NEW YORK – Based on recent Chinese Communist Party tactics, the Falun Dafa Information Center expressed concern today that the Party may attempt to stage an incident, perhaps even one involving violence, and then label the actors as Falun Gong practitioners. The Center urged media workers in Beijing to question and thoroughly investigate any Chinese Communist Party (CCP) characterizations of Falun Gong, especially in light of these concerns.“Over the past nine years, the CCP has used a variety of inaccurate labels on Falun Gong,” says Center spokesman Erping Zhang. “In each case, the aim has been to vilify people who practice Falun Gong, and therefore, justify the horrors these people are subject to under CCP rule.”The choice of such labels has been especially far-fetched in the run-up to the Olympics, with some Chinese officials and state-run media going so far as to associate Falun Gong with violent factions or even terrorists. The frequency of such references as the Games approach may suggest there is a second, perhaps more sinister purpose to such labeling. “There exists, sadly, a real possibility that the CCP would attempt to stage or attribute a disruptive act, perhaps even one involving violence, with the intent to pin it on Falun Gong,” says Zhang. “They’ve done it before.”On November 28, 1999, for example, a Chinese state-run newspaper, the Xi-An Worker, published an article on the alleged death of Zhiwen Zhang who reportedly burned her daughter and then killed herself as a result of her Falun Gong practice. According to Voice of America, however, the Hong Kong Information Center investigated the story and concluded that “the people, location, time and story in that report were all fabricated… there did not exist a lady named Zhi-wen Zhang at all.” On January 23, 2001, the CCP sought to rouse hatred toward Falun Gong worldwide by falsely identifying supposed self-immolators on Tiananmen Square as practitioners of Falun Gong. A report by Phillip Pan of the Washington Post concluded that no one had ever seen one of the individuals involved practice Falun Gong. An award-winning film and other analysis have further debunked the accusation (see www.falsefire.com for full report).More recently, the CCP has used emotionally-charged circumstances to bend public opinion against Falun Gong.During the SARS epidemic of 2003, the CCP falsely reported that Falun Gong practitioners were actively contributing to the spread of SARS. In the weeks following the Sichuan earthquake of May 2008, the CCP channeled some of the nation’s outpouring of sympathy for the earthquake victims into an anti-Falun Gong campaign. This included, among others, a Xinhua news article from May 25, 2008, falsely claiming Falun Gong was obstructing overseas Chinese organizations’ efforts to solicit donations for the earthquake disaster victims.A Demonstrated Commitment to Non-ViolenceOver the past nine years, Chinese authorities have detained millions of Falun Gong adherents. Once in custody, tens of thousands have suffered torture, and the Center has documented details of the deaths of over 3,000 from abuse in custody. Throughout this ordeal, there has never been a reported case of Falun Gong adherents retaliating in an act of pre-meditated violence.“Let me be absolutely clear,” says Zhang, “anyone who participates in an organized act of violence in the name of Falun Gong is, by the very act itself, not a Falun Gong practitioner, and certainly does not represent the community of Falun Gong practitioners.”“In all our efforts to regain our basic freedoms over the past nine years, we have never engaged in acts that intentionally harm innocent people,” says Zhang. “The foundation of our faith is the principles of honesty, compassion and tolerance, and we aim to follow these in everything we do… even when exposing the abuses meted out by the CCP.”For those covering stories on this topic, the Center recommends:Referring to the 2005 RSF report "Xinhua: The World’s Biggest Propaganda Agency" http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article15172 for an analysis on the extent to which Xinhua is not an objective source of news, but rather a mouthpiece for the Communist Party.Thoroughly investigating any allegations of harmful acts attributed to practitioners of Falun Gong before issuing news reports. Giving Falun Gong spokespeople an opportunity to respond to any allegations made against Falun Gong.