A new CD aims to bring to light the plight of followers of Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline which was banned in China
By Barbara Hodgson of The Journal
A health and fitness regime and spiritual discipline which became so popular it was banned in China for fears it was taking hold like a religion is now finding a voice with the help of a musician from Gateshead.
The Falun Dafa practice, more commonly known as Falun Gong, is all about gentle movement and meditation based on ancient foundations of enlightenment.
When, in the nineties, “spiritual master” Li Hongzhi popularised it in China, with around 70m residents taking it up within six years, it became seen as a threat to the Chinese state and was banned.
The crackdown soon led to claims by its followers of arrest, torture, abuse and even allegations of organ harvesting.
To help raise awareness of what was happening, a touring exhibition came to Newcastle in 2010 featuring oils and watercolours by artists from China who had since fled the communist regime and were brought together by a professor who had been detained for three months in a labour camp in the country.
The Art of Truth, Compassion, Tolerance – a title referring to the three tenets of Falun Dafa – was brought to Curtis Mayfield House in Carliol Square with the help of David English, a local musician and practitioner of the technique.
Now David, who was born in Consett and lives in Lobley Hill, has penned a new song specially for a first album by Truth on Tour, a non-profit organisation made up of a body of artists fighting persecution of the practice which it describes as one of greatest human rights crimes in modern history.
The 36-year-old, who has been writing and playing music in and around Newcastle for almost 20 years and has worked in local recording studios as an arranger, engineer and producer for bands, said: “In 2012 I was contacted by Truth on Tour to ask if I would like to be a part of it.
“They knew I practised Falun Gong and that I had already written songs on this subject. As time went on they asked if I would contribute a song to the album and so I did.