How the Chinese Central Television Station (CCTV) Ran a False Story on Falun Gong
Around the beginning of this year, the Chinese Central Television (CCTV) evening news repeatedly broadcast a piece where it claimed "a Falun Dafa practitioner in Harbin committed murder." It was stated that the person worked in the Department of Forestry of Heilongjiang province.
Later, a practitioner took a train ride, while on a business trip, and happened to run into four people on the train. One of them worked in the Department of Education in Harbin and took part in the investigation of the above-mentioned murder. The other three people are principals at three different schools in Harbin. The person who took part in the murder investigation said: "The piece on CCTV was totally false, and I know what happened. We went to the home of the murder suspect and did not see a single Falun Gong book. All of his co-workers said that he was not a Falun Gong practitioner, and even his wife said that he had never practiced Falun Gong. We did not dare to make up the story, but the reporter and photographer from CCTV had already arrived by that time. We did not know what to do, so we went to our superiors for instructions. It went all the way to the Vice-Premier of China, Li Lanqin. His reply was that the coverage must be made, and it must say that a Falun Dafa practitioner committed the murder. That was how the false news made it to the evening news."
In July 1999, a full-scale persecution of Falun Gong began all over China. It ignored the truth and jeopardized the lives of many ordinary citizens. Ever since that time, CCTV has played an undeniably negative role in a list of important events that contributed to the persecution. It totally disregarded the professional ethics that journalists should follow. One can say without any exaggeration that CCTV has never attempted to provide truthful coverage of Falun Gong. They have not come close to the standard that a news program should strive towards, such as impartiality, objectivity and balanced coverage. The inside story of how the false broadcast about "a Falun Gong practitioner who committed murder in Harbin" made it to the evening news is a testimony on the role of the media in the persecution. It best explains how "true stories," such as alleged 1400 deaths caused by Falun Gong, were made up. It exposes the truth on how the so-called "anti-government evidence" of the April 25th event was gathered. (Translator's note: On April 25, 1999, more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Beijing to exercise their rights as Chinese citizens, as guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. They peacefully made an appeal to the Chinese government asking for the release of Falun Gong practitioners, who had been previously arrested in the city of Tianjin. As a Premier Minister should do, Zhu Rongji met with Falun Gong representatives and agreed to release the jailed Falun Gong members in Tianjin, and the matter was resolved without incident. In July, the government declared the peaceful appeal an "anti-government action," and eventually sentenced Falun Gong leaders to prison terms ranging from 7 to 18 years.)
Falun Gong follows the most fundamental characteristics of this universe, "Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance." It is a high-level cultivation path in the Buddha School. Since its introduction to the public in 1992, more than 100 million people saw great improvement in both their physical and mental well-being. No one can measure the enormous contribution it has made not only to individual practitioners, but also to the entire society and country.
Today more than 40 Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death, and more than 10,000 practitioners have been sent to labor camps. Even more practitioners and their family members have been repeatedly arrested, jailed and their livelihood taken away. It is hard to believe that a vice premier of the country could totally ignore the terrible consequences from the groundless persecution, and order the national TV station to make up news stories. His actions encouraged his subordinates to commit more such deeds against Falun Gong practitioners. During the past year, on the issue of Falun Gong, the government propaganda machines in China have used a single voice to turn white into black, made up false stories to attack Falun Gong, and misled many ordinary Chinese citizens. CCTV willingly participated in the farce, and its actions are inexcusable.
August 16, 2000