Can anyone give me a rational, non-emotional opinion on Falun Gong and their persecution in China?

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I’ve tried to look up the Falun Gong on yahoo! answers several times, but most questions/answers seem to be along the lines of “China is evil!” or “Falun Gong is evil!”
I want cool-headed answers, please no ranting about China’s human-rights record or allegations of torture and live transplantation of Falun Gong practitioners. I’ve read enough about that already.
My own research on the topic gives me the idea that although China may have legitimate reasons to fear and punish the Falun Gong, their methods are WAY too harsh.
Info:
~ China’s Constitution gives freedom of religion, and the government will only take action when public stability/peace is threatened, when personal health is in danger, or when it fails to follow the policies and laws.
~ A little contradictory, but China only recognizes Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, and another one that I can’t remember.
~ People argue about whether it is a cult or a sect. My opinion is that it is a sect, because they don’t worship a deity, there is no heirarchy or place of worship, and Falun Gong is basically qigong exercises with beliefs in aliens trying to take over the world, and other quirky ideas.
~ Falun Gong practitioners belief that any harm/illness is because of bad karma, and may refuse to see doctors or take medicines because they believe the cause fo the sickness can only be cured by practicing enough falun gong.
~ Falun gong people publicly protested when someone wrote an article criticizing it, and they were beaten away and arrested by police. Afterwards in 1999 incident 10,000 to 30,000 silently and peacefully protested outside the Zhongnanhai complex, where government officials live. Needless to say, this was a restricted area. About 2 months after that the government began cracking down.
~ China has a bad history with religion and uprisings. Taiping Rebellion, WHite Lotus rebellion, Eight Trigram rebellion and several others I won’t bother to name were all to some extent in the name of religion. Most rebels were uneducated peasants.
~ China’s leaders are wary of anything that threatens social stability, especially since the communists have been on power only about 50 years, and economic and political reforms that toy with capitalism/democracy have deprived many people of the benefits they had before. This caused unrest, and they fear that this coupled with the zeal of Falun Gong practitioners will cause problems
~ Chinese officials have stated that they do put Falun Gong practitioners in labor camps and prisons, and do implement torture. There have been at least 2 dozen cases where people have died from torture/abuse.
~ Allegations of live organ transplants are iffy — some investigations give evidence for it, other investigations find no proof.
~ On the other hand, wait times for organ transplants in China are VERY SHORT compared to other wait times: in the US/Canada they’re about 1000-2000 days, in China it’s 15. But it must also be noted that many people in China illegally sell their organs (especially as MANY more people in China are desperately poor and need the money) and China takes organs from freshly executed death penalty prisoners regardless of consent.
I don’t think the Chinese government ever stated that it was a political group — they’ve just called it an “evil sect” and claim that its trying to “hoodwink” or “brainwash” people. Their words, not mine. But then again, some Falun Gong members are equally extreme — they believe the Communists are evil and are trying to take over the world.
Also something to consider: some people recently self-immolated somewhere around Tiananmen Square. Chinese government managed to save 3-5 of them, I think, and reports say that they believed Li Hongzhi (the leader/founder of Falun gong) instructed them to do so. However, other Falun Gong members say Li would never call for self-immolation so they must not be Falun Gongs. Don’t know what’s true.
I forgot something — before the crackdown there were 18 morre major demonstrations, including one where people occupied a goverment building and another where people demonstrated outside a T.V. station.

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RJ ✡ supports GEERT WILDERS

“the government will only take action when public stability/peace is threatened, when personal health is in danger, or when it fails to follow the policies and laws.”
It is counterintuitive to believe that the government only takes action against the Falun Gong when they are endangering public safety or the safety of others. The truth, as relayed to me by a former Communist Party member (and former prison guard) in Israel, is that the rapid growth of the Falun Gong in China presented a threat to the Communist Party simply because of their size.
The Chinese government says that the Falun Gong are a highly organized political group (which they aren’t, they don’t keep membership records or tithe, as there is no Falun Gong religious establishment) that aspires to gain political power (which they don’t), and therefore threatens the stability of the Communist government.

Pat G

Falun Gong/Dafa is a spiritual group with some pretty strange beliefs and some cultlike aspects to it. Their behaviour towards their behaviour and his beliefs are particularly strange – there is a belief that meditation can bring out supernatural abilities, that modern medicine is unnecessary, that leaving the group warrants a lot of hostility, etc. Falun Gong is known to be very sensitive (and react very badly) to any criticism or skepticism about their practice.
This does not mean that China’s actions regarding them are entirely justified. In my opinion, a complete ban of their practice is acceptable, just as a complete ban on the Church of Scientology and Christian Science would be, and for similar reasons – their practice threatens public health and safety. However, I don’t think that life in prison or forced labour is appropriate, and if forced organ harvesting of FG members happens (I don’t know if it does), it is an atrocity.
Any faith/cult that causes gross harm to its members is not something that a government should permit – governments exist to promote the public good of their people and humanity at large. However, governments should not use unnecessarily cruel means to promote the public good – that’s counterproductive.

Maya

I know alot of Falun Gong practitioners and I do not know even one that was harmed by it- in the contrary.
The only Falun Dafa practitioners I met who were harmed for practicing Falun Dafa are those refugies from those re-habilitation centers and tortures in China.
The beliefs of Falun Gong are just as “Fantastic” to an un- believer then other beliefs. This is why it is called a belief. unlike other groups, Falun gong don’t take money, and don’t set any obligations- if one wish to practice, he practice. Falun Dafa is legel in all countries except China and until now only chinese gouverment found that it somehow harm people- I think this is something to take in consideration
In any case we can all agree that this severe persecution is not justified.

mark skywalker

Not sure how helping people improve their health by stretching and doing meditation, and following traditional Buddhist principles is dangerous to people.
People who practice can make their own decisions about whether they want to take medications and go to the doctor. I think the practice just encourages them to get really healthy with the methods of improving mind, body, and spirit so that a person doesn’t always have to depend on prescription drugs.

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