This article examines the CCP's "falun gong problem" with reference to PRC law and policy on "heretical cults," paying particular attention to the implications of this problem for the ongoing struggle to establish human rights under the rule of law. Official PRC commentary contends that the falun gong not only committed criminal acts but also wilfully sought to undermine the rule of law itself. Human rights critics and agencies, such as the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, have, on the other hand, attacked the PRC for a "repressive legal framework" that threatens human rights. The "falun gong problem" is an important chapter in the struggle for the rule of law in China, and it appears that the law has not been able to transcend the conceptual bias of past criminal law on counter-revolution. The related politicization of the law through a revived principle of "flexibility" challenges the internal process of criminal justice reform and the recent reform focus on the balance of human rights protection and public order.