By 1999, the Falungong religious movement had spread widely and broadly throughout China. While on the surface its ideology of spiritual and physical cultivation did t seem threatening, the Chinese government felt otherwise. That year, the government cracked down hard on the movement, and its successful repression of it over a six year period is a textbook example of how the Chinese state operates in the face of perceived internal threats. Its success in containing the movement speaks volumes about the regime's resilience as well. Revenge of the Forbidden City is the definitive account of China's response to Falungong. As James Tong shows, the episode also tells us a great deal about the Chinese state's political institutions, its media apparatus, and its formidable ability to crush dissent. The result is a book that will be essential for any scholar interested in how the Chinese state actually operates.
James Tong is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at UCLA.