The Party and state leadership in Beijing was rudely awakened to the fact that the state bureaucracies in charge of public security had no idea of Falun Gong's leadership and its functions on April 25, 1999, when reportedly ten thousand followers in front of Zhongnanhai staged a peaceful and quiet sit-in. Since then the world media has reported events and probable causes for the government to outlaw what was determined to be a religious cult that could disturb peace and stability in China.In this paper, analyses are made of the background and political implications of the sect that had one time dominated the front page of all major newspapers in the world. The authors address themselves to questions such as: What is the nature of Falun Gong? Is it a religious sect, a cult, or a quasi-religious social movement with a hidden political agenda? Is it traditional qigong of a sort that packages well-established belief systems of Buddhism and Taoism? Is it a money-making scheme that satisfies the yearning for spiritual fulfillment for the elderly, the unemployed and the retired? Or is it all of those? Will the Falun Gong phenomenon repeat itself in the future? Was the government crackdown an over-reaction or was it expected? These issues are discussed by the authors in separate sections of this paper.
No of Pages: 60
Imprint: World Scientific / S'pore Univ Press (Pte) Ltd
Publication date: 19991220
Series: East Asian Institute Contemporary China Series