The Australian Public Intellectual Network
  Home    Network Books    Australian Common Reader    ACH    Conferences    Network Reviews    Virtual Library    Altitude    From the Editor   
Senor Pilich

This is the saga of Senor Pilich and how he saved the monastery. Senor Pilich, monastery cat extraordinaire, is struck by the sinister Mr Dreggs. Struck by his boot, that is. 'Mr Dreggs, a thief, was at large in the monastery. He was a confidence man. He was overly interested in valuable and historic things. He looked suspicious, acted suspiciously and, above all evils, he did not like cats. Dreggs was a positive threat to the place. He had to go.' Señor Pilich and his friends foil  Dreggs at every turn in a hilarious adventure which causes mayhem throughout the monastery. Meanwhile, monastic ...
Friday, 18th April 2014
  News      Calendar      NRB Current Issue      
 
API MENU

API Review of Books

Altitude BirdIssue 44
Features reviews by Kathleen Broderick, Linn Miller, Christine Choo, Bill Thorpe, David Ritter, Eve Vincent, Stephanie Bishop, Alison Miles, Richard Kay, Amanda Day, Bernard Whimpress, Mads Clausen, Marion May Campbell, Sylvia Alston, Catie Gilchrist, Eva Chapman, Lucy Dougan, Stephen Lawrence and Nathanael O'Reilly. Click here for more details.


Altitude

Altitude BirdPopular Music: Practices, Formations and Change - Australian Perspectives
The papers collected here in this special edition of Altitude offer a brief snapshot of popular music research broadly connected with Australia. The essays demonstrate the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used by researchers in the fields of popular music studies and cultural studies to explore themes of popular music practice, formation and change in an Australian context. Click here for more details.



 
 
 
 

Falun Gong: The End of Days

By Maria Hsia Chang, Carlton North: Scribe Publications, 2004, 188 pages, paperback, $25.00. Reviewed by Anna Hayes in the February 2006 issue.

Help more readers find out about this article
Slashdot Slashdot   Digg Digg   StumbleUpon StumbleUpon   Del.icio.us Del.icio.us

At the recent China Studies Association of Australia Conference in Bendigo, Yu Haiqing explored media representations of the 'threat of Falun Gong' to both Chinese nationals and the state. She concluded that the persecution of Falun Gong is directly attributed to the perceived threat posed by the sect to the Chinese Communist Party. In Falun Gong: The End of Days Chang, a political scientist, begins by outlining the historical tradition whereby secret societies have been able to stage uprisings and overthrow the body politic. In fact, Chang's accounts of the impact the various millenarian movements have had on China's political landscape are the true strength of the work as they clearly identify the reasons behind the CCP's fear of the sect.

Easily accessible, Chang's work is not only an accurate overview of the underlying tenets of Falun Gong, including the sect's beliefs, practices and journey since its foundation in 1992. It also clearly identifies both the political and religious elements of the sect, directly contradicting the claims of Li Hongzhi (Falun Gong's founder), that the sect is nothing more than a health and exercise movement. In support of this claim Chang cites the 1999 protest outside of Zhongnanhai, the CCP's headquarters, as well as the numerous protests that have since occurred in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere. These examples indicate that the sect has a definite political agenda or at the very least they have become politicised by these actions. Furthermore, the hijacking of television transmissions by Falun Gong practioners to beam their message throughout China is also recognised by Chang as an example of politicised expression.

Chang argues that because Falun Gong involves 'a set of metaphysical convictions that include supernatural beings and an afterlife' (p 61) it qualifies as a religion. And while at present Falun Gong is loosely organised and therefore lacking the 'form' that Li Hongzhi insists is necessary for a religion, Chang states that Li has hinted that in the future Falun Gong will become more structured and may be managed by 'monks' and 'professional disciples'. In addition, Chang shows how Falun Gong's beliefs and practices demonstrate clear links to past sectarian religious societies such as the Eight Trigrams and the White Lotus, and that Master Li's teachings are a somewhat 'eclectic blending of Buddhism, Daoism, classical folk religion, and magic', as well as contemporary touches 'via references to science and UFOs'. (p 61)

Another significant aspect of the book is Chang's discussion of the claim that 'it takes a cult to know a cult'. (p 130) Here she dissects arguments the CCP has used against Falun Gong and concludes that 'by its own definition of evil cult, the CCP qualifies as one'. (p 130) To support her argument she recalls the Maoist years and states that Mao ruled China as a demi-god, the 'Little Red Book' was akin to a holy scripture and that Mao attempted to destroy old ideas and culture by whipping the Chinese masses into a 'frenzy of recrimination and destruction'. (p 131) Chang also makes the comparison that like Falun Gong, which has been blamed for the deaths of numerous followers, the cult of Mao was responsible for the taking of human life. She puts that figure at 45-72 million. Thus, in addition to being anti-science and superstitious, she argues that Maoism was harmful to Chinese society.

I found this book informative and hard to put down. Chang's work incorporates much more than an examination of the sect of Falun Gong and its relationship to China. By examining the historical experiences of millenarian movements in China, Chang offers valid reasons why the CCP is so threatened by Falun Gong and why they have made such brutal attempts to suppress it. As a result this book will appeal to political scientists and Sinophiles alike.

Citation

  • Anna Hayes. 'Review: Falun Gong: The End of Days by Maria Hsia Chang' [online]. Network Review of Books (Perth, Australian Public Intellectual Network), February 2006. Availability: <please cite the web address here> ISSN 1833-0932. [accessed 18 April 2014].

Back Cover Blurb

  • 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

Have You Also Read?

  • Guantanamo: What the World Should Know

    imageMichael Ratner and Ellen Ray, Carlton North: Scribe Publications, 2004, 166 Pages, Paperback, $25.00
    Reviewed by Matthew Ericson in the October 2004 issue.

    Given that Michael Ratner is one of the United States' most prominent human right lawyers and President of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, anyone with an interest in human rights, law, or politics might well be attracted to a book on the topic of the US military detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. This may be particularly so given the revelation of the abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib detention facility near Baghdad earlier this year. The conditions under which detainees are incarcerated and the legal no-man's land under which the Guantánamo Bay facility was established and is maintained are the focus of the book. The question-and-answer format covers a ... read more.
     



 
Network Review of Books

Scribe Publications

  • Scribe is an independent Australian book publishing company, founded by Henry Rosenbloom in 1976. It specialises in quality fiction and serious non-fiction, with a particular emphasis on politics and current affairs, biography and history, environmental and social issues, and psychology and philosophy.

NRB February 2006

Need to Contact Us?

  • API Network
    c/- Richard Nile
    Professor Australian Studies
    Director Institute for Media, Creative Arts and Information Technologies
    Murdoch University
    Australia 6152
    Tel +61 8 93602170

    orders@api-network.com

 

 
Site Meter