Chinese Communist Authorities Admitted That a Slanderous Report Was a Total Fabrication
Editor’s note: The propaganda campaign launched by the Chinese communist regime against Falun Gong and its founder has been unprecedented since the “great Cultural Revolution” in terms of intensity and viciousness. The slandering has gone to such an extent that, recently, the communist authorities had to admit that a special report claiming “Zhang Zhi-wen committed suicide by burning herself and her daughter, in protest of the government’s crackdown on Falun Gong”, which had been reprinted by many Chinese newspapers, was a 100% fabrication. The following is a report by a journalist from Voice of America.
Hai Tao, of Voice of America, reported from Los Angeles: Since the Chinese government started to crack down on Falun Gong in July 1999, all state-run media agencies started to attack Falun Gong, its founder and its key members. On November 28, a special report authored by Li Xin-gang was published in the newspaper “the Xi-an Workers”. The article “reported” that “Zhi-wen Zhang”, who was a lady living in Wei-nan region of Shan-xi Province, burned her six month-old daughter and then committed suicide by setting herself on fire, in protest of the government’s crackdown on Falun Gong. This report made a stir in the country and it has been reprinted by many newspapers in Shen-zhen, Harbin, Shanghai and other places. Recently, the Hong Kong Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movements conducted an investigation and found out that the report was a total fabrication. The center said, by quoting Chinese officials, that the people, location, time and the story in that report were all fabricated. An official in the Wei-nan Communist Political and Law Committee of Shan-xi Province named Wu testified that there was absolutely no fire-suicide event and moreover there did not exist a lady named Zhi-wen Zhang at all. In addition, many news agencies in China called them for verification and got the same answer.
John Li, a Falun Gong practitioner in Caltech, said that in China, a lot of fabricated news about Falun Gong is fabricated. When some Chinese Falun Gong practitioners asked the author why he fabricated the news, the author’s reply was, “I was writing fiction.”
Senior journalist Mr. Wei-guo Zhang commented, “Since the Chinese news agencies are “pens” for the Communist Party, they must speak for the party and the government. So it loses its journalistic function as a public monitor. Therefore, they are full of corruption, paid news, and fabricated news. It is very serious”
A commentator of current events in the US, Mr. Chang-qin Cao, who was a former journalist in China, thought that it was not strange to have this type of news appear in China. The Chinese news media follows “one country, two polices”. Different news is published in party newspapers and small newspapers. Small newspapers accept free submissions. Because of the shortage of manpower, they have no way, nor do they want, to verify the authenticity of news. Meanwhile, in order to gain market and expand their circulations, small newspapers resort to all possible means to please the public with claptrap. Their first priority is to attract more readers, with no respect for facts and authenticity of news.
The problem here, however, is that newspapers such as “Xi-an Workers” and “Harbin Metro Newspaper”, that published the article about “murdering daughter and committing suicide”, are not typical small newspapers. Mr. Chang-qin Cao said, “This phenomenon indicates another problem. There are two kinds of news that the media dare not fabricate: first, they dare not fabricate articles with opinions differing from those of the government, nor dare they fabricate big economical or financial news. Otherwise, they would be punished by the government. Second, for those famous figures such as writers and high ranking officials, they dare not fabricate news about them because they would be sued.”
“Under these circumstances,” said Mr. Cao, “there is only one type of news that they dare to fabricate, namely, news about those figures disliked by the government, such as exiled dissidents or political criminals in jail. Obviously, the government will not find trouble with them if they do that.”
In addition, recently, somebody has posted on the Internet an article in the name of the founder of Falun Gong, saying that he would return to China to argue with the government even at the risk of being jailed. John Li, a Ph.D. candidate in Caltech, testified that this is another piece of false news.