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Organ Harvesting, Falun Gong, Tibet, etc. (The WEST vs. CHINA)


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11 hours ago, Arauna said:
18 hours ago, JW Insider said:

China does not like Western journalists

That is an understatement.

True. You understated my statement, below, in order to call it an understatement. The full statement was:

18 hours ago, JW Insider said:

China does not like Western journalists who are intent on telling lies and making stuff up.

There are literally thousands of Western journalists in China who are not lying and not making stuff up. But many are just there to pretend to legitimize stories that are not true.

Fortunately, with the Internet you can now watch thousands of videos from many Chinese persons in every province, some complimentary of their government, some openly critical. But most have nothing to do with the government. You can see pictures of protests. You can see videos from persons discussing the government openly, in Chinese. But, with enough of these, and enough discussions with actual Chinese persons, there and abroad, you can get a better picture of what China is really like. There are also Americans and other "Westerners" who live in China and love it, some who defend it, some who don't like many things there, and some who have gone there just to make fun or display their racism. (See, for example, all Youtube videos by SerpentZA and laowhy86.) But what they end up showing inadvertently is often more important than their own political views or personal motives.

11 hours ago, Arauna said:

I watched a debate today with Chinese government officials. It was held at oxford university - where several scholars ( including a German one - their research is thorough) and people who know what is going on in China as well as Chinese citizens, who asked questions about family members still in detention.

I'll listen to it. Where can I find it?

When I quoted the source saying that The Epoch Times was blocked in mainland China, you said:

On 9/2/2020 at 6:48 AM, Arauna said:

You have to please explain to me why all western media and western newspapers are purged  in China  (unless cleaned up) because they are too western.

I wonder what you would think if some busybodies came into your house just to report back to your congregation elders that you were an evil, Satan-worshiper, for example. Perhaps they think they have a right or duty to report this because one time they found you had a saved video about the Illuminati, the next time they found a video about Yoga, and the next time they found you had music from quasi-religious classical composers. I think that you would be more careful about who you allowed in your house.

On 9/2/2020 at 6:48 AM, Arauna said:

You also have to explain to me why all foreign students (students who studied abroad were now taken into custody in Hong Kong) or are followed by secret police to ensure they have not been infected by western ideas of freedom or religion.

First, you should explain why only a very few students were taken into custody, when so many were causing willful destruction and violent rioting. I'm sure it's easy to find sources that claim that this was true of all students in a certain category. That doesn't make it true. But even when I looked at sources that publish anti-China propaganda on a daily basis, I find a different story here. Here's the first Google entry on a relevant search:

  • Jul 29, 2020 - Li Kwai-Wah, a senior superintendent in the Hong Kong police force, speaks during a ... All four “claimed to be students,” the tweet said. ... Tony Chung, 19, is taken into custody by plainclothes police July 29 in Hong Kong for ...

The ellipses were already there. My Amazon Fire tablet gives me the Washington Post for free, but I didn't take the time to look up the article. But I do see several just like this on above. With all that facial recognition surveillance you would expect a million arrests, not just a few activists here and there.

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I have learned to live with it, and perhaps even acquiesce that it must be that way. Of course, I don’t know what examples you may have in mind, but... Do you think I can persuade anybody that the (largely) atheist anti-cult movement is behind our woes in Russia? No. It is all the machinations of Babylon the Great is all anyone wants to hear. We are so hung up on Babylon the Great that we do not recognize that she is mostly licking her wounds these days, and a powerful atheist faction has a

Not quite having the resources just yet to plow through all of the above, just skimming it quickly instead, understand that what I say are but preliminary impressions. I know next to nothing about FG. Are they secretive? Are they uncomfortably effective in spreading their message? Do they withdraw from “normal” society? Do they learn to lead “double-lives?” Do they mislead the regular people as to their true mission? Do they have some offbeat (and therefore ‘dark’) beliefs about what the fu

This is more and more true as the world gets more divided, more partisan, and more nationalistic. Pride in one's own cause, nation, religion or ideology causes one to be more apt to defend one's POV with bias, and condemn, with bias, those of an "opposite" POV . It happens to the best of us, and by that I mean that there have been several documented examples even within and among our own religion.  Even sites that rarely say anything good about JWs have acknowledged

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7 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

ho are intent on telling lies and making stuff up.

So if you report anything negative it is making up stuff....up . lol.    Yes that sounds very totalitarian to me.  "It is the official party view or nothing else."   Deny, deny, deny.... one gets away with it because you cover up and deny.   Why did they not allow UN to investigate Corona?  UN was not allowed to go to the facility where is was "alleged " to have started... were they affriad they would make stuff up?

Do you guys "listen" to your self talking when you apologize for these murderers?  and the secrecy?  Satan is a deceiver and loves secrets.  Evil flourishes where things are kept a secret....  do you understand this?

11 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

and some who have gone there just to make fun or display their racism. (See, for example, all Youtube videos by SerpentZA and laowhy86.

They lived there for 15 years..... they speak the language fluently and understand all the nuances. You are also pushing the truth in your statement.    I am not a fan of them but watched one of their videos which spoke of their fear and why they left China. 

You know what - I am done - Read some books which tell the truth - not commie propaganda.

 

this comes from Wikipedia:  a leftie publication:

Falun Gong[edit]

Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that combines meditation and exercises with a moral philosophy, emerged in China in the 1990s; by 1999 the number of practitioners was estimated in the tens of millions.[17][18]  (that tranlated into a threat to CCP)

In July 1999, following a large-scale demonstration to request official recognition, Chinese authorities initiated a nationwide campaign to suppress the group, and created the 610 Office to oversee and coordinate the elimination of Falun Gong.[19][20][21] The suppression that followed was accompanied by what Amnesty International called a "massive propaganda campaign",[22] (lies against falon gong) as well as the detention and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Falun Gong adherents.[23][24] Former detainees reported that in some labour camps, Falun Gong practitioners comprised the majority population, and were singled out for abuse.[25][26][27] Under order from Beijing, practitioners are subject to coercive “reeducation” and torture, sometimes resulting in deaths.[28][29][30] Due to limited access to victims and labour camp facilities, however, many specific reports of abuses are difficult to independently corroborate.[21]

Organ transplantation in China[edit]

China has had an organ transplantation programme since the 1960s. It is one of the largest organ transplant programmes in the world, peaking at over 13,000 transplants a year in 2004.[31] Involuntary organ harvesting is illegal under Chinese law, although under a 1984 regulation it became legal to remove organs from executed criminals with the prior consent of the criminal or permission of relatives. By the 1990s, growing concerns about possible ethical abuses arising from coerced consent and corruption led medical groups and human rights organizations to start condemning the practice.[32] These concerns resurfaced in 2001, when The Washington Post reported claims by a Chinese asylum-seeking doctor that he had taken part in organ extraction operations.

By 2005 the World Medical Association had specifically demanded that China cease using prisoners as organ donors.[33]In December of that year, China's Deputy Health Minister acknowledged that the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners for transplant was widespread – as many as 95% of all organ transplants in China derived from executions,[34] and he promised steps to prevent abuse.[5][35]

it has not stopped...... 

 

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On 9/2/2020 at 6:48 AM, Arauna said:

What will they do if they catch a JWs with literature?  All house Christians are now being arrested and neighbors are encouraged to snitch on neighbors who are suspiciously religious.  So according to you, if this happens to a witness it will be slander of the government..... not reality.

You probably don't realize it, but you have hit upon a small part of the evidence that Falun Gong is lying. Falun Gong makes statements that are demonstrably untrue. Yet, Witnesses have been arrested in China, along with people of many different Christian-claiming faiths. None of them are claiming what Falun Gong claims.

I had never heard of them until about 10 years ago when they demonstrated outside my office in Manhattan, reenacting some bloody organ harvesting and beatings which got everyone's attention. I took several of their glossy brochures, and promised them I would look into it. One of their brochures had actual pictures of the organ harvesting, a woman claimed, and I asked how they got these actual pictures out of China in full color, from three different angles, and why there is an English sign in the background and some people that look like shoppers. She got angry that I would question it. And I was pretty much pushed aside. The picture, of course, wasn't even supposed to show anything but a London "reenactment" but this woman was either convinced it was real, or wanted me to think it was. But it made me alert to the possibility that this was all faked to gain converts and donations. If so, it was definitely working.

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Just now, Arauna said:

So if you report anything negative it is making up stuff....up . lol.

Yikes. I just pointed out that people report legitimate complaints about the Chinese government, even protests in mainland China, and this is what you get from that?

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1 minute ago, JW Insider said:

never heard of them until about 10 years ago

Well look above what wikipedia says about them about ten years earlier than that... there were accusations after they were declared illegal in the country. 

Did you know that all mention of Teniaman Square is removed from all websites in china  and it has been erased everywhere?    (1984 - speech control)

Is this normal and justified  behaviour to you?  if it is - then you are a totalitarian at heart and did not even know it....

 

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1 hour ago, Arauna said:

Did you know that all mention of Teniaman Square is removed from all websites in china  and it has been erased everywhere?    (1984 - speech control)

Perhaps, we can even discuss the Tiananmen Square protests under this topic, too.

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25 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Perhaps, we can even discuss the Tiananmen Square protests under this topic, too.

Be careful not to portray it as the Festival of Booths.

Forgive me—I’m just being punchy. It’s a value-added discussion between you two, I appreciate it, and I have no problem with the notion of media misportraying things. They certainly do elsewhere—maybe here, too. I am amazed at the tenacity of the both of you in chasing it down in such detail. And, of course, I have used it to my own purposes, that with so many so intent on muddying the waters for whatever reason, it is nearly impossible to get to the bottom of anything.

I can picture myself as a defender of Trump, if I let myself do it, but I don’t. Defending him against reports that are overblown, misrepresented, or downright false, which I am often tempted to do and sometimes yield to that temptation,  it inevitably triggers an impression of shedding neutrality. Suffice it to say for now that I enjoyed his speculation on why the California hair salon operator might have ratted on Pelosi: “Well, she probably treats him like she treats everyone.”

But now she says she was set up. Who can say? Sigh—here, too, people do nothing but muddy the waters.

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On 9/2/2020 at 11:26 AM, Anna said:

EX- members: How much of their stories are the whole story? Are they telling us all the facts, or only select pieces?

I admit, I should not have been so sweeping in my distrust of ex- member's reports. I have read quite a few stories from ex-members of various religions and organizations, and it is clear that many are not completely factual because anger, disappointment, bitterness, and other negative emotions cloud what really happened, and their story becomes more of an attack on the religion/organization in question. There are a few that I have read that are not like that, and this is one of them: https://medium.com/@Ben_D_Hurley/-10677166298b

Interestingly nowhere does the author mention organ harvesting. I don't know whether this was because at the time of writing this was not known, or whether the author didn't want to focus on something that was unproved, or whether it was inclusive of the statement he made about " Chinese government’s ridiculous and violent campaign against Falun Gong"

 

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Not sure if it's OK but I am posting the story here. If not, the moderator can just delete it. There is a link to it in my previous comment. 30 minute read.

Me and Li — Why I left Falun Gong after being a devoted believer for a decade

by Ben Hurley

*"I wrote this story about three years ago, shortly after I made the decision to have nothing more to do with the meditation group Falun Gong. It’s taken me some time to summon up the courage to publish it. My apologies if some of the references are a little dated. I have published fiction on this blog but want to clarify that this particular article is completely true, except for the names of people which I’ve removed.

I think it was Lynn’s* death that finally made me realise it was time to leave. I’d seen the writing on the wall about a year prior when I saw her at a yearly “Fa conference” for believers of Falun Gong, otherwise known as Falun Dafa, to exchange experiences and grow spiritually together. An executive assistant at a Queensland valuation firm, I’d gotten to know her over the years in various events as a warm and level-headed lady who had time for everyone. But I’d noticed she had developed a bulge on the side of her head and I was trying not to look at it when I talked to her. I saw, or at least I believed I saw, some pain in her smile. She was probably questioning herself over and over again what “attachments” she hadn’t let go of that were causing this sickness to spread through her body and endanger her life. I wanted to tell her to just go to a hospital, although I wasn’t at this stage resolute enough in my gradual return to logic. Another part of me feared that by looking at it I was acknowledging it — something you don’t do with illnesses in Falun Gong because Master Li Hongzhi teaches that his pupils don’t get illnesses. He can cure you but only if you don’t have any loopholes in your belief in him and his teachings. Some people with solid beliefs can actually die due to others around them having flaws in their thinking, Li says. Just thinking the wrong way is perilous when you’re a Falun Gong practitioner.

I later heard through the grapevine of Lynn’s death. The cancer went into her brain and she passed away in extreme pain, probably believing to the end that it was her fault she was in this awful predicament. In a way, I guess it was.

She wasn’t the first Falun Gong practitioner I knew who died from an illness after refusing medical treatment. Another, Sarah*, did some gardening for my mother in Sydney for a while. She got along well with my mum and did a great job with the garden until her breast cancer became too severe. A staunch believer, she took on a number of big roles in Falun Gong organisations in Australia, including president of Free China and spokesperson for the Celestial Marching Band. She held out against medical treatment, finally accepting treatment when it was far too late. She had been spending her days not in a hospital but in pain in the living room of a family of practitioners, unable or unwilling to explain to the outside world why she hadn’t sought professional help. One of her last hurrahs was singing at a Falun Gong event, seated on a wheelchair on the stage. I listened to a recording and the music was cheery and full of hope. Quietly grieving her death, I called her mobile phone and listened to her answering message one last time, her calm and soothing voice, before deleting her contact number. I never told my wife or friends the truth about her death.

That Falun Gong practitioners frequently die from treatable medical conditions is one of Falun Gong’s dirtiest secrets. A lot of Falun Gong practitioners have died this way. I heard about deaths often when I was involved in the community, typically middle-aged or older practitioners dying of cancers they didn’t treat. These cases would come up in group “sharings”, where we would meet regularly and study scriptures together then talk about them. And they would come up on the email lists I was on. Usually it was a request for practitioners around the world to “send righteous thoughts” to “eliminate evil interference” that was causing this person to become ill. Word would quietly circulate later that the person hadn’t made it.

This was one of the Chinese government’s earliest criticisms of Falun Gong — that thousands of Falun Gong believers had died because they had refused medical help for treatable conditions. The Chinese government then went on to launch a whole range of more dubious accusations about self-immolation, murder and terrorism to justify its brutal campaign against the group — a campaign that continues to this day and has killed thousands. Falun Gong practitioners have continually countered that these claims are nothing but Communist Party propaganda. They have come up with ways to explain away Master Li Hongzhi’s very clear teachings against taking medicine. In fact, the Party was right about this phenomenon although I wouldn’t trust their numbers. Even in a more recent lecture, published on Falun Gong website Clearwisdom.net in May 2015, Master Li acknowledges the “many” deaths in the group and lays the blame squarely on those practitioners’ thoughts:

There have been quite a few instances of sickness karma tests, with many people even passing away. But truth be told, if I’m to put it seriously, you cannot tell from the surface how a cultivator is really doing. Of course, such a person will be doing Dafa things like others, but what people see are the outward things, while in reality there are many attachments deep inside, which others cannot see. (Accessed Jan 16, 2016)

I can say confidently that anyone who has been involved with Falun Gong for more than a short length of time will have heard of — or directly witnessed — cases like this. But it’s an extremely delicate topic, uncomfortable even when there are only practitioners in the room. Any believing Falun Gong practitioner will hide this secret from non-believers. They’re not just hiding it because they don’t want their friends and family to know what a bizarre belief they have. They genuinely fear that by revealing it they will be giving someone a bad impression of the practice and damning them to hell.

A lot of medical professionals actually know about this, but for some reason it has escaped wider public scrutiny in the Western world. Maybe the noisy arguments between the Chinese Communist Party and Falun Gong have drowned out a more nuanced discussion of the half-truths and half-lies coming from both sides. I once met a nurse who had directly witnessed a dying Falun Gong practitioner refuse medication in hospital. And a while back when I sought some counselling on a few topics including this one, it turned out my counsellor, who was Taiwanese, had lost an aunt this way. She rode her cancer out to the end without palliative care.


Falun Gong dominated a decade of my life. It began innocently enough with a flier from a Chinese man in the Sydney CBD, which outlined some basic principles of the practice and talked about the situation in China. I went home and read more. I decided to join a local meditation site which went from 5am to 7am each morning, in a park only a block away from where I was living, overlooking Blackwattle Bay in Glebe beneath two giant fig trees. The people who taught me the exercises were friendly, interesting and unimposing. No money exchanged hands, and the materials were available online for free. It resonated with me deeply. In it I saw the spiritual guidance I had craved for so long, seemingly without the evangelical, charismatic bent that turned me off a lot of religions. I was wrong on these points, it turned out, but I guess by the time these aspects became obvious I already was quite devoted to the teachings. The intense workload demanded of every practitioner in promoting Falun Gong isn’t really discussed in the main book Zhuan Falun, but rather gradually unveiled bit by bit in later articles by Li.

I pushed myself with the exercises, eventually working up to being able to sit in full lotus position for a full hour — the desired length of time in Falun Gong exercise tutorials. Unfortunately after a few years, those people who taught me the practice those first days were either no longer practicing or still believing on some level but shunned by the community.

After a while I became involved with the community of Falun Gong practitioners in Thailand while travelling, which is where I deepened my belief. We’d exercise together at Lumpini Park in Bangkok, eat some delicious food, then some would leave for work while others stayed to read for a while.

The reading groups, usually in someone’s living room in the evening, were particularly warm in those early days. I’d cram into a room with mainland Chinese, Thais and visiting foreigners from various parts of the world. We’d all take turns to read paragraphs from Falun Gong teachings aloud in various languages while others followed along in their own languages. We’d chat for an hour or two afterwards about our lives and the problems we were facing.

But perhaps I’m wearing rose-tinted glasses here. When I returned to Australia, my family and friends were struck by how different I had become. I was intense and evangelical, and devoting most of my spare time to Falun Gong activities. My former curious interest in the many experiences the world had to offer had vanished. My social beliefs had transformed from those typical of a left-leaning family to take on a very conservative hue. I had a lot of explaining to do before people reluctantly came to accept the new me. I later observed other new Falun Gong practitioners go through a similar process. They would begin by shocking their family at their sudden change, then gradually learn to live the kind of double life typical of most practitioners. Many would get normal jobs. Most would find they had little in common with non-practitioners (“ordinary people” in Falun Gong parlance) but would maintain cordial relations with friends and family nonetheless, and think of various ways to explain the edge off some of Falun Gong’s less palatable teachings about aliens, how heaven views gay people, the inferiority of other religions and Master Li’s role in saving the universe.


During my time in Falun Gong I was involved in some of Falun Gong’s public outreach projects, with my biggest contribution being to The Epoch Times newspaper. Falun Gong practitioners have launched a range of media companies as part of what they see as their spiritual mission, including New Tang Dynasty Television, Sound of Hope Radio, and the Vision China Times. Their purpose is purely evangelical, although perhaps not in the way evangelical Christians might understand. Converting people to Falun Gong is not a priority right now — that will happen in the future, according to Master Li’s teachings — after an apocalyptic “weeding out” takes place where anyone who holds bad thoughts towards Falun Gong, or good thoughts towards the Chinese Communist Party, will come to a grisly end.

(Clearwisdom has published some very graphic descriptions of this day where practitioners describe visions that Master Li has given them of people being weeded out. “People were screaming in terror,” reads one [Last accessed 23/10/2017). “Mangled, dead bodies were everywhere. Next, the ground split open. Monsters were attacking people.” It goes on to describe the survivors being grateful to Dafa for sparing them.)

So the spiritual mission of all of Falun Gong’s projects is a kind of giant PR campaign to warm people to Falun Gong but not necessarily to convert them, and turn people away from the Communist Party — a representation in the human world of all that is truly evil in the cosmos. This intention is clear in any article in these media that is related to these topics, whether it be the satirical banter of Chris Chappell’s China Uncensored or the more stiff-collared serious journalism of The Epoch Times.

The Epoch Times Australia, English edition, began in the small Summer Hill living room of a Falun Gong couple, where a bunch of followers pieced it together with laptops while sitting on the floor. Somehow our ragtag army, with hardly any media experience among us, managed to put out a weekly newspaper that way. Later the English version joined the more successful Chinese-language paper in an upstairs office by the train tracks in Hurstville — a Chinese-dominated suburb of Southern Sydney. Some of the first editions had some laughable errors. But others weren’t that bad, considering the scant resources. I have no idea where the money came from to print thousands of newspapers a week, or to pay for the Reuters and AAP articles that filled them. Even less to pay for another media company, New Tang Dynasty Television — a satellite TV station. This was understandably kept a secret, since the Chinese Embassy was particularly active at that time in seeking out and pressuring any public supporters of Falun Gong. I was told it was a few wealthy benefactors. Some Falun Gong critics believe it came from the US government. I honestly don’t know, although I do know the editorial guidelines of The Epoch Times were very clear about being sympathetic to the US government.

It was hard work, with many late nights and red-eyed arguments as disagreements emerged over how the paper should be run. But there was warmth and camaraderie as well, particularly in the kitchen where volunteers would cook dinner and make tea for the team.

The prestigious editor position was a dubious promotion. It basically involved giving up your entire life for The Epoch Times, such was the time commitment. Without time to work, have a relationship or raise a family, the editor was typically a single person living off his or her own savings. One editor was a warm-natured and gentle guy who became a good friend of mine. He managed to hold this position for several years and I saw directly what a toll it took on his life, he was just tired all the time. At one point the then heads of The Epoch Times Australia decided to start paying him a very basic wage to meet his living expenses. Later Master Li directly intervened and ruled that it wasn’t OK for Epoch Times staff to be paid with the money that other practitioners had volunteered. My friend was suddenly in debt, and had to pay back the money he had been paid which totalled a significant sum that he didn’t have. Somehow his belief survived, despite this slap in the face after all the sweat and blood he had put into the paper. A few years later it became OK again for workers in Falun Gong media companies to receive a basic payment to allow them to do their work. Unilateral decisions like this were unquestionable, unchallengeable. Heaven had spoken. Continuing to follow Falun Gong involved a kind of slow murder-by-a-thousand-cuts of my free will, my independent logic. They were like tests from Master Li, sifting out the moderates and solidifying the zealots.

Master Li’s fingerprints were, in fact, all over the paper. There was one time when Master Li directly sacked a large number of Falun Gong media workers and appointed new people to take their place. But most of his influence was through a select few close followers who would then transmit his directives through the broader Falun Gong network. It was rarely made clear what, exactly, he had said, and whether it was, in fact, a Master Li directive or rather simply a decision of The Epoch Times board in New York. It was usually just described as a decision from New York.

There were so many examples of this, where any sense of the public’s right to know was trumped by Falun Gong dogma. In the early days of The Epoch Times Australia, we formulated the editorial code after a conference call with the head office in New York. It specified that we should report positively on public figures who had spoken positively of Falun Gong, and avoid negative coverage of these people if they were involved in scandals. We also should avoid positive coverage of people who had spoken badly of Falun Gong or were seen as too close to the Chinese government. Later when the Iraq War broke out we weren’t to question the United States’ involvement. We were to completely avoid coverage of anything to do with homosexuality. There were also some specific people who we absolutely weren’t to cover. One was Hillary Clinton, who was seen as having sold herself out to the Chinese government. Another was Kofi Annan, then head of the United Nations, which had something to do with him being a ghost or devil in another dimension. Jackie Chan and movie director Zhang Yimou were similarly seen as having sold out to the Communist Party. Due to the highly changeable nature of these kinds of directives, and my distance from the group now, I can’t say whether they are still in place today.

One email circular in particular made my blood boil. It dictated to all global Epoch Times staff how they should describe The Epoch Times, be it to the general public or their friends or family. We were not to reveal we were volunteers, as this would project an unprofessional image of the paper. And we were not to draw any association between The Epoch Times and Falun Gong. Rather, we should describe ourselves as staff, and there were suggestions about how we should answer the question about whether or not we were paid, while still adhering to Falun Gong’s teaching of “Truth”. I wrote an angry email over this and ignited something of an email controversy — not my first and not my last. How dare they tell me how I should describe something I was involved in to my own friends and family? And why was it necessary to deny a connection between Falun Gong and its media organisations? The Christian Science Monitor, for example, has shown it’s possible for a sometimes controversial religious group to openly run a respected media publication. Society is surprisingly open minded about this kind of thing if you have nothing to hide.

Later another circular demanded that every single Epoch Times staff member put themselves through an exhaustive grammar and writing course developed by the head office. It was weeks of work for an already highly over-worked (and mostly unpaid) team. And it taught a level of grammar that was technical to the point of being mostly superfluous for most media professionals, except perhaps sub-editors. It was irrelevant how much media experience you already had or how much time you had. It was a “one body” exercise, which is Falun Gong parlance for every believer being on the same page in thought and action. Practical outcomes (or the lack of them) took a back seat to the changes in other dimensions that we were bringing about through these kinds of actions.

One argument I never made in response to these directives might have been: How dare you give me orders when I’m giving you so much of my time for free and asking for nothing in return? But I knew that would have fallen on deaf ears. We were all being paid in “virtue” — a white substance in another dimension that you gain when you do good things and that leads to blessings in this life and the next. We would all later be paid with glorious futures. We all believed that, deeply.

Over time the control over content became increasingly detailed and iron-clad. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the reportage of dance group Shen Yun, which tours the world and performs in some high-class venues like New York’s Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts and London’s Royal Festival Hall. In terms of racking up blessings for your eternal existence, participating in the Shen Yun reporting team was about as good as it got. Every Shen Yun performance was viewed by Falun Gong practitioners as a monumental battle between good and evil in other dimensions, with the manifestation in this physical dimension being a little more mundane. A media team would assemble in a hotel room or apartment somewhere nearby the venue, ready to work through the night. Several reporters would go to the venue and do short interviews with audience members as they came out during intermission and after the show. Positive comments were taken down or recorded on video and then quickly written into articles and broadcast on various Falun Gong media outlets. Each outlet had its own set of standards which had presumedly come straight from Master Li. The Epoch Times had to get one article published online within half an hour of each show finishing, otherwise the battle in other dimensions had basically been lost for the night, and Shen Yun’s entire tour of that country was jeopardised. There was also a quota of articles that had to be written each night, which rose every year. High priority people were written up first — people who were well-known or esteemed in society — with the remainder written up through the night.

Whenever Shen Yun came to town, another team was devoted solely to taking care of the cosmic battle side of things. This team would sit in a room somewhere nearby with crossed legs and right hand held erect in front of their chests, “sending righteous thoughts” non-stop, day and night, to clear away the evil in other dimensions. People with full-time jobs would drop in for an hour or two after work, others would stay much longer, coming in day after day for hours on end. The local “assistant centre”, which was basically the satellite office for the central Falun Gong organisation in each city, would also stipulate that all that city’s Falun Gong practitioners should send righteous thoughts for 15 minutes at certain set times — typically three times each evening. This was in addition to the four global times that had been in place for years, corresponding to Beijing times of 6am, noon, 6pm and midnight.

I would dread the arrival of Shen Yun in Australia every year, because of the expectation that all practitioners there would basically put their lives on hold for the weeks or even months leading up to it to meet all these demands. I became increasingly angry that Falun Gong practitioners, who were already putting in so much of their time, were spending so much additional time sitting in rooms sending righteous thoughts rather than activities with more practical outcomes. I hoped Master Li might eventually inject some reason here in one of his talks, and sure enough in a July 2011 lecture in Washington DC he did address this issue. The problem, according to Master Li, was people like me:

Another thing is, there was a portion of students who sent righteous thoughts as a group [to help the situation]…Clearing out evil is a good thing, of course. Could it not have an impact when so many people were sending righteous thoughts? It did have an impact. However, we need to look at what some people were sending out when sending righteous thoughts. They would be sitting there, palm erect, but their thoughts would not be righteous, “How come we’re taking this approach this year? I did a great job selling tickets last year. Why are they making me send righteous thoughts here when I could be out selling tickets? Why do we have to target society’s cultural mainstream? These tickets are so expensive — who’s going to buy them?!” (Laughter) While it sounds funny to hear this now, that was in fact an extremely widespread phenomenon. Do you realize that with all that being sent out, all around the world it formed into a sticky, glue-like substance, and it took just a very few evil beings to be able to interfere with you. It was not something that you could clear out, and it directly blocked our Dafa disciples’ ticket sales and blocked the Dafa disciples who were sending out true righteous thoughts.

In other words, people who thought it was a waste of time and were resentful while doing it were the problem. Another little piece of my faith died that day. We were talking about a cumulative 100 minutes every 24 hours that we were expected to do this, in addition to the hours of scripture reading and meditation that were crucial for anyone who considered him- or herself a true Falun Gong practitioner. And then on top of this the various projects that every Falun Gong practitioner had a cosmic responsibility to be part of. It was already impossible to get a good night’s sleep, and was getting harder and harder to maintain normal relations with society. This nagging voice deep in my mind became a little stronger — Master Li just wants to keep us all busy and tired.

It became increasingly clear to me as I worked on these media projects how hamstrung they were in achieving any real traction in society. Unable to trust non-believers with the spiritual mission of saving people, and unwilling to allow outsiders an inside view into the machinations of Falun Gong, these media could do nothing but continually draw from a very small pool of Falun Gong practitioners, typically with little or no media experience. And whatever good content they produced (I still feel the Shen Yun dances are beautiful to watch and the original orchestral music is lovely) it was overshadowed by the genuine weirdness of the Falun Gong propaganda inserted throughout, and the eccentricities of the practitioners themselves who had very few societal relations outside the Falun Gong community. In group sharings, for example, groups of Shen Yun ticket sellers would describe sneaking into office buildings without authorisation and working their way through floor-by-floor, desk-by-desk, handing out Shen Yun flyers and pressing people to buy tickets while ignoring requests from security to leave.

I don’t mean to represent Falun Gong as a rigid dictatorship. Some decisions like the above were made in assistant meetings that anyone could attend, although attending them meant giving up additional hours of my already scarce time each week and enduring the guilt trips that often pervaded them about how practitioners weren’t doing well enough and so many of the world’s people were doomed.

But a lot of them came from higher up, and the restrictions and time demands became more and more iron clad. Master Li’s authority was always there — elusive, ever-changing, unchallengeable.


This control extended into the personal lives of the broader Falun Gong community, and gradually I became locked out of the community for not participating to the extent demanded.

Twice when I was involved with Falun Gong, the entire global community was told to switch mobile phones. The first came after a number of practitioners around the world received anti-Falun Gong propaganda messages on their mobiles. The Chinese secret service knew all our numbers, we were told, and could listen in on us at any time. We would disrupt their database if we all changed numbers at the same time.

I did this the first time, and went through the inconvenience of telling all my friends and contacts my new mobile number. A year or so later we were directed to do the same thing again and this time I refused. It doubled as my work number and changing it was simply too much trouble. No problem, I was told, just carry two mobile phones — one for your dealings with the everyday world and one for your dealings with Falun Gong practitioners. Not to mention the expense and the annoyance of constantly having the weight of two phones in your pants, this was anathema to me as Falun Gong had previously promoted itself as a transparent and open group with nothing to hide. Naturally those communicating with practitioners in China should be cautious about security since those people faced threats and arrest if caught…but people like me, really? What on earth did I have to hide? For refusing to change my number, I was no longer welcome to call practitioners on their new numbers and did most of my communicating via email. Some Falun Gong practitioner friends of mine even adopted this strict policy with me, making it very hard for us to catch up.

Changing mobile phones en masse might seem extreme, but here, as in many areas of Falun Gong, there were shades of reasonableness underpinning the decision. It was true that frequently at Falun Gong events we would see stern-faced Chinese men follow us with cameras, monitoring our activities. They would often react angrily or run away when confronted. My mother once received a phone call from a Chinese-sounding woman telling her to stop me from practicing Falun Gong — who was she and how had she got hold of our home number? And then there were the propaganda messages that appeared all at once on practitioners’ mobile phones. And of course the allegations of widespread monitoring from Chinese government defectors like former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin. There was little doubt the Chinese government and its embassies abroad were monitoring the activities of Falun Gong, but it was impossible to say to what extent. Uncertainty bred fear, confusion and zealotry.

Another way I became edged out was through the “experience-sharing conferences” held by various cities and countries each year becoming much harder to get into, and not just because the seats were full. To get a ticket to attend, your local assistant had to vouch that you were a diligent practitioner who regularly attended group readings and sharings. I was extremely busy with my corporate job and looking after my mother who suffered from a degenerative disease. And I saw a lot of these sharings as unstructured, inefficient and wasting large amounts of already scarce time. Attending less than once a week made it hard for me to attend these conferences since I wasn’t deemed diligent enough. By that time I didn’t really care, but it did show to me how far Falun Gong had come in its shift towards an insular and controlling group that demanded a large time commitment, increasingly isolated its members from society and hid its inner workings from outside scrutiny. For the first few years I was involved with Falun Gong, these Fa conferences were open to anyone, whether they were practicing or not, giving a transparent, warts-and-all insight into Falun Gong for anyone who wanted it.

Falun Gong lurched closer and closer to being a structured organisation with an increasingly rigid heirarchy. In a July 2010 article called “Be More Diligent”, Master Li introduced a new directive that nobody was to challenge decisions by those higher up — be they heads of projects or people with positions of responsibility in the Falun Gong organisation — which upturned a previously loose and largely democratic organisational structure.

So, I want to tell you that from this day forth, the main coordinator for each project — the one principal coordinator — is that project’s representative. This holds true for the main coordinator of each region’s Dafa Association as well. He or she is its representative. Whatever it may be that the coordinator does, requires of you, or decides — carry it out unconditionally. (Enthusiastic applause) Starting today.

Falun Gong shifted in many other ways. It began as a group that made no claim against the validity of other major religions, but later Master Li asserted that the gods in charge of other religions had become evil and were interfering with his cosmic mission. He also specified rules for interacting with social groups like Chinese democracy advocates, which Falun Gong practitioners had some dealings with due to a common opposition to the actions of the Chinese government. In the heavily edited 2007 video lecture he released, called Teaching the Fa to Australian Practitioners, he chided his followers like children for opening up and sharing their problems with ordinary people. It’s very difficult for ordinary people to understand us, he said.

And then there was just simply the time commitment which became harder and harder to meet. As I said before, practitioners around the world were required to send righteous thoughts for 15 minutes four times a day — at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 12am Beijing time. This meant getting up at 2am to do it every night, which disrupted my already insufficient sleep. In fact for years I consistently slept around five hours a night, often less. Master Li also frequently made alterations to his past works — often simply changing a few characters to others with slightly different meanings. It wasn’t ok to throw sacred texts like these in the rubbish, so practitioners were expected to go through their books page-by-page and use a razor blade to scratch out the now incorrect characters and glue the new ones over them. Hundreds of character changes in a 300-plus page book meant many, many hours of work. Another impractical and time-intensive directive that we were meant to spiritually grow through.

There was also a list of unofficial precepts that grew, in addition to the official ones like don’t drink alcohol and don’t kill anything. We had to finish all food on our plates or we’d have to eat it all as rotten food after we died. We shouldn’t eat raw meats like sashimi because that would cause resentful living entities to build up in our stomachs. We shouldn’t eat custard apples because they’re shaped like the Buddha’s head.

All up it pretty much ruled out doing things for the sake of doing them, which is where so much of the world’s creativity comes from. Hobbies, exercise, reading, travel — all became hard to justify when time and energy were so stretched. And as I started to gradually distance myself from Falun Gong and began taking these things up again, I battled with a lot of personal guilt and didn’t dare talk about them to other Falun Gong practitioners. Such innocent activities were frowned upon because it was wasting time that should be spent doing the “three things” that all Falun Gong practitioners should to — study scriptures, spread Li’s teachings and send righteous thoughts. Every interaction with someone, even just a chance encounter with a stranger on the street, is a chance to talk about Falun Gong, Li says.

Whether Master Li was living up to his own high standards for practitioners is hard to say. One practitioner who also left the group, William*, went to The Mountain and saw Li for himself. The Mountain is a large piece of land at Cuddebackville in the mountains near New York where Falun Gong-related temples have been built — again a departure from the earlier Falun Gong which claimed it wasn’t a religion for a range of reasons including that it had no temples or places of worship. Li spends a lot of time there overseeing the Shen Yun dancers who live there — mostly kids and young adults. Word has it The Mountain is a place where a wave of new disciples will go to learn Falun Gong after the apocalyptic weeding out.

But William was upset by a couple of things, and this story is interesting because genuine depictions of interactions with the reclusive Li are hard to come by. Firstly, Master Li was drinking a can of Coke. This was an affront to William since Li had always described himself as a man without any worldly attachments or desires, to the point that he was unable to find conversation interesting and couldn’t even tell whether or not food tasted good. Secondly, William saw Li berate the young dancers with a level of anger and intensity that shocked him, which was totally out of line with Li’s own teachings that we deal with people and each other using compassion. (Li’s videoed lecture to Australian practitioners, who had apparently been arguing too much, talked a lot about being compassionate to each other. He delivered it in an extra calm, smiling, slow- and soft-spoken, follow-my-example kind of way.)


Other people have attempted the topic of whether Falun Gong is a cult, so I’m not going to do that here. It’s kind of like a swearword that doesn’t actually mean anything specific to most of the people who use it. But I will make the point that Falun Gong is a much more secretive and controlling organisation than many people realise, it’s not a transparent group. While most of the core teachings are accessible for free on the websites, there are secret teachings and directives that are passed down verbally, and the discussions and forums that were once open to the public are now tightly controlled. Master Li’s published lectures and recent video are not simple transcriptions from the original talk, but rather are highly edited and redacted. All of Falun Gong’s websites, notably Clearwisdom.net which claims to be a forum for practitioners, are tightly curated. Master Li has made it clear that anyone who transcribes or records his talks and spreads them without his approval is undermining his practice which is a grave sin. And he has savagely criticised online Falun Gong-related forums like the Qingxin Discussion Forum where conversations among practitioners took place beyond his control.

While Falun Gong practitioners are technically free to come and go as they please, social pressures and deep spiritual fears become a strong staying force, in addition to social ties like marriages and children with other devout practitioners. Many, having given so much to Falun Gong, have little ties to society anymore and transitioning back would be a scary prospect. And then there is the shame, which I’ve felt deeply, of acknowledging to your friends and family that this thing you’ve talked up for so long has a darker side that you’ve said nothing about.

It’s taken me a long time to pluck up the courage to write this article. It’s a story I haven’t told in full to anyone. It’s not that I feared for my physical safety in writing this, the Falun Gong community isn’t like that. But I feared the judgement from the friends I have who still do it, and I feared being seen as an idiot by non-practicing people I’ve known all this time. I’m not a stupid guy — I’m well educated, I’ve got a good career and generally take a nuanced view of the world around me. This experience shows a childish, naive side of me; how rationality and dogma can exist side-by-side in one person’s head. And I have trouble explaining that to people.

But more than anything I deeply feared that by facing up to what I was seeing and feeling in Falun Gong I would face unimaginable punishment in this life and the afterlife. It was a heavy burden that ate away at me every hour of every day, and I think it can only be understood by others who have held a spiritual belief as deep as mine. The only time I truly felt safe from the consequences of a long list of sins I committed daily by simply going about my life was when I was sitting in meditation or reading Li’s writings. It’s a kind of blood debt Li has carefully cultivated in all of his followers and regularly reminds them of.

Falun Gong and the confusion I felt when I departed from it was probably the main factor that ended my marriage, even though my wife was not a Falun Gong practitioner. I felt like I was starting my life again and re-forming my worldview from scratch. I had to re-evaluate a lot of big choices I’d made. I saw no other way but to leave my old life and live overseas to do this quietly in my own time. I abandoned some relationships and rekindled others. I listened to music I used to like, took up pursuits I used to be into, got in touch with people I used to be close to. It was like re-connecting to a lifeline or a narrative that started to die when I took up Falun Gong.

But it wasn’t a total waste of time. One of the best things I got from my time in Falun Gong was to experience meditation and the clarity and warmth that can come from sitting with your eyes closed and calming everything down. Li doesn’t own that. Meditation makes me feel grateful, small, and motivated to salvage as much attention as I can garner to experience life. You could say I have my own religion now. It has only one follower and I don’t have to explain it to anyone.


Sometimes I wonder how these people think — the many Li Hongzhis that have appeared over the years as gurus, or charismatic salesmen, or just straight-out cons. People who can go at a goal with zero regard for the people they hurt along the way, including their staunchest believers. Li’s writings leap from glowing adulation to ‘stick warnings’ which in essence warn his followers they face eternal damnation if they don’t do what he says. When he delivers them to his followers the ensuing fear and self-recrimination really hurts. I wonder to what extent he actually believes his own teachings. If he hasn’t deluded himself into believing what he propagates, then he must know the extent of the fallacies he is peddling, and that would make him a cynical, nasty person indeed. His flawless confidence creates a kind of safe zone for people who struggle with the many shades of grey in the world. But in reality it’s not a safe zone at all.

It’s hard to explain, and hard for me now to understand, why I believed in such a crazy ideology, and for so long. In the same way it’s hard for me to understand why young people from around the world would give up everything they know and care about and join a repulsive group like ISIS. Their ideology makes no sense to me, the things they do make me sick. But I think I can relate a little to what’s going on in those young mens’ minds: the yearning for clarity, the search for meaning, the desire to belong, the willingness to make immense personal sacrifices for a cause bigger than they are. It’s a very deep place to snag someone, and potentially very dangerous. Logic, education, knowledge, human connection — all these things change from being moderating forces into tools for furthering the cause.

This article is in no way an attempt to justify the Chinese government’s ridiculous and violent campaign against Falun Gong. The many outright lies the Chinese government has told about the group have in some ways helped Falun Gong by giving the organisation a human rights narrative that allows it to not focus too closely on its own practices and beliefs. If only the Chinese government had just stuck to the facts. Falun Gong in many foreigners’ minds is associated with other freedom movements abroad, when in reality Falun Gong doesn’t give a stuff about other groups or about reform in China. In the world view of most Falun Gong practitioners, any movement that is trying to achieve an outcome in the human world — apart from Falun Gong’s various projects, that is — is engaging in dirty human politics.

Unfortunately the sympathy that many uninformed Westerners have towards Falun Gong has led to a kind of exasperated stand-off with a lot of Chinese people who justifiably feel that Falun Gong is just plain silly and that Westerners can never really understand China. This kind of thing drives a wedge between China and the rest of the world which is the last thing we need in an increasingly tense geopolitical climate.

The way Falun Gong defines itself to the public and to its own followers — as a health-focussed spiritual group concerned about human rights — is just not true. It made me less healthy, less happy, less kind, less compassionate. And it made me less truthful — to myself and others. Any spiritual growth that it may once have offered was left by the roadside as it morphed into a giant PR machine for a bullshit cause, exploiting a free labour force of exhausted zealots. Its goal now has nothing to do with meditation, spirituality or improving health. It’s just a political machine — Li’s project to amass power and influence and then shoot for whatever bizarre goal he thinks of next.

Finally I’ve left that sad little man in the dust. Me and Li are finished. And I’ve never been happier".

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Thanks @Anna. Long, but worth the read. It reads like a lot of ex-cult writings, but with a lot of clarity and insight, and leaves me with the impression that it is real. You always should wonder if it can be coming from a CCP member to discredit Falun Gong, for example, but it wouldn't make sense to hurt the reputation of the CCP at the same time. Also, it takes a long time to grow out of a cult, and this has all the earmarks of a true experience in that regard. (I once had several months of studies with a "Moonie" and got nowhere, and to get some of their hard-to-get publications, I once played along with the Scientologists in NYC who wanted to "study" with me. The mindset is clearly spelled out here.)

This person might even believe the organ harvesting happens, but it's odd that he would mention other specifics and "forget" this one which has been the standard narrative for several years before the above was written.

Without saying so directly, I think he does provide several credible reasons why Falun Gong might have felt justified in using that narrative dishonestly. Also, I notice that he implies that it is tied to the way people are converted. If he didn't believe it was true in China, then this was his opportunity to say so:

1 hour ago, Anna said:

The Chinese government then went on to launch a whole range of more dubious accusations about self-immolation, murder and terrorism to justify its brutal campaign against the group — a campaign that continues to this day and has killed thousands. Falun Gong practitioners have continually countered that these claims are nothing but Communist Party propaganda. They have come up with ways to explain away Master Li Hongzhi’s very clear teachings against taking medicine. In fact, the Party was right about this phenomenon although I wouldn’t trust their numbers. Even in a more recent lecture, published on Falun Gong website Clearwisdom.net in May 2015, Master Li acknowledges the “many” deaths in the group and lays the blame squarely on those practitioners’ thoughts:

He admits that Falun Gong members lie to themselves and to others about their own beliefs that probably kill thousands of them. Teaching its members that the CCP itself kills thousands is a counter to this potential cognitive dissonance.

Also, why would Master Li be concerned with persons still having the "sin" of thinking good thoughts about the CCP? Who could have good thoughts about them if they had already bought into the narrative of organ harvesting?

1 hour ago, Anna said:

A lot of medical professionals actually know about this, but for some reason it has escaped wider public scrutiny in the Western world.

To overcome the danger of being scrutinized, they would need to try to find medical professionals who will join them in promoting the organ harvesting narrative. The human rights narrative is necessary and useful for converting new practitioners.

1 hour ago, Anna said:

This article is in no way an attempt to justify the Chinese government’s ridiculous and violent campaign against Falun Gong. The many outright lies the Chinese government has told about the group have in some ways helped Falun Gong by giving the organisation a human rights narrative that allows it to not focus too closely on its own practices and beliefs.

I do believe the CCP campaign against FG is violent in that it probably jails proselytizing members and my guess is that hundreds or thousands have ended up in jail in China. Claiming that the government is the equivalent of Satan surely doesn't help their cause. This persecution creates the initial us/them narrative that is very useful to keep the group "tight-knit" and well controlled by a spiritual leaders. When the CCP lies about them, which invariably happens when local authorities don't quite understand the religious or psychological nature of the group, then the FG leadership (Master Li, living in the United States) now has supposed justification for fighting back with escalated lies. To a degree, it's happened with Moonies and Scientologists, too, as far as I can tell.

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After seeing so many FG reenactments on NYC sidewalks, I can't help it when I look at pictures like this one, to wonder if this is really two policemen taking down an FG member in Tianmanmen Square in 2000. Or is it completely staged by FG members, with a couple of them grinning in the background (and one woman on the right going off to buy groceries?).

https://www.businessinsider.com/dragon-springs-falun-gong-upstate-new-york-compound-photos-2019-9#according-to-the-dragon-springs-website-many-of-those-living-in-the-compound-escaped-from-china-4

Police detain a Falun Gong protester in Tiananmen Square as a crowd watches in Beijing in this Oct. 1, 2000

I'm sure there were arrests, and I'm sure that there was violence. Policing tends to invite persons who try to get away with brutality and torture, and that can't just be in the United States. Perhaps these are "secret police" above. But I can't help but notice that none of the pictures of those who look more police-like depict the level of violence shown above:

220px-TAM_Arrest4.jpg 

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Here is a supposed ex-Falun Gong experience that has about ZERO credibility, and seems to be written by a person who has no knowledge of the appeal of religion at all. Probably a CCP attempt:

http://www.facts.org.cn/c/2020-07-02/1224591.shtml

It's so bad, it reminds me of the Onion. I won't print it out here.

On that same Chinese site, however, there is a fairly good rebuttal to a BMC article that claimed organ harvesting in China:

http://www.facts.org.cn/c/2019-12-15/1036896.shtml

It's written with an obvious bias, and imperfect English. But it still appears to be correct. Here is a portion taking up the rest of the post:

-----------------------------

Wang also demonstrated to more than 100 specialists from over 30 countries, including Germany, Vatican, the US and Australia, how the system works, in order to show its transparency and equity in organ donation and allocation. Once a donor's name is typed into the system, his/her personal information, ID number, consent of organ donation and other information would pump up. And the allocation process of the system were real-time and supervised by multiple institutes, such as transplant hospital and the Red Cross.

He warned that all specialists and scientists should be aware of the trend that political intention is gradually permeating into academic circles.

Huang Jiefu, head of the China National Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee and chairman of the China Organ Transplantation Development Foundation, said that he felt sorry for Lavee, because he could have spent more time on organ transplantation to save people in his country.

"I was invited by the Israeli ambassador in China several times to introduce China's experience on organ donation and transplantation reform, which I believe is the best rebuttal for Lavee," said Huang.

http://www.facts.org.cn/Facts/201912/15/W020200321479383227187.jpg

Foreign specialists at the Symposium on Development of Organ Donation and Transplantation held in Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of the organizer

Jose Núñez, WHO officer in charge of global organ transplantation, told the Global Times that they received the report produced by Lavee, and it was sent to them repeatedly twice a week. "But we didn't respond," said Núñez, noting that China has already provided efficient data with Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation.

Núñez said there's nothing to cast doubt on China's data, those data are efficient. "So anything that comes from the magazine or the scientific journal is just his or her opinion," he said.

Bjorn Nashan, former president of German Transplantation Society and now working at First Affiliated Hospital, University of Science and Technology of China in East China's Anhui Province, referred to Lavee's paper as "scientific misconduct," saying that if the authors have questions about Chinese data, they should first of all ask China to provide such data, but they did not. 

But working here in China since 2016, Nashan said his Chinese patients have various ways of getting advise on organ transplantation. But he was never aware there are secret Chinese hospitals performing illegal forced organ retriaval; and such rumors were being circulated only outside China by those who never visited China.

Except from fabricating rumors about China's organ donation and transplantation achievements, anti-China forces also tried to harass foreign experts; for instance, they tries to stop them from visiting China, and prevented them from voicing support for China in this field.

Campbell Fraser, a professor with Griffith University, told the Global Times that anti-China forces "tried three times to stop me from coming to China, they made representations to my university to stop me. But all they did just made me want to come to China more." 

Fraser said that China's organ donation and transplantation work aims at saving lives, a deity duty that people of the anti-China forces don't really care about. He also urged transplantation specialists worldwide to pluck up and resist anti-China forces, so international cooperation on organ donation and transplantation could be enhanced.

"Chinese model" praised worldwide

Huang said that those malicious attacks also proved that China's organ donation and transplantation work is achieving great success worldwide; otherwise, no one would bother to attack it. 

According to the latest data, from 2015 to 2018, the number of organ donations completed in China each year was 2766、4080、5146、6302 each year, with a rapid growth, and the number of organ donations in 2018 ranked second in the world.

Since the establishment of the green channel for organ transportation three years ago, the transfer time of organs has been shortened by an average of 1 to 1.5 hours, the overall organ sharing rate in China has increased by 7.3%. The utilization rate of organs has increased by 6.7%. The sharing distance of donated organs has been greatly expanded, and thousands of patients with end-stage organ failure have been cured.

The Chinese express was praised by participants during the conference. Núñez, WHO Representative, told the meeting: "China's organ transplant reform has achieved remarkable results in a short period of time, and China's experience can serve as a model for the entire Asian region and the world."

"The biggest feature of the Chinese experience in organ transplantation is the strong support from the Chinese government, which is an example that many countries should follow." These words were from Francis Delmonico, Chairman of organ transplantation task force of WHO.

Huang vowed that in 2021, China will became one of the biggest countries on organ donation and transplantation. To achieve that goal, there's yet something to be done, said Huang.

He noted that it is important to raise people's awareness on organ donation and transplantation. Because China's reform in this field still remain unknown for many people.

Huang also said that China is completing its legal system on organ donation and transplantation; and hopefully a revised law will come out next year.

He also said that at the key point of our organ donation and transplantation development, government departments should form better coordination to enhance law-enforcement, consolidate our efforts and dismiss outside rumors.

 

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      So here's an opinion about it, which focuses on Xinjiang Province (also known as the “Uyghur Autonomous Region”)...

      There’s a lot of background to this, but the basic problem is geopolitical: The US wants to sabotage the growth of China as a world power in favor of the Western model of capitalism and imperialism.

      What imperialist Western elites see as China’s weakest links are its new Belt & Road Initiative (BRI: an infrastructure project to expand high-speed rail, telecommunications, and both dirty and renewable energy worldwide) and its relations with other Asian and Muslim countries (which are increasingly friendly). There has been a “New Cold War” against China since Obama’s/Hillary’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy (of which the TPP and the deployment of THAAD in Korea were a part), but especially renewed now since Trump’s propaganda and trade war. China is threatened by HUNDREDS of US military bases and nukes surrounding it (and Russia, Iran, etc.)!

      The basis for the propaganda has always existed, of course: “Tiananmen Square was a heartless massacre proving the unpopularity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” “Hong Kong is being brutalized by Beijing,” “China is genociding Tibet,” and so on. I think most of these issues are lies — completely fabricated — or distortions of reality not presenting the whole story. The CCP, for example, is one of the most (perhaps THE most) popular political parties in the world, which hilariously perplexes international polling agencies and Harvard researchers time and time again.

      [See “Understanding CCP Resilience” by Harvard University. The writing is biased, but the researchers are forced to admit the fact that the Chinese people — and particularly underprivileged minorities — are in love with the Party.]

      This claim — “China is genociding Muslims” — is no different. The “1 million Uyghurs in concentration camps” and “forced to eat pork” are complete fabrications. They were alleged by one US official, and then some Western diplomats went along with it. Most of the recent “reports” and “statistics” (which extrapolated numbers to ALL of Xinjiang from a localized study!) originate from US-funded think-tanks, usually involving a man named Adrian Zenz. Zenz is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who believes that he has been “led by God” against the unspeakable evil of China. In Western media, when they write “reports show” such and such, find their source; it’s typically Adrian Zenz.

      [See: https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/ ]

      It has not merited an official statement by the UN. In fact, nearly every Muslim-majority country has praised China’s response to the rise of Islamic extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang Province.

      Speaking of which, how did this extremism arise in the first place? One answer is poverty and lack of adequate education. The other is the promotion and funding of Jihadist terrorist groups by the US and the West since the 1980s, first against the Soviet Union, and then again recently in Afghanistan, Pakistan, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and China — all of which have sizable Muslim populations. This includes some fundamentalist propaganda and especially weapons from U.S. allies in Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (but which are now beginning to move closer to China).

      Everybody knows the history, how Obama expanded the wars into Syria and Libya by arming Jihadists, how Hillary admitted we aided Al-Qaeda, and how, going back even further, the New York Times praised Osama bin Laden himself on the cover as our “freedom fighter.” We also don’t need to review the aftermath. We all know how devastating it was, how many millions lost their lives due to the civil wars and US bombs. We also know how many lies we were told, about “weapons of mass destruction” and “chemical warfare.”

      China responded to Islamic extremism in Xinjiang Province — which shares borders with Pakistan, India, etc. — through poverty alleviation, education centers, and arrest/punishment for crimes (such as stabbing) or possessing incriminating materials (propaganda, knives, etc.). Most Muslim countries believed this response to be unprecedentedly good. Pakistan went so far as to say that this should be the “model for antiterrorism.”

      [See also: https://medium.com/@leohezhao/xinjiang-facts-vs-fiction-bdc2aa403c91 ]

      Another thing to research (with a skeptical eye of course) is the 2009 Urumqi Riots in China. These incidents, in which many ethnically Han Chinese people were arrested for retaliating against Muslim violence in Xinjiang, were ugly and brutal, and scarred the CCP and all the peoples of China, especially Muslims. Many Uyghurs also fled China to fight alongside ISIS and Al-Nusra “rebels” (Al-Qaeda) in Syria. This is well-documented! And these are typically the Uyghurs quoted in explosive “news reports” crying “My husband was murdered!!!”

      Some more facts: China has built thousands of mosques, both within China and throughout the Middle East and Africa. How can this be explained? The Uyghur population has nearly DOUBLED since 1990, as minority ethnic groups (like them) are guaranteed certain privileges and exemptions by the Chinese Constitution in order to (as the party states) “combat Han chauvinism.” How is this possible if they are being “genocided”? Road signs and schools use Arabic and Uyghur scripts along with Chinese. Many Chinese and Uyghurs intermarry! Do those sound like “genocide”?

      In short, there’s a real propaganda campaign ramping up. It’s very possible (and very stupid) that a war with China is brewing. The illegal actions against Huawei (the world leader in 5G technology) are yet another example. Unfortunately, our entire social media experience from the top-down is manipulated by elites, the ones who own it and all the other media we consume.

      It is extremely tempting to fall into peer pressure these days and deny real research about this issue because it makes one look like a "genocide denier." Revealing what the research shows makes one seem "evil" for not following what others think. And that is exactly how propaganda works in the modern age, all while the details and research required to become informed are increasingly in the hands of mega-monopolies like Google and CNN.
      Sometimes, one can learn from the mistakes of these same media companies, too. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube can quickly ban someone who get complaints against them for showing evidence that goes against Western propaganda. SkyNews just ran a story about claimed Uyghur torture, and they used footage of prisoners in blindfolds. Embarrassingly, it turned out to be SkyNews' own footage from a few years earlier of a prisoner transfer of Han Chinese, not Uyghurs. It had nothing to do with torture, or Muslims. (Blindfolding prisoners during transfers is common practice in many countries.) The original report knew this, but the footage was re-used to fit Western propaganda. There have been many such examples. Another time it was footage of the U.S. capturing Muslims that had nothing to do with China or Uyghurs. Another time it was footage from Thailand or Indonesia repurposed to supposedly show Muslim Uyghurs in China. People have pointed out mistakes in claiming certain persons were Uyghurs just because they looked like they were wearing Muslim garb, which turned out to be a style from Muslims unique to other countries.
    • By Isabella
      The new flu strain is similar to the swine flu that spread globally in 2009
      A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.
      It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.
      The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak.
      While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.
      As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.
      The scientists write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures to control the virus in pigs, and the close monitoring of swine industry workers, should be swiftly implemented.
      https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53218704
      #swineflu
      #2020
       
    • By admin
      As a person in China... your social credit "score" will go down if you interact with too many others who are in debt.
      This is a radar device for every citizen to avoid being around others or interacting with other citizens who are in debt.
      Scary Big Brother stuff going on in china
       
    • By admin
      President Trump and China President Xi Jinping were one belly-bump shy of a bromance during last month’s trade talks. But now, U.S. and China are back at each other’s throats. 
      U.S. hits first
      The Trump administration voted against recognizing China as a “market economy” in the WTO—a status that would allow China to export goods around the world at cheaper prices than competing countries. 
      What allows China to sell at cheaper prices? For one, government-backed subsidies that enable Chinese companies to trim expenses from their operations.
      But China’s up in arms about the U.S.’ opposition. That’s because after joining the WTO in 2001, it was guaranteed market economy status 15 years later. 
      So naturally, Xi kicked back
      As the world’s steelmakers gathered Thursday to discuss a global oversupply, China crossed its arms and refused to slow down production (or at least, to be the only one slowing down production).
      And that’s an issue, considering the country controls~50% of the world’s supply.
    • Guest
      By Guest
      Tesla is close to securing a deal with the city of Shanghai that would allow the Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker to produce vehicles in China, according to a newly published report by 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Chinese regulations require Tesla to enter into a joint venture with a local company to manufacture vehicles in the country. Having a presence in the world’s largest electric vehicle market is a critical next step for Tesla as it seeks to scale production globally. Tesla has previously shared that it is looking to build vehicles and batteries in China which would allow the company to avoid a 25% tariff on vehicles it sold in the country. Last year, Tesla’s sales in China tripled to over $1 billion, or roughly 1/7th of its total sales.
      [Photo credit: Tesla]


      With China serving as a hotbed for plug-in vehicles and manufacturing, it would be an ideal location for Tesla to lay down the framework for its customers in Asia. China is also home to 1/6th of the world population, and with its ever growing middle class represents a large market for its upcoming affordable Model 3 sedan.
      The Chinese plug-in vehicle market is on the rise, as the country seeks to pivot away from smog producing internal combustion vehicles in favor of clean energy vehicles like Tesla’s Model S and Model X. To support these clean energy vehicles, China has exempted buyers from paying sales tax which can reach upwards of 115% of the purchase price of the vehicle.
      The report by Bloomberg comes on the heels of the announcement that more than 6% of Tesla’s global sales were in Hong Kong, of which 7% of all vehicles sold were Teslas. That will likely change if proposed changes to the EV incentives are put into effect which would nearly double the price of a new Tesla.

      Tesla currently builds all of its vehicles in its Fremont factory in northern California and ships them to customers across the globe, though the other half of its supply chain is firmly rooted in batteries. Production of its newest 2170 lithium ion battery cells – the same cells being used in Tesla’s Model 3 – is taking place exclusively at Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada. Contrary to early beliefs that Tesla would migrate the 2170 cell to its flagship vehicles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. form factor. Building a Gigafactory in close proximity to Panasonic’s existing Chinese factories like its recently opened factory in Dalian, China would drastically cut the length of the supply chain and minimize potential disruptions.
      We have reached out to Tesla for comment and will update this story accordingly as we learn more.

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    • Guest
      By Guest
      Tesla has confirmed that it is now in talks with the Shanghai municipal government to build a Gigafactory and manufacture cars in the city’s tech sector, according to
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . “While we expect most of our production to remain in the U.S., we need to establish local factories to ensure affordability for the markets they serve,” Tesla said in a statement.
       [Photo credit: Tesla]

      Chinese regulations require Tesla to enter into a joint venture with a local company to manufacture vehicles in the country. While Tesla hasn’t announced a partner yet, all eyes are on Tencent Holdings, the Chinese internet company that holds a 5% stake in Musk’s company.
      The EV company has not said which vehicles it plans to produce in China if and when the deal goes through, but the Reuters report cites a supplier source who says the company is considering Model 3 and Model Y production there.
      The company plans to release more finalized plans by the end of 2017.
      Tesla has previously shared that it is looking to build vehicles and batteries in China which would allow the company to avoid a 25% tariff on vehicles it sold in the country. Last year, Tesla’s sales in China tripled to over $1 billion, or roughly 1/7th of its total sales.
      The company currently builds all of its vehicles in its Fremont factory in northern California and ships them worldwide, though the other half of its supply chain is firmly rooted in batteries. Tesla produces its newest 2170 lithium ion battery cells – the same cells being used in Tesla’s Model 3 – exclusively at Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada.
      Tesla shares popped 1.5% at the news of the talks, leading to $382 in midday trading.
       
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      via .ORG
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      You can already hail an autonomous taxi in Singapore. And Tokyo. And Moscow. China doesn't want to be left behind in this AI party, so Chinese Internet giant Baidu announced that it's working on a slate of self-driving passenger vehicles, including robo-taxis, that will go into testing as soon as next year in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
      The news came as part of a series of AI vehicles announcements in Beijing at Baidu World, the company's annual technology conference, where Baidu also announced an AI deal with Ford.
      "The era for autonomous passenger vehicles is upon us, but having only smart cars is not enough," Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li said. "We also need smart roads. By leveraging our capabilities in autonomous driving and AI technologies, we can develop comprehensive solutions that will greatly improve the efficiency of urban cities."

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      That's what friends are for 
       
      Stray dog kicked by driver for being in his parking bay returns with a pack of friends… and trashes his car 
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2989583/That-s-barking-space-Stray-dog-kicked-driver-parking-bay-returns-pack-friends-trashes-car.html
       
       



    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      The similar demolition of a Catholic church last year is prompting Christians to worry that the central government will begin ordering the mass destruction of church buildings nationwide as new religious regulations go into effect next month. These regulations grant the Chinese Communist Party increased power over religion, paving the way for escalated persecution.
      according to 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (EFE).- China inaugura hoy el mayor parque de hielo y nieve del mundo en la ciudad de Harbin, al noreste del país, con 2000 esculturas talladas en hielo y diversas atracciones interactivas de temática invernal.
      Leer más: 
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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest
      By Guest
      China is calling in the dogs on North Korea. Kim Jong-un has 120 days to close all North Korean businesses within Chinese borders.
      That means 100,000 workers that help fund the North Korean regime to the tune of ~$230 million a year would be sent home packing.
      The U.N. turned up the heat on China to crack down on North Korea in light of its nuclear missiles program—two warning shots over Japan and a handful of threats will do that. And China might be the only one with the key to Kim’s heart: trade.
      China controls 80% of all trade (~$6.3 billion) that enters and exits North Korea. It has already cut off North Korea’s biggest exports (coal and textiles), and is capping the country’s biggest import (oil).
      If Rogen and Franco couldn’t get Kim to negotiate, maybe China can.
    • By Raquel Segovia
      BEIJING (AP) — El primer avión de pasajeros de gran tamaño fabricado en China completó el viernes su vuelo inaugural, un hito hacia el objetivo chino a largo plazo de penetrar en el mercado del transporte aéreo dominado por las potencias occidentales.
      El C919 despegó entre vítores y aplausos de cientos de invitados en el Aeropuerto Internacional Pudong de Shanghai y fue transmitido en directo por la televisión estatal. El avión desapareció rápidamente en una jornada de viento y contaminación agravada por la proximidad de tormentas de arena desde el norte.
      Tras el vuelo de 90 minutos, los pilotos de prueba bajaron sonrientes en sus uniformes naranja decorados con la bandera china.
      La agencia noticiosa oficial Xinhua dijo que China ha pasado a ser “uno de los principales fabricantes de aviones jumbo del mundo”, el cuarto después de Estados Unidos, Europa y Rusia.
      China presenta el C919 como competido del Airbus A320 y el Boeing 737. El vuelo inaugural estaba previsto para 2014 y la entrega a los compradores para 2016, pero sufrió demoras atribuidas a problemas de fabricación. Difícilmente podrá transportar pasajeros antes de 2019.
      El analista de aviación Mohshin Aziz, de Maybank Kim Eng Securities, dijo que pasarán entre siete y nueve años antes de que se sepa si podría afectar el duopolio de Airbus y Boeing.
      “Este es apenas el vuelo de ensayo”, dijo. “Con el tiempo necesitará algunos clientes fieles, que los tendrá porque hay aerolíneas de propiedad estatal que estarán obligadas a usarlo”.
      Otros clientes potenciales esperarán a conocer la experiencia de los primeros, dijo Mohshin. “Uno no va a gastar mucho dinero en algo que no conocer”.
      El fabricante del C919, la empresa estatal Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., conocida como Comac, pedirá las certificaciones de la autoridad de la aviación civil china y de reguladores extranjeros antes de efectuar entregas.
      Bao Pengli, subdirector del departamento de desarrollo de proyectos de Comac, dijo el jueves que se planea fabricar dos aviones por año hasta 2019 para tener pruebas de vuelo seguro antes de iniciar la producción en serie.
      Veintitrés clientes internos y extranjeros han solicitado pedidos para un total de 570 aeronaves. Entre las extranjeras están GE Capital Aviation Services y la tailandesa City Airways.
      Se puede configurar el avión para entre 155 y 175 asientos y su autonomía estándar es de 4.075 kilómetros.
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      A firefighter risked his life to remove a burning gas container from a restaurant in southwest China’s Tongren City. The accident happened at a hot spot restaurant table, which suddenly caught fire. Firefighters quickly removed the burning gas container to the open air and kept cooling it with a fire hose. They then moved the container to a river nearby to cool it and kept watching until the gas in it was burnt out.


      World News
    • By admin
      The new carrier is slightly larger than the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, constructed by the Soviet Union as a Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Sacconaghi: Bullish on Tesla long-term  Thursday, 9 Mar 2017 | 12:20 PM ET | 05:46
      Elon Musk's Tesla is a growing player in China, where the global fight to develop electric, self-driving cars is raging hot.
      Hong-Kong traded Tencent, a company best known for its WeChat messaging app, disclosed in a Tuesday filing that it's taken a 5 percent stake in Tesla for $1.78 billion. The investment follows Tencent's new stake in taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing, which can be accessed through WeChat.
      "I think Tencent likely wanted exposure to a company that was growing very quickly in electric and autonomous" vehicles, said Tasha Keeney, an analyst on the ARK Industrial Innovation ETF (ARKQ), whose top holding is Tesla.
      "We think the autonomous mobility as a service market could be $10 trillion in gross sales globally by the early 2030s, and companies like Tesla or Baidu could take a cut of that," she said.
      Tesla declined to comment to CNBC. Tencent did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
      A Tencent spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that "Tesla is a global pioneer at the forefront of new technologies. Tencent's success is partly due to our record of backing entrepreneurs with capital; Elon Musk is the archetype for entrepreneurship, combining vision, ambition, and execution."
      Tesla has 24 stores in mainland China, 114 supercharging stations and 348 regular charging stations, according to the automaker's website.
      Last year, China imported 11,839 Tesla vehicles, nearly five times the prior year, according to China market research firm JL Warren Capital. The firm's analysis also showed that China's market share in global shipments jumped from 5 percent to 16 percent last year.
      "In general, Tesla's done very well in China," said Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer at KraneShares. Tencent is one of the top holdings in KraneShares' exchange-traded fund KWEB.
      "There's a lot of effort in electric cars in China to help address the pollution issue," he said.
      Another Chinese tech giant, Baidu, has its own autonomous driving project, while Chinese automakers have joined the Western giants in the race to develop a viable electric car. The investment money has flowed the other way as well: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is a top shareholder in Chinese automaker BYD.
      "If it weren't for Tesla, I don't think the state of the electric car market would be anywhere close to where it is," said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF (EMQQ).
      "Everyone is working on the electric car now, and almost everyone's working on the self-driving car, but the actual hardware of it [is made primarily by] BYD, Tesla," he said. "Who knows how this plays out? There's lots of things getting stirred together in this pot, lots of players, lots of money."

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    • By TrueTomHarley
      "In 1987, I came to the United States to pursue doctorate studies at Texas A&M University. I was aware that in America, many people believe in God and read the Bible. Also, I had heard that the Bible contains a lot of practical wisdom, so I thought I should read it."
      It was no more complicated than that. Later, a Witness visited Dr. Fan Yu. and offered a Bible Study, which he and later his wife accepted. He tells his story in the Awake magazine, #3, 2017.
      He was a mathematician. When he reexamined evolution, which he had absorbed because from an early age people told him to absorb it, he dismissed it on the basis of probability alone. That's what you do. You find some essential component of evolution, the odds of which could happen accidentally are greater than the number of atoms of the universe, and proceed from there.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      There's fresh impetus to explore Namibia's startling landscapes this year CREDIT:FOTOLIA
      6 JANUARY 2017 • 12:31PM
      If your ambition this year is to try new things and explore new places, you're in luck. From Nicaragua to Tajikistan, a number of hitherto "undiscovered" destinations are increasingly catering to discerning holidaymakers, with a host of new resorts opening and experiences launching over the year to come. Read below for more on the most exciting outdoor adventures to be enjoyed around the world in 2017, or for something more sedate see our guides to 2017's best wellness and fitness breaks; 2017's best luxury beach holidays; the year's best yachting and sailing holidays; and the best cities to visit over the next 12 months. 
      The Desert Circuit: Namibia Exclusive Lodges 
      The four new luxury lodges on the Namibia Exclusive circuit are located in some of the most remote and beautiful northern parts of the country, each designed by architect Greg Scott and built of local materials that reflect the region’s landscapes and cultural traditions.
      Sorris Sorris Lodge in Damaraland  has been built into huge granite boulders scattered across the desert landscape, its modern African rammed-earth structures and pool offering views over the Ugab River and the mountains of the Brandberg Massif.

      Sorris Sorris Lodge
      Omatandeka Lodge is surrounded by vast plains inhabited by the Himba people, table-top mountains and a vital wildlife corridor used by mountain zebra, oryx and endangered black rhino, while Sheya Shuushona Lodge, on the northern boundary of Etosha National Park, is surrounded by photogenic salt pans that change colour with the seasons and turn into a lake in the rainy season.
      Finally, Xaudum Lodge, the most recent addition, is surrounded by the sand dunes of the Kalahari, home to some 3,000 elephants. All four lodges are located in areas with indigenous communities and contribute funds so these people can continue to live in traditional ways on their ancestors’ land.

      The Explorations Company offers a nine-night safari, staying at three Namibia Exclusive lodges, from £8,985  per person including flights, air transfers, full board and guiding.
      The Italian Castle: Castello di Ugento, Puglia
      There are few buildings in Europe in which guests can stay above a Norman keep, dine beneath 17th-century Baroque frescoes and wander around a garden in which Bronze Age artefacts have been found. In April, on the southern heel of Italy, the (rather wonderfully named) d’Amore family will open their restored thousand-year-old Castello di Ugento to paying guests for the first time (doubles from £260).
      Visitors can relax within walled gardens, in which more than 100 medicinal and aromatic plants are grown for the kitchen and spa; admire the frescoes painted in 1694 to portray the noble family’s history; sample local wines in an ancient cistern-turned-cellar; and take cookery lessons in a wing turned by the Culinary Institute of America  into its first European school.
      A maximum of 18 guests will sleep in stone-walled rooms with high, star-vaulted ceilings and views over Ugento’s rooftops,  and they will feast on Puglian favourites cooked by Milanese chef Odette Fada, whose refined cuisine at the renowned Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles and San Domenico NY  made her name as one of America’s finest Italian chefs. The nearest beaches are two miles away and Baroque towns such as  Lecce are a short drive from the castle. 
      The Urban Forest: Aman Shanghai
      Aman’s latest property in China (its fourth) must be one of its most anticipated to date. The Shanghai retreat (rates not yet available) is a picture of leafy tranquility – and full of surprises. If  a visitor were to drop into the 100-acre property, planted with thousand-year-old camphor trees and interspersed with historic Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses, they’d never believe that they were within easy reach of buzzy downtown Shanghai. Neither the forest nor village are native to this area; both were moved here over the past 10 years from Jiangxi, some 500 miles southwest, by Ma Dadong, a pioneering businessman, when the building of a reservoir threatened their survival.

      Aman Shanghai
      Now that the painstaking replanting (which took three years) and the building of the hotel are complete, the 37 villas in the new sanctuary are being decorated with original beams, floors, sculptures and carvings from the uplifted village homes. Kerry Hill, the project’s architect, has taken care to reflect traditional Chinese culture while blending in contemporary comforts and natural tones of earth, moss and creamy whites. Guests can take day trips to Shanghai, walk in the forest, sample Eastern cuisine, or relax in the spa, beside the two pools or in the Nan Shu Fang contemplation garden. 
      The South American Sleeper: The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
      For the first time in May 2017, travellers will be able not only to traverse the Andes in one of the most luxurious trains on earth, but to sleep overnight on one. The Belmond Andean Explorer has been built to carry up to 68 passengers in en-suite cabins decorated by the South African designer Inge Moore in contemporary light woods and comforting alpaca-wool colours.
      Each of the train’s cars is fitted with expansive windows to frame views of the Andean plains, mountains and grand architecture, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Arequipa. Although another two trains already operate in this area – Belmond’s Hiram Bingham, which offers day trips to Machu Picchu, and the more traditional Inca Princess  – this is the first modern luxury train to offer trips from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, on one- and two-night journeys. Chefs from the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in two dining cars; guests can also enjoy spacious lounge and observation cars, and an open deck.  Doubles from £738 , all-inclusive, for one night. 
      The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
      One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups  in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits).
      The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes.
      When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to  hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens.
      The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua
      Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega  language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho  volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces  are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine.

      Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves
      The surrounding nature reserve,  which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa.
      The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria
      Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles  of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts.

      New developments have given Lech a leg up
      The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit.
      Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors  with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights.
      The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
      Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet.
      With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see.
      The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. 
      Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/2017-years-best-luxury-outdoor-adventure-holidays-namibia-nicaragua/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Chinese Communist Party prepares offensive against Christianity
       

    • By The Librarian
      China's governing Communist Party is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on the Christian Church.
      By Matthew Carney - ABC
      The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they do not pledge loyalty to the state.
      Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become "Chinese" and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.
      The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese...
      That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first.
      There is good reason to be afraid. Chinese Authorities have already started the crackdown in the Christian heartland in the southern province of Zhejiang.
      It's been extensive and brutal. In the past two years they have torn down nearly 2000 crosses and in some cases demolished churches.
      Church leaders and their followers have been arrested and imprisoned.
      There's also good reason to why the Communist Party is threatened by the Church.
      Some say there are 100 million Christians in China — that's more than Communist Party members.
      The Chinese Government admits there are about 25 million Christians registered at state-run churches where pastors are appointed by the state and theology approved by the governments Religious Affairs Bureau.
      ABC 
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      New York Times 
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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