By Jason Dean
The Taiwan Falun Dafa Society has a modest office in Taipei, but its
unofficial centre of gravity is the economics department of National Taiwan
University, the island's most prestigious school, where at least four of the
30 or so faculty are practitioners.
Chang Ching-hsi, the society's head, is an economist whose work centres
these days on assessing the flaws in China's economic reforms. He was an
active member of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party before he
began practising Falun Gong. He says he's no longer active in party
politics, and Falun Gong's followers in Taiwan come from all parts of the
political and economic spectrum.
The society doesn't keep a list of practitioners, but its Web site lists 837
places--from parks to homes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
building--across the island where followers can attend exercise sessions.
Falun Gong has been accused in China of feeding on the downtrodden but it
was in fact as popular among the mainland elite as any other group. The same
appears to be true across the strait.
The group's strength in Chang's department is a testament to how the Falun
Gong spreads its teaching via friends and family. Chang first heard of the
group in 1997 from a colleague using it to treat the affects of diabetes.
His colleague convinced Chang's wife, also an economics professor, to try
practising Falun Gong for her illness. Chang doesn't know what the sickness
was because his wife wouldn't consult Western-trained doctors, but he
In any case, her illness subsided, Chang says (though his colleague's
diabetes persists), and he and his wife were persuaded to keep practising
Posting date: 27/Dec/2002
Original article date: 26/Dec/2002
Category: Media Report