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athgarvan

Falun Gong

Falun Gong symbolI understand that all Falun Gong literature has been recently banned in Russia so I have looked it up.

Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline, the practice of meditation and exercises with a moral philosophy, that began in China in 1992. It emphasizes morality and the cultivation of virtue. By 1999 it came to be seen as a potential threat due to its size, independence from the state, and spiritual teachings, and therefore was persecuted.

Falun Gong’s core texts have now been declared ‘extremist’ in Russia and once something is judged as ‘extremist’ in Russia it appears on a special list,  is banned throughout the country and whoever is found in possession of such material is liable to criminal prosecution.  One of  the problems is the Swastika which is part of the Falun Gong  ‘flag’.  This ancient Buddhist symbol was used a long time before Hitler made it the Nazi  symbol. Moreover, the Buddhist Swastika is turned in the opposite direction to the Nazi version. 

Practitioners, however, believe that the motives behind the rulings are political and are intended to please China. They have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights but Strasbourg has not ruled on the matter as yet.

Comments

While I have not done much research specifically into Falun Gong, my undergrad degree is in Religion & Society, and I can tell you without reservation that for a government to ban a religion, the reasons are always political. From what I know about Falun Gong, it is a new religious movement based upon good health through the practice of qigong. China banned them (in my opinion) because China's new Communism is becoming increasingly capitalistic, and Falun Gong was teachings were contrary to that change. I am guessing that Russia's motives may be much the same. I don't think they are any threat to anyone (except, maybe, the income of other religious groups), and the use of the Buddhist swastika would eventually be accepted, with proper education.