The Tiananmen Square "Self-Immolation"

Potent Hate Propaganda Turns the Tide against Falun Gong in China

14 Dec 2001

On January 23, 2001, five individuals allegedly set themselves on fire in Tienanmen Square. Within hours, Chinese authorities flooded the state-run media with grisly photos of the event, claiming the self-immolators were Falun Gong practitioners. Days later, a Washington Post article revealed that at least two of the self-immolators had never been seen practicing Falun Gong. And further evidence uncovered in the subsequent weeks revealed the incident was staged.

Inside China, however, where state-run media was saturated with programs accusing the Falun Gong teachings of causing the tragedy, the incident became a key tool for Chinese authorities to bend public opinion against Falun Gong. The “self-immolation” infuriated a misled public whose anger, over time, was directed toward the group.

Whereas in years prior Falun Gong had generally been a house-hold name and widely respected in China, after months of media coverage of the "self-immolations," people changed from sympathizing with the Falun Gong to attacking the practice. Hate crimes targeting Falun Gong followers increased and Jiang’s faction within the Central Government also escalated its persecution.

The following is a sampling of the details, which raises questions about the validity of the Chinese regime's claims...

Award-winning Documentary
In November 2003, the English film “False Fire,” which examines the suspicious points of the Tiananmen “self-immolation” incident, won an honorary award at the 51st Columbia International Film Festival for its analytical approach and exposure of the tragic event.