Second Retrospective of the Course: Greg Bombara

At this point in time in the course I believe one of the most valuable things that we have learned is the reasoning for why groups such as Falun Gong have been created in China and why these groups have been so harshly persecuted by the Chinese Government. After 1980 a vacuum of religion was created, which brought about the creation of many different groups. At this time and to today China has been riddled with social issues stemming from government actions. The opening up of the China to the market economy of the world has marginalized many portions of the Chinese population. Through this marginalization widespread poverty has been created and many people are losing hope. Since the Government is the reason for their problems they do not know where to turn to so they find groups which bring promises similar to Falun Gong, those of cultivation and meaning, and find hope and companionship in them. The government then persecutes them when they grow too big and gain too much support, due to the fear of a mass uprising. The fear the government posses is not unwarranted. Throughout Chinsees history there have been events where these type of religious groups do end up overthrowing the government. However, this fear does not justify the treatment that the followers have received. I believe the understanding of these relationships is essential in studying Chinese religion because it provides the background needed to understand why these groups form and why the government acts the way they do.

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