How the Chinese Communist Party’s Persecution Impacts Falun Gong Believers on US University Campuses

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In this report published in May 2023, the Falun Dafa Information Center examines the presence of Falun Gong practitioners and clubs on dozens of university campuses across the United States, and the various ways in which the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong impacts campus events, student experiences, and textbooks used in Chinese-language courses.

The brief offers recommendations to university administrators, faculty, and government policymakers on how to enhance protections for freedom of speech and belief.

The study’s key findings include:

  • At least 45 university campuses across the United States have students or faculty who practice Falun Gong. One-fifth of respondents to a 2023 survey reported feeling uncomfortable self-identifying as a Falun Gong practitioner due to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda or other influences.

  • Physical and digital surveillance of both Falun Gong practitioners and Chinese international students—and resulting Chinese government reprisals—are a major area of concern.

  • Chinese Student and Scholars Associations (CSSA) are known to have ties to local Chinese consulates. The associations or their members have engaged in multiple attempts since 2017 to censor or penalize Falun Gong-related activities on university campuses, with long-term repercussions even when demands were not met.

  • CCP propaganda demonizing Falun Gong causes apprehension among practitioners and university representatives. University representatives have appeared unprepared for false claims made about Falun Gong and have not always provided equal opportunity for Falun Gong Club representatives to respond.

  • Chinese-language textbooks being used at some US universities contain inaccurate and damaging depictions of Falun Gong.

  • University faculty, administrators, and relevant US government agencies must take further action to pre-empt, monitor, deter, and counter CCP activities that undermine freedom of expression, freedom of belief, and non-discrimination for Falun Gong practitioners and for others on campus.

Contact the Center’s researchers to schedule a private briefing at [email protected].