Prior to the summer of 1999, Falun Gong had no press office, no public relations vehicles or strategies, and no effective way to get our message to the world. Falun Gong practitioners simply met in parks around the world to meditate, being linked together by email lists and websites — an informal community whose shared interest was the Falun Gong practice. And if we had our way, that would still be the case.
Yet the persecution waged against us necessitated a response. As Chinese Communist authorities launched a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong in the summer of 1999, Western journalists, governments and rights organizations were looking for answers.
Several Falun Gong practitioners in New York City recognized the need for a mechanism through which to issue press releases calling attention to the alarming developments unfolding in China. With no official channel previously established, Falun Gong practitioner Gail Rachlin volunteered her expertise as a public relations professional, and several volunteers including Erping Zhang and Levi Browde collaborated to begin sending press releases out through Ms. Rachlin’s company, the Rachlin Media Group.
In 2000, the Falun Dafa Information Center was officially incorporated as a 501(c)3 voluntary organization, and the Rachlin Media Group was no longer used thereafter. The Center assumes responsibility for speaking on behalf of the practice, issuing press releases, reports, and analysis pertaining to the ongoing persecution in China. Gail Rachlin, Erping Zhang and Levi Browde continue to serve as volunteer spokespersons for the Falun Dafa Informatoin Center.