Falun Gong and the media (response)

2 Nov

January 7, 2005
Falun Gong and the media (response)
From: Patsy Rahn <prahn@worldnet.att.net

Regarding Rick Belsky’s enquiry and comments on the Falun Gong movement and the media information it generates:
Over the holiday I had a long conversation with my eighty-six year-old father regarding the state of media reporting. He was very concerned about the lack of objective and well-informed information that the public receives. As other responses to Rick Belsky’s enquiry have shown, this is something that those of us who teach or publish need to be sensitive to and comment upon. As Vincent Pollard suggested, we need to encourage an attitude of questioning While maintaining a toleration for some ambiguity and error.
In this regard, concerning Rick Belsky’s specific question on the Falun Gong movement and their use of media and organizations for “generating and mediating knowledge about Asia”, I’d like to make a few comments and give a few references.
Belsky asks if there is “something that distinguishes their approach to the production of knowledge about Asia?”
One thing to consider is the motivation behind their creation of news-media information. The first level motivation is to expose the negative treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in China and to create international sympathy and political capital to force the government to end its ban on the group.
The deeper motivation is, in the words of its founder and teacher Li Hongzhi, to “clarify the truth” in order to “save sentient beings”. The movement has a belief that a near-future moment of rectification by the Fa (in which those who believe in Falun Gong will be saved and those who do not will perish), requires all practitioners to try and save others by converting them to believing that Falun Gong is good, if not actually becoming true believers. This task is “the responsibility and mission history has bestowed upon you in fa-rectification…you are now their only hope of entering the future” (Li Hongzhi, “Let Go of Human Attachments and Save the World’s People” posted to clearwisom.net 1 Sept 2004).
Another point is that part of Li’s teachings from the beginning, has been that practitioners must not be political or become involved in politics. This may partially explain why the group denies any connection to The Epoch Times, a news organization that is critical of the Chinese government and is currently running a series of articles titled “Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party” in which they state that “the demise of the Chinese Communist party is only a matter of time”. see:  http://www.theepochtimes.com/jiuping.asp
For research connecting the Falun Gong movement to The Epoch Times, see: “Falun Gong Uses Free Speech as a Sword” by Susan V. Lawrence. Far Eastern Economic Review. Hong Kong. April 15, 2004. V.167, Iss. 15, pp26, 4 pgs.
For discussion on the issue of Falun Gong and media see:
Mark R. Bell and Taylor C. Boas, Falun Gong and the Internet: Evangelism, Community, and Struggle for Survival, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions v.6 n.2 April 2003.  pp 277-293 This entire issue of Nova Religio is on the Falun Gong and a good resource for information.
Dueling Media: Symbolic Conflict in China’s  Falun Gong Suppression
Campaign, in G.M.Chen and R. Ma (eds), Chinese Conflict Management and Resolution, (Westport, Ablex 2002) pp 259-274.
“The New Living-Room War: Media Campaigns and Falun Gong” Haiqing Yu. This paper was presented at the 15th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in Canberra 29 June 2004. It is available for download from the Conference Proceedings website.
These are a few suggested readings on the topic. If anyone is currently doing research on this issue or has other references to recommend, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Best regards,
 Patsy Rahn
Indiana University
 Graduate student

text from: http://www.facts.org.cn/Views/201008/t115504.htm


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