From Spiritual Healing to Protest: Falun Gong's Emerging Culture of Martyrdom
Susan J. Palmer [+]
Falun Gong’s ongoing resistance movement and the escalation of Master Li’s apocalyptic ideology in response to persecution is the focus of this study. On the basis of field research and interviews with practitioners, I propose a four-phase model of conversion, culminating in an activist commitment to the Master’s call to serve in the protest demonstrations against the People’s Republic of China’s persecution of Falun Gong. Since Falun Gong’s civil disobedience has resulted in the deaths of over 343 practitioners, it is important to analyze the process of conversion/commitment to the cause, and the practitioners’ own spiritual understanding of their activist efforts in a two-tiered resistance movement that is concerned with global human rights, but also with a cosmic battle between gods and demons, called fa-rectification.