Before going into the Orpheum Theater that night, I thought Falun Gong was a Christian sect. After all, there are more than forty Christian sects. But during the performance, I discovered that Falun Gong was not Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish. Falun Gong promoted individual peace and harmony through belief in several gods.
If you are curious, you may find a few members of Falun Gong outside the Chinese embassy in San Francisco. They are almost always there when we go to pick up visas before traveling to China. You may even see the pictures they have set up showing victims of torture.
Falun Gong protesting outside Chinese embassy in San Francisco
A year later, while shopping at Costco, I discovered a table and display for a Chinese musical. The people at that table were dressed in Ming or Tang Dynasty costumes, and I was intrigued to say the least.
Then my wife whispered in my ear, “That’s Falun Gong.” I had no idea these costumed people were selling tickets to the same production we’d already seen at the Orpheum. I quickly left.
However, take into account that in the 70s, the Dalai Lama admitted that the CIA funded his movement against China. So, why not fund the Falun Gong? After all, the CIA has supported Islamic militants in China’s northwest province and has supported the other Tibetan separatist groups (there are four). The CIA has a long and shady history of doing things like this in countries all over the world.
Orpheum Theater – San Francisco
My wife and I saw the Falun Gong Chinese New Year show at the Orpheum and were disgusted (that’s being polite). What Gao Fangpi didn’t tell us was that the show heavily promoted Falun Gong. Nothing I read or heard over the years prepared me for the truth.
Instead, the Western mainstream media has often criticized China for not allowing the Falun Gong the religious freedoms enjoyed in the United States where freedom of religion is a fundamental right.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga . When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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In December 2007, two members of the Falun Gong visited our home. It’s one thing to hear about the Falun Gong in the Western media that China is discriminating and/or abusing them. It is another thing to meet members of the cult and drink tea with them at your kitchen table.
I’ve heard about the Falun Gong through the Western media for years but knew little about the cult except that they were a thorn in the throat of the Chinese government. In 2008, members or supporters of the Falun Gong may have fire bombed the entrance to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. The media mentioned it might have been Tibetan separatists. Who knows which group was responsible, since both are enemies of China’s government?
My wife knew someone who joined the Falun Gong years after they were friends. This friend also spent time in Chinese jails for her Falun Gong beliefs and activites. I’m going to call this friend Gao Fangpi (not her real name). In 2007, Gao Fangpi was on tour with a Chinese group performing a musical to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Religions, as Christians, Jews and Muslims practice them, have never played a “major” role in Chinese Culture and Politics. Even today, more than 800 million Chinese say they do not belong to any religion and the largest religion in China is Buddhism (about 10% of the population of China). Even during Imperial times, most members of government did not belong to organized religions. The same is true today with the Communist government.
China’s struggle with pagan cults (like the White Lotus Society) reaches back almost a thousand years. The White Lotus Society appealed to poor Han Chinese peasants and more so to women, who found peace in worshiping the Eternal Mother. It was believed that this Eternal Mother would gather all her children at the millennium into one family.
The Eternal Mother
White Lotus Societies started out seeking tranquilly through a combination of Buddhism with some elements of Daoism (Taoism) and other native Chinese religions. Even in the 12th century, the Yuan Dynasty was distrustful of the Yellow Lotus Society, which didn’t fit comfortably with Confucianism and the five Great Relationships.