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 ?
Since introducing this resolution last Congress, matters relating to Falun Gongs persecution in China have only become more urgent and deserve scrutiny from the United States and the world.
This indicated that there are unacknowledged organ sources in China, with the primary source being the imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners.
What is Falun Gong? FALUN Gong was first taught publicly in north-east China in 1992.
Penny also notes the ways that Western ideas have shaped the beliefs and presentations of Falun Gong, and how Li's exposure to American culture may have facilitated this.
As David Palmer and others have detailed, by the early 1990s and the appearance of Falun Gong, several hundred schools of qigong, each with their own Master, not only had emerged to publicly teach what were professed to have been previously secret methods of qigong but had allowed their teachings in many cases to take on more and more explicitly religious overtones.
A 2007, US government report into international religious freedom stated: "Falun Gong practitioners continued to face arrest, detention, and imprisonment, and there were credible reports of deaths due to torture and abuse."
She examines the rhetoric of Falun Gong's dissent from Chinese leadership in politics, culture, religion, science, and health care.
The Shen Yun dance show, by many reviewers' accounts, mixes heavy-handed political theater - depicting, for example, the tasing of a Falun Gong woman and her child by Chinese government thugs - with mediocre dance.
Beginning in the year 1999, the elimination of Falun Gong became the most potent issue in China, as reflected in the incarceration rates of Falun Gong practitioners (about 450,000 to one million in any single year) and it did not officially subside from that position until the middle of the next decade.
As a result of Falun Gong lobbying last year, the U.S.
China's ban on the Falun Gong spiritual movement a decade ago demonstrated the government's concern for a ''minority group,'' a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.
From Jeremy Paltiel's review of Falun Gong and the Future of China, by David Ownby: