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The Enigmatic Falun Gong Online 18 July 2002 Edition
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Welcome to New Zealand, the newest province of China.

Now that the Chinese government has begun exercising its undisputed authority over New Zealand's own central and local government (Ref 1, Ref 2), and even commercial operators such as Auckland International Airport, should we prepare for the introduction of new harsh Net censorship?

I joke of course -- although you could be forgiven for thinking that there's more than a whiff of truth in what I've just written.

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So who are the Falun Gong and why do they ruffle the frocks of the Chinese government so much?

I thought I'd check out the Falun Gong's online presence so I naturally went to www.falungong.org. Oh dear -- either they're an industrious little bunch with a strong commercial bent or someone's squatted all over their name.

A check of www.falungong.com was even less impressive as you'll see if you click on the link.

It seems that these guys can hijack a satellite but couldn't secure the two key domain names that would go a long way towards promoting their beliefs through the Net.

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A quick search on Google turns up this site which is titled Falun Dafa, and leaves me wondering whether "Dafa" is Chinese for "gong" or whether this website is simply a crafty move by a similarly named spiritual group to cash in on the Falun Gong's notoriety.

The Falon Dafa site contains a link to FalunInfo.net, a site that promises news about "the situation in China" but this site locks my Netscape browser solid. More smart work by the "Falun whoever".

It's really quite disappointing to find such a poor and confusing situation regarding the Falon Gong's online presence. I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd like to find out more about this group but end up being disappointed, frustrated, or just plain confused in their attempts.

If the organisation's lack of Net-smarts is anything to go by, I don't think the Chinese government has much to fear from them -- which makes their arm-twisting at Auckland Airport even more outrageous.

Never mind -- this will soon be the least of our worries. I am just waiting for the next Chinese-lead government of New Zealand to announce that they're introducing a "one family, one child" policy as a way of reducing our welfare costs.

The More Things Change...
As regular Aardvark readers will probably be aware, I've been doing an awful lot of R&D in the area of jet engine technologies of late.

The outcome of all that work is my X-Jet, an engine that offers turbojet-level efficiencies with the huge advantage that it contains virtually no moving parts and can be built for as little as 1/20th the cost of existing designs.

We're not talking about "a good idea" here -- we're talking about a design that has produced two working prototypes and is just 12-15 months from commercialisation.

Technology NZ came to the party with some help to get this R&D started, but their contribution has paled into insignificance in comparison to the money I've personally poured into the project.

Now that I"m ready to move to the next level (a final prototype that will be the basis of the first commercially manufactured units), the only VC interest is coming from offshore.

Yes, it looks (once again) as if another Kiwi idea and potentially huge export-earner (along with most of the jobs and revenues it will produce) is about to disappear out of the country.

There is now a steady stream of overseas visitors flowing through my workshop and looking at what I've done -- and so far they've all been very interested and keen to become involved. But where are the Kiwi investors? What about the jobs for NZers?

Sometimes I just despair.

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