Nov 24, 2019

CultNEWS101 Articles: 11/22/2019

Falun GongTimothy Leary, Psychedelics, Bikram Yoga, Unification Church
"One day in November, 2006, Jintao Liu, a 26-year-old chemical engineering student at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing, got a phone call from his lecturer, asking if he could come to the chemistry lab for a quick chat. It was about noon and Jintao was about to start lunch, but the lecturer was an important man, so Jintao did as he was told.

"I thought he wanted to talk to me about work," says Jintao. When he entered the lab, however, he saw his lecturer, together with two policemen and four plain-clothed members of the 610 Office, an extra-judicial body set up by the Communist Party with the sole purpose of eradicating Falun Gong, a spiritual movement the Chinese government regards as an evil cult and a challenge to its authority.

Jintao, who practised Falun Gong, had recently downloaded some material – music mainly – onto his desktop computer in the lab. When the policemen examined the computer, they found the Falun Gong material and arrested him. "I asked them if they had a search warrant or an arrest order and they scribbled on a piece of paper, chucked it at me and said, 'That's your warrant.' "

Jintao, who has anglicised his name to Tony, lives in a 1970s red-brick home in Epping, a quiet, leafy suburb in Sydney's north-west. He and his wife, Tina, fled China in 2013, coming to Australia where they were granted protection visas. (They are now Australian citizens.) At 39, Tony has broad-set eyes, a cautious smile and a pronounced liking for black tea, which Tina supplies in prodigious quantities throughout our conversation. He still adheres to Falun Gong, which he credits with far-reaching mental and physical benefits. In a country like China, where organised religion has been repressed, Falun Gong gave Tony what he calls "a deeper sense of meaning".

Following his arrest, Tony underwent four months of brainwashing in the Beijing Changping Detention Centre, where he was forced to watch videos and read newspapers detailing Falun Gong's alleged crimes. When he refused to denounce the movement, he was put in a cell with eight drug addicts who were induced by the guards to regularly beat him. 'One day, they were beating me around the back and waist when a guard ran in and told them, 'Don't damage his organs!' '"
"Fobes Ranch, once home to psychologist Timothy Leary, has been purchased by YouTube star Logan Paul. 

Located in the San Jacinto Mountains near Lake Hemet, the 80-acre ranch, which features a 500-square-foot residence, served as a gathering place for Leary and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, otherwise known as the Hippie Mafia. 

The ranch was on the market for $1.495 million, and Paul purchased it for a dollar over $1 million, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Known for a controversial video showing the corpse of a man who committed suicide in 2018, Paul is also an actor and has appeared on the TV series "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and the 2019 film "Airplane Mode."  

The cozy getaway home in Duchess Canyon has one bedroom with sleeping loft, a three-quarter bath, slate tile shower, solar-powered electricity, Vermont soapstone wood stove and pine cathedral ceilings along with propane cooking, refrigeration and tankless hot water."

"Last year, Netflix proved our cultural obsession with cults is far from over with "Wild Wild Country," the hit docu-series about Rajneeshpuram cult leader Bhagwan Rajneesh and his followers. In the years since its massive international popularity has grown, yoga has attracted millions of devotees as fervent as any cult followers. But none as cult-like as Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, founded and popularized by Bikram Choudhury. A new Netflix documentary titled "Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator" tells the story of the cult-like figure, who abused his position to rape, assault, and harass multiple women in his ranks. The newly released trailer showcases countless interviews with his followers and victims, often blurring the line between them.

"He sees himself as a cross between Mother Teresa and Howard Stern," one male interview subject says in the trailer. Another woman recalls, "I'd see flashes of megalomania, but I didn't know how diabolical he actually was." The rest of the trailer is full of explosive interviews with women who remain supportive of Choudhury, as well as difficult to stomach archival footage of Choudhury literally standing on top of multiple women in supine yoga poses."

"The new documentary "Blessed Child" provides a fascinating look at the Unification Church, a movement founded by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, through testimonials of those who escaped."

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