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Falun Gong Founder makes rare television appearance
The Epoch Times
1/22/2004



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In a rare public appearance, Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of the meditation practice Falun Gong, appeared in a televised interview on New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) Tuesday evening. This is the first media interview he has agreed to since July 1999, when Falun Gong was outlawed in Mainland China.

In the 30-minute interview, an NTDTV exclusive, Mr. Li discussed his absence from the public eye and the suppression of Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, (also called Falun Dafa) is a traditional exercise and meditation practice which has brought many practitioners improved physical health, increased understanding, and better emotional balance. Falun Gong emphasizes living by the principals of truth, compassion, and tolerance.

Mr. Li introduced Falun Gong to the public in May 1992 in Changchun, China. Five years later, a government survey found that 70-100 million people were engaged the practice.

July 1999 marked the beginning of what practitioners describe as a brutal campaign of persecution against Falun Gong that was initiated by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin.

According to a brief video clip of the interview that was released by NTDTV, Mr. Li has remained out of the public eye during the past few years because “he was merely practicing self-cultivation and had no other personal interests.”

He said he accepted the station’s interview request because “NTDTV dared to report the facts, especially the truth of the persecution of Falun Gong in China.”

“There has to be some form of resolution and justice for those persecuted,” he added.

The New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center reported at the end of 2003 that the persecution has led to the imprisonment and torture of tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and the deaths of at least 856.

The Falun Gong situation is considered a challenge to China as it opens its economy and prepares for the 2008 Olympics. The plight of its one hundred million practitioners has been acknowledged as one of the world’s most pressing human rights issues.

NTDTV sponsored a two-day Chinese New Year’s celebration in New York this past weekend. The non-profit television station recently won acclaim at the Columbus International Film Festival for two of its original films, “False Fire” and “The Legend of Ye Lili.”

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