H-ASIA:   H-Net list for Asian History and Culture [H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU]
January 10, 2000

From: Patsy Rahn <prahn@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Falun Gong

In an earlier posting to h-asia I asked the question: "Is it possible that the trauma of the Cultural Revolution has come back to haunt the CCP?" Ben Luis responded, "The answer I often hear from the mainland Chinese . ..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 one of them." Luis also suggests that because this memory isn't held by the younger generation, that Li is "banking on one or two injured generations" and "doesn't have much time." However, I'm not sure that Li is even conscious of this connection. Also, the effect of an event like the CR doesn't necessarily impact in a linear fashion, as the spread of FLG globally, and its impact on China politically, have shown. It's influence may last well beyond the injured generation.

Throughout his writings Li Hong Zhi brings up the Cultural Revolution and criticizes it. Earlier, I suggested that Li seems to have a quality of being a mirror reflection of the CCP, of being the "spiritual" other side of a "Mao-materialism" coin.

In his teachings, Li expresses a great disgust at the world (he's been called "conservative" for his condemnation of homosexuals, prostitution and rock music, etc). This is not an uncommon view, to say that things are currently going to hell in a handbasket, albeit a pessimistic one. What is specific to Li's teachings is a strong emphasis on not just the "filthy world" with its "filthy things" but his consistent and extreme anger at "ordinary people." In Zhuan Falun he describes "ordinary people" as being degenerate, likely to be bad, likely to disturb you, to contaminate you, and to be possibly evil or demons out to possess or eat you. Li's version of falling from grace (his grace) or falling into hell, is to fall back into being an "ordinary" person. This attitude culminates when he says in Zhuan Falun II that, according to the higher deities, ordinary people deserve to be annihilated.

I'd like to end this by suggesting a possible link between Li's teachings and his Cultural Revolution experience. (Remember, his teachings were made in China for a Chinese audience. The teachings would therefore, I believe, have a special resonance for them). Whether Li was on the giving or receiving end of the Cultural Revolution's destruction, I'd like to suggests some possible linkage for further thought.

If Li was on the giving-end, could he be carrying on/over a contempt for the "ordinary" people who don't believe in the Great Man (Mao/Li), and who aren't "cultivators" or "practitioners" of the "enlightened way" and therefore deserve to be annihilated. Or, perhaps, if he was on the receiving-end, is he now living out the trauma and CR rhetoric from a "spiritual" level (rises above the everyday, painful, and ordinary) but where, this time, he is the one with all the power.

Patsy Rahn

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