US Gives $1.5m to Falun Gong Group: A Terrible Idea

The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. State Department is giving 1.5 million dollars to an internet freedom group tied to Falun Gong:

“The State Department has decided to fund a group run mainly by practitioners of Falun Gong, a Buddhist-like sect long considered Enemy No. 1 by the Chinese government, to provide software to skirt Internet censorship across the globe.

State Department officials recently called the group, the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, offering it $1.5 million, according to Shiyu Zhou, one of the group’s founders. A State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the offer.

The decision, which came as the United States and China have recently moved to improve ties after months of tension, appears likely to irritate Beijing just as the two are set to resume a dialogue on human rights Wednesday for the first time in two years.”

Falun Gong Practioners in the US

Indeed, this decision comes at a pretty terrible time. Furthermore, I have a hard time understanding why the government would choose a Falun Gong-affiliated group when there are plenty of groups1 out there fighting for internet freedom that aren’t directly affiliated with a cult the Chinese government hates. I’m all for internet freedom and for breaking through the GFW, but why does the State Department feel they need to hand Beijing an excuse to dismiss the concept wholesale by associating it with Falun Gong?

Regardless of your feelings about whether FLG is an “evil cult”, there is no reason whatsoever to give a ton of money to an FLG-affiliated group unless you’re intentionally trying to piss off Beijing. Is this yet another effort by the Obama administration to show that they’re not going to be soft on China? If so, it’s deeply misguided, and they probably made that point with the arms sale to Taiwan, etc. anyway.

Granted, the concept itself is a bit antagonistic — developing software to ensure Chinese people can circumvent the GFW — but it’s the kind of foreign antagonism plenty of Chinese netizens could get behind, especially those who haven’t yet figured out how to jump the GFW but are interested in it2. By connecting the software with FLG, the State Department is virtually guaranteeing a polemic response from the Chinese government, but let’s be honest, that’s probably going to happen anyway. The difference is that this approach is also sure to piss off plenty of Chinese netizens who might otherwise support it.

Other than the fact that it’s unnecessarily antagonistic, the group (GIFC) also uses its software to promote Falun Gong (“Falun Gong also put ads encouraging people to join the sect on its software download page.”3) In essence, then, the State Department is funding a vein, albeit a somewhat indirect one, for Falun Gong propaganda. This is a pretty unnecessary violation of the separation of church and state — not that the US government doesn’t do that for plenty of other reasons, but why bother? There are so many reasons not to choose this group; why would the State department actually choose them?

The answer, as it turns out, is lobbyists. The decision to choose GIFC followed a four-year lobbying campaign by the group, and caused a bit of controversy within the Obama administration, according to the Washington Post. There was also a fair amount of pressure, apparently, as the lobbying campaign also targeted the media:

“In the past year, columnists at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and the editorial page of The Washington Post have called for the State Department to fund GIFC.”

There’s some debate as to whether or not the decision was a direct result of this pressure:

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a State Department official said the decision to offer funding to GIFC was “done on the merits of its technology” and was not a response to political pressure. Others aren’t so sure.

“The politics of this on Capitol Hill have been such that I can also see how the State Department was under immense pressure to give them funding,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a visiting fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.

Regardless of the reasoning behind it, this whole thing seems like a pretty terrible idea. But what do you think? It’s been a while since I’ve posted on china/divide, so I’m hoping all the trolls can climb out from under their bridges for old times’ sake.


  1. Ironically, I can’t access or link to any of these independent web freedom projects because my ISP is a school with filtered internet (anything related to internet anonymization is blocked), but I’m sure some commenters can help. []
  2. There seem to be more of these people every day; for the most recent event that caused netizens to jump the wall, see Danwei’s coverage on Japanese porn star Aoi Sola []
  3. Again, can’t confirm this because their site is blocked on our school network. []



155 Comments

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  1. -+-6

    Disagree entirely.

    For starters, lobbying is nothing new. But the essence of your argument, if I understand correctly, is that it’s a bad idea because Beijing will be pissed. This can never be a valid reason for not doing something, especially when Beijing’s objections are rooted in the spiteful persecution of innocents initiated by Jiang’s rancid jealosy.

    Don’t like the ads? Ever seen how FLG is ‘advertised’ in Chinese media and school textbooks? They’ll never redress that imbalance of misinformation.

    Whatever next? Stop giving aid to Haiti because she has diplomatic relations with Taiwan? Arrest the Dalai Lama on his next visit because beijing calls him a terrorist?

    I think as long as this site feels the need to use asterisks to circumvent the Chinese government’s internet censorship we give the US a break on this one.

    • -++6

      Stuart,

      What can never be a valid reason for not doing something? Pissing someone off or pissing Beijing off?

      It isn’t much of an argument to say, as long as A does X, we should give B a break on Y. What is that? As long as China censors information, we should give the White House a break on wiretapping citizens without warrants?

      Come on, stuart, you’re relying on the appeal to emotion fallacy too much here. Custer clearly feels this isn’t something worth antagonizing China over. You’re arguing that it is, or — I suspect sometimes — that its always good to antagonize China because China deserves it for being China. You guys simply attach different values to the FLG, for what it is and for what it can be exploited for.

      Overall, I think this is a lame move that isn’t going to change much. The Chinese government may express some anger but its not as if American funding of circumvention or propaganda isn’t already known by them. The lobbyists got what they want, some appropriations decision-makers feel like they’re doing something meaningful, and both governments know this is nothing remotely on the scale of North Korea having the nuke. It wasn’t necessary, but I don’t think either government is going to see it as a big deal. It’s politics for the masses.

      • -+-3

        “Custer clearly feels this isn’t some­thing worth antag­o­niz­ing China over. You’re argu­ing that it is…”

        No, no, no… no, no, no, no. No.

        I’m saying that, whatever arguments were considered for or against the funding, Beijing’s potential objections should on no account have been a factor in the decision.

        “You’re argu­ing that it is … always good to antag­o­nize China because China deserves it…”

        Oh for Chris’akes, Kai.

        “You guys sim­ply attach dif­fer­ent val­ues to the FLG”

        You guys? Different values to whom?

        • -++3

          Stuart,

          I’m say­ing that, what­ever argu­ments were con­sid­ered for or against the fund­ing, Beijing’s poten­tial objec­tions should on no account have been a fac­tor in the decision.

          Why not? International politics and diplomacy is all about factoring what another country’s potential objections could be for any given thing your country does.

          Oh for Chris’akes, Kai.

          “I suspect sometimes”.

          You guys? Dif­fer­ent val­ues to whom?

          Uh, you guys as in you and Custer. To whom? Uh, “to the FLG”.

          • -+

            “Why not?”

            Because we’re not talking about a new US naval port in the South China Sea.

            In terms of international diplomacy, this definitely gets filed under ‘small beer’.

          • -++4

            Stuart,

            You did read my comment above, right? I agree this is “small beer” but I don’t see why Beijing’s potential objections shouldn’t be a factor whatsoever. A foreign dignitary’s dietary preferences are “small beer” next to US naval bases in the South China Sea but we still consider that a factor worth considering.

            Again, I ask you: “What can never be a valid rea­son for not doing some­thing? Piss­ing some­one off or piss­ing Bei­jing off?”

            You chose the words, I’m just following-up seeking clarification on your actual position. To me, it reads like you think pissing Beijing off “can never be a valid rea­son for not doing some­thing”, right?

          • -+-3

            “To me, it reads like you think piss­ing Bei­jing off “can never be a valid rea­son for not doing some­thing”, right?”

            Wrong, as I’ve already made clear:

            “I’m say­ing that, what­ever argu­ments were con­sid­ered for or against the fund­ing, Beijing’s poten­tial objec­tions should on no account have been a fac­tor in the decision.”

            Meaning, in this particular case of small beer.

          • -++2

            Stuart,

            I’m glad you’ve now specified and clarified by adding to your initial comments. I still don’t think you offer any compelling explanations or arguments for your disagreement with Custer, that you tend to stipulate greater or lesser consideration for Beijing according to your personal convenience and whim, but I’ve made my point.

          • Jones

            -++5

            I’m agreeing with the “it’s small beer” assessment, as I said in different words below. I’m not sure how angry and upset China really got over it.

            I believe they’re just getting “upset” for show. Why wouldn’t they have already been, and still be, up in arms over the US “harboring” this evil mastermind who is scheming and ever so close to massively hurting China?

            My guess is that this is something of a bargaining chip, albeit a small one. Something to appear angry about in order to garnish a bit of deal-making. I really don’t think Beijing gives two real-life shits about the little FLG in the US. Because if they do, well…SEN-SI-TIVE

          • -++1

            Stuart,

            Less than a month ago, I sent you a private e-mail asking you to stop stuffing votes whether for yourself or against others. It is with great annoyance that I discover you doing it again. Since trying to do you a favor by warning you privately didn’t stop you, I’m now warning you a second time publicly. Please stop it.

          • Jay (a different one)

            -+

            For the not so sharp but nevertheless curious; “stuffing votes” (on a blog) please explain?
            If I vote +/-, which I sometimes do when I find a comment very ‘good’ or very ‘dumb’, it says “thank you” (very polite:), and if I read again later and vote again, which I sometimes do because I am going senile, it says “you already voted”. I suspect some clever cookie thing, but who can tell…
            Is that “stuffing votes” and do I now need to keep track of where I click for fear of getting banned or my laptop exploding?
            If it is just a matter of Stuart wanting to demonstrate he/she is an [insert nasty comment], I’d say stuffing anything is not required — he/she is doing a great job of that already….
            Or am I once again missing something?

          • -++1

            Jay,

            No, if it says you’ve already voted, it just means you’ve already voted. It won’t register another vote. Of course, there are ways around this, as there are ways around everything for those inclined to find them. The comment voting system is set up and modified to track suspicious voting patterns.

            The comment voting feature is something we added for interactivity, so people can offer an opinion without having to write a comment. As everyone knows, the idea is that each person gets one vote on each comment. Vote stuffing is when one person votes multiple times on a comment through any manner of means that all violate the spirit of the system.

    • Bin Wang

      -++1

      Not sure if that’s entirely the point, stuart. Echoing Jones below, I don’t like the idea of federal funding of any private interest religious groups, esp. when active lobbying is involved, and esp. during a recession in which other necessary public programs are being slashed. The fact that this may piss off China makes a bad idea even worse, not that fear of pissing off China, alone, makes the idea bad.

      If the idea itself weren’t so bad, then it wouldn’t appear as if we’re going out of our way to find ways to provoke China. But because it is such a horrible way to spend tax dollars, esp. in a time like this, the fear is that it may appear as if we’re looking for ways to spite China.

      If we’re at an auction for baseball cards and we both love them, then fair enough, we bid against eachother to get the cards we want. If your legitimate interest causes prices to be driven up, hey, I’d understand. But if you know me to be an avid collector, and I know you to not care about baseball at all, and yet I end up having the price being driven up by you who, for some reason, is biding aggressively … yeah, I’ll probably be pissed off about it. I think that’s kinda the spirit of this post.

      • -+-2

        “But if you know me to be an avid col­lec­tor, and I know you to not care about base­ball at all…”

        Your analogy is based on the premise that the funding was, in part, motivated by a desire to piss off China. That’s the kind of irrational thinking I’d expect from Zhongnanhai, who are known to rant (feigned or otherwise) about some monumentally trivial issues. Remember when they turned apoplectic over the former Taiwanese president’s plane refuelling in NY even when the alternative was crashing in the Atlantic?

        There’s a time to consider the objections of other nations in decision-making. This wasn’t one of them.

        • -+

          Stuart,

          There’s a time to con­sider the objec­tions of other nations in decision-making. This wasn’t one of them.

          We clearly get that you think that. Custer thinks otherwise. He explained why. You’re not. Instead, you’re only saying “Beijing being pissed” can “never” be a reason for not doing something and all of us should not question or criticize the US government for doing this so long as the Chinese government does another thing.

  2. lolz

    -+

    FLG is a weird cult but I have to say that those running the organization are doing a fantastic job in promoting and marketing the group.

    Not only is the group affiliated with EpochTimes, one of the more if not most distributed China related “newspapers” in the US, it also sponsors tons of Chinese “Cultural” events such as traditional dancing. By getting $$$ from the US government FLG must have some powerful connections to Washington as well. I can see why the Chinese government was fearful of the organization. The weird thing about this cult is the amount of money and resources which it has access to (lobbying washington and running free newspapers cannot be cheap). My guess is that some government entity is probably funding this group as a counterweight to Chinese influences (Taiwan, CIA maybe??)

    That said, this is likely to be more of a scam. For one, the Chinese who wish to scale the GFW can already do so. The development (or expansion, rather) of yet another piece of software to scale the GFW itself is not going to get more people to scale the GFW.

    Obama comes off as a true moderate leaning to the left. I am pretty sure he will do something to please China in order to balance this.

    • -++1

      I don’t really have an opinion on FLG one way or the other, but I do see at least point I’d like to make: the more variety of programs and groups undermining the GFW, the better.

      If just one group is getting funding at expense of others, then I would agree that this would be a bad thing, because the Chinese government would just have an easier time targeting it, knowing where to look for their main opponent.

      The article quoted (and Custer) make a big deal about the FLG-affiliated group getting funding due to the historical controversy involved, but I’d be more interested to know if this is just part of a larger program, funding many groups, of which GIFC is just one.

    • Luke

      -+-1

      Your conclusion is without substance. Who finance F*l*n G*ng and how much. And so far Chinese government can not confirm this in their defaming compaign. according to your logic, who finance those F*l*n G*ng adherents in China to spur their efforts, and what organization or state are capable to finance them. The fact is some states intentionally ignore the persecution of F*l*n G*ng and their efforts for their rights and freedom with the consideration of economic benfit from China. And epoch times and other entities just develop with the efforts of F*l*n G*ng adherents step by step. Is there anything wrong to insist on their undertaking. If F*l*n G*ng aimed at money, actually it would have decomposed.

  3. Jones

    -+-1

    First, I wonder how many different religious groups got funding of that amount or even more.

    Second, I wonder why the US should really worry about pissing off China as far as giving money to GIFC. Fal*n Gong is hardly a terrorist organization or a threat to China’s national security. I see China getting upset about a measly little $1.5 million dollars given to a non-violent, non-threat as being rather childish, to say the least. This isn’t selling weapons to Xinjiang “freedom fighters” or anything that Beijing should really be worried about.

    However, the part of this that I think is a terrible idea has nothing to do with China or Fal*n Gong, in a specific sense. I just don’t like federally funding religious groups, regardless of who they are.

    • oiasunset

      -++1

      FLG is in one aspect similar to extreme Christian Scientist – it doesn’t allow its followers to see doctors and use medicine. If you can’t cure your illness through “spining your inner wheel”, that’s because you are not sincere enough.

      Oh, by the way its followers worship a living person who claims (on a Time magazine interview) that the earth has been invaded and ruled by evil aliens.

      Not that I’m against people opt for extreme stupidity and disgust; but US funding for such a group is only counter-productive

      • Jones

        -+

        Yeah, I’m in no way really supporting FLG any more than any other religions. Anyone who shuns medicine in favor of curing your AIDS-ridden cancerous tumors with the power of meditation doesn’t seem very bright. However, I don’t see any reason to restrict people from doing this if they choose to do so and it doesn’t really interfere with anyone else’s life, especially mine. I am, however, against federal funding for any religious group, no matter how rational or irrational their practices or beliefs are. Unless you consider science to be a religion. We should fund the shit out of advancing scientific knowledge.

        I agree, it is counter productive. However, not funding something because China will be upset about it is the same sort of self-censoring fear you get from the likes of Comedy Central censoring South Park just because Revolution Muslim bozos get their panties in a wad over the idea that maybe some people aren’t as uptight as they are.

        • Luke

          -++1

          there are two issues about suppoting F*l*n G*ng. One is to end the persecution, one is to support their theories. But in fact, F*l*n G*ng never asks anyone to give in it and unconditionally accept their beliefs, but hope people to help end the persecution. this is the key issue. you could disagree with F*l*n Gong beliefs, but you could not ignore this inhumane and brutal persecution as a human.

      • John Li

        -+-2

        Oiasunset,

        Don’t be fooled by CCP (Chinese communist party). I was also fooled by CCP before I talked to FLG group. It is funny that the Chinese use the same sentience to express “seeing a doctor” and “treat a patient”. It is called “seeing illness”. F*l*n G*ng does not allow the practitioners to treat patient by the energy they gained through their meditation practice. Explore the FLG website: http://f*l*nd*f*.org/ and find the truth by yourself.

        • friendo

          -++1

          F*l*n G*ng is a laughable cult, somewhat like Scientology. If they are so good and pure, why do they have to lie and make threats?

          http://www.rickross.com/reference/f*_l*n_g*ng/f*l*n314.html

          Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — There is no evidence that F*l*n G*ng members are executed en masse to harvest their organs, this according to Harry Wu, a prominent US-based campaigner for human rights in China and an expert on Laogai (Re-education through Labour) camps.

      • Luke

        -+

        what you talked deviate the fact and misunderstand it. F*l*n Gong is not against science, but it has its own theory. actually f*l*n g*ng practitioners do anything based on their understanding. If he or she want to see doctor, no one will stop, and in reality, some still see doctor when something happens. But they have their understanding on this issue. in reality, it indeed work on people’s health that is beyond the accountability of secience. extreme stupidity and disgust? your words are full of bias and attacks and you are narrow-minded that i could say. otherwise think about it why so many people will follow it even though they are under the risk of persecution and attack and undergo ten years’ defameing campaign by Chinese government.

      • Luke

        -++1

        counter-productive? if US government doesn’t do it, it is really to ignore the tyranny of CCP and other dictatorship state and counter-productive.

        • lolz

          -+

          The US doesn’t need to give the money to a FLG affiliated group. It can give the money to other groups without the mystic cult association.

          Is this concept THAT hard to understand?

    • pug_ster

      -++1

      Makes me wonder why they need the money anyways. FLG is almost some kind of US govt sanctioned criminal enterprise. They have the free Epoch Times. You can watch their propaganda in New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV.) Don’t forget that every Chinese New Year they have their “Chinese New Year Global Gala” and “Shen Yun Performing Arts” where they claim that they have ‘sold out shows’ around the world.

      The dumbest thing is the kind of rhetoric you get from Obama who lied in front of the Chinese when he said that “does not want to contain China” yet funds the very people who are against China. Many Chinese weren’t born yesterday and can see thru his bold face lie.

      • -+-1

        And many other people who weren’t born yesterday can easily see the difference between:

        (a) Funding groups that allow Chinese to get through the GFW, the one thing that DOES contain Chinese and not allow them to interact with the world at large. Funding groups (kooky though they may be) that to all appearances JUST WANT TO BE A PART OF CHINA, and are not militant.

        (b) “Containing China”; funding “the very people who are against China”.

      • John Li

        -+-1

        I believe that it is a basic knowledge that China is not equal to CCP (Chinese communist party). CCP has brain washed Chinese that CCP are their father and mother, but they always arrest Chinese human rights activists as hostages to bargain with the US government.
        FLG is not against China but CCP is. CCP cuts off the Chinese culture tie, burned the traditional books, jailed intellectual, changed Chinese characters, changed the history books.

        • friendo

          -++1

          F*l*n G*ng is no better.

          • Luke

            -+-1

            you words are no sense and without subtance. as for Harry wu’s conslusion, it is irresponsible, if you go through his reaction, how he could make a conclusion agaist the allgation and sent the letters to US PM just within around half a month, and how he investigated. against the query, he had nothing new to respond. as for organ harvest, there is a report written by former canadian PM and human rights lawyer, which made a reasonable argumentation.

    • Tom

      -++1

      FLG had senior Party members involved in it for a while. Considering China’s history with cults and sects and revolution, you don’t see why an athiest PRC considers them a threat ?

      • Jones

        -+

        A threat to whom, exactly?

        • -+-1

          “A threat to whom, exactly?”

          Clearly this funding represents a threat to all those Party officials in China in need of a liver transplant.

          • friendo

            -+-1

            Harry Wu repudiated FLG’s lies on organ transplants. I’m not surprised, stuart, a compulsive liar and China hater supporting other compulsive liars and China haters.

      • Luke

        -+-1

        in fact, CCP peceived all kinds of independent groups as threat, including Christian out of control by CCP and NGOs that try to stick to public interest and all people who have different conviction or political stand.

    • Luke

      -++1

      I don’t think it is should be interpreted to funding religious groups, to funding opressive groups, or anti-cencorship, but the pursuit of upholding human rights and attitude toward ending the persecution and suppression of opressive groups all over the world.

  4. -++1

    Hm, I just removed all of the asterisks. If anyone in China cannot open this page without a proxy or VPN, please let me know. Of course, that’s provided that you can actually get to this page with a proxy and VPN to see this note of mine. Mwuahaha.

  5. maotai

    -++4

    So should the Chinese fund the tea party movements or some of those crazy militia groups in the US? Afterall, they are all for freedom and liberty … right?

    • -+-2

      Go for it!

      Granted, that would be a bit like feeding a tiger, pointing it towards your neighbor’s door, and then being surprised when turns around and eats you instead.

      Also, there’s really no better way to discredit a domestic political party/movement than let everyone know they’re taking cash from a foreign government. Since the US government has no real interest in FLG’s credibility in China–only in results gotten in undermining China’s information apartheid–it’s not really a good comparison in terms of policy goals or effectiveness.

    • Jones

      -+-1

      I say yes they should. Because the Tea Party is certainly China-friendly.

      Is FLG a militia group in China? Or is the US funded one actually in China, practicing combat maneuvers with actual assault rifles?

      Just curious, because we’ll need them to be for your analogy to be accurate.

      • maotai

        -++2

        Hmm … militias are kinda unique to the US, with the gun culture and the history.

        But China has a history of quasi-religio-political movements formenting unrest. China should keep potential modern Boxer movements down to protect our resident expats :)

        • Jones

          -+-1

          haha those are a good thing to protect

        • John Li

          -+-1

          CCP (Chinese communist party) killed 80 million Chinese after they took over the government. It is more than the total number of death during the second world war. No freedom, no peace life can Chinese enjoy without ending the ruling of CCP.
          There is no problem between Chinese and Tibetan during the whole history. The only problem is CCP against the human all over the world, including Chinese and Tibetan.

          • maotai

            -++1

            Hey I have discovered a way to cure cancer, all kinds of diseases and achieve immortality! I can save you and your kind, all you have to do is to believe in me, practise all the recommended exercises and oh, yeah gift me your virgin daughters.

            I have no love for the CCP but I shiver at the thought of religio-fanatics running a country.

          • friendo

            -++1

            Oh so it’s 80 million now? Did the CIA send you a memo to increase the number from 70 million?

    • lolz

      -+

      In the US foreign nations/entities are forbidden to mess with domestic politics. There are campaign rules which hands out felonies for those who try. Just look up John Huang and James Riady.

      This makes good sense. America should not allow non-American interests to influence its political system because they don’t always hold the best intentions for Americans. Of course, this will not stop the US from trying to pump money to influence foreign governments’ political affairs.

  6. -+

    Maybe instead of just funding various groups that have a proven reputation for knocking holes in the GFW (and thus are high-priority targets for Chinese government retaliation), the US government should just set up an annual prize (like the Ansari X-prize) to encourage anti-GFW start-up efforts. That way you can be certain that a great number (and most importantly, variety) of minds will set themselves to the challenge, and the Chinese government will never know from what quarter they should be expecting the next blow to their isolationist edifice.

  7. -+

    @stuart, how does diplomacy occur? through antagonism or through productive dialog?

    - a critic of neoliberalism might want to ask how much $$$ is at work here? sure 1.5 million to this group for … internet freedom. but is the goal internet freedom? this most likely could be best obtained through constructive dialog. Far from honestly being interested in opening the public sphere for civil society in nations such as china and iran. The us is funding technology research development. Information warfare prep, is a good explination for the use of these monies.

    Further more Have to agree with Custer here. but for reasons he didnt mention. The best way to attack China in a way to really piss them off is through the tools of soft power. In terms of public opinion what is more important us selling wepons to taiwan, or meeting with the dali lama and giving money to the FLG? I HATE to put his holiness and the FLG on the same level here, but I am sure you can see the argument that the US is using- the cold war era is over, this is the consumerist age of soft war power.

    Which will win for identity loyalty, lifestyle or nationality?

    • -++1

      Truth, Compassion, Tolerance

      these are good characteristics,

      but I like this better, said by the little man in red,

      致富光榮!

      五毛党万岁

    • -+-6

      “how does diplo­macy occur?”

      Not through obeisance to a repressive government.

      • -++1

        obeisance is not discussion or dialog so on this point I agree. However it also does not occur through antagonism.
        This move is little more than giving a fringe group legitimacy because it is an ‘independent’ force for developing methods for internet based warfare

    • -++1

      You really think that the CCP is going to pull down the GFW based on dialogue? The diplomacy here isn’t really aimed at the Chinese government: it’s aimed at the Chinese people.

    • John Li

      -+-2

      If you could let CCP (Chinese communist party) remove the internet block and allow Chinese to know the truth in the world, go ahead!
      CCP can not hold its power any more if most of Chinese know the truth.

      • -+

        One Chinese immigrant who I know talked about internet censorship with the model of a family. She told me how the government treated people like children who needed protection. I told her ‘parentalism’ is an idea used in social sciences.
        I asked her what wider access makes her think of the government. She shrugged her shoulders and commented there were a lot of things that needed changing, and there is a lot of stuff that makes her think more -but concluded she didn’t think it was a terrible thing for them to do and claimed to understand their rational.

  8. -+-2

    You oppose this potentially effective initiative because you’re a pro-CPC drone and your Political Commissar/primary employer is afraid that it might work.

    Good luck trying to flee across the boarder into North Korea when the revolution comes, there’s a lamppost with your name on it

    • -++1

      Hey sexy,
      pro-CPC drone… critical global citizen worried about security and freedom on the internet -access to which is a rising human right. Because I am against the US specifically supporting the FLG and because I am concerned with the unintended consequences of such funded development could make me a simpleton kowtower…
      That I think that government policy should be actively engaged and pushed for change instead of subverted and antagonized could make me an apologist….
      Or maybe you are blinded by an emotional bias, maybe your habitus- having grown up in a nation whose history is as intertwined with war and American aide as Isreal’s- leads you to blind devotion to all that the US does.
      Maybe instead of emoting, you should devote a little time to thinking. Instead of labling, accusing and sending out insults, you should develop an argument which can be intellectually engaged.
      So commie playa feed that to your paper tiger daddy

    • -+

      Comrade Playa,

      in the great words of the man in red,

      you are a paper tiger!!

      明白?

      五毛党 Forever!

    • Jones

      -+

      The F*l*n Gong revolution? You mean “F*l*n Dawn(g) 2010″?

      Yeah I’m still poking fun at the comical Red Dawn post. But, did you see what I did there? “Dong”…”Dawng”…pretty clever, right?

    • King Tubby

      -+

      Only got one vote, but playa gets it for sheer troll power.

      Pretty indifferent to this cult. Used to see them outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul with signs about cannibalism during the CR. Also rally outside the local town hall regularly to an indifferent audience.

      Best of all, I go to the Mr Cootha Native Garden (which is really something) every year to photograph the native lime tree (microcitrus australis) when it is in flower….unrelated species to the Tahitian lime and others, and sometimes I see the FG doing their exercises on the grassy knoll below. (I grow native limes on a semi-commercial basis, but my last jam making attempt was a failure.)

  9. -++5

    “fund a group run mainly by practitioners of F*l*n G*ng”…
    ‘run mainly’ is interesting for it’s vagueness and lack of supporting evidence.
    From that you titled this post: US Gives $1.5m to F*l*n G*ng Group…
    I presume you’ve researched the connection; may I suggest it would be good for china/divide to publish that research.

    • mcool

      -+

      Great point from uk visas

      we need to know exactly what the connection is before we go around saying the state department gave an FLG group 1.5 million dollars (which btw I don’t think 1.5 million will contribute to the fall of the CCP). I have heard of the global internet freedom consortium before but I can’t remember them being linked to the FLG… Washington Post are you sure you did your homework here? Or maybe I missed it but yeah, they have to provide some kind of evidence there.
      Also i have to say. Every new computer class I get, at least one student asks me how to jump the GFW. Not that I agree with U.S tax dollars funding this…. but in my experience there is an interest in checking out the other side of the net among the chinese people hip enough to know about it (even if it is just to see a lady gaga video).

      @custer: unrelated but loved what you wrote in the global times. spot on buddy.

  10. zball

    -++1

    let’s get it straight. This funding has everthing to do with politicial agenda guided by the State Department. FLG is just not good choice considering its notority among majorty Chinese people, espcially those who live abroad. In fact, FLG

  11. J. Zhang

    -+-2

    The reason they gave the F*l*ng*ng group the funding is because their software is the best. Ostensibly at least. There are surely other political considerations at play, but anyone taking the CCP’s side over F*l*ng*ng’s has lost perspective. It’s a persecuted and marginalised group against an enormous, repressive authoritarian regime. People here are barracking for the bad guy in this David vs Goliath struggle? It’s crazy.

    Custer too in his depiction of F*l*ng*ng buys directly into CCP propaganda about the group being a cult etc. It’s clearly not, for anyone who has bothered to look at it properly. Custer is obviously a bigot here. The moralistic and traditional F*l*ng*ng does not accord with everyone’s idea of a good time. It’s a religious group that talks about superpowers, meditation, morality, and salvation. Just no fun. But it’s not a cult, it doesn’t ask for money, and it has no leaders or central organisation. Those are facts.

    Practitioners’ response to the CCP has been to take the fight up to them, of course using every peaceful means. It seems that Custer and his ilk would prefer the group to simply go away, because it’s been vilified and persecuted, and that’s what it was supposed to do.

    Instead, F*l*ng*ng practitioners have founded media outlets, published a no-holds-barred editorial series (called jiuping, the 9 commentaries) laying bare the CCP’s history of atrocities and putting its treatment of F*l*ng*ng in that context, and also successfully broken through the firewall. They are the most successful group to have done so: their stuff works.

    Three more points.

    1) The funding is not to F*l*ng*ng , which is like saying that we’re going to fund swimming, or chess. You cannot fund F*l*ng*ng. The funding is going to the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, which is run by F*l*ng*ng adherents. It’s an organisation, distinct from F*l*ng*ng as a whole group, or life philosophy etc.

    2) To the person who wrote: “I really don’t think Bei­jing gives two real-life shits about the lit­tle FLG in the US” — the facts beg to differ. There have been raids on homes, organised riots, electronic surveillance, and a panoply of other measures taken against F*l*ng*ng abroad. The US Congress has passed a resolution condemning it. It’s a shame that people who profess to care about China accord this group so little time, and when they do refer to it they spit the words from their mouths with such bitterness. In their words, F*l*ng*ng practitioners want the best for China’s future. Evidence indicates to me that this is the case.

    3) The software the F*l*ng*ng engineers have created is for internet freedom globally. Not just for China, and not just for F*l*ng*ng followers. When the protests were happening in Iran, whose software did they use? GIFC’s. That’s part of how everyone came to know about this group. The success of GIFC clearly shows that F*l*ng*ng is a group that is not going away, it is serious and should be taken seriously, and it is not just out to benefit itself, but seeks freedom for all people in China, and has created a platform for internet freedom globally.

    Finally, I suggest everyone who says they care about China to read this piece in World Affairs: http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/articles/2010-MayJune/full-Gutmann-MJ-2010.html

    • pug_ster

      -++4

      As much as I find your speech colorful, I find some of the things you said disturbing. A few months back I was waiting in a local city government office nothing to do and there was a stack of free Epoch times for people to read. If you ever read the Epoch times, it has alot of ‘mainstream’ rehashed AP articles plus some unique AntiCCP articles. It was election time, and there was an Taiwan-born politician who is running for a government position and the Epoch times ran a 3 page spread on how this Taiwanese politician was pro CCP lackie. This and their “Sound of Hope” and “NTDTV” of how they portray themselves as ‘mainstream media’ but never mentions that they are run by FLG.

      Furthermore, their shows like “Shen Yun performing arts” and “New Years Gala” says that they are promoting Chinese culture, dance, and etc… but they are actually promoting their Anti-CCP propaganda. Again, if you look at their flyers and advertisements and none of it mentions that they are affiliated with FLG.

      I don’t care if FLG is anti-CCP. However, I think it is disturbing that FLG tries to disguise itself as part of mainstream media and Chinese culture.

      • -++1

        pug_ster makes a great point here that I missed in my email response to J. Zhang (reposted in a comment below). That’s another reason why giving money to FLG-affiliated groups makes me uncomfortable.

    • Some Guy

      -+

      I’ve read all the comments and I think this one by J. Zhang is the best. I would really like to know who is voting it down.

      Everyone seems to have “bought in” to the idea that it’s an FLG group, which is just framing the argument wholly in the terms the CCP wants. People on this board seem to be accepting that anyone or anything is associated with FLG is “unclean”, and are afraid to touch them, like some caste of “untouchables” or “eta”.

      By the way, better not give money to a jew either because you’ll be funding international Zionism *eye roll*

      • hm

        -+

        When you get money from the US government and you’re a religious group, we are bound to discuss this issue more politically. Meaning, I dont’ think FLG was able to get the money because they portrayed themselves as having higher morality and virtuous goals than any other religious group in US.

        I don’t think people here are saying anything associated w/ FLG is dirty. Some like/dislike FLG because of the way they do things/ promote things.

        • John Li

          -+-2

          You are well trained in creating gaps. Unfortunately, this skill has been used by Chinese communist party for too many times to be effective.
          The book: Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party
          http://ninecommentaries.com/ has list all these tricks that CCP uses.

          • pug_ster

            -++1

            You know, the saddest thing is that anybody who questions the FLG movement are often lambasted as part of the “50 cents party” when in fact most of these very same people are often critical of it.

      • pug_ster

        -++5

        Instead of giving my opinion, I thought that this is an interesting article why FLG is so controversial.

        http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/immigrants/20080310/11/2458

    • lolz

      -++1

      “The moral­is­tic and tra­di­tional F*l*n­g*ng does not accord with everyone’s idea of a good time. It’s a reli­gious group that talks about super­pow­ers, med­i­ta­tion, moral­ity, and sal­va­tion. Just no fun. But it’s not a cult, it doesn’t ask for money, and it has no lead­ers or cen­tral organ­i­sa­tion. Those are facts.”

      People joke about some posters here being paid CCP propagandists but I honestly think we may have a FLG PR person here.

      Since morality is largely subjective, any “religious movements” (cult) trumpeting morality will need to define what morality is for its followers. L* H*ng Zh* founded the movement and much of the group’s morality is derived from his own. Thus it’s weird to see FLG members claiming that the group has no leaders or central organization. If this group does not have a figure and organization to enforce purity you would see different leaders emerging each with his/her own interpretation definition of enlightenment. The fact that after all of these years the group has not splintered means that it must have a leader and central organization.

      Also, reading the history of FLG/FLDA it’s interesting to see the group morphing from a physical exercise routine promising health and oddly documented “miracles” performed by a messiah like L* H*ngZh*, to some kind of deep religious group focused on “morality” and “freedoms”. For one, conservative “religious movements” (cults) such as FLG preaching morality are typically the enemy of personal freedoms.

      • John Li

        -+-3

        It is funny that the internet users in China call Chinese internet police “50 cents party”. The got paid 50 cents by CCP after they posted a comment on internet to support CCP. Are you a PR for CCP? How much are you paid? Are you one of the 50 cents party member?
        It is very easy for people to know what FLG is by checking the website: http://f*l*nd*f*.org/. People can easily tell that you are fooling people skillfully.

        • lolz

          -+

          I am fine with trash talk, but I expected this John Li to at least make a half assed attempt to answer some of my points.

          While googling for FLG I found this article which describes FLG followers (at least this john li guy) well:

          http://www.rickross.com/reference/f*_l*n_g*ng/f*l*n344.html

          “While L* H*ngzh* talks about “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” neither he nor his followers actually demonstrate any tolerance concerning critical questions or inquiry. Within F*l*n D*f* Li’s followers are not allowed to question the basic assumptions of the group and criticism from outsiders is often characterized as “persecution.” Persistent critics of L* H*ngzh* and F*l*n D*f* have been repeatedly subjected to personal attacks, threats of litigation and frivolous lawsuits. “

          • John Li

            -+-1

            You should have mentioned that article is “published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences” which is one of Chinese communist party agencies. Actually you can find millions of those kind of articles in China produced by the propaganda machine of CCP.
            Let’s go back to the topic: Why does CCP block the internet? Why does CCP arrest the defendant’s lawyers of F*l*n Gong people in China such as Mr. Gao Zhisheng. You should check the report by United Nations, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/13session/A-HRC-13-22-Add1_EFS.pdf.
            It talks about Mr. Gao’s case in page 53.
            The fact that CCP block the internet, arrested the lawyers… shows that they are hiding the truth. They are afraid of Chinese people!
            Do you think that people here will believe you? Even the Chinese in China do not believe you either, which is the reason that they are trying these tools to cross the Great Fire Wall of China and learn the truth.
            Back to the point, I encourage anyone to create tools to breakthrough the GFW and I don’t think that CCP will allow Chinese to know the true world.

    • -++3

      J. Zhang also sent me an email highlighting his comment and asking if I’d read the piece he linked to above. I’m posting my reply verbatim below, as it may help elucidate some things. I added a couple things in brackets to help clarify my meaning:

      I hadn’t read the piece before I wrote the c/d post, but have read it now. That said, while it is a great piece in some ways, I don’t think it really changes my opinion at all.

      I never denied the government had done many unconscionable things in their attempts to eliminate F*l*n G*ng, nor did I deny that the GIFC’s software is good — that’s probably the best argument to be made in favor of giving them money. My point is that I believe there are other groups making the same stuff who aren’t directly associated with a group that going to lead Chinese PEOPLE to write it off as more propaganda.

      In my experience, most Chinese people see FLG as a crazy cult. Government propaganda or not, that perception is going to make them less likely to use, care about, or support GIFC’s software, and even the general idea behind it. I fear that lots of people who might otherwise be interested in or use the software won’t because they hear it’s associated with FLG and the government is saying it’s just a trojan horse for FLG propaganda. It just makes the propaganda department’s job WAY too easy: “Look, foreign powers are using this widely known and widely disliked “enemy” group to invade our internet!” It practically writes itself.

      I agree FLG members are pretty knowledgeable about China’s network systems, but it’s important to note that the guy interviewed in that piece had nothing to do with FLG. Probably, the BEST people to engineer such software would be former PSB employees and Party members in the security division [who have defected like the guy in the article], not FLG members.

      Additionally, I find the idea that the group we’re supporting to promote internet FREEDOM has very obvious political and religious motives rather disquieting. I am not convinced that a group with such obvious motives will run or maintain completely impartial software that doesn’t advertise or otherwise give some kind of advantage to pro-FLG content. The fact that FLG stuff is advertised right on their download page is enough to concern me about this.

      As some other commenters have said, I’m also against the gov’t giving money to any organization with religious ties generally, whether they be FLG, Christian, buddhist, whatever. Obviously, that happens in lots of cases, not just this one, but I’m against it across the board.

      So that’s a lot of reasons why I don’t think the state dept needs to give 1.5$m to GIFC.

      As for my own opinion of F*l*n G*ng, I’m not a huge fan of religion, and I do believe the Chinese government has the right to try to eliminate religions with teachings that are harmful to people [who haven't chosen to pursue them or arent' old enough to make such choices] (i.e., FLG practitioners keeping their kids from seeing doctors.). I certainly don’t agree with some of their methods, but this topic is EXTREMELY difficult to pin down because 100% of the information you read on it is so biased one way or the other. F*l*n G*ng is either an evil cult spawned by Satan to destroy the world, or an innocent lamb that the evil Chinese government decided to attack and torture for no reason except it looooves power. And while the power explanation holds some water, I do find it telling that even in that article you linked, the official reasons F*l*n G*ng is illegal are basically completely ignored, and there’s no mention of any complaints about the group. The idea that there’s a reason that it is illegal — other than the “threat to the CCP” thing — is completely ignored, which I find pretty damn suspicious.

      My impression — and it is just an impression — is that the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. China’s reasons for persecuting FLG probably include political ones AND legitimate social causes like the medicine thing, and while FLG probably isn’t as crazy as some say, it does seem to be pretty crazy, and despite the “no hierarchy no leaders” thing there’s a pretty clear leader and a kind of personality cult surrounding him that, to me, is reminiscent of other cults. But, like I said, that’s just my impression. FLG is pretty difficult to research.

      Anyway, my opinion of FLG doesn’t have as much to do with the c/d post as my concerns above; namely, that funding the GIFC will needlessly turn Chinese citizens off of the idea as a whole, and that it raises some red flags in the “separation of church and state” department.

      Thanks very much for your email, comment, and the recommendation of the article.

      • lolz

        -++1

        Agreed with all of your points.

        The article which the guy posted was authored by a somewhat famous NeoCon, whose message is basically the same old “we must spread our brand of freedoms across the world”.

        One would have figured that after the Iraqi war, the NeoCons would revise their strategy, or at least their messaging.

      • Terry

        -++2

        Custer,
        I was going to link that article here as well as the author was a friend of mine while he lived in Beijing and we have been having a good discussion about it with other folks who I really respect here in BJ on Facebook.

        Lolz – Gutmann is often associated with NeoCons because of his negative views on the CCP, but is more independent than that and not quite the “spread freedom whether you like it or not” ilk.

        My first reaction to the funding was negative, but was more from Libertarian anti-government funding of anything point of view. If the technology is “the best” as is claimed here and there, then the market will pay for it without government subsidies.

        I am also aware of the importance of GIFC’s software in supporting communication during the the protests in Iran last year which hasn’t been mentioned here at all. I too am a bit suspicious of FLG’s message and I totally understand the CCP’s paranoia about any expatriated Chinese group aligned against them given Chinese history and the long and highly contentious battle for the hearts and minds of overseas Chinese that has been waged since the Republican era (primarily KMT/CCP). Add that to the millennial nature of FLG and Chinese history in that regard (taiping,white hats, boxer what have you) and the major top level infiltration into the CCP by FLG that caught the party by surprise…. no wonder they were shitting in their pants!!

        Thanks again for catalyzing good discussions on this site and thank you too for your reasoned response to J.Zhang’s post.

    • -++1

      YOU have the power

      nice post, I voted + for you,

      五毛党万岁

  12. hm

    -+

    I agree more with Bin Wang on this one.

    US spending $1.5 mil on a religious group that China dislikes when they could use it on government programs that would benefit their own American citizens.

    This decision is like a lose-lose situation! Give money to a group that China dislikes = angry Americans & angry China.

    Don’t think its much about the goal of protecting internet freedom. This issue shouldn’t be held as a higher priority than helping Americans get jobs, better schools, etc.

    I mean, I know ya’ll know what FLG is but, does the majority of Americans know?

  13. asdfsd

    -+

    This money should be returned to the American Tax Payer, in economic times like this, are you kidding me??

    The issue shouldn’t be if this move was a right/wrong one, it should be whether the decision to allocate Tax dollars should have been done at all!

  14. Sam

    -++1

    If CCP can vote I’d imagine CCP vote a big “Yes” here. This well documented record of $1.5mil will be the single point CCP ever needs to win a regular Chinese against FLG, or even the anti GFW guys, just as CIA’s Dalai funding was and still is.

  15. xian

    -++1

    “Buddhist-like” sect?
    C’mon, what do Americans know of FLG, really?

    • Jones

      -+

      Probably as much, at least, as the average Chinese knows about them.

      • -++1

        I doubt it. People in China get flyers and crap about them all the time. I used to come home from work and find flyers of theirs balled up and wedged into my door on a semi-frequent basis.

        • Jones

          -+

          Takes more than fliers to know something. Especially when everything else you’ve heard, more officially, and frequently, is telling you a vastly different story. Then…who’s to know which is right?

          I never got any fliers out of the three and a half years there, even when I was out west. Sucks.

          • -++1

            I think I got one pamphlet or flier in the mail when I was still living in Pudong. They’re quite active in Hong Kong, and I know in addition to their media (both digital and dead-tree) efforts, they’ll sometimes have a few people waiting at airports.

          • maotai

            -++1

            I got a couple of leaflets and brochures 2 years ago in Singapore. Then the government clamped down on the activities of the FLG. But the govt. also restricts the activities of christian and islamic fundies. So good news for all ;)

        • Jones

          -+-1

          As in, for example: We get pamphlets all the time from the magical Tony Alamo cult compound about 30 minutes from here. They’re famous. Everyone has heard of them. It’s exciting to get their pamphlets on the wall. But who really cares enough to read them? We all know they’re “bad” from everything we’ve heard. We all know that to associate with them would probably not be a good thing or have a good outcome for us. We get pamphlets all the time. But I don’t know shit about their cult, and neither does anyone else.

          • LT

            -+

            hey, that’s not kind. Those are just innocent people being persecuted. That word — cult — is just hate propaganda. think about it — if the chinese communist government is going to drag people out of their homes in the middle of the night, they need a way to explain it to the neighbors…they need a way to make people say ‘I don’t care about them’.. when yesterday they were their child’s schoolteacher, or the girl next door. It is dehumanizing, see?
            Actually, I think I’ll post this to everyone. Because it’s not originating from you, after all. Good luck with everything.

        • -+

          So essentially this group is no better or worse the Jahova witnesses?
          I agree that free space should be given to religious groups. But I am grooving with the Colonel’s long opinion on this as it applies to government allocation of resources in issues such as this.

  16. John Li

    -+-4

    I remember that a seminar was held at USC (Univ. of S. California) several years ago about internet in China. One of the audience asked the Chinese delegate members how he got those articles of New York Times from China. Chinese delegate answered that went over the GFW (great fire wall) by a software called freegate and he did not know who created it.
    These software are the major tools for Chinese internet users to go cross GFW and get the independent news from western media. Even though only 5% of total Chinese internet users know about these tools, the truth can be easily spread out by these 5% to all over China through internet. Funding GIFC can save billions of dollars of US money in weapon making, and avoid a war.

    • -++1

      Sorry, I’m not really sold on the idea that funding GIFC will help America save billions in weapon making and avoid a war.

    • Jones

      -+

      Yeah, I’m not sure I get that part either.

      • John Li

        -+-7

        Right now CCP is increasing its military power much more than enough to defend itself. Their target is the US. When 9.11 happened, many Chinese were cheering, which can be seen on the internet blog in China.
        With the breaking through of GFW, Chinese can learn the truth of the world abandon the ruling of CCP in China. Chinese and American will be friends and no need for developing more powerful weapon to destroy the human being. A new democratic China will let Chinese enjoy the freedom that American have.
        It the interest of American to keep the peace in the world and a small amount of investment in developing tools to breakthrough GFW can save billions of dollars in military expenses.

  17. Kathy

    -+-7

    Chinese people are the subject of China’s mass distorted media. They live in China and they do not have a choice. The Washington Post staff that wrote the article and called F*l*n G*ng a cult is clearly under the influence of China’s mass distorted media.

    F*l*n G*ng is a mind and body cultivation practice. The practice teaches and requires its followers to practice “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” in everyday life. It is a peaceful spiritual practice, why “cult”?

    It is about time for the free world to help Chinese breaking the internet barrier installed by China’s government so people in China have a chance to develop a more balanced view of the world; it is good for the world too. Fair and justice should beat “fear of China” any time.

    Our Statement Department is capable of handling any objection from China, so no worry!

    • lolz

      -+-1

      Why do some people view FLG as a cult?

      Time magazine has an article on this exact topic actually:

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,165166,00.html

      “Not much is known about L* H*ngzh*, 48, the man who created F*l*n Gong in 1992. He worked as a grain clerk in northeast China’s Liaoning province. He played trumpet in a troupe run by the forestry police in neighboring Jilin. And then he wrote a very odd book that affected millions.

      Li’s rambling dissertation, Zhuan F*l*n, has only added to accusations that F*l*n Gong is a cult. Li writes he can personally heal disease and that his followers can stop speeding cars using the powers of his teachings. He writes that the F*l*n G*ng emblem exists in the bellies of practitioners, who can see through the celestial eyes in their foreheads. Li believes “humankind is degenerating and demons are everywhere”extraterrestrials are everywhere, too and that Africa boasts a 2-billion-year-old nuclear reactor. He also says he can fly. “

  18. lolz

    -+

    Just found an article on Foreign Policy giving advices to people on How to become an Internet Warrior. The middle part of the article made a reference to stuff in this article.

    http://neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/05/12/how_to_become_an_internet_freedom_warrior

    “Meet a group of weird Chinese engineers who are equally confused about the “Internets problem” but are convinced that they can solve it through more engineering. Don’t question the viability of such approaches: engineers know better. Ensure their solution solves the wrong problems, lacks transparency, and will convince everyone in Tehran and Beijing that they need to double their incarceration rates for bloggers. Verify that the engineers are as excited about 1989 as you are, albeit for different reasons. Make sure they have some bizarre political or religious affiliation that would make your partnership look extremely odd and geopolitically suicidal. Toy with the idea of giving them funding but decide otherwise, pissing off everyone and their uncle in DC.”

  19. -++1

    Got love when that whole “Faith Based Charity” Idea comes back to bite hard in full Karmic action.

  20. John Li

    -+-5

    I think the US government should encourage anyone to create such tools to breakthrough the Great Fire Wall in China. I wish Google and Microsoft can create their versions too and compete with GIFC.
    The funding to this project should go to the people who can do this job better. It has nothing to do with the religion and race.

  21. Damjan

    -++1

    Custer mentions that funding an FLG affiliated organization caused some concern in the White House. We also know that there was pressure from American interests to fund the FLG.

    At some point the White House staff tasked with this decision asked herself, what does the White House do to minimize political risk? How can we avoid a potential diplomatic relations dispute with China, and avoid a domestic political challenge? At some point she had to conclude there was no option guaranteed to do both. So which one should she pick?

    No donation guarantees that China is happy. But, no donation also opens up the door for domestic ridicule from the conservative right. A no also leaves little room to the imagination for interpreting intent. It inevitable leads to a wingnut split.

    By giving a donation the White House has more control over its political destiny. It can use various characteristics of the donation to signal intent – size, timing, which bank account it was placed in, and I’m sure there are many others.

    The chosen sum, 1.5 million dollars, is a very small sum in the context of geo-politics, and it’s a relatively bigger sum when transferred over into the American domestic arena. It could be, therefore, interpreted as both a capitulation to China as many here are interpreting it to be a slap in China’s face. This duality holds true for how it might be interpreted by those following the issue domestically.

    So the evidence in this article points to a choice that both reflects a lot of judgment and one that reflects not enough judgment. It comes down to how you see the world. Politically, it’s probably just where the White House wants to be – sitting right on top of the divide.

    • Damjan

      -+

      correction

      It could be, there­fore, inter­preted as both a capit­u­la­tion to China as many here are inter­pret­ing it to be, *AND* a slap in China’s face. This dual­ity holds true for how it might be inter­preted by those fol­low­ing the issue domestically.

  22. chea

    -+

    Hello,
    Stuart said most everything that needed to be said. However, i would add that the CCP is vicious across the board to people…F*l*n D*f* must be really a GOOD thing if the communist government is so threatened by it. Historically, communism has been terrified of freedom of thought. religion etc..

    Communism is a horrible bight on any land, the world and people…just read the history of any communist country.

    F*l*n D*f* is not a state run thing, neither are the free Christians, Muslims, Tibetans..and they are all being killed and vilifed for their beliefs.

    If F*l*n D*f* can break through the Golden Shield I say GO FOR IT! , and applaud the US government for the $1.5 million.

    China’s communism (or any communism) is a blight on people, the land and all life.

    Also, to worry about “upsetting” Beijing “the whining bully”, is never a good reason to not take a stand or do something that does upset them if it is good for freedoms and the world

  23. chea

    -+

    Hello..I do DISAGREE with stuart’s stance …I misread the name on another email….my original concept which I stated is that FLG certainly should get the money…and the Chinese government and communism as a whole is something to NOT be supported no matter what

  24. J. Zhang

    -+-2

    I have a final comment. I have asked Custer if I can repost his emails, and if given permission I will make a blog with our email discussion. I think the points we covered raised a number of important questions over the whole F*l*ng*ng issue.

    I have one final thing to write. It is an attempt to explore the issue from a less fraught perspective, by altering the context a bit and doing a thought experiment. Imagine that this is a country (middle-eastern, maybe) that persecutes homosexuals. It spreads anti-homosexual propaganda, saying that homosexuality leads to AIDS, makes people go crazy, makes them kill each other and themselves, etc. Further, this government arrests homosexuals, sends them to labor camps, executes them, and tortures them in an attempt to force them to renounce their homosexuality. And this country also spreads its propaganda worldwide, using the community newspapers of its Diaspora citizens to defame homosexuality, making representations to local governments of foreign countries, urging them not to attend or support homosexual events, keeping homosexuals out of parades, and so on and so on. After a few years homosexuality is thoroughly taboo among citizens of that nation, including the Diaspora, and because of the clout of this homophobic government, in fact, a number of westerners interested in that country also begin parroting the anti-homosexual propaganda (often in more subtle ways than the regime, though.)

    The homosexuals in that country start to band together and protest against this. Homosexuals around the world do so, too. They distribute information inside that country to tell the citizenry that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, that the propaganda they have received through TV 24 hours a day are all lies, and that, actually, homosexuality is practiced around the world. Homosexuals outside that country start up newspapers and TV stations of their own, partly to advocate for their cause. This country practices strict censorship of the Internet, and it controls all domestic media. One small group of homosexuals develops a powerful set of anti-censorship tools and starts distributing this software. On their website, of course, they state that they are homosexuals, and include some basic information about homosexuality, including a rebuttal of the lies of the regime that is persecuting them.

    It turns out that the software they have developed is actually extremely powerful, that the majority of the uncensored internet activity in their country is done through that software, and that other citizens under authoritarian regimes are also benefiting from it.

    In this circumstance, funding these people will surely anger the regime that hates homosexuality and is persecuting them. Should that be a reason not to fund them? Would Custer say that, since the citizenry of this nation is thoroughly indoctrinated in anti-homosexual propaganda, we should not fund the homosexual software engineers, because they are vilified in their home nation and it may mean that people don’t want to use the software?

    This is almost precisely the situation with F*l*ng*ng. It is a slightly ironic example in that F*l*ng*ng’s morality is opposed to homosexuality, but apart from that it is a most apt equivalence.

    Custer raised three objections to this. They are that homosexuality is “(1) not a choice (2) not an “organization” and (3) not political”. I find these particularly weak arguments. My response is that, firstly, how is it relevant whether the orientation in question, whether F*l*ng*ng as a spiritual preoccupation, or homosexual as a sexual one, is a choice or not? It is utterly irrelevant. Further, one could argue that for F*l*ng*ng followers, their faith is not something they can simply switch on or off. Secondly, F*l*ng*ng is clearly as decentralized as homosexuality. There are homosexual communities in certain cities, just as there are F*l*ng*ng communities. One can be a homosexual without telling anyone, just as one can practice F*l*ng*ng without telling anyone. Both are personal ‘orientations’, the adherents to which choose to interact with one another on their own terms, engaging in a variety of collective activities to represent themselves as individuals and as a group. There’s no central organization, but homosexuals have started a variety of NGOs to represent their views and interests on different fronts. Thirdly, as for the political objection, these two orientations are as political as each other. That is, not political at all, or highly political, depending on where you stand. Both seek to expand their rights in certain jurisdictions, and interact with political bodies in a variety of ways in order to do so. For homosexuals in the West, this is often in the form of societal recognition, the normalization of their sexual preference, the ability to marry one another and to adopt, equal rights, etc. For F*l*ng*ng followers it is in the form of an end to persecution and vilification in China. I suspect that Custer is keen to show that F*l*ng*ng and homosexuality should not be viewed on the same terms because he is biased against F*l*ng*ng, and is unwilling to apply his tolerant liberal standards to what he views as a “batshit crazy” religious group. He supports the CCP’s attempts to curtail F*l*ng*ng in China, though of course objects to their chosen means of doing so. Generally speaking I find his position hypocritical, discriminatory, and distasteful, but I also think the denial of the analogy between F*l*ng*ng and homosexuality, insofar as they are entities composed of individuals engaging in these interactions with political bodies, is especially weak.

    So my basic point behind this is just an attempt to flesh out which of the views expressed by Custer and co. are simply anti-religious prejudices against F*l*ng*ng, and which are an acceptance of the anti-homosexual (no, anti-F*l*ng*ng, sorry!) propaganda spread by the Chinese government. Custer even cites the CCP’s claim that F*l*ng*ng’s eschewal of modern medicine lead to deaths and therefore they should be stopped. Yes, just as homosexuals spread AIDS, right?

    For anyone without a bias, I think the only consideration is whether the F*l*ng*ng group’s tools are the best. Several insiders who have been working on the issues for years seem to think so. That is merely an empirical question, the truth of which can be discovered with recourse to the evidence.

    The sense of the realpolitik considerations, such as how and whether it would anger the Chinese, the amount to give, the timing, etc., can be more properly dealt with if swapping “F*l*ng*ng” with “homosexuality”. If you have a different thought about the correctness of the action depending on the group, it means you are biased. Consider that the regime in question would also be upset if you gave the money to the homosexual software engineers. Should that impact on the decision? And, for sure, giving that group money will increase the legitimacy of how that group is viewed by citizens of the repressive country, Diaspora citizens, and people around the world. I also think this is why some people are opposed to it. It is a step in the direction of normalizing F*l*ng*ng, which Custer seems not to like.

    If there is a flaw in this argument, please feel free to point it out to me. I can be contacted at 12jjyz at gmail dot com. I have written enough here. I will include the full discussion between myself and Custer (if given permission) on a blog, and perhaps come back here to link it. If you got this far, thanks for reading. I hope my comments have added to the discussion.

    • -++3

      J Zhang,

      It is an attempt to explore the issue from a less fraught per­spec­tive, by alter­ing the con­text a bit and doing a thought exper­i­ment. Imag­ine that this is a coun­try (middle-eastern, maybe) that per­se­cutes homo­sex­u­als.

      The thought experiment would be useful if you can explain how we can fairly equate homosexuals with the FLG, apart from the fact that both are persecuted. Criminals are persecuted too. So far, your argument here is simply appealing to anyone who is against persecution of homosexuality, but that may be unfairly blurring the issue because the reasons against or for FLG and homosexuality are different.

      This is almost pre­cisely the sit­u­a­tion with F*l*ng*ng. It is a slightly ironic exam­ple in that F*l*ng*ng’s moral­ity is opposed to homo­sex­u­al­ity, but apart from that it is a most apt equivalence.

      It is helpful to point out the similarities of the persecution perpetrated against and suffered by the FLG and homosexuals. It would be more helpful to honestly discuss the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the reasons behind such persecution. I get the feeling you’re doing your best to paint a David & Goliath situation, but apart from size, how are you demonstrating that the FLG is David and the Chinese government is Goliath?

      A terrorist can see himself as the David against the American government’s Goliath too. How people take sides in this issue should be a consideration of the position and arguments each side has for their opposition against the other.

      Custer raised three objec­tions to this. They are that homo­sex­u­al­ity is “(1) not a choice (2) not an “orga­ni­za­tion” and (3) not polit­i­cal”. I find these par­tic­u­larly weak argu­ments. My response is that, firstly, how is it rel­e­vant whether the ori­en­ta­tion in ques­tion, whether F*l*ng*ng as a spir­i­tual pre­oc­cu­pa­tion, or homo­sex­ual as a sex­ual one, is a choice or not? It is utterly irrel­e­vant. Fur­ther, one could argue that for F*l*ng*ng fol­low­ers, their faith is not some­thing they can sim­ply switch on or off.

      I’m very sympathetic to your contention that faith is not something we can necessarily switch on or off. But to be fair to Custer, he’s arguing that homosexuality is nature, whereas the specific belief in FLG is nurture, that homosexuality is something one is born with, whereas FLG is something one subscribes to upon conscious consideration.

      Sec­ondly, F*l*ng*ng is clearly as decen­tral­ized as homo­sex­u­al­ity. There are homo­sex­ual com­mu­ni­ties in cer­tain cities, just as there are F*l*ng*ng com­mu­ni­ties.

      No, it isn’t as decentralized as homosexuality. The spread of FLG is through human dissemination. Is homosexuality? Do you think homosexuality is a belief-system that must be propagated by human communication? People don’t suddenly discover that they believe in the tenets of FLG, but people in every major society on Earth have discovered that they’re simply attracted to their own sex.

      Thirdly, as for the polit­i­cal objec­tion, these two ori­en­ta­tions are as polit­i­cal as each other. That is, not polit­i­cal at all, or highly polit­i­cal, depend­ing on where you stand.

      Second sentence is very astute. First sentence I’m not sure I agree with. This is, however, the closest you come to addressing the Chinese government’s political concerns with FLG. I wish you’d go further.

      I sus­pect that Custer is keen to show that F*l*ng*ng and homo­sex­u­al­ity should not be viewed on the same terms because he is biased against F*l*ng*ng , and is unwill­ing to apply his tol­er­ant lib­eral stan­dards to what he views as a “bat­shit crazy” reli­gious group.

      Maybe you should address why he thinks the FLG is a “batshit crazy” religious group. I don’t understand how you can accept the FLG’s moral opposition to homosexuality without at least trying to understand Custer’s opposition to what he considers “batshit crazy”. He IS biased against the FLG, but he has reasons for them. His job is to explain his reasons and argue why they are warranted and legitimate. Your job is to show that his reasons are unwarranted and illegitimate. This means addressing them, not just claiming that they are.

      I also think the denial of the anal­ogy between F*l*ng*ng and homo­sex­u­al­ity, inso­far as they are enti­ties com­posed of indi­vid­u­als engag­ing in these inter­ac­tions with polit­i­cal bod­ies, is espe­cially weak.

      As you can see above, I think your analogy is weak. A better analogy would be American communism and communists in the McCarthy Era but even that one is fraught with non-equivalence. I’m not saying there are no similarities, but the fact is that there are a lot of similarities in everything. What is key here is not the similarities but the differences. It is the differences that Custer accepts one but not the other.

      There is a chocolate cupcake and a pile of shit before me. Both are brown in color, have odors, and are technically edible. Hell, there are people who are categorically adverse to both for various reasons. Why do I personally accept the cupcake over the shit?

      You’re going to say my analogy is wrong, but that’s pretty much what Custer is saying about your analogy. So, you need to go back to the last premise both of you agree upon and then try again if you seek to convince him or others in opposition to you.

      So my basic point behind this is just an attempt to flesh out which of the views expressed by Custer and co. are sim­ply anti-religious prej­u­dices against F*l*ng*ng, and which are an accep­tance of the anti-homosexual (no, anti-F*l*ng*ng, sorry!) pro­pa­ganda spread by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

      Not very intellectually honest of you to suggest that Custer’s opposition is either anti-religious or because he’s brainwashed by Chinese government propaganda. This is the exact same shit that CCP propagandists and Chinese hypernationalists use to “discredit” their opponents. Maybe I should offer an analogy of how the Chinese government and FLG are similar? And then suggest everyone should be against both?

      Custer even cites the CCP’s claim that F*l*ng*ng’s eschewal of mod­ern med­i­cine lead to deaths and there­fore they should be stopped. Yes, just as homo­sex­u­als spread AIDS, right?

      Well, homosexuals have and do spread HIV. Sure, that’s not usually their intent, but insofar as they practice unsafe sex, they most certainly have spread HIV. The mistake of anti-homosexual people was to target homosexuality instead of unsafe sex, which is not part of homosexuality. To what extent is rejection of modern medicine associated with the tenets of FLG? If some FLG members want to execute their own Protestant Reformation to separate some tenets from other tenets of FLG into a new branch of FLG that involves less elements that many people find questionable, by all means. Think of the issue of jihad and Islam. Some argue that jihad is part of Islam, whereas others say, no it doesn’t have to be and it isn’t as it is applied by Islamofascist terrorists. Think of the persecution Muslims face.

      It is a step in the direc­tion of nor­mal­iz­ing F*l*ng*ng, which Custer seems not to like.

      Curious, how did you feel about internationals steps taken in the direction of normalizing relations with
      the PRC in the 70s-80s?

      If you got this far, thanks for read­ing. I hope my com­ments have added to the discussion.

      Thank you for commenting.

    • lolz

      -++1

      “This is almost pre­cisely the sit­u­a­tion with F*l*ng*ng. It is a slightly ironic exam­ple in that F*l*ng*ng’s moral­ity is opposed to homo­sex­u­al­ity, but apart from that it is a most apt equivalence”

      Yes, it is highly ironic. The FLG people who have demonstrated prejudices and ignorance against homosexuals are now using the prejudices against homosexuals (inflicted partly by FLG nonetheless) to argue that prejudices against FLG is bad.

      FLG’s current status in the media as a somewhat kooky cult is much self-inflicted.

      1) FLG leader L* H*ng Zh*’s Times Magazine (not exactly a communist propaganda rag) interview revealed him to completely nutty. It must be difficult for the interviewer not to crack up during the interview.

      http://www.time.com/time/asia/asia/magazine/1999/990510/interview3.html

      2) While FLG rightly criticizes the Chinese government for non-transparency, FLG itself is completely non-transparent when it comes to revealing who exactly is running the show. Any attempt by outsiders to do so would be accused of aiding the Chinese government. In other words, FLG advocates free speech to criticize anyone else but itself.

      3) FLG members are typically in your face and come off as having victim complex. They are aksi extremely rude to everyone and anyone who is not sympathetic to their cause. The responses posted by the FLG members in this message thread easily attest to this.

      All of these things I have listed have little or nothing to do with Chinese government, it has everything to do with FLG leader and its members. Also, it should be obvious that no one here is for censorship in China. There is however a lot of people who think giving money to a FLG affiliated organization is a bad idea. FLG folks should be more truthful and benevolent (apparently this is one of the things which FLG people should have mastered) when confronted with the most basic question like “Who is the leader of this group and who decides what morality the group is preaching” (and no the docs on FLDF site does not answer these questions). When confronted with these questions the FLG people simply accuses those asking these questions to be Chinese government spies. To any sane person such paranoia only adds to the suspicion that FLG is a crazy cult.

  25. Clark Kowk

    -+-1

    It is clear that Department of State will be funding a company which has been developing software for the voiceless to breakdown the firewall built up by the Chinese Communist Party. There is no reason to question the personal belief of the company’s employees. In other words, the employees’ practice of F*l*n G*ng doesn’t turn the company into a religious group.

  26. Hugh

    -+-3

    If I am a staff in US government and I get my paycheck every month, can I say US government is funding F*l*n G*ng? No, US is paying me for my job.
    I think same things apply here to GIFC. US is buying Internet penetration services and these services happened to be provided by F*l*n G*ng (.i.e it is like US is paying me for my job, but I happen to be a F*l*n Gong practitioner). It is not the money to support F*l*n G*ng.
    The decision to award a federal contract to a company for its Internet circumvention tools is based on strict criteria that have to be meant. One of those criterion is NOT F*l*n Gong membership! It is based on measured performance in the past among other criteria. if some people that believe F*l*n Gong developed technology that can break through the internet censorship, why should State Department discriminating against them ? we should give them the money if they can do the job we want ,

    • lolz

      -++1

      ” if some peo­ple that believe F*l*n G*ng devel­oped tech­nol­ogy that can break through the inter­net cen­sor­ship, why should State Depart­ment dis­crim­i­nat­ing against them ?”

      Not sure why some people don’t like this post but IMO this post contains a very reasonable argument for the US government to invest in GIFC. When the government invests in a company for political purposes, should the criteria to include the company’s affiliations? I think the answer should be yes.

      The problem also goes back to FLG. As an organization it is completely nontransparent. When people say that GIFC has no special relations to FLG, who has the authority to confirm or deny this? One of the FLG folks on this page said that FLG doesn’t even have a central command. Who then can be sure that the GIFC leaders will not use this fund to advertise FLG or to promote FLG using the tools themselves?

      • Jeremy

        -+-1

        “The prob­lem also goes back to FLG. As an orga­ni­za­tion it is com­pletely non­trans­par­ent.”

        This statement wasn’t well thought out. F*l*n G*ng is completely transparent. Everything taught in FLG is displayed to the world free of charge…

        examples: f*l*nd*f*.org, clearwisdom.net, f*l*ninfo.net, etc. those sites link to more sites that link to more sites… all uncensored, unabridged. All of the teachings and all of the experiences that people have while practicing are displayed on those sites for anyone who wishes to see them.

        Q. “Who then can be sure that the GIFC lead­ers will not use this fund to adver­tise FLG or to pro­mote FLG using the tools themselves?”
        A. Because we can’t. It’s been said repeatedly that anyone who collects a fee is not a practitioner of F*l*n G*ng. Check those sites I just posted it’s written over and over, we absolutely cannot collect a fee to introduce or teach FLG to anyone.

        The software is not a “F*l*n G*ng” software. It’s anti-censorship software. It contains zero content on FLG in the software. It just so happened that the engineers of the software were FLG practitioners and very interested in freedom against censorship.

        “One of the FLG folks on this page said that FLG doesn’t even have a cen­tral com­mand.”

        …”central command”?! Hold on. F*l*n G*ng is a cultivation practice. We do exercises and meditate. We pay attention to how we treat people and constantly try to find our own shortcomings. We are NOT some type of militia or freedom force and even anything political.

        Honestly, I have been practicing for 5 years. I have a normal job, a wife and kids. I am just an average guy. The only reason people have such an extremest point of view about FLG is because of a large propaganda campaign that Jiang Zemin started 11 years ago. The Chinese Government actually created a branch of government specifically to eliminate F*l*n G*ng. That’s how afraid of free thinking the Chinese Communist Party is.

        Anyone remember the Persian Gulf War? Prior to practicing FLG I met a woman from Beijing. we somehow got on the topic of the Gulf War and she got angry. Why? Because the Chinese (state controlled) media only showed the US as being baby killers during that war. She actually thought we attacked them. This is the kind of strange mind-control games that the Chinese Communist party plays with it’s own people. They even have communism in the preschool and 1st grade books. We all know how they censor Barrack Obama speaking directly to the students in China.

        Anyway, I just to point out a few things. Thanks for reading.

  27. J. Zhang

    -+-3

    Clark, you make a most sensible point. And it is with that example of common sense that I will now withdraw from the discussion.

    Much of what has been said is simple bias or willful ignorance. Apparently Custer, and others, think that actions the Chinese government has taken to suppress F*l*ng*ng are justified because F*l*ng*ng infringes on other peoples’ rights. A lot of the discussion is clearly 混淆是非.

    The facts of F*l*ng*ng and the persecution are widely available. Some of them are listed in the article I linked (I wonder if Kai Pan read it?) Most are, in fact, even in the wikipedia article on the topic. My final comment would be to urge everyone to read those two documents, and become acquainted with the basic facts of the case. The rest, I think, are ideological disagreements. But that presents the final trouble. Many of the things Custer has said are obviously false, not backed up by facts, and are biased against F*l*ng*ng (such as his claim that F*l*ng*ng infringes on the rights of others in China, and that’s why it was persecuted) — in that case, it’s a matter of ideology taking precedence over facts, which I have no response to.

    On the funding issue, Clark said it best. But because the individuals who founded and worked for the organisation receiving the funds were F*l*ng*ng members (and not, for example, homosexuals), much of the dispute came down to the nature of F*l*ng*ng. That led to some people expressing openly bigoted and spiteful views against this group.

    • Yun-Zhen Lin

      -+-3

      I agree with Zang. The money is not given to the religious group. It’s giving to the best people which our gov’t think can do the job. The person happened to believe in FLG. What if he or she is Christian or Catholic? Let’s not point our arrows at them, they deserve a fair chance like all others, if not, aren’t we being prejudice? Many groups of people had been persecuted in history like African Americans, Jews, Christians, Irish….Persecution happens becuase of prejudice and judgement. peace to all!

  28. Grayson

    -+-1

    Geez, get a life or do some research. The software created by F*l*n Gong practitioners is the best in the world. Ask any Iranian who used Ultrasurf or Freegate during the protests last summer. The world might never have known Neda’s face or name had it not been for them. They deserve a heck of a lot more than $1.5 million. Supporting innovative ways to provide people with little slices of freedom is in this country’s best interest. Also, the software developers are not representatives of F*l*n G*ng. They are just good at their jobs, and you owe them an apology. Exercise some more judgment before slinging around your empty opinions.

  29. Nancy

    -+-5

    We Chinese people have already been using their software for over 5 years to see outside and truths, we benefit so much from their sacrificed great jobs! They deserve the funding!

    F*l*n G*ng practitioners believe in “Truthful, Compassion, Tolerance”. Please support F*l*n G*ng practitioners who are so selflessness to devote in FREEDOM.

  30. Angela Byers

    -+-4

    I have many friends in China and I know a lot of facts that they don’t know only b/c they are blocked by the Government, to help the people there in China , the only way is to help them to get the truth in the world. and this is also for the long term interests for our country, America , never forget this point. It should not a question who to fund for the internet freedom, as long as it works well and it can help, why not F*l*ng*ng? Only b/c you are afraid of offend them, the chinese government ? Only because you want to beg something from them ? Please remember : wolf are wolf, they will never change their eating-meal nature even though you bow to them.

  31. Alfred

    -+-3

    It is a long due great deed for the US government to do and not like this article said: it is a terrible something, oh, oh, it will piss CPC off, so what? The evil will piss off anyway if you are not evil and do want to do evil with them. At last U.S. government got its head cleared up.

  32. John G. H.

    -+-3

    AT the present times, Chinese human rights are very bad, Chinese Communists tell lies and cheat good people and officers in the whole world. F*l*n G*ng promotes people to have a healthy mind and body, but Chinese Communists still persecute F*l*n G*ng practitioners disregarding human rights and their own constitution.

  33. te9808@gmail

    -+-4

    They did a good job in internet freedom. They deserve more than 1.5 million.

  34. A.Chen

    -+-4

    F* L*n D* F* Is GREAT!
    The principles of F*l*n D*f*, also expressed in English as
    Truth-Compassion-Forbearance

  35. Dun.

    -+-3

    To the Mr Writer:
    If you think give people true information and freedom is wrong, you must be believeing in Communism.
    If you wish to get benefit from the Chinese Communist Party, by posting misleading articals. Your plan is already FAIL. They will easily dump you after your lies been exposed, you might even be in a nice planned car crash.
    So wake up now, supporting the Chinese Communist Party = to SIN against almost all the people now living in China, they suffering from lies every day n night.

  36. Laura Huang

    -+-2

    People need human rights, including Chinese people.

  37. VirginiaRead

    -+-3

    Yes, it is definitely a good idea since computer scientists that practice F*l*n G*ng have already been effective without any outside support. And as far as the name calling goes, the Communist Party made up the words “evil cult” to justify torture, forced-labor and killing of innocent people. There is nothing wrong with F*l*n G*ng. Just because the Communist Party uses name calling doesn’t mean it is true.

  38. VirginiaRead

    -+-3

    Probably all of us have heard some type of anti-F*l*n G*ng propaganda due to the fact that Chinese people have been saturated with it.

    I believe The Epoch Times was founded to cover the genocide in China. Genocide? Yes genocide. Courts in both Spain and Argentina have called the persecution against F*l*n G*ng genocide.

    This article, though written by The Epoch Times, is well documented with independent sources http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/34696/ about the slander campaign and its effectiveness.

    As long as we repeat Communist propaganda about F*l*n G*ng we are aiding in genocide. I would urge you to think twice before attacking ANY group of people.

  39. Angela

    -+-3

    Internet freedom is very important for people all around the world. As a Chinese, I know the internet blockage in China is very bad and people can only read communist controlled information. The only software that can unblock the blockage is developed by the group you mentioned in the article. Communist have spent billions dollars to try to kill the way that is developed, but it could never succeed. You can see how precious the software is and how God have appreciated this effort and supported this group all the time.

  40. Amy

    -+-3

    Why is it a terrible idea? I am a Chinese and as far as I know, F*l*n G*ng teach people to be good and be considerate. And after practicing F*l*n Gong, a lot of people get healthier and healthier. My mother is a good example of this. In reality, my family is quite happy to see my mother’s physical and mental change after practicing F*l*n G*ng. Her health condition improves a lot and she becomes much tenderer than before. It is an evil doing for Chinese Communist Party to kill their people and spread rumors about F*l*n G*ng. In order to let Chinese know the truth about F*l*n D*f*, they fight for internet freedom. And they (the oversea F*l*n Gong practitioners) are not doing this for their own benefits but for saving the persecuted practitioners in China. They hope that more people can help stop the persecution after they know what F*l*n G*ng exactly is. I am upset to know that this author considers it a “terrible idea” to give money to this group. In fact, I think it a “great idea” for the US to support F*l*n G*ng. It is a way of showing that the U.S. government is really caring about human rights not only within their own country but also about other areas.

  41. Tony

    -+-2

    House Resolution 605
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-605

    Recognizing the continued persecution of F*l*n G*ng practitioners in China on the 11th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party campaign to suppress the F*l*n G*ng spiritual movement and calling for an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture F*l*n G*ng practitioners.

  42. Sa Min

    -+-4

    All countries are inter-dependent. When any governing party treats it’s own people in an extremely cruel, unreasonable, and unacceptable way, we do have the responsibility to do something to ensure the humanity in a global way and to prevent the damage extends outside that country.

    We are all aware of the human-rights related problems in China. We applaud this action of U.S. State Depart­ment. This will help improve the situation in a practical way.

  43. Jackson

    -+-1

    The US government is wasting tax payers money on stupid and evil F*l*n G*ng! What’s the point of supporting the stupid and the evil?

  44. M Knapp

    -++1

    The American government keeps getting these “separation of state and church” reasons not to use government money for any kind of religious group. Now, they’re giving money to FLG, a religious group. Major contradiction.

  45. M Knapp

    -+

    Wow, if the US government will pay for software development, maybe I should go into software business. If this software is really the best in the world, it should be a real money maker, even if it has to be on China’s black market.

  46. O_Q

    -+-2

    All the people knows the CCP employ a lot of spy and networkers, they spread fake thing on internet. Who knows what is ture or false?!

    The most important thing is FLG exposed the CCP’s crimes, this is good for china’s people and the other countries. China’s situation is very poor, they have no human right . rule of law and corruption goverment.

    I am very happy to see China have freedom . rights and real wealth for themselves.

  47. Andy

    -+-1

    Freedom of using inter net is the most important part of human rights. Dictatorship governments always use lies to cheat the people in the country. To tell the truth is the key to help them.

  48. -++2

    For all the pro and con agruements about FLG – ponder this:

    FLG in alot of aspects is like Amway – yet, Amway is free to conduct business in P.R. China. Funny how these things work out.

  49. Lucio A.

    -+

    The peaceful spiritual movement of F*l*n Gong in China has been under severe persecution for over 10 years now. In spite of this it is alive and growing thanks to the high integrity of the practitioners that follow the principles of TRUTH, COMPASSION, TOLERANCE. These principles are the the fondamental of FLG and are inspiring many good peoples inside China and abroad. The practitioners of FLG are also well known for their communications skills and the ability to bypass the internet firewall the Communist regime has built to hide the truth and disseminate lies to the 1.2 billion people subject to the vicious and brutal dictatorship. In recent times FLG internet servers that are capable of bypassing the huge Chinese internet firewall, have helped numerous other democracy movements (like in Iran for instance) to bypass their internet fire wall blockade that exist in their country. Even Google has left China to avoid the censorship that was imposed by the regime. It seams to me a good things for our government to help support freedom and democracy where it is the most at risk by giving support to those skilled group that are most capable and are working to keep bad governments in check and at the same time by opening up the internet free exchange of information safeguarding our liberty from the dangerous influence of growing totalitarian powers (like China) in the world.

  50. Augusto

    -+

    F*l*n G*ng is a cultivation system to develop mind and body. Its principles are “TRUTHFULNESS, COMPASSION AND FORBEARENCE”, and of course, it is giving the highest moral values to everyone who follows it. Its practice are thought in more than 70 countries, in more than 40 languages. Just visit and learn by yourself.

Continuing the Discussion