Your January 31 article about Shen Yun Performing Arts contains two false ideas regarding Falun Gong that deserve clarification. The piece trivializes the abuses suffered by millions in China and mischaracterizes the practice -- strangely echoing the very propaganda the Chinese Communist Party employs to incite violence against these innocent people.
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice from the Buddhist school that has brought physical health and peace of mind to millions of people. Far from being at the "center of controversy" upon its founding, Falun Gong became immensely popular throughout China in the 1990s. Its founder Li Hongzhi received numerous awards -- including from Chinese government agencies -- recognizing the benefits Falun Gong brought to society. The perception of "controversy" only emerged in 1999 when then-Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin and other hardliners launched a political campaign to wipe out Falun Gong. They perceived the existence of such a popular group promoting independent thought and communicating outside the party's control to be undermining their power.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been systematically abducted, tortured and killed. The life-threatening treatment suffered by those in China has been well-documented by many independent sources: Amnesty International alerts, Chinese lawyers' eyewitness testimony and incriminating admissions on the regime's own websites. A Pulitzer Prize-winning series in The Wall Street Journal traced how incentives from top party leaders led to the brutal torture to death of an elderly woman and fellow practitioners in Shandong. These are not mere "allegations" by Falun Gong, but well-documented facts.
LEVI BROWDE, Executive Director at Falun Dafa Information Center
New York, N.Y.