The Continuing Persecution of Falun Gong


  • Maria Hsia Chang University of Nevada



Falun Gong, China, Religion


Nearly ten years ago on 25 April 1999, the world was introduced to a new religious movement with a worldwide following reportedly numbering in the millions. On that spring day, 10,000 to 16,000 followers of a spiritual movement named Falun Gong [FLG] or “Law Wheel Cultivation” peacefully assembled outside Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party’s [hereafter CCP] headquarters in the heart of Beijing. The demonstrators included people of all ages from all walks of life who had come from across China to ask that their government recognize their faith and lift the ban on its publications. From dawn until late into the night, those present sat in silent protest, eight-deep on the sidewalk, many clutching a blue book—one of FLG’s publications. What was remarkable about the assemblage was that it took the Chinese government completely by surprise. The demonstration was a political earthquake that shook the People’s Republic of China [PRC] with repercussions that persist to this day. In this paper I provide an updated overview of the rise of this movement and consider its most recent activities

Author Biography

Maria Hsia Chang, University of Nevada

Dr Chang is Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Falun Gong: The End of Days (Yale University Press, 2004), Return of the Dragon: China's Wounded Nationalism (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2001), The Labors of Sisyphus: The Economic Development of Communist China (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1999), and The Chinese Blue Shirt Society: Fascism and Developmental Nationalism (U.C. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1985).


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How to Cite

Hsia Chang, M. (2008). The Continuing Persecution of Falun Gong. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 20(3), 263–285.