NEW YORK (FDI) -- On April 25, 1999, Falun Gong emerged on the international radar screen when more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Beijing to appeal to the Chinese Central Government not to escalate the harassment against them. They asked to be able to practice their beliefs in peace, as guaranteed by China’s constitution, and an end to abuses and slander against their meditation practice. The response, however, has been anything but peaceful.
On April 25 1999, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Beijing for a peaceful appeal to the Central Chinese government for their rights to freedom of belief. Since then China’s leaders have used propaganda to mask a bloody persecution of the group that has resulted in hundreds of deaths from torture and abuse
Over the past four years, this peaceful appeal has often been mistakenly cited as the reason for the official banning of the practice three months later (in July 1999). Meanwhile, an outpouring of propaganda from China portraying the gathering as a "siege" that shocked the leadership has added to the confusion. Given that the still and silent group was unarmed, and that video footage shows the road, entrance and exit ways, and even the path for the blind left unobstructed, the regime’s rhetoric of a "siege" is silly.
Investigations have concluded that the appeal may have actually been encouraged and manipulated by authorities in order to generate a pretext and set the stage for a wide-scale campaign of suppression and eradication. (special report).
SARS Debacle Uncovers a Pattern of Deadly Mistruths
China’s recent cover-up of the SARS that allowed the disease to spread unchecked reminds us to question news that comes from the Chinese government. Suddenly, the world’s investors recall why China is still a risky place to open a franchise or build a factory.
If Beijing will lie about something as serious as its own public health crisis, how trustworthy are the ever-upbeat economic statistics it publishes? Rally organizers say the tragedy of the SARS epidemic is not just a "misstep" by the leadership in Beijing, but an endemic problem of the regime -- and former leader Jiang Zemin in particular, who is widely believed to still hold the reigns of power in the authoritarian state -- placing an obsessive view of power above the interests, and the very lives, of its people.
"The SARS tragedy demonstrates the Chinese regime’s willingness to lie and spread propaganda for its own self-interest, even when the lives of millions are at stake," explains European Falun Gong Information Centre spokesman, Mr. Peter Jauhal. "For almost four years, we have witnessed this regime severely persecute Falun Gong and then lie and spread propaganda to the world to cover it up. It’s the same pattern, and it poses an extraordinary threat not just to China but also to the world."
Jiang Zemin’s regime manufactured laws to retroactively legalize the campaign against Falun Gong, while at the same time it manufactured stories to demonize the practice. In spite of the vast propaganda campaign, convincing evidence to justify the campaign has yet to be seen, while hard evidence of State-sponsored torture has been met with blanket denials.
Jiang hoped to align his power by redirecting mounting public frustration towards an innocent and peaceful group. He set up "Office 6-10", a plain-clothed police force to eliminate Falun Gong, placing Luo Gan at its head. Four years of top-down persecution have left numerous families torn apart, an untold number of torture and murder victims, and Jiang Zemin facing international lawsuits for crimes against humanity and genocide.
The Dangers of Propaganda
China’s leaders’ lies have led to the wrongful deaths of thousands over recent years, but few outside of China were aware of it. Now what China faces is international consequences for the thin cover-ups of those in power.
Only when the truth is revealed about the innocent lives lost at the hands of this regime will the damages born from its lies and propaganda be tallied.