Falun Gong in the United States: An Ethnographic Study

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Universal-Publishers, 2003 - 288 頁
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.
 

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METHODS
6
LITERATURE REVIEW
17
LIST OF TABLES
19
Practitioners in D C Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts
27
Part of the first exercise
34
Political Cartoon by Tony Auth
45
Our country is in its best human rights period in history
67
Practitioners in Sheng Yang
72
Teaching a new person the fifth exercise
134
Practitioners setting up for Falun Dafa day
135
A picture of Li Hongzhi on Richards wall
138
Richards wall
139
Nappis wall and VCR
140
Falun Gong Demographics for American Practitioners on the Internet
142
Medical care allegation in Chinese comic
154
Clearwisdom net refutes medical care allegation
155

A Practitioners Home After Being Ransacked by Chinese Police
99
A 5000 Yuan Fine For Having a Wife Who Appealed for Falun Gong
100
Liu Yufeng a Practitioner Who Was Beaten to Death
101
Practitioners in D C
107
Suspiciouslooking Chinese Man with a Camera Hangs Around the D C Practice Site
112
RESULTS
113
Falun Gong Practitioners Educations and Careers
115
Anecdotal Demographic Information North American Practitioners
121
Falun Gong Demographics for Tampa FL
128
Falun Gong Demographics for Washington D C
129
Chinese tourists walking away after taking pictures of practitioners up close
130
Joggers glance at dancers on Falun Dafa day
131
Passersby read Falun Gong posters
133
The Six Periods of Falun Gong
177
Conference at USF
196
Children presenting at an Orlando experience sharing conference
197
Professional Practitioners by the Washington Monument
205
A New Website is Advertised at the D C Conference
209
Most Frequently Checked Falun Gong Websites in the United States
212
How Practitioners are Raising Awareness
222
The poster used for the Practice Site in Tampa
229
A Poster Used on the Mall in D C
230
CONCLUSION
246
REFERENCES CITED
260
Tampa SemiStructured Interview Protocol
284

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