Controls on qi gong groups stepped up


South China Morning Post, November 12, 1999

Eleven officially recognised qi gong groups will soon be ordered to submit "self-examination" reports as the authorities step up controls following the crackdown on Falun Gong, sources close to the State Administration of Sports said.

Groups like Dayan Gong and Zhineng Gong would be asked to submit a 13-point "self-examination and self-discipline" declaration, the sources said. Although not as popular as Falun Gong, many of these qi gong groups boast hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers on the mainland. Their declarations will have to include detailed accounts of their founders, activities they have undertaken in the past year, overseas connections, steps they have taken to denounce Falun Gong and health benefits and scientific research of their arts.

Sources said the declaration would mark a significant step by the authorities to control the growth of qi gong groups. Some groups might lose official approval and be banned as a result.

Falun Gong, which mixes Buddhism and qi gong - a system of deep breathing exercises - was officially banned in July. A legal resolution passed by the National People's Congress last month further outlawed it as a "heretic cult".

Sources said more qi gong bodies would be banned and categorised as "bodies like Falun Gong".

According to a circular issued in September by Hebei authorities, provincial leaders were told to set up a special taskforce to police qi qong bodies in the province.

The circular - a copy of which has been obtained by the South China Morning Post - was based on a similar document jointly issued by the administration and the Ministry of Public Security. Hebei is a stronghold of the Falun Gong.

The Hebei circular said there could be only one qi gong managing body in each city and different qi gongs could not form joint associations. All qi gong bodies must be atheist and must not organise cross-district activities. Activities involving more than 100 people must be approved by the police.

The circular further restricted qi gong bodies from publishing books and videos and they were not allowed to recruit members in schools. Organising public demonstrations and anti-government petitions were forbidden.

One qi gong master said most qi gong schools had cancelled classes and activities since July.

"I've never been so apprehensive, no one knows what to expect," the master said.

"Some qi gong groups are going to be banned, that's for sure."

Separately, the head of the state-approved China Qi Gong Scientific Research Society, Qiu Yicai, was expelled from the Communist Party last week for allegedly accepting bribes from Falun Gong followers. It was not clear whether the retired cadre would be charged.


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