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Controversial New Religions$
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James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019515682X.001.0001

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The Falun Gong

The Falun Gong

A New Religious Movement in Post-Mao China

(p.195) 9 The Falun Gong
Controversial New Religions

David Ownby (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This essay examines the historical background and recent developments in the aggressive repression of Falun Gong by Chinese authorities. Falun Gong is essentially a form of qigong, the general name for a set of physical and mental disciplines based loosely on traditional Chinese medical and spiritual discourses, and organized around a charismatic master who teaches his followers specific techniques as well as general moral precepts, with the goal of realizing a physical and moral transformation of practitioners. However, Falun Gong differs from qigong in certain important respects, notably its devotion to the charismatic master and his scriptures, its apocalyptic outlook, and its spiritual aims. Straying from the scientistic and apolitical path outlined by the state, Falun Gong placed itself outside the boundaries of socialist China and thus could not be tolerated.

Keywords:   Falun Gong, China, qigong, religious movement, repression, Li Hongzhi

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