The Chinese air force was ordered to fire first if it appeared that Taiwanese aircraft might be about to attack. China isn't just rattling the saber, they are waving it around and pointing it at Taiwan, and the United States.
What exactly is Falungong and why has the Chinese government reacted so forcefully to suppress it?. Falungong is basically a new religion. It contains many Buddhist elements (thus the name, which means "Law of the Wheel", a Buddhist concept.) Rather than just an exercise program with philosophical elements attached (as is the case with many Asian martial arts programs), Falungong is a total philosophy of life. It's less than ten years old, and while there are millions of practitioners (to different degrees of dedication), it is unlikely that there as many as 70-100 million (the numbers the media has seized upon.) Falungong scares the Chinese government because of the stress on moral behavior. Morality is sadly lacking in the new China, with corruption rampant in the communist party. It was under such conditions that the first revolution (against the empire) early in this century erupted , and against the Nationalist government (by the communists) in the 1930s). History has a way of repeating itself, and the Chinese communists do not want to get repeated on.