About HWPL, IPYG and IWPG (Shincheonji “Peace” Groups)

If you are approached by a representative of a “peace group”:
1. Be mindful of sharing your personal details with people you have just met.
2. If invited to join a community, inter-faith or peace event, always ask who leads their organisation and research their group carefully.
3. Be aware that any pictures of you and anything you sign may be used in order to recruit and retain members to a harmful religious group.
4. Avoid groups or people who talk about how the media doesn’t portray them fairly, or encourages you to avoid researching them online.
5. Be alert for any volunteers from these peace groups who befriend you and try to introduce you to an unrelated bible study.

Unsure whether the peace activity you are involved in is run by Shincheonji or one of its front groups? We can help.

Shincheonji (SCJ) operates three “peace” groups: Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG). Though they each appear to have different objectives and focus on different things, in reality all these groups are run by Shincheonji members and share the same leadership. Each of these groups are active in New Zealand and should be avoided.

We believe the true goals of HWPL’s peace activities are: 1) to falsely present their leader, Lee Man-Hee, as a “peace messenger”, and; 2) to deceive SCJ members into believing they are bringing healing to the nations. We have detailed stories of Shincheonji’s other activities and recruitment tactics elsewhere.

Are Shincheonji and HWPL part of the same organisation?

Yes. In New Zealand, all their activities are conducted under the same charitable trust and come under the same leadership structure. The Chairman of HWPL is Lee Man-Hee, a self-claimed “Promised Pastor” and SCJ’s leader – although HWPL volunteers avoid stating this up front. Members of HWPL and other peace activities are also expected to recruit for Shincheonji.

Lee Man-Hee makes the connection between HWPL and SCJ explicit in one of his articles:

…[W]e, Shincheonji, made the flower of peace and love blossom around the world, as Jesus did. We are working under the name of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) to complete this mission.

Lee Man-Hee, Article 833, “Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light”

In the same article, Lee Man-Hee states a desire for his “heavenly culture” to colonise the world. Colonisation is anything but peaceful, particularly when the general public are not fully informed of their true motives. Accordingly, Shincheonji, HWPL and its related groups cannot reliably claim to be a neutral peace organisation.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL)

HWPL is the parent organisation of IWPG and IPYG. It is under the banner of HWPL that Shincheonji’s Chairman Lee Man-Hee has travelled the world, met high profile leaders, taken pictures with them and signed non-legally binding agreements to work together (MOUs). Shincheonji then shows these pictures and agreements in highlight videos to their members, and uses them in promotional material for their peace organisations to claim that Lee Man-Hee is a “peace advocate” and their organisation is healing the nations. In reality, very little, if any, positive change has occurred as a result of these trips. Many leaders, after realising their true motives, have later withdrawn their support from HWPL. Other leaders remain unaware that their image and connections have been taken advantage of in this way. In New Zealand, this has included former and current politicians such as Sir John Key (pictured), Anne Tolley, Andrew Little, Michael Wood and others.

Mindanao Peace Claims

One of HWPL (and Shincheonji’s) major claims is that Lee Man-Hee successfully mediated a peace agreement in Mindanao, Philippines in 2014, signed by a former archbishop of the Catholic church and the governor of Maguindanao. However, Maguindanao is only a small region of Mindanao, and the conflict in Mindanao is between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), so the two parties who signed did not have any power to bring peace to Mindanao. While a peace settlement has since been brokered, neither Lee Man-Hee nor HWPL were directly involved. As of 2023, there is still unrest and displacement of peoples in the Mindanao island group. Despite repeated claims in propaganda videos, articles and sermons, peace has certainly not been achieved through Lee Man-Hee’s efforts.

International Peace Youth Group (IPYG)

IPYG is a wing of HWPL, and supports everything that HWPL does. Their target audience are youth and young adults of the world, and are particularly active on social media and radio. In New Zealand, IPYG frequently hosts and attends community events to network, and are particularly involved in multicultural and Māori spaces. Of particular concern is their attempts to bring their peace education into schools. Most IPYG volunteers appear to be young enthusiastic Kiwis, and it may not be very obvious to communities that they are part of any other group. However, they are in reality Shincheonji members who are required by their leaders to recruit new members to join their bible studies.

International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG)

IWPG is also called a “wing” of HWPL, though at various times they have also claimed to be entirely separate. IWPG supports all the activities of HWPL, but aims its events and material at mothers and women’s groups. They hold events like peace walks, networking events, and children’s events. IWPG members intentionally connect with other established women’s groups and celebrations (e.g. International Women’s Day) to try and gain legitimacy for HWPL and its claims about Lee Man-Hee.

In one example of how Shincheonji uses world leaders for their own ends, a 2016 IWPG promotional video featured a picture of Ban Ki Moon with the then-leader of IWPG, Nam Hee Kim (she has since left IWPG and Shincheonji). This was used to suggest that the UN and IWPG were working together. However, Ban Ki Moon later made a statement that he had no idea who Nam Hee Kim was, stating:

“The picture was taken by accident at the ‘International Women’s Day’ event held in New York. It is difficult for Ban to reject a request to take a picture with him at a public event as secretary general. There were countless people who requested a picture like Kim. Ban does not know Kim at all.”

Unfortunately, this kind of deception is frequently used in claims to Shincheonji members and the general public that they are supporters of peace.

Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW)

In March 2016, HWPL and other “peace” groups began promoting a declaration of peace and cessation of war (DPCW). HWPL claims this declaration, if supported by everyone, will end all war and bring a culture of peace to the world. It was originally written up by 21 “international law experts”, some of whom have now withdrawn their support. HWPL, IWPG and IPYG volunteers are pressured to bring these “10 points and 38 clauses” to politicians, community leaders, schools and the general public to convince them of the benefits of supporting and implementing this law. The DPCW is promoted in numerous press releases worldwide in attempts to gain credibility.

However, it is difficult to see how the DPCW is any different to existing legislation and guidelines in place. While Lee Man-Hee claims that this law will be adopted by the UN and will be the way to peace for the world, there is no evidence of this actually taking place. Furthermore, first-hand accounts of Shincheonji’s use of deception and coercion in their bible studies directly contradicts point 8 (“foster religious freedom”) in their own Declaration, while their aggressive attempts to recruit new members by infiltrating existing churches directly contradicts point 9 (“promote peaceful coexistence amongst religious and ethnic groups”). It is hypocritical for Shincheonji members in HWPL to promote DPCW while at the same time causing much harm to families and loved ones through deception.

Other HWPL activities

HWPL have also conducted activities under other sub-groups in New Zealand. One example is the WARP (World Alliance of Religions for Peace) office, which claimed to promote interfaith dialogue. Religious representatives from various faiths were invited to participate in a dialogue regarding a certain topic, chosen by HWPL (i.e. Shincheonji). Each representative prepared a short summary of what their scripture says about the chosen topic, which they shared at the event facilitated by a HWPL facilitator (an SCJ member).

In each of these WARP events, the “Christian representative” is in reality an SCJ member who lies or withholds their affiliation. The whole event and discussion is guided to promote SCJ’s theology, with the topics chosen being those which SCJ members can easily answer through their doctrine. Outside of these events, the HWPL facilitator will visit the religious leaders at their places of worship and try to build relationship and trust with them. The goal is for leaders to convert and bring all their members to SCJ, in order to prove Lee Man-Hee’s claims to his members that the “great multitude” will flood into SCJ. These efforts are deceptive; they have largely been unsuccessful in New Zealand, but have gained traction elsewhere.

HWPL also run numerous accounts on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. Comments on these accounts are almost always from Shincheonji members. A typical message will assert that the DPCW is Lee Man-Hee’s instrument of peace that has garnered “support” from politicians, heads of state, religious leaders. However, as shown above, many of these claims are built on deception not reality. No human being can cease all wars and bring everlasting peace. Connecting with and supporting HWPL will only result in you being used to prop up Lee Man-Hee’s persona and further his false claims.

Peace when there is no peace

Shincheonji members who are part of HWPL claim to use the Bible as their only source of truth. One of the drawbacks of their selective use of Scripture is that they avoid or neglect clear warnings about false teachers who see false visions and speak of deceitful divinations. One of the tell-tale signs of a false teacher is described as follows:

“…Since they have led my people astray by saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and since when a flimsy wall is being built, they plaster it with whitewash…”

Ezekiel 13:10

To use the Bible’s own language, Lee Man-Hee appears to be someone who declares “Peace” when no actual peace has come about. The activities of HWPL and its organisations may seem impressive, but like whitewash on a flimsy wall they merely cover over the many serious problems of Shincheonji.


Although at first glance HWPL and its subgroups may appear to do positive and beneficial work, their ultimate goal is to deceive others by presenting Lee Man-Hee as a credible “peace messenger”, and to eventually teach that peace is only possible by converting to Shincheonji. Despite the appearance of promoting multiculturalism, Lee Man-Hee believes in the supremacy of his own “heavenly culture”. HWPL volunteers are in reality SCJ members whose ultimate aim is to recruit for Shincheonji. We strongly discourage politicians, community leaders and members of the public from joining in or supporting HWPL or any of their related “peace” groups.

More details: “What is HWPL?” by Ezra Kim (Free of Shincheonji – Youtube Channel)

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