It is not my intention to become an activist, nor is this site a place to vent my political views. In general, I am incredibly bored by politics, and activism is not a lifestyle. That said, I’d like to talk a little about Falun Gong and its oppressed members in China. This is relative to the BODIES, the Exhibition I attended recently (Intro., Wrap-Up).
In summary, Falun Gong is a Buddhist/Taoist practice introduced to China in 1992. The spirituality is based upon internal cultivation and the power of qi, known more popularly as chi. Falun Gong’s more metaphysical aspects include a great ability in healing and the cultivation of spiritual bodies. This is the practice of qigong (a meditative breathing-induced energy).
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 1999, it is believed that the Falun Gong and the Chinese government had a falling out and bad things happened. Originally, Falun Gong was supported by the government because of its apparent scientific and medical philosophies. In time, the religion took off and was finally noticed by Communist supporters. In a short time span, several reports were publicized showing that Falun Gong was being treated as a religion and should not be. There were discreditations and malpractice demonstrations of Falun Gong. Protests were held. There is some question as to whether or not the government had any doing in the protests. One theory is that the government staged at least one protest to show Falun Gong practitioners misbehaving with law enforcement. One such report speaks of a young teenage girl pouring gasoline on herself and igniting it. According to other Falun Gong members, this could not have been a protest by a Falun Gong due to their view on suicide. This encited further protests and things really started cooking. Now, the government is in an all-out war with the Falun Gong and has arrested tens of thousands of its members.
The Chinese government has been accused of a failure to respect human rights in their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. There are reports of torture, wrongful imprisonment, and executions en mass. The latest of these allegations includes the wrongful harvesting of organs from conveniently unidentified prisoners. The idea is that Falun Gong are arrested, then held in various labor camps all across China. In at least one such case, a cadaver processing plant existed very near to the labor camp and claims have it that the government is wrongfully taking organs from those dead into these plants for the sale of human organs. The situation draws a bleak picture where the government kills off political prisoners in order to harvest their organs and sell them at top dollar to other nations in need of the tissues. It’s like a tissue cultivation farm when looked at this way.
I recently saw the BODIES exhibit, where it is rumored that the cadavers on display are actually those of the Falun Gong. Could be. But I don’t compare this to ivory blackmarket trade. The prisoners are being executed regardless of whether or not people are buying organs and bodies. My western thinking has me believing that it is at least an honor that a body may be taken from total loss to help educate the rest of the world in anatomy. I understand that it is a great cultural divide. I also understand that what is happening to persecuted people of China is a travesty. However, if anything good could come out of this, it’s the medical and scientific discovery that is the BODIES exhibit and others like it. I don’t feel responsible for the deaths of the Falun Gong because I’ve seen and support the BODIES exhibit. I actually would like to go again and see them in possibly a different light; one of even greater respect and awe. I feel that the Chinese government should stop their treatment of those expressing their rights to speech and religion, but I’d be willing to bet that China will still be the biggest supplier in cadavers and organs. They are still the most densely populated country.
How odd that I should read this entry on the day that Scott is wearing his “Free Falun Gong Practitioners” shirt. He is friends with a prominent activist against the oppression of the Falun Gong in his community. We have had the privilege of learning all about this culture/religion/way of life…however you want to see it.
I, too, heard news reports about the Bodies exhibit and I really appreciate your viewpoint on the rumors of the origin of the cadavers. You’re right…even if the exhibit includes those that were killed needlessly, or whose bodies are sold, it is a tribute in a way. If nothing else, maybe more people in this region (who tend to be stereotypically more closed-minded) will be inspired to educate themselves on Falun Gong and Falun Dafa. Maybe if more people share your viewpoint, it might be one step closer to ending Chinese oppression of these people. Maybe…who knows? Thanks for your insight.