Recently, the spokesperson of China's Foreign Affairs Ministry made an attempt to connect Falun Gong to "anthrax-tainted" mail, only to hastily retract it inconclusively due to the attempt's obvious ludicrousness. This caused me to think more about the "self-immolation" incident in Tiananmen Square last January.

In the wake of the "self-immolation," most people who had read analyses about dubious points in the incident, especially those who had watched the slow-motion replay of the self-immolation videos by China's official CCTV, all had doubts about the validity of the event. This immediately raised the question: Who, then, would have done this if they were not Falun Gong members? Who would give up their lives in such a horrifying manner?

Let's shift our focus to two recent events.

The first pertains to the live broadcast by CCTV of the so-called "self-immolation case" court hearings in the middle of the August. That program was interspersed with a replay of the "self-immolation" video shot on the spot. By this time, all those parts that had been previously identified as dubious by western media and news analysts had been cut out. Most notably, the scenes documenting Ms. Liu Chunling being hit in the head by a heavy object were entirely eliminated. Needless to say, the motive for this self-censorship is obvious enough to observers, and therefore does not require any further elaboration at this point.

However, there is another recent, low-profile case that is very interesting and perhaps still enigmatic to people who are not insiders. A 1999 bestseller by Mr. Wang Lixiong entitled Yellow Peril--published by Toronto-based Mirror Books, the same publisher as the Tiananmen Papers--became a banned book following the "Tiananmen self-immolation" incident. In this connection, the bestseller has been removed from many Chinese language websites that consistently toe the official line of the Chinese government.

Yellow Peril, a novel of political predictions that portray the collapse and recovery of the future Chinese society, is a masterpiece by Wang Lixiong that was finished ten years ago. The book has created a buzz within the Chinese-speaking world, receiving a lot of attention and generating extensive discussion. What is even more noteworthy about the book is that many of its predictions have unexpectedly materialized. In Mr. Wang's own words, "I would shudder at the thought that the predictions in my book would all become realities."

To the dismay and horror of every kind-hearted human being, last January's "Tiananmen self-immolations" proceeded in exactly the same manner as described in Yellow Peril. There is a part in the book that elaborates on how China's top leadership uses "Tiananmen self-immolations" for its own political gains. Two excerpts to this effect follow:

(Summary of Chapter Two, Yellow Peril)

"The Public Security Ministry bribed patients suffering from fatal diseases into committing self-immolations to create an excuse for a crackdown. As important as this plan was, even the policemen involved in its execution were denied specific information to ensure strict confidentiality."

"...There is only one thing that has been suggested but remains undone--self-immolations. Unlike hunger strikes, where people can put on a show in public but take food privately, self-immolations will force, upon the kindling of fuel, every single cell, nerve, and drop of blood in the human body to fully experience the inflammation. In this materialistic era, this kind of selfless sacrifice is unimaginable. The minister of Public Security's creative imagination, however, keeps him from being too pessimistic about this. Not only has he found such a person, but he has also notified foreign journalists [of this "fiery" case beforehand], so that they will have enough time to make a swift trip to Tiananmen Square, carrying with them the equipment for recording and disseminating..."

In the novel, the female patient tracked down by the Public Security minister suffers from late-stage cancer and has undergone a complete mastectomy. The minister promises a lump-sum of 3 million yuan (about US $320,000) for her family. But to best achieve the sensational effects, she has to die. Read the following from the book:

"The minister appears to be irate. 'Those people are morons!' he said. 'Can the fire extinguisher save her? She will suffocate before being burned to death.' He seems to be criticizing others purely from a professional point of view, but his words are actually covering up his smugness, and his sense of success, as if he had just come back from a football game on which he had made the right gamble.

'Since she has to die anyway, suffocating to death is actually less painful.' Lu Haoran suddenly had a new thought. 'She was anaesthetized, wasn't she?'

The Public Security minister beamed, 'That was only to give her a sense of comfort to help her make up her mind. How could we have the intended result if we really did that? She would look abnormal.' With a touch of pride, the minister confided that a remote-control igniter had been placed in her clothing without her notice. As long as she carried the lighter, it wouldn't matter whether she or somebody else lit the flame. Now, his subordinates were trying to recover the lighter amidst the tumult, lest it fall into the hands of investigators. 'Just leave it to me and rest assured,' the Minister promises." (Note: Lu Haoran in the book is the supreme leader of China.)

During a trip overseas earlier this year, a friend of mine encountered the son of a dignitary in the Chinese XX Party. As they chatted over the "Tiananmen self-immolation incident," he remarked with indifference, "Everybody in the higher ranks of the Public Security knows about this. They spent 30,000 yuan (about US $ 4,000). Those people already had their days numbered, so they would do it if you gave them enough money."

No wonder Luo Gan has been ridiculed within the Public Security as a "good-for-nothing." In addition to the striking similarities between the description in Yellow Peril and the Tiananmen drama he single-handedly orchestrated--which undoubtedly has engendered widespread skepticism and curiosity among the public--he was not even "good" enough so that others could be "rest assured," but instead left numerous loopholes.

Luckily, they have total control over China's media. In addition, the masses were softhearted and overcome with sorrow upon seeing the innocent young child and the blossoming girl burning like that so that their minds stopped working; otherwise, it is likely that the Chinese public would have figured out for themselves by reading and comparing this incident to what happened in Yellow Peril. Throughout history, schemers have always been good at taking advantage of the emotions of kind-hearted people. The Roman emperor Nero did the same thing when he framed the Christians for the burning of Rome to further justify his persecution of them.

Those who intend to hurt people will spare no means. On the other hand though, sometimes, when they go to extremes, they only reveal their stupidity and inhumanity.