Statement on China and Falun Gong

In order to dispel misconceptions that may have arisen in ICSA's ongoing dialogue with independent scholars from various countries, Falun Gong practitioners, and Chinese scientists and government officials, ICSA wishes to make three points regarding the controversies involving Falun Gong and the Chinese government.

First, ICSA upholds every person's right of freedom of religion and worship, but is concerned about the use of manipulative techniques and undue influence to diminish the freedom of choice and freedom of mind of a group's members.

Second, ICSA urges the Chinese government and Chinese scholars and professionals to respond constructively to reports by well-respected international human rights organizations that the human rights of members of Falun Gong and other religions in China have been systematically violated. The physical brutality and other human rights violations described in these reports should not be tolerated.

Third, reports in the Chinese press and elsewhere that ICSA has branded Falun Gong a cult are false, as are reports that ICSA has said Falun Gong is not a cult. Although individuals associated with ICSA may hold various opinions on this subject, ICSA as an organization has not taken a position on the issue. Our Web sites emphasize that lists of groups on which we have information are not lists of "cults." For more information on ICSA's concerns about labeling and definitional issues, see its topic page on definitional issues.

Approved by the ICSA Board of Directors on 23 April 2004.