The Falun Gong Movement in China
Aim: How is the Falun Gong movement in modern-day China similar
to the movement that led to the Taiping Rebellion?
· understand the teachings of Li Hongzhi;
· understand the similarities between the Falun Dafa movement
and the religious ideas that laid the foundation for the Taiping
Rebellion in China;
· understand the tension between the practitioners of Falun
Dafa on one hand, and the government of the People's Republic of
China on the other.
(This lesson presumes that students have previously participated
in a lesson on the Taiping Rebellion)
Preceding Evening's Homework: Direct students to read an article
on Falun Dafa (for a sample article entitled "A Brief Discussion
of Falun Dafa," contact the author via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org).
In order to learn more about Falun Dafa, suggest that students refer
to the following Web sites:
Motivation: Have students write a paragraph in which they recall
everything that they remember from a previous lesson on the beliefs
of Hung Xiuquan, the leader of the Taiping Rebellion in China (1851-1864).
1. Discuss what students wrote in their paragraph. Recall how Hung
Xiuquan of the Taiping Rebellion believed that he was the younger
son of Jesus and was sent to found the Heavenly Kingdom on earth.
2. Briefly review the fundamentalist morality of Hung Xiuquan and
how the Taiping leaders prohibited opium smoking, gambling, the
use of tobacco and wine, polygamy, the sale of slaves and prostitution.
Discuss how the Taiping leaders tried to promote the equality of
the sexes and tried to abolish the private ownership of land and
3. Discuss the teachings of Li Hongzhi and the emergence of Falun
Dafa as a major popular religion in China in the 1990s. Discuss
the fundamentalist, anti-materialist morality of Li Hongzhi's Falun
Dafa. Compare and contrast Li Hongzhi's teachings with the values
of the "Heavenly Kingdom on earth" sought by the leaders
of the Taiping Rebellion.
4. Recall how the Taiping Rebellion resulted from the collapse
of the Qing dynasty's rule (under Western onslaught), and how Hung
tapped into the deep millenarianism of the Chinese peasantry.
5. Discuss whether Falun Dafa may be the result of a collapse of
traditional Chinese lifestyles under the onslaught of a Western,
media-driven global culture, the trappings of which are truly accessible
only to the elite. Compare and contrast this possibility to the
rise of Hung and the Taiping Rebellion as a response to the collapse
of the Qing rule under Western pressure.
6. Describe the reaction of the Chinese Government to the rise
of Falun Dafa. Discuss whether the occurrence of the Taiping Rebellion
may have contributed to the decision of the Chinese government to
squash Falun Dafa in China.