Delegates to attend sect's anniversary celebration

South China Morning Post/May 17, 1999
By Alex Lo

A group of Falun Gong followers will represent the SAR chapter and meet the elusive founder of the controversial worldwide qi gong movement at the seventh anniversary of the movement's founding in Toronto.

Founder Li Hongzhi is expected to attend the event next Saturday which will include mass exercises by about 1,000 practitioners.

"Three to four practitioners will go to the event and possibly meet Master Li," Hong Kong spokesman Tony Chan Wing-kwong said.

The large-scale celebration in the Canadian city is part of a series of worldwide campaigns to counter negative publicity in the press following a mass rally by 15,000 followers in Beijing last month.

An open letter was issued by the Hong Kong chapter last week, denying the movement was a religious cult or political organisation.

Canada has about 2,000 followers, according to Vancouver co-ordinator Lee Ying, with most being ethnic Chinese.

"We have had many inquires and more people are joining [despite] the publicity after the mainland demonstration," Ms. Lee said.

An invitation to the anniversary event has been issued to several major consulates in Toronto, including that of China.

This followed a series of letters sent to members of the Ontario provincial parliament and government ministries offering free services to teach the master's doctrines and qi gong exercises.


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