70 Miles Outside Beijing, A Cultural Revolution Time Warp

NEW YORK — At train and bus stations 70 miles from the heart of Beijing, police have been placing photos of Falun Gong founder Mr. Li Hongzhi on the ground. To exit the station, all travelers must stomp on the spiritual teacher’s image. Those who refuse are presumed to be Falun Gong adherents and taken away.

According to reports received by the Center, at least two Falun Gong adherents in Hebei province’s Chicheng city (70 miles from Beijing) and Huailai county (100 miles) were rounded up this way in late July.

When calls were made to the police station located at a central Huailai bus terminal, an officer admitted placing Mr. Li Hongzhi’s photographs on the ground, but said they had since stopped doing so. It is not clear whether other stations are continuing the practice.

This tactic was used for months in stations throughout China in the early days of the campaign against Falun Gong, especially in 1999 and 2000. The method served a dual purpose: forcing ordinary Chinese to align themselves with the Communist Party against Falun Gong, and catching Falun Gong adherents on their way to petition the government or protest in Beijing.

Along with stamping on Mr. Li’s image, another common tactic used was to force travelers to spit at his photo. Earlier, such tactics vilifying targeted Communist Party leaders and religious symbols were widespread during the Cultural Revolution.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Thomasz Korczynski, University lecturer and Polish coordinator at the Aid to the Church in Need, recalls how this method was used to target Christians during the Cultural Revolution.

“They would put a cross on the ground, and demand that people step on it, one after another. Those that didn’t were sent to [labor] camps and were later sometimes even killed.”

“It insults both you, and the person being stepped upon, in this case, a person that Falun Gong practitioners have a high degree of respect for,” Mr. Korczynski said. “It’s a terrible thing that you are forced to step on another person.”

The Center has not yet received news of where the Falun Gong practitioners arrested in the dragnet have been taken.