Li Chang: We all fooled by Li Hongzhi
He compiled and published Li Hongzhi's first Falun Gong book.
He set up all the overseas tutoring stations of Falun Gong and managed to have Research Society of Falun Dafa successfully registered.
Since Li Hongzhi went abroad in 1995, he became the chief leader of Research Society of Falun Dafa in the mainland of China.
He is just Li Chang. As a former favorite of Li Hongzhi and a leading figure in Falun Gong, Li Chang used to be completely faithful to Li Hongzhi and crazily believe in Falun Gong, and Li Chang used to think that he would work for Falun Gong wholeheartedly for the rest of his life.
Li Chang graduated from Nankai University as a student of science and technology. By the time he was enforced with residential surveillance on July 20, 1999, Li Chang has been a member of Communist Party for 39 years and 20 days. However, just for the sake of Falun Gong, Li Chang decided to retire two years earlier than expected from the Ministry of Public Security. Then Li Chang has been a national cadre of division level.
In order to defend Falun Gong, Li Chang directly plotted and commanded "April 25" beleaguerment of Zhongnanhai by Falun Gong practitioners, which shocked the whole country and the world. The former besiegement of Beijing TV Station was also organized and launched by Li Chang.
In September 2006, Li Chang of 67 years old recalled that period peacefully and reasonably. He remarked, "I am guilty. I have to be responsible for what I have done."
If he was not in the prison uniform, Li Chang would just look like an ordinary grandpa who was living next door and looking after his grandson. And he looked more like a learned man. Last year, he would feel dizzy from time to time because of unstable blood pressure. This year he felt better. Because he was suffering from age-related early cataract, Li Chang would sometimes wink his eyes hard. Li Chang said with smiles, "I am healthier and better than last year."
Li Chang usually pays close attention to his health. In fact, he was involved in Falun Gong just because of keeping healthy.
In 1991, Li Chang returned to Beijing from Hainan where he was sent to help the establishment of Hainan Province. He didn't feel very well. So Li Chang in his fifties began to practice Qigong. He explained, "I am not interested in any kind of sports. Qigong is very mysterious to me. I feel practicing Qigong is better than taking any medicine." In 1992, Li Chang attended the first round of Falun Gong tutoring classes held by Li Hongzhi in Beijing. Since then he gave up all the other Qigong and specialized in Falun Gong. Li Chang said, "I listened to each class very attentively. Every time, I would bring a portable tape-recorder and a notebook and made notes carefully." Li Chang's diligence and earnestness had impressed Li Hongzhi greatly.
Because of his special social status, Li Chang was soon arranged by Li Hongzhi to be in charge of many affairs. At the beginning, Li Chang only functioned as an assistant to Li Jingfeng, first important disciple of Li Hongzhi. At that time Li Jingfeng was the chief leader of Falun Gong in Beijing. "Later, Li Hongzhi broke up with Li Jingfeng and his brother Li Jingchao. So Li Hongzhi intended to find a Beijing native to be his helper. Besides, taking into account of my job and status, he thought I would help him efficiently solve many problems. Then I was put into the important position." Li Chang did not disappoint Li Hongzhi. He actively set up Beijing tutoring station of Falun Gong, which was the first station of this kind in China.
Li Chang also helped Li Hongzhi to publish his first book. Li Chang said, "Every famous Qigong master has got a book to spread his own ideas, origins and postures. But Li has only got a booklet about Falun Gong. So I encouraged him to have a book published in Beijing." Li Chang recalled, "So I played Li Hongzhi's video tapes one section by another, transcribed all he said and revised it repeatedly. When I was on vacation in Beidaihe, I finally compiled a copy and sent it to Li Hongzhi. Later this was published and entitled 'China Falun Gong'".
Li Chang admitted that he was rather superstitious. As a result, he thought "truthfulness, compassion and forearance" in Falun Gong were in consistent with "honesty, kindness and beauty" in Chinese traditional culture. And he could be compatible with the superstitious ideas spread in Falun Gong. He said, "Though I majored in physics, I am not an out-and-out materialist. As for the stories that gods or Taoists could go into the heaven, I don't believe them all, but I am really convinced to some extent. I don't think I am totally superstitious. I admit that I believe in some superstitious ideas, such as fatality and comeuppance."
Li Chang also admitted that he dared not hold any doubt at Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong. He said, "At that time, any famous Qigong masters were taken for granted that they must be supernaturally powerful. We haven't reached their level, so we can't challenge what they taught was true or reliable. Therefore, since Li Hongzhi spread his ideas so firmly and confidently, we would think that he must have unusual reasoning and cognition. Of course, this is a kind of blind worship. But at that period, even at any periods, if you practice a branch of Qigong, the master will first tell you to let go of what you cannot understand and warn you not to practice Qigong while having doubts on your mind."
Li Chang continued with a sigh, "It is said that only if you believe in Qigong firmly, you can make it work. Otherwise you will get nowhere. Therefore, any Qigong masters as well as Li Hongzhi will urge you to follow what they have said without any doubt."
In fact, with its expansion, Falun Gong has gradually added some new functions, such as practicing Falun Gong could help you become gods or go into heaven. Li Chang said, "When I first contacted Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi only taught his Qigong ideas and postures. He has not mentioned how to become gods through Falun Gong. Approximately since 1995 or 1996, Falun Gong has been renamed as Falun Dafa. This new title made great difference. Formerly Falun Gong was only considered as a small branch of Chinese Qigong. But Falun Dafa referred to one special supernatural way to make you become gods. That means Falun Gong is different from any other Qigong."
Li Chang explained, "Falun Gong was changed to Falun Dafa because each Qigong should have its origins or bases. For example, what does Tian Ruisheng's Qigong originate from? It is said that Tian is the reincarnation of weasel and obtains all his energy from a divine weasel. So Tian usually told his followers to practice his Qigong in the bright places instead of in the dark places or at night, for weasels don't want to be related with darkness. Therefore, Li Hongzhi had to perfect his ideas and add new terms to promote his status."
However, at that time Li Chang did not totally agree to some practitioners' understanding of Falun Gong. He said, "Some practitioners tend to apply Falun Gong to any field. For instance, they think they have got the ability to predict the weather after practicing Falun Gong. I take such kind of words as nonsense and such kind of persons as idiots."
In 1999, Li Chang was accused of organizing cult to destroy social stability, employing cult to incur people's death and illegally getting national secrets; and he was finally sentenced with 18 years imprisonment and 5 years depriving of his political rights.
Li Chang's reaction was, "It's hard for me to accept this result."
Li Chang said, "Recalling my life, I have the courage to say I have been responsible for my work and my family. Since I was involved in Falun Gong, I believe in it and love it deeply. I have been readily busy with Falun Gong affairs. I have spent all my time having meetings or discussions about how to perform or spread Falun Gong. Even during the holidays of Spring Festival, I would only stay at home on first day. I have done all for Falun Gong voluntarily and I had thought to contribute the rest of my lifetime to Falun Gong."
But as an old Party member, especially after he watched the TV program "Who is Li Hongzhi and What has Li Hongzhi done", Li Chang changed a lot, "I felt very depressed. I had to obey the decision made by the Party Central Committee. So I expressed that I would break away from Falun Gong and not practice it any more." Later, Li Chang reviewed clearly Falun Gong's development from the early tutoring classes to widely spreading and to "April 25" besiegement. He has provided much detailed information to the special investigation group.
Li Chang felt hurt a lot after he watched the TV program "Who is Li Hongzhi and What has Li Hongzhi done" and after he got to know what Li Hongzhi had done after "April 25" affair.
Li Chang said, "The TV program 'Who is Li Hongzhi and What has Li Hongzhi done' helped me know more about Li Hongzhi. Take his identification card as an example. Li Hongzhi told us that there was a mistake in his old identification card. So I together with several other practitioners went to Chinese Qigong Researching Association to defend Li Hongzhi's new birth date."
"Li Hongzhi explained to us that his birth date was mistakenly recorded when he joined the army. We thought that this kind of mistake was very easy to occur. So we told Li Hongzhi's excuse to other practitioners and the public. Now I come to know that I have defended his lie and helped to spread his lie. So I was also deceived by Li Hongzhi."
"Li Hongzhi came back to Beijing on April 22. We met on April 23 and talked about the besiegement in Tianjin and Tian'anmen and the following arrangements." Li Chang always held that what he had done for Falun Gong was frank and openhearted. So Li Chang said, "What we were doing at that time was open and known to all. Even during the period when I was enforced with residential surveillance, I told the special investigation group that I might have some wrong ideas, but I would not hide or deny any affairs, I would not exaggerate or belittle a single matter. What I am doing and what is on my mind are open to the outside. I am not afraid to be known by others. I hope more people can know me clearly and truly." So the frank and straightforward Li Chang could not understand why Li Hongzhi totally denied that he had returned to China and plotted the beleaguerment of Zhongnanhai. Li Chang felt greatly disappointed at Li Hongzhi.
"Maybe in Sydney or somewhere else, I can't remember the place. It must be in Australia. When Li Hongzhi was giving instructions to Falun Gong practitioners, he was asked by some foreign journalists whether he knew the plot of 'April 25' and whether he returned to China at that time and he said 'No' firmly. What a stupid lie! It knows to all that you should have a departure card and entry card. This practice is universal in any country. What is the use of telling lies? Your cards are the best evidence." Li Chang said angrily, "I don't think it necessary to tell such a lie. I don't know why Li Hongzhi denied everything."
Li Chang was very sad, "In the past I have been holding great respect for Li Hongzhi. But from that moment my mind was greatly disturbed."
"In fact, Li Hongzhi and I almost had no conflicts except that he considered me to be a little too politically minded." Li Chang said, "Almost all the Qigong masters would fall out with their followers over the matter of money. But there is no such quarrel over money in Falun Gong because there is one disciple wholly responsible for the finance. In fact, all the money obtained from tutoring classes finally belonged to Li Hongzhi alone."
Li Chang said, "But for us leading figures in Falun Gong, most of us have spent much money of our own for Falun Gong. For example, I have contributed about ten thousands Yuan. Ji Liewu, in my estimation, may have spent more than 10 thousands Yuan, may be 50 thousands Yuan. It is the same case with Yao Jie. Some had their own companies, so they could afford great contributions. Some could apply for reimbursement in their working units. But as for me, being a government official, I neither had high income nor some ways to apply for reimbursement. I have sacrificed for Falun Gong too much."
(Kaiwind, September 26, 2006)