Falun Gong, the Diaspora and Chinese Identity: Fieldwork among the Practitioners in Ottawa

Submitted by James Miller on Mon, 12/24/2012 - 18:03
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TitleFalun Gong, the Diaspora and Chinese Identity: Fieldwork among the Practitioners in Ottawa
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLiu, Y. - Y. T.
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2012
PublisherCarleton University (Canada)
Place PublishedCanada
ISBN Number9780494877746
Keywords0326:Cultural anthropology, 0344:Social research, 0631:Ethnic studies, SOCIAL sciences

This research project sets out to study Falun Gong as a diaspora community, with particular interest in the theorization of diaspora identity and debates on the qualities of diaspora communities. Falun Gong first expanded rapidly during the Chinese national "qigong boom" movement in 1992 and it then clashed with the state in 1999. The Chinese government forbade their citizens from practicing it, and launched a nationwide anti-Falun Gong campaign. Overseas Falun Gong practitioners have re-established its headquarters in New York to keep their practices and beliefs alive. Not only have they successfully reconstituted their organizations "in exile," the anti-Chinese communist activities carried out by the practitioners appear to be one of the largest and persistent oppositional movements to the Chinese Communist Party. Based on six months of fieldwork with the Falun Gong practitioners in Ottawa, my ethnographic data suggests that the analytical framework for the Falun Gong immigrants cannot be delinked from Falun Gong's historical and contemporary relations with the homeland (China) and the hostland (Canada). To understand a diaspora, one must first contextualize its historical specificity and current situations with the homeland and the host societies.