After reading part of Qigong Fever, I believe I gained a better understanding of the Qigong Movement in China. Originally meant to be used in conjunction with modern (Western) medicine, I feel that Qigong may have grown out of control of the Communist government. While it was originally intended to be a strictly secular form of medical treatment, meant to be used on rural citizens, it eventually differentiated itself from its Western medicine counterparts in order to rid itself of “bourgeois” elements.
I found it interesting that Qigong attempted to eradicate superstition when it itself is based entirely on superstition. The Qigong Movement seems to have developed a pseudo-intellectual following in which these superstitious elements were proven in purportedly reputable laboratories under scientific conditions. Followers of Qigong also had a slew of reasons or continuing to believe in Qigong even after various experiments have disproven it. These various justifications supported their unfounded beliefs, with arguments along the lines of: “it appears contrary to science because modern science has not yet found adequate concepts and methods to observe, define, and explain the phenomena” (modernism). This argument essentially compares Qigong leaders to Copernicus and Galileo, whose beliefs were considered false and widely ridiculed in their times. However, they fail to mention that their findings were eventually accepted academically.
Another aspect I thought was relevant was the nature that Qigong eventually developed. Practitioners eventually began to make completely arbitrary claims that were clearly lies. One “master” claimed that he used his powers to prevent mosquitoes from stinging humans worldwide. These bold claims were easily tested, and when proven false, led to a loss of credibility and trust.