Court allows Falun Gong registration
published : 5 Aug 2015 at 08:28
newspaper section: News
writer: Achara Ashayagachat
The Supreme Administrative Court on Tuesday reversed rulings by the lower administrative court and the Interior Ministry refusing to allow Falun Gong practitioners to register, saying the group is lawful and constitutional.
Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and Qigong exercises with eastern moral philosophies.
A dozen practitioners turned up to hear the verdict which only took 10 minutes to read following a 10-year legal battle.
On Jan 24, 2005, Falun Gong followers filed a document at Phayathai district to register an association of "Falun Gong Studies in Thailand".
The Interior Ministry's Local Administration Department, acting as registrar for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), rejected the registration request on Sept 27 that year.
The authorities argued that approving the association would indicate Thailand supports the Falun Gong movement, which would affect ties with China.
Practitioners believed the decision was influenced by inaccurate information from Beijing accusing the group of distorting Buddhism, and criticising the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government.
Falun Gong practitioners filed a suit at the Administrative Court against the BMA registrar (first defendant) and the interior minister (second defendant) over their refusal.
On Feb 2, 2006, the court ruled in favour of the Interior Ministry.
The Supreme Administrative Court ruled tUESday that the Civic Code, Article 82 (1), allows the registrar to endorse an association if it is not unethical, abides by the law, does not disrupt peace and stability or threaten security.
The court also said the associations' directors are not indecent and are capable of running the association.
The court said the reason for registering the Falun Gong association as given by the applicants was to "promote Qiqong exercise in the Falun Gong style and exchange news and information among practitioners and the general public that has no political or profit-making agenda".
As such it should not be seen as going against the law, disturbing morality or a threat to national security, the court said.
"The Local Administrative Department's claim that the supporters of Falun Gong were outlawed in China and that allowing registration of the group would affect bilateral relations has nothing to do with this group of people who are registering an association in Thailand," the court said.
It also said there was no evidence to support claims the teachings of Li Hongzi, the master of Falun Gong, distort Buddhism.
The Supreme Administrative Court ruled the request to register the Falun Gong group as an association could proceed and annulled the Interior Ministry's and lower court's orders.
- Falun Gong
- Falun Dafa
- foreign relations