An essential note:
I believe that there is no honest way to defend the way Falun Gong practitioners are often treated in the People's Republic of China. The human rights of these individuals must not be questioned.
As for the Falun Gong organization, it may take years before safe and fair assessments will become possible. My personal view of Falun Gong is based on my impressions in China while it was still legal, the way it presents itself in the internet, and on the role of religious societies in China's past. Those which became popular were never just about religion. From Confucianism and Taoism, to the religion of the "Heavenly Kingdom", they all played a role in Chinese politics, or tried to.
Comments from anyone who disagrees with my views are welcome.