A firsthand account of the power of rhetoric to establish and challenge cultural controls in modern China
Emerging in China in the early 1990s, Falun Gong is viewed by its supporters as a folk movement promoting the benefits of good health and moral cultivation. To the Chinese establishment, however, it is a dissident religious cult threatening political orthodoxy and national stability. The author, a Chinese national once involved in implementing Chinese cultural policies, examines the evolving relationship between Falun Gong and Chinese authorities in a revealing case study of the powerful public discourse between a pervasive political ideology and an alternative agenda in contention for cultural dominance.
Posited as a cure for culturally bound illness with widespread symptoms, the Falun Gong movement's efficacy among the marginalized relies on its articulation of a struggle against government sanctioned exploitation in favor of idealistic moral aspirations. In countering such a position, the Chinese government alleges that the religious movement is based in superstition and pseudoscience. Aided by her insider perspective, the author deftly employs Western rhetorical methodology in a compelling critique of an Eastern rhetorical occurrence, highlighting how authority confronts challenge in postsocialist China.
The author, writing under the pseudonym Xiao Ming, was a Chinese diplomat and official of the Ministry of Culture before coming to the United States. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Pittsburgh, she now teaches communication at a private college in Pennsylvania.