Beijing Reports on Anthrax Scare “Highly Suspicious”

A Probable Attempt to Frame Falun Gong, Incite Hatred

NEW YORK, October 18, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) and the Associated Press reported today, citing Chinese foreign ministry sources, that an alleged “Falun Gong book” suspected of anthrax bacteria contamination was received in the mail by an undisclosed American company in Beijing. No details were given about the package, including where it originated from.

Suspicious circumstances combined with recent reports from China suggest that this was another act by China’s authorities to criminalize Falun Gong. This time authorities are capitalizing on misfortune in America and public fears of biological warfare.

This news comes only weeks after a Sept. 19 report in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (see FDI 9/24 Release) stating that China’s regime is trying to “exploit international outrage over the US [World Trade Center] attacks” to aid its own attacks on Falun Gong and other groups. Citing sources in Beijing, the report continues, “Propaganda departments had ordered state media organisations to describe the self-immolation by alleged Falun Gong followers in Tiananmen Square on January 23 as terrorist acts, one source said. The source added that authorities would use the attacks on America to justify its renewed campaign to crush any religious group that posed a threat to the party’s leadership.”

Also, the Falun Dafa Information Center recently learned from sources inside China (see FDI 10/14 release (Chinese)) that Communist party leader Jiang Zemin has internally labeled Falun Gong a “terrorist organization,” and ordered that “terrorist incidents” be created and attributed to Falun Gong. The creation of such incidents would further the regime’s efforts to criminalize and demonize Falun Gong, breeding public hatred and fear. Past propaganda has succeeded in turning public opinion against Falun Gong, even inciting violence and mobs.

FDI Spokesperson Adam Montanaro commented, “If the Chinese regime is using the anthrax scare to frame-up and attack Falun Gong, which it clearly looks like, then this is disturbing. Would someone who sends a package like this include literature that identifies him?—that’s absurd. But on the other hand, that’s exactly how someone might choose to frame Falun Gong. It’s highly suspicious.”

“The timing of this incident,” Mr. Montanaro continued, “seems suspicious as well.” The incident, sure to capture attention, comes during the APEC meetings in Shanghai. An estimated 3,000 journalists are there to report the meetings, inevitably bringing international scrutiny to China’s horrific human rights abuses. President Bush, who is to meet with China’s Jiang, was sent two letters prior to his departure signed by 68 US Congresspersons calling on Bush to demand that China release Dr. Teng Chunyan, a Falun Gong practitioner and US resident imprisoned in Beijing; Bush was also handed petitions with over 100,000 Americans’ signatures in support of Dr. Teng. The possible anthrax incident seems meant to deflect attention from rights abuses and to shift the issue.

The Falun Dafa Information Center calls for a full and independent investigation into this matter. Until this is done, it is impossible to know the truth of this incident or even if a package was really sent.

Falun Gong is a peaceful spiritual practice that is deeply against all acts of violence and hatred. That no Falun Gong practitioners have resorted to violence or destructive actions over the past two-plus years of brutal and deadly persecution in China speaks volumes about this. Falun Gong is the practice of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.

For nearly two and a half years now China’s communist regime has sought to discredit Falun Gong with demonizing propaganda, scapegoating it for many of China’s problems. The international community has repeatedly condemned China’s actions against Falun Gong. Falun Gong is practiced freely around the world in over 40 countries, and has been given nearly 600 honors and awards for its contributions to humanity; the founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li Hongzhi, is a two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and a nominee by the European Parliament for the 2001 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.