The Epoch Times
1 May 2005
In 1996, Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore registered a legal entity under the name Falun Buddha Society (Singapore). To date, the registration has been renewed several times without incident.
Before July 1999, there were dozens of practice sites all over Singapore Island. They were located in shelter decks beneath government-built housing (HDB), parks, beaches, the MacRitchie reservoir, etc. The Falun Gong practitioners outdoor activities were not previously overseen by police, nor were they closely scrutinized. At these practice sites, practitioners offered free exercise instructions to passersby who were interested in learning. They hung up banners with the words Falun Dafa Cultivation Exercise, Free Teaching, etc. and handed out free information about Falun Gong. All these activities, including gatherings of several hundred people, were allowed without having to obtain permission or approval from the relevant authorities. This environment lasted until July 1999.
However, everything changed after July 1999. Due to reports about Falun Gong from Chinas official news source, that were full of lies and propaganda, being reprinted by local media, the public developed a serious misconception about Falun Gong. Consequently, when the Singapore practitioners practiced the exercises outdoors, members of the public often reported their activities to the police. After receiving such complaints, the police would investigate and on many occasions would stay to keep an eye on the practitioners. This caused people to fear Falun Gong. Often, there were police cars and plainclothes police officers watching the outdoor group exercise gatherings. Also, there were many restrictions on the group exercise permits, such as, being prohibited from distributing flyers, hanging banners, etc. The following are details about three significant incidents.
Incident 1: Police forced Falun Gong practitioners to stop an outdoor group practice.
One day, in the middle of 2000, around 8 in the morning, Madam An was practicing near Block 926 on 91 street in Jurong West. A short while later, two policemen arrived and rudely told her to stop practicing her exercises and that she must leave immediately. Madam An told the two policemen that she had been practicing her exercises there for over two years. She expressed her willingness to follow them back to the police station to aid in investigations on whether practicing Falun Gong was legal in Singapore. The police did not listen to her explanations and demanded that she not practice her exercises at that site. They even warned her that if she did not leave she would be charged in court. Madam An had no choice but to leave. Later, Madam An went to the police station to clarify the truth. The policeman on duty did not know whether or not it was legal to practice Falun Gong in Singapore. This officer made several phone calls and listened to her explanations. In the end, he realized that indeed Falun Gong as a legally registered society in Singapore.
Incident 2: Police harassed and detained an 80-year-old Falun Gong practitioner.
The next incident involved the following four Falun Gong practitioners: Jiang Lihua and Wang Zongbin (80 years old, holding a visitors pass), Song Ren (pronunciation only), a research student at the National University of Singapore, and Madam Qiu, a Singapore permanent resident.
The Merlion Park in Singapore is a famous tourist attraction. For a long time, Singapore practitioners have been practicing the exercises in that park and handing out flyers to tourists of different nationalities especially those from China.
One afternoon in the middle of 2002, the four practitioners went to Merlion Park and started to clarify the truth to tourists from China. Several police officers arrived and questioned them. They asked to look at their identification. As Jiang Lihua, Wang Zongbin, and Song Ren had not brought any identification with them, they politely explained their status to the policemen. However, the police were rude and then insisted on ascertaining the practitioners identities. They also said that they suspected these practitioners were illegal residents. Even though Madam Qiu testified that the other three were legal residents and the police could investigate the matter later, the acting officer chose to disregard the two elderly 80-year-old practitioners and brought all three back to the police station. They were only released after their families brought their identification passes to the police station.
Incident 3: Police issued serious warnings to Falun Gong practitioners for their peaceful appeals
Around July 20, 2000, which is also the anniversary of the crackdown on Falun Gong in China, approximately 15 Falun Gong practitioners (most of them were Chinese citizens) went to the Chinese Embassy in Singapore to give a letter to the Ambassador, appealing to the Chinese government to stop the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China. The officer at the embassy refused to accept the letter. The practitioners decided to wait outside the Embassy for the Ambassador to accept the letter.
Whilst waiting, they started to practice the Falun Gong exercises. After a while, the police arrived and took down everyones ID numbers. In September of that same year, these practitioners were summoned to the police station for further investigation. All the practitioners were severely warned by the police and told that if they did the same thing again, they would be charged in court.