Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

The Plight of Falun Gong: 24 Years of Persecution in China and Beyond

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: July 18, 2023
Falun Gong practitioners take part in a parade through Washington, D.C. in July 2017 to protest the Chinese regime's persecution of their faith. The U.S. Department of State (state department) led by Trump administration official Mike Pompeo has imposed the first U.S. sanctions on a CCP official for persecuting Falun Gong.
Falun Gong practitioners take part in a parade through Washington, D.C. in July 2017 to protest the Chinese regime's persecution of their faith. (Image: Mark Zou / The Epoch Times)

July 20 marks the 24th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On this dark milestone, we shed light on the unwavering resilience and courage exhibited by the practice’s adherents that extend far beyond China’s borders and seeps into societies across the globe — including in the United States, the European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, (法輪大法), is a spiritual discipline that combines meditation exercises coupled with a philosophy centered around the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance (真善忍). Practitioners follow these guiding principles to cultivate righteous virtues, improve their character, and elevate their moral standing and character (心性) through interpersonal and social conflicts. 

Over 1,000 practitioners demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. (Image: Epoch Times)

Despite its peaceful and apolitical nature, CCP officials spearheaded by then-party head, Jiang Zemin, launched a merciless and systematic suppression of the practice in 1999 after witnessing its rapid rise in popularity as a threat to its authoritarian regime. 


​​Since the persecution began, thousands of Falun Gong adherents have perished at the hands of Chinese police — with the real number of deaths speculated to be much higher. 

According to Minghui, a U.S.-based website that documents the persecution of Falun Gong, more than 4,000 practitioners have been tortured and persecuted to death, with the number continuing to rise. Many Falun Gong adherents living outside of China have also been routinely subject to harassment, electronic surveillance, travel bans, as well as arbitrary arrests and imprisonment.

A Falun Gong practitioner holds up a banner saying “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance” during a protest in China. (Image:

Introduction to the world

First introduced to the public in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun by Master Li Hongzhi in 1992, Falun Gong quickly developed a global presence — spanning more than 80 countries across five continents. The practice’s teachings have also been made accessible in over 40 languages. 

In 1995, Mr. Li began to share his teachings on a global platform — delivering his inaugural lecture at the Chinese embassy in Paris at the request of the Chinese ambassador to France. This initial seven-day course in Paris marked the beginning of a series of educational sessions which were held in various Swedish cities including Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Uddevalla. Mr. Li’s teachings were subsequently disseminated in various countries including the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Falun Gong practitioners take part in an annual parade across central Manhattan to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which is May 13. The 2023 parade, marking the 31st year since the Chinese spiritual practice’s founding in 1992, took place on Friday, May 12. (Image: Mark Zou/The Epoch Times)

In the U.K., the practice was brought to the public in 1996. To facilitate learning and practice, free classes are regularly offered throughout the country, and gatherings organized for practitioners to share their experiences and learn from each other are also routinely held. 

Crimes against humanity

A major concern related to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is the widespread allegation of forced organ harvesting

Multiple independent investigations suggest that this heinous and lucrative practice for the Chinese regime has been going on for many years. Reports also suggest that in many cases, organs were harvested from non-consenting Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience who were still alive and conscious at the time of surgery. 

RELATED: Texas Takes Stand Against Organ Harvesting in China With Groundbreaking Legislation

“I think the challenge of the rise of China absolutely raises huge questions for the future of the Western alliance,” writes M15 Director General in regards to the CCP’s national security threats against the U.K., adding, “None of us can give a confident long-term answer to exactly how the balance of power plays out globally across the next few decades but it is clear for all of us that this is, I think, the central intelligence challenge for us across the next decade.”

A senior lawyer has said it’s the duty of the UN Human Rights Council to address state-sanctioned organ harvesting in China. (Image: Piron Guillaume / Unsplash)

Bolstering legislative action

The issue of forced organ harvesting has been taken up by international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Parliament, which have called for transparency and accountability from the Chinese government. However, despite such calls, concrete proof remains elusive due to the secretive and stringent control of information within China’s borders.

“China sees almost all of its global activity in the context of what it sees as the struggle between the United States and China, and therefore it sees the United Kingdom fundamentally through that optic,” says The Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) in the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament of the U.K. 

Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold pictures of victims who were persecuted by the Chinese government as they take part in an annual rally and demonstration at the National Mall July 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Image: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

RELATED: ‘A Witness to the CCP’s Tyranny’: Chinese Businesswoman Persecuted for Her Faith Receives Commendation From Virginia State Assembly

In 2021, the UK’s Human Tissue Act of 2004 was successfully amended to introduce legislation that restricts British citizens from traveling overseas for the purpose of organ transplantation. The two-part bill also prohibits insurance plans from covering treatments for surgeries and transplants tied to countries with coercive organ harvesting practices. 

Beyond China’s borders

In recent years, the targeting and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in other countries, including the United Kingdom, has also worsened. Evidence of this trend has emerged in the form of sporadic incidents, such as harassment at public Falun Gong events, slander and vilification of the practice in local Chinese language media, and pressure on politicians to refrain from publicly supporting Falun Gong.

RELATED: Thugs Who Attacked Falun Gong Practitioners in Hong Kong Sentenced for Property Damage

Such incidents underscore the extensive reach of the CCP’s campaign against Falun Gong, which in some cases, extend beyond China’s borders. Adherents of the practice around the globe face similar challenges — not just from the persecution they or their families may have experienced or continue to face in China — but also from the insidious spread of the CCP’s influence in their adoptive homes.

Damaged Falun Gong informational booths are seen in Hong Kong in December 2020 after being attacked by pro-communist man Hu Aimin. (Image: via

Unwavering faith

Despite these dark circumstances, however, Falun Gong practitioners around the world continue to respond with kindness and resilience — advocating for the right to practice their beliefs freely, and without fear of oppression or persecution.

As the world reflects on the 24th anniversary of the CCP’s persecution against Falun Gong in China and elsewhere, we are reminded that our pursuit of human rights, dignity, and freedom is an ongoing battle. In response, we call on governments and advocacy groups worldwide to promote human rights and uphold religious freedom across all corners of the globe.