Li Hongzhi

1951 -

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

country of citizenship:  People's Republic of China
languages spoken, written or signed:  Chinese
occupation:  religious leader

Li Hongzhi (Chinese: 李洪志; born 1951 or 1952) is a Chinese religious leader. He is the founder and leader of Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa, a United States-based new religious movement. Li began his public teachings of Falun Gong on 13 May 1992 in Changchun, and subsequently gave lectures and taught Falun Gong exercises across China. In 1995, Li began teaching Falun Gong abroad, and settled as a permanent resident in the United States in 1998. Li's Falun Gong movement gained significant popularity in the 1990s, including in government and qigong circles, but was suppressed by the Chinese government in 1999 after it was officially accused to be a doomsday cult. According to Freedom House, "Today, Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong live under constant threat of abduction and torture. The name of the practice, its founder Mr. Li Hongzhi, and a wide assortment of homonyms are among the most censored terms on the Chinese internet. Any mention in state-run media or by Chinese diplomats is inevitably couched in demonizing labels."Li has been also associated with performance arts group Shen Yun ("Divine Rhythm"), and the media organizations The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty Television, which operate as extensions of Falun Gong. They have promoted Falun Gong's philosophical beliefs and unfounded conspiracy theories. Li has stated that he believes extraterrestrial aliens from other dimensions walk the Earth and are responsible for introducing technology, war, and immorality. Li says that he is a being who has come to help humankind from the destruction it could face as the result of rampant evil. When asked if he was a human being, Li replied "You can think of me as a human being." Source: Wikipedia (en)


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