In order for the Chinese regime’s anti-Falun Gong propaganda to saturate society, the Party has sought to silence alternative views. This effort has been carried out through both explicit and implicit censorship.
Explicit censorship has meant banning all books, articles, audiotapes, videos, flyers, and items that cast Falun Gong in a positive light.
Over the first three months after the campaign against Falun Gong was launched in July 1999, over 21,000,000 Falun Gong related books were confiscated. Large-scale citywide destruction activities were destroyed in the street in large book-burning drives (photos [link to http://hqphoto.minghui.org/photo_high/allimages/destroybook.jpg]).
Police and neighborhood committee members’ (community spies) ransacking of homes has resulted in the confiscation of over 10 million Falun Gong books since 1999.
All Falun Gong websites, including those based overseas, have been blocked since the campaigns onslaught; a mere visit to one can land a person in jail. Even mainstream foreign media websites have been blocked whenever they carried items about the persecution of Falun Gong. As many as 100,000 Internet police are in place to monitor online activity, according to CNN (see Internet Section).
Usually, however, the Chinese regime needs not revert to explicit censorship to silence dissenting views. It relies heavily on implicit censorship; in other words, journalists and editors within Chinese media organizations exercise a high degree of self-censorship because they are under the watchful eye of the Party.
As a result of the censorship policies, for nearly a decade it has been impossible to find any public expression in defense of Falun Gong – be it in government, media, or academic discourse.
Those who have spoken out in disagreement have done so at great risk and often paid a high price. Merely posting a notice can land a person in jail – new laws brand such acts “subversive.” Individuals have been sentenced to years in prison just for visiting banned Falun Gong web sites and printing their contents. In December 2004, a round of arrests landed 11 more people in jail for posting evidence of torture online (See Reporters Without Borders press releasehttp://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12179]).
After human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, for instance, wrote to Party leaders calling upon them to end the campaign of torture against the Falun Gong, he and his family came under surveillance, attempts on his life, and eventual arrest and reportedly torture (Gao describes these ordeals in a book he wrote before he disappeared in 2007: A China More Just. [http://www.broadbook.com/english/1product.asp?id=216]).
What has been left for Chinese people is an underground discourse in which information about the most sensitive topics like Falun Gong is obtained through illicit leaflets, private conversations, and – for those with the technical ability –forbidden websites.
[link to] Media censorship