H-ASIA:   H-Net list for Asian History and Culture [H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU]
Nov. 7, 1999

From:   Patsy Rahn [prahn@worldnet.att.net]
Subject:   Criticism of Falun Gong

Since the Falun Gong is back in the news and looks like it will grow as an issue for some time to come, I'd like to suggest a few thoughts for consideration. I've been researching the FLG since June, mainly because it seemed the media knew so little about them and what they did know seemed to come from press releases from the Falun Gong. My concern was that the public be given fuller information about the group, rather than "the simple image of Falun Gong as an innocent victim of a communist police state" (thanks to Gerry Groot for that phrase).

There's one aspect of the movemnt I'd like to address, and that is Li Hong Zhi's and the group's strong desire to be "officially" recognized by the Chinese government as "good". At one point Li was a member of the official qi gong association and at some point he either quit or was expelled. When you read the FLG's main book, Zhuan Falun, it is clear that Li thinks very poorly of all other qi gong teachers and groups. He tells his practitioners not to read any other books than his, and says you may be possessed by the demon animal spirit of the other qi gong masters if you do. I also read sometime back in June, that the reason the 10,000 practitioners showed up at Zhongnanhai on April 25, was that Li wanted his FLG group to be recognized as "special" and not just another qi gong group. Any hint of criticism is of great concern to Li and his followers. A woman is quoted in the LA Times recently as saying "I cannot sit by passively as the government slanders and vilifies our master, especially since our master gave me life."

I'd like to suggest that the CCP is nervous about Li because they recognize him, they see in him a reversed mirror reflection of themselves; whereas you had Mao the materialist, you now have Li the spiritualist. I think it's also possible that Li is the first sign of "revenge" for the Cultural Revolution that China has had to face. The Chinese people suffered traumatic treatment in the Cultural Revolution, everything was bad, everything was unsafe. To join Li's FLG movement is to be told you are good, and that you are safe. Not only are you good, but FLG can change the entire degenerate world (not just the degenerated CCP) into a good world if only everyone would become a FLG practitioner. It's as if the Chinese people are saying they want to be good, they want to be spiritual, and they want the CCP to officially recognize them as such. Their high sensitivity to criticism of Li or his philosophy seems based in a strong emotional desire; even a demand, to be recognized as good. Is it possible that the trauma of the Cultural Revolution has come back to haunt the CCP?

Best regards,
Patsy Rahn

H-ASIA:   H-Net list for Asian History and Culture [H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU]
Nov. 9, 1999

From: "Luis P. K., Ben" [sspklui@polyu.edu.hk]
Subject: A Revenge against The Cultural Revolution

The answer I often hear from the mainland Chinese to Patsy Rahn's question (Is it possible that the trauma of the Cultural Revolution has come back to haunt the CCP?) is a big "yes". The collective memory of the Revolution is so vivid (and of course traumatic) in the mind of those in their late forties and older that it lends explanation to many current social phenomena - Falun Gong is but one of them. But the collective memory does not seem to be able to carry itself over to the younger generations. In this light, Li Hong Zhi does not have much time. He is banking on one or two injured generations. He does not seem to have realized it.

He is not building up a spiritual "project" in the sense of Jesus Christ. China does not lack precedents; the Taipings in Qing Dynasty did not build any either. He is not philosophizing a great utopia like the Christian heaven. In short, he seems to have little hope for a lasting major effect on Chinese society, and is most likely to return to its humble origin of qigong or a primitive religion.

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