May 13, 1951Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, is born in Gongzhuling city, Jilin province, China. 1980sA fitness movement known as the \u201cqigong wave\u201d sweeps China. Millions take up traditional, tai-chi-like health exercises known as \u201cqigong,\u201d filling parks across the country by the break of dawn. Some 2,000 different qigong disciplines are reportedly practiced by tens of millions. Books, magazines, and scientific research on qigong abound. 1984Mr. Li decides to create Falun Gong\u2014a more accessible variant of Falun Xiufo Dafa, the main lineage of which Li had received transmission and practiced in private since he was five years old. 1989A two-plus year period of trial and observation begins wherein Mr. Li gives instruction to several initial students, in private, to evaluate the suitability of Falun Gong for dissemination among the general public. May 13-22, 1992Mr. Li gives first public teaching on Falun Gong in China\u2019s northeastern city of Changchun\u2014then Li\u2019s residence. An estimated 180 persons attend. Public \u201cpractice sites,\u201d where adherents gather to do Falun Gong\u2019s exercises together, soon follow. 1992- 1994Mr. Li travels throughout China giving 54 talks and class series on Falun Gong. Classes typically last 8-10 days, two hours per day. Seminars are often arranged by local government-run qigong organizations. Attendees range from a few hundred to upwards of 6,000 per event. Sept. 1992Falun Gong is officially recognized as a qigong branch (gongpai) under the auspices and administration of the Qigong Science Research Association of China. Receives permit to teach nationwide. 1992Mr. Li is formally declared a \u201cMaster of Qigong\u201d by the Qigong Science Research Association of China. Dec. 12-21, 1992Mr. Li and several select students participate in the 1992 Asian Health Expo in Beijing, held at the National Trade Building in the Dabeiyao area. Li receives the most awards of any master at the event, announcing Falun Gong as a presence on the qigong scene, in effect. April 1993The first book teaching the practice, Zhonguo Falungong, is published by Military Yiwen Press, making the practice accessible to a much wider audience. A revised edition is released in December of the same year.\u00a0 July 30, 1993The Falun Gong Research Association of China is established at the approval of the national Qigong Science Research Association of China.\u00a0 August 31, 1993The Jianyi Yongwei Foundation of China, an affiliate institution of the Ministry of Public Security, writes a letter of appreciation following the giving of qigong treatments to Foundation honorees at its third national conference. (Image)\u00a0 Sept. 21, 1993The People's Public Security Daily, a publication under the Ministry of Public Security, runs a story commending Mr. Li for his contributions \u201cin promoting the traditional crime-fighting virtues of the Chinese people, in safeguarding social order and security, and in promoting rectitude in society.\u201d Dec. 11\u201320, 1993Li and select students again participate in Beijing\u2019s Asian Health Expo, held this time at Sanyuanqiao International Exhibition Center. Several awards are bestowed, including that for \u201cAdvancing Frontier Science,\u201d the \u201cSpecial Gold Award,\u201d and \u201cMost Acclaimed Qigong Master.\u201d (Image) Falun Gong\u2019s profile grows significantly. Dec. 27, 1993Li is awarded a Certificate of Honor from the Jianyi Yongwei Foundation of China, an affiliate institution of the Ministry of Public Security. (Image) \u00a0 April, 1994Window to Literature and the Arts magazine, a monthly periodical, publishes the first of three features stories on the practice of Falun Gong. The practice increasingly finds itself in the news, primarily on grounds of its health benefits and the good citizenship it fosters. (Sample listing)\u00a0 May 6, 1994Mr. Li is declared a \u201cGrandmaster of Qigong,\u201d by the Jilin Province Qigong Science Research Association August 3, 1994The City of Houston, Texas, declares Mr. Li a \u201cGoodwill Ambassador\u201d and an \u201cHonorary Citizen\u201d (link) for his \u201cunselfish public service for the benefit and welfare of mankind.\u201d These are the first of what would become hundreds of recognitions given to Li and Falun Gong in the United States and throughout the free world. (Full Listing) Sept. 1994The first Falun Gong instructional videotape (demonstrating the practice\u2019s exercises and meditation) is published under the auspices of Beijing Television Art Center Publishing House. Dec. 31, 1994Last Falun Gong public teaching is given, taking place in the northeastern city of Dalian. Some 6,600 persons attend. January, 1995Zhuan Falun, the complete teachings of Falun Gong and focal book of the practice, is published by Radio & Television Broadcasting Press of China. A publication ceremony, held on January 4, takes place in an auditorium of the Ministry of Public Security.\u00a0 February 1995Mr. Li is propositioned by the Chinese National Sports Committee, Ministry of Public Health, and China Qigong Science Research Association to jointly establish a Falun Gong \u201cassociation\u201d that would coordinate (and oversee) nationwide promotion and teaching of the practice. Li declines the offer, wishing, most likely, to keep the practice free of political complexities and influence. March 13, 1995Mr. Li begins teaching Falun Gong abroad, starting with a talk given in Paris at the Chinese embassy, initiated at the invitation of China\u2019s ambassador to France. A full seven-day class begins that evening in Paris, followed by a second series in May in Sweden. 1996As Falun Gong becomes more popular, tensions begin to emerge with the Communist Party. Shortly after Zhuan Falun is listed in January, March, and April as a bestseller by Beijing Youth Daily, the Ministry of Propaganda bans the further publication of Falun Gong books. The same year, Mr. Li moves to the United States. \u00a0 March 1996Having come under pressure to establish a Communist Party branch and charge fees for the practice, Falun Gong withdraws from the state-run Qigong Science Research Association of China, citing philosophical differences and concerns by Mr. Li of exploitation. April 1996Former administrators of the Falun Gong Research Association of China begin application process with three other state-administered entities for formal registration. All applications are denied. Now left without formal ties to the party-state, Falun Gong becomes one of the largest independent civil society groups in PRC history. June 17The first major state-run media article criticizing Falun Gong appears, run in the Guangming Daily newspaper. July 24Falun Gong books are banned from publication by a July 24 internal order from the China News Publishing Bureau, an entity under the Ministry of Propaganda.\u00a0\u00a0The document accuses Falun Gong of \u201cspreading superstition.\u201d\u00a0 1997China\u2019s Public Security Bureau conducts an investigation into whether Falun Gong should be deemed a \u201cheretical teaching." Investigators conclude, \u201cNo evidence has appeared thus far.\u201d\u00a0 1998-1999Attacks on Falun Gong escalate in state-run media even as positive reports continue alongside, suggesting internal divisions among China\u2019s political leadership. The Falun Gong respond to criticisms by visiting, and sometimes petitioning outside, local newspaper or television stations seeking greater accuracy in reporting. Such events take place in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and other major cities. July 21, 1998Bureau No. 1 of the Ministry of Public Security issues Document No. 555, titled, "Notice of the Investigation of Falun Gong," claiming that Falun Gong is heretical cult. The Ministry begins a series of investigations, seeking evidence in support of the conclusion. Means include tapping phone lines, monitoring volunteers, raiding homes, confiscating personal belongings, Various forms of (unlawful) harassment ensue at the hands of Chinese police, including disruption of public morning exercise sessions with water cannons and the closure of certain sites. Homes are ransacked in some areas. Dec 1998 Study conducted by China\u2019s State Sports Commission estimates that over 70 millions persons are practicing Falun Gong in China. 1998 latter halfQiao Shi, who had just finished a term as Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People\u2019s Congress and served on the Politburo, led his own investigation, joined by other senior members of the Congress, into the Document 555 allegations after receiving a deluge of letters of concern. Medical research staff interview over 12,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Guangdong province, 97.9% of whom claim practice of Falun Gong improved their health. After months of investigating, the group concluded that, \u201cFalun Gong has hundreds of benefits for the Chinese people and nation, and does not a bit of harm.\u201d May\u2013Oct 1998The National Sports Commission of China launches its own investigation into Falun Gong. The head investigator, dispatched to northeastern China, declared on Oct. 20 that, \u201cWe\u2019re convinced the exercises and effects of Falun Gong are excellent. It has done an extraordinary amount to improve society\u2019s stability and ethics. This should be duly affirmed.\u201d February 14, 1999An official from China\u2019s National Sports Commission, speaking with U.S. News & World Report, intimates that as many as 100 million may have taken up the practice. The official highlights the costs the practice is saving China\u2019s national health care system, declaring that, \u201cPremier Zhu Rongji is very happy about that.\u201d April 25, 1999Some 10,000-plus Falun Gong adherents assemble outside the Central Appeals Office, adjacent to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, in Beijing, to raise concerns over the arrest and beatings of 45 members the prior day in Tianjin by a Tianjing Public Security Bureau SWAT team. April 26, 1999In an article entitled, \u201cGrowing group poses a dilemma for China,\u201d the Associated Press states that China\u2019s Falun Gong has \u201cmore members than the Communist Party\u2014at least 70 million, according to the State Sports Administration.\u201d Two New York Times stories the following day put the number of Falun Gong at 70 million, attributing the figure to the Chinese government. The article states that the group \u201ceven by Chinese Government estimates has more members than the Communist Party.\u201d June 10, 1999The \u201c6-10 Office\u201d is established at the behest of Chinese Communist Party Head Jiang Zemin. It\u2019s charge: to plan, orchestrate, and carry out a comprehensive suppression of the Falun Gong. July 20, 1999The persecution against Falun Gong begins as thousands are taken by security forces into detention centers and sports stadiums. Massive arrests ensue along with ransackings, abductions, and the confiscation of Falun Gong-related materials. A nationwide propaganda campaign is launched in synch. Millions respond by petitioning Chinese authorities, many traveling to Beijing. For a Timeline of the PERSECUTION, click Here.