Last year, I was volunteering at Ribfest with my friends.  There were about 3 of us.  Suddenly, a Chinese man, about 60 years old, approached my friends. 

He handed her a brochure and started to explain to her in Chinese what it was about. 

She didn't know Chinese, so I decided to respond for her.  I was not sure: I did not know what he was telling me, and I guess that it was not really a big deal.  On the brochure, there was a picture of a girl meditating.  The brochure explained everything about meditation and tai-chi.  I was pretty sure it was about promoting tai-chi practice in Canada. 

However, I was wrong. 

Just yesterday, I found out that this man belonged to a cult in China, called Falun Gong.  There is a long history about Falun Gong and it's conflicts it had with the Chinese government.  The government believes that they are a threat to China.  Therefore, they banned all practices of Falun Gong or Falun Dafa in China. 

About 4 months ago, I returned home from a DECA competition.  I remember the exact moment when I was trying to call my parents. 
​An old lady sat beside me and turned to me.  After, she continued to talk about China.  I told her bluntly that I am not Chinese, I am only half.  However, she did not understand and continued to explain how my country was supposed to be a part of her country.  It was really irritating as she did not understand the reality.  Finally, when her friends arrived, she told me that she was working for Falun Gong.  I didn't know what that was, so I asked her "What is that?"

Later, she explained to me about the cult.  I still had no idea, and was still lost about the ideologies. But she gave me the same brochure as the old man gave my friend. 
 I came home after, and I threw the brochure away.

I still did not understand what was happening, and the event behind all of this.  Indeed, I believed that it was something "societal."  Not something bad, not something good, but just like some kind of closed group or religion.  I never thought about Falun Gong from that day on, until yesterday. 

It was Canada Day, and the organization I was volunteering with was waiting to march in a parade.  Suddenly, one of my friends decided to mention a subject:

"See the lady with the gold pants?" He asked a group of my friends. 

We all looked over and nodded. 

"If she comes up to you and hands you a brochure, walk away." 

This sounds really familiar now,

"What is this about?" I asked him. 

"She is part of Falun Gong" he answered.  I asked him to explain the ideologies of the group and he continued, "Falun Gong is like a religion in China.  Basically, the people think they are doing good stuff but they are not.  It's like a virus.  They burn themselves up and force everyone to join their religion.  They believe that if they die, they will all go to heaven." 

But I was still confused.  I still continued to question their ideologies.  How are they bad if they are in the Canada's Day parade? 

After a while, I saw a member of our group being approached by one of the members of Falun Gong.  She continued to ignore him until he left.  He never came back, so I decided to approach her:

"What was he asking you about?" I asked the lady who is in our group. 

"Look over there and you will see" she told me. 

Yes, he was in the Falun Gong cult. 

"Oh, I still don't understand what Falun Gong is about" I told her. 

"They basically burn themselves in order to go to heaven.  They talk false stuff about everything, but they believe that it is true" she explained. 

Now, that sounds horrid.  They basically manipulate others in order to join their cult.  That is a wrongdoing in our society, and indeed, it is a virus.  Are they performing at a parade in order to gain more followers?

After the parade ended, I decided to go home and research more about the cult.  Then, I found out stories about the cult and the history of it. 

A tragic story I want to share is from a Quora responder:

She posted that her father's colleague was a member of the Falun Gong.  He was a really successful businessman who had tons of money.  Later, on a flight, he met a member from Falun Gong.  As soon as the flight ended, he decided to join the cult.  He convinced his wife to join and donated all his money to the cult.  At the end, their children were left behind. 

This is only one story though.  Some Falun Gong beliefs include a) not going to the hospital and finding medication for medicine or b) killing everyone that is not natural to this world. 

Cults like this have impact on everyone.  By all means, the government should not harass them.  However, they should do something about it.  It's not good trying to overthrow a government and manipulate others.  Gaining followers would make this cult more powerful, and I realized that since the government allowed them to perform in the parade, Westerners are not aware of this situation.  This is why I am here.  I want everyone to be aware of this situation, and I want everyone to realize that this is happening.  People spend their money on ridiculously decisions which will impact their life forever.  The cult may not be that powerful now, but it is still dangerous. 

Indeed, Falun Dafa can be a practice of meditation.  However, being involved in that practice can lead to all sorts of outcomes.  You may be challenged to agree with the thoughts that the cult has. 

Whatever you do, watch out for a brochure talking about medication.  On top of that, watch out for a person trying to speak to you in Chinese while talking about the brochure.  There are exceptions to that though, but if you see the word "Fulan Gong" on the top, leave immediately.   

Published by Candice Zhang