Report from the "World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong" Reveals Chinese Government Lies -- Official Government Media Seriously Violate Basic Reporting Principles and Professional Ethics
(Clearwisdom.net) August 19th report (from Boston on August 16th) A group called the "Tiananmen Self-immolation Investigation Committee" under the auspices of the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) made an important discovery through their publicly reported analysis and investigation of the Tiananmen self-immolation incident. They have published the second part of this investigative report regarding this incident. The complete report can be found on http://www.upholdjustice.org/. The report reveals at least 14 contradictory and blatantly bogus plots and fake witness accounts cited in the government report. The main self-immolators, Wang Jindong, Xue Hongjun and several others, obviously provided faked witness accounts during the interview. An investigation of media reports from the January 23, 2001 Tiananmen self-immolation incident revealed that all such reports in Mainland China came from state-run media, including Xinhua Net, People Net, CCTV, Focal Point Interview and Guangming Daily. Reports by other media in China were reprints of the reports generated by these state-run media outlets.
A study of these four media outlets showed that they are in conflict with each other on the basic facts and circumstances regarding the main self-immolators. They differ so much that their authenticity is highly questionable. These contradictions include four different statements as to when Wang Jindong and his family started practicing Falun Gong, which vary from 1996, 1997 to 1999. One of the statements claims Wang Xindong's three-member family began practicing together; another one claims He Haihua, the wife of Wang Jindong, began practicing two years after Wang did; yet another one claims Xue Hongjun had been practicing for more than one year, and other inaccuracies. Wang Jindong does not even know the basic terminology for Falun Gong. For examples, he erroneously names the fifth Falun Gong exercise posture, "double cross," as "the big cross."
There is another glaring discrepancy regarding Wang. According to his statement describing the process of self-immolation, when did Wang Jindong call out the slogans? As he was standing or sitting? Xinhua News Agency claims he stood up and shouted; the CCTV videotape shows he shouted when sitting on the ground, yet the second report by Xinhua News Agency claims he shouted "amid the flames." All of these reports contradict each other. Obviously, made-up plots and staged acts appeared in their reports. Other questions include such doubts as why didn't Wang Jindong's hair--the most flammable part of a person's body--catch on fire during the self-immolation? Were there "fiery flames" on Wang's body? How did the gasoline get on Wang's body? Where did the Sprite bottle come from that was placed between Wang's legs, and if it was filled with gasoline as charged, why didn't it burn? What slogans did Wang shout? What were Wang and other self-immolators doing that morning? The answers given were highly dubious.
These contradictive reports seriously violate the basic principles for media reporting and professional ethics. The first report of the self-immolation by Xinhua News Agency described the incident in detail, but no journalist's name could be found on the report. More questionable is the fact that the great amount of detailed description was not based on eyewitness accounts, which makes one wonder whether a journalist was actually on the scene of the self-immolation, or if the report was concocted at newspaper headquarters, away from the scene itself. The Chinese government insists that only the foreign media were present at the scene of self-immolation. What is even stranger is that the original report of the self-immolation and the video that could be viewed online were deleted from the official Xinhua Net website. WOIPFG had to obtain reprints of reports by Xinhua Net from other media outlets.
Based on these discoveries, the WOIPGF made a secondary list of people to investigate and interview regarding the Tiananmen self-immolation incident. The focus would be on the journalists of the above-mentioned nine reports and persons in charge of the four media outlets. The organization published their first report on May 16th, which may be found at http://www.upholdjustice.org/English.2/new_evidence.htm. This latest investigation includes advanced speech identification technology to identify the voice of Wang Jindong, who made three different appearances on the program Focal Point Interview. The investigators had reached the conclusion that the Wang Jindong, who committed the self-immolation, is not the same person that was held in the labor camp. They also found large discrepancies through their direct evidence collecting at Jishuitan Hospital, where the self-immolators were treated. This investigation not only confirms the obvious governmental lies perpetrated and the fake evidence in this case; it also reveals in greater depth that the Chinese government directly participates in and encourages the violation of basic journalistic ethics. Media reports have to be accurate, truthful and objective; they cannot be made up and cannot contain slander to instigate hatred . The Xinhua News Agency and the three other state-run media agencies have serious problems in terms of credibility and professional ethics. Instead of "media," they are better suited to carry the name of "Party mouthpiece." They are tools Jiang uses to persecute Falun Gong.
As respected journalist Danny Schechter, executive editor of MediaChannel.org had pointed out in his article, "The Fires This Time: Immolation Or Deception In Beijing?" we need to consider his comment, "In light of the prominent media play this 'mass suicide' story has received, it is not too late to thoroughly investigate, not only what happened but whether and why we were all taken in." (http://www.mediachannel.org/views/dissector/falungong2.shtml)