History within China

Falun Gong was introduced to the general public in 1992 in Changchun. A few months after this it became part of the qigong branch under the administration of CQRS. Li was officially seen as a qigong master and had the authority to teach anywhere in China. Li traveled to many larger cities between 1992 and 1994 to teach Falun Gong to people and received some awards from organizations run by the government. A professor at Montreal University stated that Li became ‘an instant star of the qigong movement’ and the Chinese government thought it would be an effective method of improving the morality of it’s citizens, that it would lower health costs as people would be healthier and that it promoted the culture of China.

In 1992 Li and some Falun Gong practitioners attended an Asian health Expo where he got the most positive feedback of all the qigong schools. The event, held in Beijing proved Li’s growing popularity and many journalists started to write about the healing powers practicing Falun Gong could create. He was heralded as a person who was helping Chinese society, keeping social order and moral codes of conduct.Falun Gong differentiated itself as being different to other qigong schools as there was a clear emphasis on moral behaviour, its health benefits and low cost to practice. The benefits of Falun Gong began to spread and attracted a wide range of practitioners and even some members of the Communist party in China.

Between 1992 and 1994 Li charged a small fee for attending his lectures but it was less than other qigong teachers charged. A large amount of the fees would be given to local qigong schools and the rest would cover travel fees and any expenses as well as charity donations. Li stopped charging fees for his lectures in 1994 and stated that it should always be taught for free in person and online. Some believed that Li still made money from selling his literature on Falun Gong but others suggest most books were copies of the originals.

By publishing his two books, Li’s teaching could be reached more widely. One of his books called Zhuan Falun was published in 1995 and there was a ceremony at the Ministry of Public Security, it quickly became a bestseller in China.

By 1995the Chinese government wanted to use Falun Gong to create greater ties with the authorities and was invited to join a range of official organizations such as the Chinese National Sports Committee, Li declined every offer. Later that year the CQRS created a new ruling that all qigong schools should create a Communist part branch, which he again refused.

This created tension between Falun Gong and CQRS and by 1996 other qigong schools believed that due to the low cost of practicing Falun Gong they were actively undercutting them. This resulted in the qigong society asking Li to start charging more money, but Li stated that it was important that practicing Falun Gong should be free.

In 1996 due to growing tension, Falun Gong withdrew from the CQRS and operated independently from the state. No other government bodies would work with them and it had no place within the state system and no protection because of this.