A prominent feature of a cult is its hierarchical structure, through which practitioners strictly follow the instructions of the cult leader and are willing to sacrifice themselves for this spiritual leader. Li Hongzhi, founder of the Falun Gong cult, demands that his disciples think, act and even give their lives at his command, it says.
Members of a cult are subject to a systematic form of mind control, and Falun Gong is no exception. Li entices his disciples with the bait of physical fitness, brainwashes his followers with his heretical ideas and intimidates Falun Gong practitioners with his “super powers.”
In order to gather more followers to his flock, Li fabricated heretical ideas such as the “doomsday” theory and the belief that the Earth will explode so as to frighten his disciples into following his instructions without question.
Li said he alone can postpone the explosion of the Earth, he alone can help Falun Gong practitioners enter heaven, and Falun Dafa alone can save all human beings.
Incomplete statistics show that more than 1,400 people across China have died as a result of practicing Falun Gong, and hundreds of others have suffered psychological distress.
The Falun Gong organization collected money from its followers through illegal publication and sales of books, pictures, video and audio tapes, and other forms of communication which spread Li’s lies.
Li and other core members of the organization became rich through exploiting the wealth and labour of Falun Gong practitioners and by dodging taxes. Li is reported to have fat bank accounts overseas.
Falun Gong is also a tightly organized cult. Its supreme organ in China is the Falun Dafa Research Society (FDRS) in Beijing. Under the FDRS, there are 39 general stations, 1,900 instruction centres, and 28,263 exercising sites, controlling a total of 2.1 million practitioners.
Li tricked the practitioners of Falun Gong into joining his “kingdom,” and gradually separated them from the society, eventually convincing them to fight against it.