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Will China Change Its Position on Qigong?

On July 10, 2017, Xinhua published an article on Qigong (气功) exercises. Qigong is a system of gentle exercises composed of body postures and movements, breathing, and meditation. It is rooted in Chinese medicine, philosophy, martial arts, and even Buddhist or Taoist cultivation theories. People practice, or cultivate it for health, spirituality, or martial arts training.

Qigong was quite popular in China in the 1980s and 1990s. However, in 1999, the Communist Party banned Falun Gong, a mind body Qigong exercise with deep roots in the Buddhist school. Jiang Zemin, then Communist Party head, wanted the Communist ideology to win over “superstition,” which he felt was a threat to the Communist Party. Since then the Qigong environment has chilled in China.

This Xinhua article may be a hint of the government’s shift in its position on Qigong. The article reported that Qigong has been included as a sports event in the National Games that were hosted in Tianjin in July of this year. It also commented, “Qigong is a traditional sports game in China. It is not a religious superstition nor a form of mysterious arts, but rather a means for people to pursue harmony of mind and body.”

Source: Xinhua, July 10, 2017