THE executive and advisory panel of the World Harmony Society has a strong connection with the Falun Gong religion.
Controversial society president Shan Ju Lin, dumped as the One Nation candidate for Bundamba for homophobic remarks, is a practitioner of Falun Gong, as is vice-president Richard Szabo.
World Harmony Society advisors include artist Zhang Cuiying, who was allegedly tortured in China for her Falun Gong beliefs. Society policy advisor, Poutama Tsoi, has previously collected petitions to stop the Chinese Government's alleged persecution of practitioners in China.
Falun Gong, often referred to as a Chinese religion, has been described by practitioners as "the practice of improving the health of one's body and mind through special exercises and meditation" and that it is "based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance".
The Communist Party of China has outlawed Falun Gong and followers are reportedly subject to human rights abuses.
The World Harmony Society has been in the spotlight after Ms Lin's One Nation dumping and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale's decision to not provide $5000 in funding to the society to run the World Harmony Festival in Springfield on March 11.
On March 2, 2006 Mr Szabo wrote in the The Epoch Times about Ms Cuiying:
"A Sydney woman suing ex-Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin and the 610 Office (secret Chinese police), says she will seek a court order to pressure the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) into serving legal documents on the defendants," he wrote.
"43-year-old Australian-Chinese artist and Falun Gong practitioner Zhang Cuiying filed her case at the New South Wales Supreme Court in September 2004. She was tortured for 8 months in a Chinese labor camp for practising Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice which has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist regime since 1999. Ms Zhang was rescued in 2000 due to efforts by the Australian Government."