Founder of Falun Gong Breaks Silence Over Demonstration in Beijing

[CND, 05/04/99] The thousands of Falun Gong followers, who staged a silent 13-hour sit-in outside the central government compound in Beijing on April 25, were only there to peacefully present the facts to the government, said LI Hongzhi, founder of the Falun Gong sect in Sydney.

According to AFP, Li blamed individual security officials, not the government, for the arrests of several sect leaders in Tianjin, which sparked the protest. "I would point out that the way the security was handled was improper, but the security is not the Chinese government. It is only individuals using their positions to do wrong deeds", he said.

Speaking about the government's warning against his followers, Li said he did not believe the government will ban his sect. "The Chinese government has never been against Falun Gong," he said. "If they permit Falun Gong to exist today, they would also allow them to exist in the future because we did not involve ourselves in politics and we abide by the laws of the country," he added.

Li told reporters that he knew nothing about the demonstration until after it happened. On the day of the protest, he was on the way from his New York home to Sydney for a two-day Australian Conference of Falun Gong Practitioners, where he was rapturously welcomed by about 2,000 Falun Gong believers.

When asked why he chose to live in the U.S., he said: "My daughter wanted to go the the States. I also wanted her to study more English language. I heard the U.S. education was pretty good." Li also told reporters that he is living from the royalties of his book published in 1994. Although he says he is free to enter and leave China, he has no plan to go back in the near future. (Xiayi KE, WU Yiyi).


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