From Oct.15th to 16th, the International Conference on the Study of Cult and New Religious Movements sponsored by the Research Center of International Cult and New Religious Movements of Wuhan University was held, where 20 more experts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, People's Public Security University of China, Nanjing University, Shaanxi Normal University, Xiamen University, Fuzhou University and Wuhan University as well as 8 highly influential foreign experts from the US, Russia, Australia, South Korea and Sri Lanka were present. This conference attached importance to the introduction and analysis of new issues and trends in the study of international cult and New Religious Movements by foreign scholars, while focusing on the expression of ideas and concerns of Chinese scholars.
First, during the conference, the participants analyzed the new issues and trends in the study of international cult and New Religious Movements. They discussed the distribution, constitution and features of the influential research institutions in this field, put forward diverse or even contrasted academic opinions, analyzed the methodology and evolution and explored the Fusion of Horizons, in a bid to overcome the differences in culture and ideology to enable the academic research of cult and New Religious Movements themselves, which is also becoming the consensus of more and more scholars at home and abroad.
Second, the conference attached importance to the misguidance and suppression of the cult’s media strategy on news report and academic study. James Lewis, professor at the Tromsø University of Norway, exposed the media control as well as the coercion and oppression of academic critics by Falun Gong with his own experience. According to American journalist Nicole Ruskell, Falun Gong plotted over 300 demonstrations between 1998 and 1999, suppressing any negative reports. This kind of issue repeatedly occurs in the West, with the purpose of keeping the Western media silent of any criticisms of Falun Gong. Through big data analysis of the related reports by the Western media on Falun Gong carried out by Chinese media professionals, the limitation and causes of their reports are exposed.
Third, scholars refuted the rumor of organ harvesting spread by Falun Gong. The experts in the field of organ transplantation cited large quantities of data and facts to prove the falsity of organ harvesting. Scholars from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, People's Public Security University of China, and Wuhan University adopted reduction to absurdity to the so-called proof of organ harvesting. The foreign participants also refuted the rumors and slanders on the side of Falun Gong organizers in the past, with countermeasures and suggestions proposed.
This conference is featured by dialogue and discussions on realistic issues between different cultures and disciplines. It is the aim and consensus reached at the conference to form rational and inclusive Fusion of Horizons in the field of the study of international cult and New Religious Movements.