The Ban on Falun Gong -- a Dictator's Whim, Not the Rule of Law
(Clearwisdom.net) Jiang Zemin, China's dictator, has persecuted Falun Gong for five years.
Five years ago, about 100 million Chinese citizens lost their freedom of belief overnight.
Today, five years later, there have been over 1,000 verified deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to the persecution. And at least 6,000 practitioners have been detained in prisons all over China and over 100,000 practitioners have been detained in forced labor camps. Countless practitioners have been beaten, punished physically, and extorted financially by those who are supposed to be protectors of the law. In the five years of persecution, not only have many Falun Gong practitioners been beaten to death, beaten to disability, forced to leave their jobs, heavily fined, had their families broken apart, and forced into homelessness--but even their family members, their good friends, and colleagues have been implicated as well.
After noting the persecution figures above, now it must be said that the Chinese Government has never officially banned Falun Gong, not even for one day!
Let's briefly review what happened around that July five years ago to see if the Chinese Government has ever banned Falun Gong or not.
On April 23 1999, policemen in Tianjin City beat practitioners who were doing the Falun Gong exercises and illegally arrested 45 of them. That event caused about 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners to go to the Appeals Office of the State Department in Beijing to appeal on April 25th. After the appealing practitioners were interviewed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Zhu Rongji, and they heard that the detained Falun Gong practitioners in Tianjin had been released, all the practitioners peacefully left.
The event seemed have been resolved properly. Two day later, on April 27th the director of the Appeals Bureau of the State Department gave a speech to a reporter from Xinhua News Agency and said: "We will not persecute Falun Gong."
However, as a matter of fact, on the night of April 25, Jiang Zemin, who was then top Party chief, head of the military and president of the country, sent official letters to all the standing committee members of the Politburo and other top officials that was highly critical of Falun Gong. On June 7th Jiang gave a speech at the meeting of the Politburo and described his view of Falun Gong from a political viewpoint. He claimed that Falun Gong had a profound political background and an international background. He also claimed that the April 25th appeal was the most serious political event since the June 4th Tiananmen Student Movement of 1989. Later, this speech was passed down inside the Chinese Communist Party as a secret document.
On June 10th under Jiang's control the so-called Central Falun Gong Issue Management Leading Group was established. This is the notorious 610 Office (1). Afterwards, it was renamed as the "Management Office Against Cults" to deceive the public.
Jiang's arrangement to eradicate Falun Gong was thereby set into motion, but it was still in the preparation stage and was limited to within the Communist Party. So this cannot be counted as the Chinese Government banning Falun Gong.
On June 14th the Central Government Appeals Office and the Appeals Office of the State Department together published an announcement over Xinhua News Agency. It mentioned: "Many Falun Gong practitioners are gossiping that 'the police will start persecuting Falun Gong.' That is totally fabricated, a demagogic rumor. People have the right to believe and practice Qigong and also have the freedom not to believe in Qigong."
On July 13th to pacify the Falun Gong practitioners, the Central Committee of the CCP published a leading article in the People's Daily saying: "Practicing Qigong is not superstition and improving health doesn't break the law."
But only one week later, on the morning of July 20, in 30 provinces and in cities all over the country, a unified action was carried out. Local Falun Gong instructors were simultaneously rounded up and arrested. The people making the arrests didn't follow any due legal process in doing so. Later on, most of those practitioners were sentenced to prison terms of various lengths. In other words, on July 20th a gang calling themselves "Protectors of the law" arrested many citizens without any legal grounds. They set up clandestine tribunals and sent the practitioners to prison. The reason I said they didn't have any legal grounds is that all the newly promulgated regulations for persecuting Falun Gong had not been put into place at that time.
So on July 22nd the Civil Administration Bureau made an announcement banning the Falun Dafa Research Association. Could this announcement be counted as the Chinese Government banning Falun Gong?
No. The Falun Dafa Research Association only included some coordinating persons like Wang Zhiwen, Li Chang, Yao Jie, and a few others. The overwhelming majority of Falun Gong practitioners were not members of the association. So this announcement couldn't be counted as banning the freedom to practice Falun Gong by all Falun Gong practitioners. Also, the Civil Administration Bureau is not a legislative branch of the government. This announcement was only an administrative regulation without legal effect.
On July 22nd there was another announcement, the "6 restraints" issued by the Public Security Department. It forbade anyone from practicing Falun Gong in a public situation, forbade anyone from appealing for the Falun Gong issue, and forbade anyone from spreading Falun Gong, etc. Similarly this announcement didn't ban Falun Gong.
First, this announcement totally violated the Chinese Constitution, which guarantees freedom of belief, association, and assembly. The Constitution also guarantees that Chinese citizens have the right to appeal and to defend themselves. The Constitution is the fundamental law of China. The announcement from the Public Security Department violates the Constitution, so it doesn't have any legal effect.
Secondly, the Public Security Department is not legislative, so it doesn't have the right to issue laws. Outside China, this would be the equivalent of the police making the laws! The only legislative body in China is the People's Congress. So the "6 restraints" announcement is not a law. At most, it can be counted as an administrative rule. If a person violates an administrative rule, that person cannot be convicted of a crime, nor be sentenced to prison. At most, the person can be fined, and taken into "administrative custody". In China, the law says that one can be held under administrative custody for no more than 15 days.
Thirdly, if the authorities deem someone to be somehow related to Falun Gong, they can be arrested arbitrarily even though they are not a Falun Gong practitioner. If someone was mistakenly arrested as a Falun Gong practitioner, they can neither appeal nor lodge a complaint. If the person appeals, that would violate the rule of "forbidding anybody from appealing for any Falun Gong related issues." So the principle of this announcement is that there is no need for any reason to arrest you, and you cannot appeal. In the past five years, there have been many non-practitioners who went to Beijing to appeal for different reasons. The most common reasons are that they were forced to leave their job, forced to relocate to allow a dam to be built, or forced to relocate to allow for new urban construction, etc. Many of them were intentionally arrested as Falun Gong practitioners because that is the simplest way to arrest people. It does not require any legal process, and the people who are arrested are not allowed to appeal. So it is guaranteed that the arrest is proper.
So this "6 restraints announcement" is only an illegal administrative rule issued by the Public Security Department under Jiang's instruction. It was an attempt to ban Falun Gong, but it doesn't have any legal effect. So the Chinese Government still has not banned Falun Gong. Saying that China banned Falun Gong is just a word game designed by Jiang.
On July 23 1999, the People's Daily announced that the Central Committee of the CCP decided to punish the "cult". Many people felt that the Chinese Government was banning Falun Gong. It was a pity. Although the Central Committee of the CCP made the decision, the decision still doesn't have any legal effect. In China, neither the People's Daily (a state-run newspaper) nor the Central Committee of the CCP (akin to the Cabinet in the Parliamentary system, or the Executive Branch in the US system) is legislative. They don't have the right to make laws. The Central Committee of the CCP announced that the country would be managed by following its decision. This was also announced by the People's Daily.
The headquarters of Jiang's persecution of Falun Gong is the "610 Office." By its nature, the "610 Office" is an out-and-out illegal organization. There is no legal basis for its existence. It is an illegal organization established by Jiang with usurped national resources. The Chinese legal system, encompassing the Public Security system, the Procuratorate, the courts, and the existing laws are enough to handle any legal issue. The only reason the 610 Office was created was to "legalize" the limitless treachery the dictator planned to commit outside the bounds of existing law.
The 610 Office is beyond the law. As it was established, no existing laws can challenge it or stop it. China has seen such a body before. The 610 Office is just like the "Cultural Revolution Leading Group" which allowed Chairman Mao to tear the country apart during the political campaign known as the "Great Cultural Revolution". The very existence of the 610 Office breaks the law.
There are 610 Offices in each administrative level from the Chinese central government to the local governments. The cost of the salaries and daily supplies of the officials in 610 offices is equivalent to building tens of thousands of schools. This huge expense is being paid by all Chinese people.
In 1999, more than 20 years after the Cultural Revolution ended, China was working hard to recover its legal system from the sham it had become. The newly established legal system had seemingly begun to work. If a person violated the law, only that person could be held responsibile and punished. China has a complete system of Public Security, Procuratorate, and Courts. China also has Criminal Law. Essentially, all the citizens of the Peoples Republic of China should comply with the Law, including the members of the Central Committee of CCP. But, the Law had become an unnecessary obstruction in the path of Jiang Zemin, so he founded the extra-judicial 610 Office.
In the past five years the 610 offices, under Jiang's control, have commanded and controlled each level of the Communist Party and government organizations, Public Security, Procuratorate, and Courts, labor reform system, labor education system, the national security system, and news media. It works just like the Cultural Revolution Leading Group of the Central Committee of the CCP.
The 610 Offices possess absolute power. Whoever the 610 Office decides to sentence or send to forced labor camp, nobody dares to ask for evidence or turn down the decision. Whatever fabricated news they decide to publish or broadcast, nobody dares to refuse. They don't dare to verify the authenticity of the news. In prisons and forced labor camps, if Falun Gong practitioners are killed because they refuse to give up their belief, the killer may claim that they had the order from the 610 office saying that no matter what means are used to treat Falun Gong practitioners, they cannot be held responsible for the result.
In this way, during that summer five years ago, Jiang launched and commanded the biggest political movement since Mao's Great Cultural Revolution, establishing the 610 Office and usurping China's national resources.
(1) "610 Office": a bureau specifically created by the Chinese government to persecute Falun Gong. It has absolute power over each level of administration in the Party, as well as over the political and judiciary branches.