise me if many of the adherents of Falun Gong are good people who are simply being used by western and chinese ex-pat elites for their own political purposes in a long multi-faceted war against China.
But whatever lies behind such movements, in my view, the dangers of their movement far outweigh anything positive in their message.
Falun Gong and The Epoch Times are too closely aligned with those western religious extremists and evangelicals who inhabit a variety of public positions and who populate much of the world’s leadership unfortunately.
Whether you are talking about the likes of the Pompeo’s or the Pence’s or the Bushes, Al-quada or ISIS, Falun Gong or the most fervent promoters of Mao or Stalin….they are all in what most people would call the “extremist” camp. These figures may be of dissimilar appearance but the dangers they pose are quite similar.
The answers to life’s most perplexing questions and issues are rarely found in extreme views in any direction. Extremists promise results and may even deliver sometimes for a short while, but cults and extremists are not long term tonics for life’s ills.
We should stay clear of them all. Only hard work and diligence create true wealth. Not demagogues.
Extremists are easy to spot when they carry knives and machine guns. But some extremists and their motivations are more difficult to spot.
Sometimes they look like harmless old people quietly exercising in the rain.