A Reporter's Notes from Secret Documents: The Plot Hatched in April and May, 1999 - (Part 1)
(Clearwisdom.net) It is May again. Over five years have passed since the persecution targeting Falun Gong was made public on July 20, 1999.
When I turned on my computer May 11, 2004, my eyes were drawn to the news reports on the Minghui website (Chinese). Falun Gong practitioners from 94 different areas in China had written poems and greetings to wish Master a Happy Birthday and celebrate the 12th anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction; Falun Gong practitioners from the Washington, DC area celebrated the 5th World Falun Dafa Day; UK Falun Gong practitioners celebrated the 12th anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction together with tourists in London's Trafalger Square; Falun Gong practitioners from Ottawa, Canada, celebrated the 12th anniversary of Falun Dafa's introduction; Guan Guimin had recorded a new song (Eulogy To Master's Grace composed by a Falun Gong practitioner in China); and Minghui Net (Chinese) announced the publication of a series of books called A Collection of Fortune Fairytales for Children.
Outside my window there is a spring breeze and the sun is shining brightly. After the rainstorm, pine tress and cypresses are wrapped with a layer of new green. Under the clear sky and pure white clouds, everything looks so peaceful and serene.
Deciding to read, I reach for a hardback book that I haven't opened for a long time. A few pages of fax paper come fluttering out. I had received these faxes during May and June of 1999. Instantly, the inside stories of that historical time flash in front of my eyes.
These are just a few of the secret documents sent to me from China before the persecution started in 1999:
- April 25, 1999, Jiang Zemin's personal letter: About Communists' Radical Belief Issues (Top-secret)
- April 27, 1999, Notice about printing and distributing: Comrade Jiang Zemin's Letter to The Standing Committee of The Political Bureau And Other Related Leaders (Top-secret)
- May 10, 1999, Notice of Some Related Issues about Falun Gong (Secret)
- May 11, 1999, Notice about Printing and Distributing Two Documents about Falun Gong
- June 13, 1999, Notice Regarding the Further Maintenance of Social Stability that was passed to overseas diplomatic posts (Destroy after use)
The movement to "handle and solve the Falun Gong issue," which was made public in July 1999 and continues to be in effect, actually began secretly with the issuing and distributing of classified documents. During the process of "handling and solving" the Falun Gong issue, the government has issued more documents than ever, more frequently than ever, which makes the Chinese people, who have experienced so many political movements, really surprised. First there was a "Speech," then a "Notice" shortly after, and then another "order" came out. However, all of these "national secrets" originated and derived from the letter that Jiang Zemin wrote to the Political Bureau on April 25, 1999, On the Issue of the Fundamental Beliefs for the Communists (classified document). Later, those documents upgraded quickly until they developed into an oral tradition of "general knowledge" among the local police: "No need to follow any laws in dealing with Falun Gong," "Death of Falun Gong practitioners from beating is of no consequence and shall be counted as suicide."
The Dense Fog of April 1999
On April 27, 1999, the "Two Offices" (i.e. the Central Appeal Office of the Chinese Communist Party and The Appeal Office of the State Department) said in their statements that neither the Central Government nor any other level of government had ever outlawed Falun Gong. In fact, however, many secret documents were distributed inside the government, and again and again, Falun Gong practitioners were subjected to surveillance, arrest, questioning, wiretaps, home searches, threats, false accusations of destroying the stability of society, etc., etc.
On June 14, 1999, announcements by the "Two Offices" reiterated that the State and all levels of government had never prohibited the practice of Falun Gong and denied statements to the contrary as "rumors." In fact, however, Falun Gong practitioners were already suffering from severe coercion and suppression.
At that time, many sincere Falun Gong practitioners felt very perplexed. When they asked the relevant leaders, the answer they got--unexpectedly--was, "The 'Two Offices' announcements were for the international community, while inside the country we follow 'the secret documents.'"
A month later, on July 20, 1999, under Jiang Zemin's personal orders, the Department of Civil Administration publicly proclaimed a ban on Falun Gong, immediately affecting from 70 to 100 million practitioners. The veil of "rumor" was removed when the stark order was issued: "Destroy Falun Gong in three months." (Jiang Zemin, 1999).
May 10, 1999, Notice of Some Related Issues about Falun Gong (Secret)
The first document, Notice of Some Related Issues about Falun Gong (No. 27, Gongtongzi,1999, Secret) was issued and distributed by the Ministry of Public Security on May 12, 1999, in the names of China's Ministry of Public Security, China's Ministry of Education, the National Sports Commission, and China's News Publishing Bureau.
At the same time that this document was being secretly distributed, millions of Falun Gong practitioners were being pacified with the rational settlement of their April 25th appeal. When they occasionally heard another voice say, "There are secret, contradictory documents," most practitioners thought it was rumor and they should believe the spirit of the document that the "Two Offices" had published in the newspapers on April 27.
Luo Gang, who was solely in charge of the Ministry of Public Security at that time, is on record as one of the two main instigators of the plot to brutally beat up and arrest the Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin.
Foreshadowing the Persecution Plot
In order to suppress Falun Gong completely, some individuals had already started to act in secret; Luo Gan being one of the most active and unscrupulous core members before Jiang Zemin came onto the stage. (Whether Li Lanqing, who later took up the post of Director of the Central "610 Office," was another core member remains to be verified).
On June 17, 1996, Guangming Daily News, the mouthpiece of the State Department, published an editorial criticizing Falun Gong.
On July 24, 1996, China's News Publishing Bureau issued a Notice to the entire country absolutely prohibiting the publication, distribution, or sale of Falun Gong books.
At the beginning of 1997, the Ministry of Public Security conducted an investigation throughout the whole country, collecting evidence with the intent of framing Falun Gong as "some kind of cult."
On July 21, 1998, the First Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security issued Notice about the Developing Investigation of Falun Gong (No. 555, Gongzheng,1998). The accepted procedure adopted was "convict first and investigate later." First they brought forth the false charge that Mr. Li Hongzhi propagated rumors and heresies and that certain Falun Gong volunteer assistants were engaged in unlawful, criminal activities. Keeping abreast of the Falun Gong activities to use as evidence of lawlessness would be a priority. The local departments of Public and Political Security were also required to conduct thorough investigations.
This Notice about the Developing Investigation of Falun Gong triggered the local Public Security departments in many areas of the country to illegally ban Falun Gong practice sites, forcibly disperse those practicing, search practitioners' homes, rush into people's houses without permission, confiscate personal property, etc., all without the need for "reasonable cause." Since the national media took the attitude "Don't report on Falun Gong," most people in society who did not practice did not notice a change.
Luo Gan was certainly a primary instigator and promoter of these secret and half-secret actions. When the persecution was made public on July 20, 1999, Luo Gan was one of a few core members at the Central level who spared no effort to carry out the suppression for Jiang Zemin. At the beginning of 1997, the secret survey being conducted by the Ministry of Public Security was stopped because, even after conducting detailed investigations, all the local Public Security Bureaus in the country were reporting to the upper level, "No problems found yet."
Survey Results from the National Sports Commission and the National People's Congress Retired Cadres
In order to prevent a few individuals from the Ministry of Public Security from taking continued secret actions, the National Sports Commission did a comprehensive survey of Falun Gong, which showed that the overall efficiency of healing and keeping fit was 97.9%. On October 20, the National Sports Commission dispatched an investigative team to Changchun City, Jilin Province, and Harbin City, Helongjiang Province, where the number of Falun Gong practitioners was quite large. In a speech, the leader of the investigation team said, "We think Falun Gong's health effect is pretty good. It has remarkable effects on social stability and spirituality. It should be greatly commended." At the same time, Dalian City in Liaoning Province and Beijing, as well as other cities, also conducted nongovernmental surveys pertaining to Falun Gong's health effects and obtained consistently positive results.
After the Ministry of Pubic Security initiated the policy of "convict first and investigate later" on July 21, 1998, some retired cadres from the People's Congress, led by Comrade Qiao Shi, conducted a detailed investigation of Falun Gong in the latter half of 1998, because massive numbers of letters were reporting that the Public Security Bureaus were treating Falun Gong practitioners illegally. They concluded that, "Falun Gong benefits the nation and the people greatly without causing any harm". At the end of that year, they also submitted a report of their investigation to the Political Bureau that, at that time, was headed by Jiang Zemin.
According to the May 10th secret document, however, "All relevant departments must pay close attention to Falun Gong's activities, take effective means to conscientiously strengthen your administration and prevent a handful of people from taking advantage of their practice to undertake unlawful and criminal activities, such as disturbing the social order, destroying social stabilization, harming people's health, etc." The attitude displayed in these national documents was of a determination to convict over and over again, disrupting the daily lives of so many practitioners. China may have a signed Constitution, laws and a national system, but in Jiang Zemin's mind they carried no weight at all.
Secret Public Security Document No. 27, 1999
There were 810 copies of document No. 27 (Gongtongzi, 1999) printed. Three copies were filed in the Ministry of the Public Security, and the rest were distributed through the General Office of the Ministry of Public Security to the public security offices, bureaus, party committees and education branches in all provinces, municipalities and cities under their direct jurisdictions, as well as to the Commission of Education, the Commission of Sports, and the News Publishing Bureau. The document was also copied and delivered to the Central General Office, the General Office of the State Department, the Central Political and Judiciary Committee, the Department of Civil Administration, the National Labor and Commerce Administration Bureau, the National Bureau of Religious Affairs, the Judiciary Office of the State Department, the Ministry of Education, the National Sports Commission, related sections of the News Publishing Bureau, the Party Committee of the Ministry of Public Security, and all bureau-level divisions under the ministries. Nationwide, this document made people feel very uneasy and had a very bad effect on the stability of society.
Originally the document just said: "On April 25, many Falun Gong practitioners gathered around Zhongnanhai, Beijing, which severely disturbed the public order around the Central Government buildings and the State Department, as well as interfered with normal life." This document was contrived to publicize the personal letter to the Political Bureau that Jiang Zemin wrote the night of April 25. The letter claimed, "Without a soul knowing anything about it, more than 10,000 people suddenly gathered around the entrance to the power center of the Party and the State and surrounded them for the entire day. Seldom have we seen an organization with such strict discipline and the ability to pass information so quickly." By the time the document was written, the description of the incident was further "twisted" to contain a picture more suitable for using it as an excuse for the persecution.
At the same time, the Falun Gong practitioners who were actually there broke through the information blockade and published their eyewitness accounts on the Minghui (Clearwisdom) websites, one after the other. These testimonies repeatedly mentioned similar experiences: in order not to disturb the public, practitioners did not crowd or block the sidewalk; in order put less of a burden on the public restrooms, practitioners did not drink water for the whole day. Everyone silently awaited the results of the conversation between the leaders of the Appeal Office and the practitioners' temporary representatives. Some were reading books and some were practicing. Everyone was always well behaved and quiet, and even little children did not act out. Such a crowd is a model of civilization to its citizens and enough to "win honor for the country" to outsiders.
Because so many practitioners attended this appeal, many ordinary people also knew the truth. No wonder the documents were distributed so stealthily: the plot was too obvious.
At the same time, the document notified all levels of the State to unify their thoughts and actions and demanded, "The books related to Falun Gong that have been clearly prohibited in the documents issued by the News Publishing Bureau and distributed to the state publishing agencies, continue to be confiscated. As for those Falun Gong books, videos and audiocassettes that have been publicly published but do not fall under the current regulations, all news and publishing sections should take the time to check and appraise the materials and report their comments to the News Publishing Bureau." The distribution of these documents confirmed that the secret suppression of Falun Gong had been initiated as early as 1996 through official document circulation.
The document also emphasized "strictly preventing the opposing forces inside and outside China from their intervention of this matter." "The forces outside China" are the official words in line with the state political slogan "advancing with the times." In more common terms, it is the same as "American Imperialism." In a society ever alert for revolution, even the children in China in the period of the Cultural Revolution understood that "the opposing forces inside and outside China" also meant "American imperialism never stops destroying us." Although the above terms are short, it has vividly depicted Jiang Zemin's knee-jerk hostility to "the forces outside China." But this never kept him from showing off his English. In the Summit in New Zealand, he personally handed a brochure defaming Falun Gong to President Clinton. He actively lobbied to go to President Bush's ranch in Texas. Before he left the central government, he arranged for his children to immigrate to America; after he left the center of power, he still regarded his interview with an American reporter as a great and glorious event. There is a saying in Chinese that means "double-dealing," which really suits Jiang Zemin.
(To be continued)