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: Beijings condemnation of the group as a Western, anti-Chinese force and doomsday cult, the sects continued defiance, and the nationwide campaign that resulted in the incarceration and torture of many Falun Gong faithful.Maria Hsia Chang discusses the Falun Gongs beliefs, including their ideas on cosmology, humanitys origin, karma, reincarnation, UFOs, and the coming apocalypse. She balances an account of the Chinese governments case against the sect with an evaluation of the credibility of those accusations. Describing Chinas long history of secret societies that initiated powerful uprisings and sometimes overthrew dynasties, she explains the Chinese governments brutal treatment of the sect. And she concludes with a chronicle of the ongoing persecution of religious groups in Chinaof which Falun Gong is only one of manyand the social conditions that breed the popular discontent and alienation that spawn religious millenarianism.

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