Falun Gong

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Falun Gong

(fä-lo͞on go͞ong), also known as Falun Dafa (dä-fä), movement promoting physical and spiritual well-being that became widespread China in the 1990s. Founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi (1951?–), a former Changchun grain clerk, it combines exercise routines, said to provide focus for the body's energy, with a code of spiritual discipline, intended to foster physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Falun Gong's practices derive from qigong, traditional physical exercises related to tai chi, and from Buddhist and Taoist meditation techniques and spiritual elements. Practitioners cultivate moral precepts that stress zhen (truthfulness), shan (compassion), and ren (forbearance).

Falun Gong, which spread rapidly throughout China in the last decade of the 20th cent., was viewed as a cult by the Chinese government, which vehemently opposed the movement and condemned it in the media. In 1998, Li fled to the United States. His movement, however, remained strong in China and gained adherents through proselytization in the United States and other nations. Chinese members staged protests against government persecution, and in Apr., 1999, when the movement claimed to have roughly 70 million members in China, some 10,000 adherents gathered in a peaceful, silent protest outside Zhongnanhai, the large government and Communist party compound in Beijing. Now regarding the movement as threat to party rule, China outlawed it and arrested and imprisoned members. There also were and continue to be reports of the torture and killing of adherents; some 2,000 persons are believed to have died as a result of the persecution of the group. The systematic suppression of the Falun Gong in China remains a government policy.

Bibliography

See Li Hongzhi, Zhuan Falun (tr. 2000); I. Adams et al., ed., Power of the Wheel: The Falun Gong Revolution (2000); D. Schechter, Falun Gong's Challenge to China (2000); S. Spiegel, Dangerous Meditation: China's Campaign against Falungong (2002); M. H. Chang, Falun Gong: The End of Days (2004); D. Ownby, Falun Gong and the Future of China (2008).

References in periodicals archive ?
(3) A brief content analysis of Jia's films by the author shows that Jia touches these sensitive issues (this list is by no means exhaustive): Yan da (stiffer punishment) policy, underground brothel/prostitute and escorting ladies (Xiaowu, 1998); forced emigration, women trafficking, and child labor (Still Life, 2006);the new rich, counterfeit goods, and migrant peasant labor (The World, 2004); birth control, abortion, demonstrating criminal in public right before execution, and coal mine worker (Platform, 2000); "Wenyi datai.jingji changxi" policy (literally, "arts set stage, let economy perform on it"), the lay-off issue, public lottery, Falungong, Sino-US military tension, domestic terrorism, disputation between doctors and patients, gun issue, and piracy (Unknown Pleasures, 2002).
Falungong -- a movement loosely based on Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophies -- enjoyed growing popularity among the Chinese in the 1990s.
Protestor Tilly Nesbitt said: "The last Chinese leader banned Falungong in 1999.
Before the event, there was congressional concern about whether China's tight security at the Olympic Games would result in internal repression (including human rights dissidents, Uighurs, Tibetans) or harm to safety of American citizens (including those targeted by China for expressing concerns about Tibet, Darfur, Falungong, Taiwan, Burma, North Korean refugees, Xinjiang, etc.).
It ended without incident, but in July the outcome was a national crackdown on Falungong and then restrictions on all qigong organisations and practices that ended support within the Party.
As the sound of the bells and the drums went beyond the small apartment of his friend, one of the neighbors reported it to the local police station as a suspicious activity of the Falungong. Both of them had to relentlessly explain their innocence for hours at the police station before being released.
The unrelenting materialism of the new China no doubt helps account for the popularity of quasi-religious movements such as the Falungong, along with Christianity and other more traditional forms of religious expression.
A 'collective' identity is linked to personal identity not only by analogy, but in the sense that the latter is defined (at least in part) in terms of membership in various groups, either ascriptively (i.e., ethnic or racial categorization, or residents of the same zip code) or voluntarily (e.g., Falungong membership, a political party, an email list serve).
The high kicking, demon-crushing antics of the babes from Charmed will not do either; the kung fu is culturally proximate but the mysticism and cult magic would be politically discomforting for a regime set on vanquishing the 'evil cult' of Falungong. The logic behind Temptation Island also seems counter-intuitive in a Confucian society experiencing serious gender imbalance and record divorce rates.
The statement also highlighted concerns about cultural and religious freedoms in Tibet and in the north-western province of Xinjiang, which has a large Muslim population, as well as the Falungong spiritual movement and the government's "strike-hard" campaign against crime.
In particular, he suppressed political dissidents, mainly the Chinese Democratic Party and the Falungong spiritual movement.
For example, Hong Kong's chief executive and other high government officials recently slandered the Falun Dafa (more commonly known by the name of the meditational excercises they practice, Falungong) as an "evil cult," parroting Beijing's line, and they have threatened to create new legislation targeting it.