Author: Danny Schechter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 2001
Schechter's groundbreaking exploration of the Falun Gong crisis in China remains the only book-length investigative report on the subject. The New York Times recently described Schechter's book as a 'persuasive analysis of this strange and still unfolding story', and the Village Voice says that 'Schechter's answers are a fiery condemnation of China's government, complete with first-person reports from imprisoned Falun Gong members, propoganda reports, and writings by exiled Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi'.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has been described in many ways. It has been called qigong, one of many schools of physical exercises that aim at improving health and developing supernatural abilities. Scholars and mainstream media have referred it to as a spiritual movement or religion, although practitioners claim it is not a religion. It has been called a cult, in the pejorative sense rather than in a sociological context, by the Chinese government and by some Western critics. In the writings of Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, it is referred to in different ways, though primarily as a cultivation practice. The question of how to define Falun Gong is not just an academic issue; the use of the cult label has been used to justify the persecution of practitioners in China. To a limited degree, the Chinese Government is able to extend the persecution overseas. How society defines Falun Gong has implications for action on the level of policy, as well as the shaping of social, cultural, and personal attitudes. This research project addresses what Falun Gong is through ethnography. Research methods included participant-observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews (both in-person and on-line), and content analysis of text and visual data from Falun Gong books, pamphlets, and websites. Research sites included Tampa, Washington D.C., and cyberspace. In order to keep my research relevant to the issues and concerns of the Falun Gong community, I was in regular contact with the Tampa practitioners, keeping them abreast of my progress and asking for their input. My findings are contrary to the allegations made by the Chinese Government and Western anti-cultists in many ways. Practitioners are not encouraged to rely on Western medicine, but are not prohibited from using it. Child practitioners are not put at risk. Their organizational structure is very loose. Finally, the Internet has played a vital role in Falun Gong's growth and continuation after the crackdown.
Author: James R. Lewis
Release Date: 2010-11-19
The present collection examines the many different ways in which religions appeal to the authority of science. The result is a wide-ranging and uniquely compelling study of how religions adapt their message to the challenges of the contemporary world.
Author: David Ownby
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2008-04-16
On April 25, 1999, ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered outside Zhongnanhai, the guarded compound where China's highest leaders live and work, in a day-long peaceful protest of police brutality against fellow practitioners in the neighboring city of Tianjin. Stunned and surprised, China's leaders launched a campaign of brutal suppression against the group which continues to this day. This book, written by a leading scholar of the history of this Chinese popular religion, is the first to offer a full explanation of what Falun Gong is and where it came from, placing the group in the broader context of the modern history of Chinese religion as well as the particular context of post-Mao China. Falun Gong began as a form of qigong, a general name describing physical and mental disciplines based loosely on traditional Chinese medical and spiritual practices. Qigong was "invented" in the 1950s by members of the Chinese medical establishment who were worried that China's traditional healing arts would be lost as China modeled its new socialist health care system on Western biomedicine. In the late 1970s, Chinese scientists "discovered" that qi possessed genuine scientific qualities, which allowed qigong to become part of China's drive for modernization. With the support of China's leadership, qigong became hugely popular in the 1980s and 1990s, as charismatic qigongqigong boom, the first genuine mass movement in the history of the People's Republic. Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi started his own school of qigong in 1992, claiming that the larger movement had become corrupted by money and magic tricks. Li was welcomed into the qigong world and quickly built a nationwide following of several million practitioners, but ran afoul of China's authorities and relocated to the United States in 1995. In his absence, followers in China began to organize peaceful protests of perceived media slights of Falun Gong, which increased from the mid-'90s onward as China's leaders began to realize that they had created, in the qigong boom, a mass movement with religious and nationalistic undertones, a potential threat to their legitimacy and control. Based on fieldwork among Chinese Falun Gong practitioners in North America and on close examinations of Li Hongzhi's writings, this volume offers an inside look at the movement's history in Chinese popular religion.
Author: Jack Snyder
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2011-04-12
Genre: Political Science
Today religious concerns stand at the center of international politics, yet key paradigms in international relations, namely realism, liberalism, and constructivism, barely consider religion in their analysis of political subjects. Whether the issue is Islamic terrorism, the Christian Right's foreign policy predilections toward Israel and Southern Sudan, the complications of faith-based Western activism abroad, the potential destabilization of atheist China by the Dalai Lama and Falun Gong, or the threat Burmese monks pose to Myanmar's military regime, the rising prominence of religion challenges the conceptual frameworks of international relations. Through models that integrate religion into the study of international politics, the essays in this collection offer a guide to updating the field. Authored by leading scholars, these pieces connect religion to a rising form of populist politics in the developing world. Contributors identify religion as pervasive and distinctive, forcing a reframing of IR theory that reinterprets traditional paradigms. For example, Daniel Nexon (Georgetown University) draws on both realism and constructivism in the examination of religious discourse and transnational networks. Elizabeth Hurd (Northwestern University) positions secularism not as the opposite of religion but as a comparable type of worldview drawing on and competing with religious ideas. With the secular state's perceived failure to address popular needs, religion has become a banner for movements demanding a more responsive government. The contributors to this volume recognize this trend and propose structural and theoretical innovations for future innovations in the discipline.
Author: Danny Schechter
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Release Date: 2011-01-04
Genre: Social Science
A candid insider's tale of how the media really works and why it doesn't work the way it should, The More You Watch, The Less You Know has emerged as a key catalyst in the debate on media reform. The More You Watch, The Less You Know recounts Schechter's media adventures, from when he was "Danny Schechter the News Dissector" on Boston's WBCN radio, to his stints as a producer at ABC's 20/20 and CNN, to his personal odyssey chronicling the anti-Apartheid revolution in South Africa, to his development of innovative programming like South Africa Now and Rights & Wrongs as an independent producer. In this age of telecommunications bills and media mergers, The More You Watch, The Less You Know is an insider’s passionate plea for freedom of the (electronic) press.
Author: Kenneth J. Guest
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2003-08-01
Since the passage of Roe v. Wade, the debate over reproductive rights has dominated America’s courts, legislatures, and streets. The contributors to The Reproductive Rights Reader embrace reproductive justice for all women, but challenge mainstream legal and political solutions based on protecting free choice via neutral governmental policies, which frequently ignore or jeopardize the interests of women of color and the poor. Instead, the pieces in this interdisciplinary book—including both legal cases and articles by legal scholars, historians, sociologists, political scientists and others—favor a critical analysis that addresses the concrete material conditions that limit choices, the role of law and social policy in creating those conditions, and the gendered power dynamics that inform and are reinforced by the regulation of human reproduction. The selections demonstrate that the right to choice is not an automatic guarantee of reproductive justice and gender equality; to truly achieve this ideal it is essential to recognize the complexity of women’s reproductive experiences and needs. Divided into four sections, the book examines feminist critiques of medical knowledge and practice; and the legal regulation of pregnancy termination, conception and child-bearing, and behavior during pregnancy.
Author: Nancy N. Chen
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2003-08-05
Genre: Social Science
The charismatic form of healing called qigong, based on meditative breathing exercises, has achieved enormous popularity in China during the last two decades. Qigong served a critical social organizational function, as practitioners formed new informal networks, sometimes on an international scale, at a time when China was shifting from state-subsidized medical care to for-profit market medicine. The emergence of new psychological states deemed to be deviant led the Chinese state to "medicalize" certain forms while championing scientific versions of qigong. By contrast, qigong continues to be promoted outside China as a traditional healing practice. Breathing Spaces brings to life the narratives of numerous practitioners, healers, psychiatric patients, doctors, and bureaucrats, revealing the varied and often dramatic ways they cope with market reform and social changes in China.
A fascinating collection of letters and articles written by Li Hongzhi between 1995 and 1999, Essentials for Further Advancement is an essential reference for every Falun Gong practitioner. Li Hongzhi's goal in this volume is to reflect on the impact and distinctiveness of Falun Gong in the modern world. He shares his thoughts on the effects of Falun Gong on the People's Republic of China, how Falun Gong principles can be applied to real-life situations, and how practitioners should conducts themselves in daily life. In short, Essentials for Further Advancements is a fascinating reflection of the current status and the applications of Falun Gong at the dawn of a new millennium.
Author: Maria Hsia Chang
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2008-10-01
Genre: Political Science
The world first took notice of a religious group called Falun Gong on April 25, 1999, when more than 10,000 of its followers protested before the Chinese Communist headquarters in Beijing. Falun Gong investigates events in the wake of the demonstration: Beijing’s condemnation of the group as a Western, anti-Chinese force and doomsday cult, the sect’s continued defiance, and the nationwide campaign that resulted in the incarceration and torture of many Falun Gong faithful. Maria Hsia Chang discusses the Falun Gong’s beliefs, including their ideas on cosmology, humanity’s origin, karma, reincarnation, UFOs, and the coming apocalypse. She balances an account of the Chinese government’s case against the sect with an evaluation of the credibility of those accusations. Describing China’s long history of secret societies that initiated powerful uprisings and sometimes overthrew dynasties, she explains the Chinese government’s brutal treatment of the sect. And she concludes with a chronicle of the ongoing persecution of religious groups in China—of which Falun Gong is only one of many—and the social conditions that breed the popular discontent and alienation that spawn religious millenarianism.
Author: David A. Palmer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2007-03-01
Qigong& mdash;a regimen of body, breath, and mental training exercises& mdash;was one of the most widespread cultural and religious movements of late-twentieth-century urban China. The practice was promoted by senior Communist Party leaders as a uniquely Chinese healing tradition and as a harbinger of a new scientific revolution, yet the movement's mass popularity and the almost religious devotion of its followers led to its ruthless suppression. In this absorbing and revealing book, David A. Palmer relies on a combination of historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to describe the spread of the qigong craze and its reflection of key trends that have shaped China since 1949, including the search for a national identity and an emphasis on the absolute authority of science. Qigong offered the promise of an all-powerful technology of the body rooted in the mysteries of Chinese culture. However, after 1995 the scientific underpinnings of qigong came under attack, its leaders were denounced as charlatans, and its networks of followers, notably Falungong, were suppressed as "evil cults." According to Palmer, the success of the movement proves that a hugely important religious dimension not only survived under the CCP but was actively fostered, if not created, by high-ranking party members. Tracing the complex relationships among the masters, officials, scientists, practitioners, and ideologues involved in qigong, Palmer opens a fascinating window on the transformation of Chinese tradition as it evolved along with the Chinese state. As he brilliantly demonstrates, the rise and collapse of the qigong movement is key to understanding the politics and culture of post-Mao society.
Author: Ian Johnson
Release Date: 2007-12-18
In Wild Grass, Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist Ian Johnson tells the stories of three ordinary Chinese citizens moved to extraordinary acts of courage: a peasant legal clerk who filed a class-action suit on behalf of overtaxed farmers, a young architect who defended the rights of dispossessed homeowners, and a bereaved woman who tried to find out why her elderly mother had been beaten to death in police custody. Representing the first cracks in the otherwise seamless façade of Communist Party control, these small acts of resistance demonstrate the unconquerable power of the human conscience and prophesy an increasingly open political future for China. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Falun Gong is an introductory text, systematically presenting the practice of Falun Gong. This book includes instructions and photo illustrations for performing the five sets of Falun Gong exercises. Falun Gong is a high-level cultivation practice guided by the characteristics of the universeTruthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance. "Cultivation" means continuously striving to better harmonize oneself with these universal principles. "Practice" refers to the exercises five sets of easy-to-learn gentle movements and meditation. Cultivating oneself is essential; practicing the exercises supplements the process.