China: Meditation practice called "Kuan Yin Famen" (Guanyin Famen, Guanyin Method, Quanyin Famen); treatment of practitioners, particularly in Shandong
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||8 February 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||CHN36385.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, China: Meditation practice called "Kuan Yin Famen" (Guanyin Famen, Guanyin Method, Quanyin Famen); treatment of practitioners, particularly in Shandong, 8 February 2001, CHN36385.E, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be1b34.html [accessed 22 January 2019]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to a report issued by the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong:
The "Guan Yin Method" was founded in 1988 by "Supreme Master Ching Hai" who is now residing in Taiwan, and was introduced to China's mainland in 1992. It has about 500,000 followers in 20 provinces (municipalities) in the mainland. The "Guan Yin Method" helps people explore their own inner strength through ancient method of meditation. It stresses vegetarianism and five noes (no killing, no telling lies, no stealing, no lewdness and no drinking); and so its followers on the mainland are basically Buddhists. In July 1996, the public security authorities in Jiangyou City, Sichuan Province, discovered a list containing the names of several thousand "Guan Yin Method" followers in seven provinces. Many of the followers are party members and even high-ranking cadres. The high-level CCP [Chinese Communist Party] authorities were shocked by the close-knit organization and rapid development of the "Guan Yin Method" shown by the name list. Moreover, the Chinese Communists believe that "Supreme Master Ching Hai" has anti-communist thought and they had labelled the "Guan Yin Method" a "reactionary religious organization" at the end of 1996. Soon after the Falun Gong was banned in 1999, the "Guan Yin Method" was openly labelled an evil cult. "Supreme Master Ching Hai" comes from a rich Vietnamese family. She has worked as a volunteer for the International Red Cross since she was a child. Before the Hong Kong reversion, she donated 6m dollars to Vietnamese refugees and other people who needed help. She has been given such awards as "world spiritual leader award" and "world peace award" by international organizations (9 Sept. 2000).
A 9 September 2000 AFP report states that founder Ching Hai is "treated like a queen by her followers" and "travels the world preaching a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, although neither religion recognises her movement." Information concerning the practice's beliefs system can be found on the Website of founder Ching Hai (n.d.). According to the Website:
Our path isn't a religion. I do not convert anyone to Catholicism or Buddhism or any other 'ism', I simply offer you a way to know yourself, to find out where you come from, to remember your mission here on earth, to discover the secret of the universe, to understand why there is so much misery and what awaits us after death. And every day you will see everything just like you see me now. I do not ask you to believe me, but to experience it every day for yourself (n.d.).
According to the Website the Five Precepts are:
1) Refrain from taking the life of sentient being (including by being a vegetarian)
2) Refrain from speaking what is not true
3) Refrain from taking what is not yours
4) Refrain from sexual misconduct
5) Refrain from the use of intoxicants (n.d.).
No information on the treatment of Guanyin Famen practitioners in Shandong could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. On May 2000 the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, according to AFP, had indicated that a crackdown on Guan Yin Method practitioners was imminent because the group had been designated an "evil cult" by authorities (4 May 2000). According to the same centre, two "Guan Yin Method" followers in Zhejiang province were sentenced to three years in prison under the same anti-cult laws applied to Falun Dafa (Falun Gong, Falungong) practitioners (9 Sept. 2000).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Agence France Presse (AFP). 9 September 2000. "China Sentences Two Followers of Taiwanese Sect to Three Years Imprisonment." (FBIS-CHI-2000-0909 9 Sept. 2000/WNC)
_____. 4 May 2000. "PRC Security Targets Taiwan-Based Buddhist Group." (FBIS-CHI-2000-0504 4 May 2000/WNC)
Chinghai.com. n.d. "Precepts."
_____. n.d. " Quanyin."
Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Hong Kong. 9 September 2000. "Human Rights Sources Say China Begins Suppression of Buddhist Sect." (BBC Summary 12 Sept. 2000/NEXIS)
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including:
Human Rights in China