How Jiang and His Followers Took Advantage of the People's Pre-existing Mindsets to Defame Falun Gong (Part I)
(Clearwisdom.net) Jiang Zemin fabricated many stories to slander Falun Gong for the purpose of persecuting practitioners. Theoretically, the Chinese people have gone through many political movements and are supposed to be immune to media lies. In addition, Jiang Zemin does not have the kind of personal reputation and popularity that some former Chinese leaders had. So, how could people easily believe his lies?
One very important way people were deceived was through Jiang tailoring his lies to take advantage of the public's pre-existing prejudices and blind spots. People have the freedom to like and dislike certain things. People have their own philosophies and their own way of living. There is nothing wrong with this. However, in order to defame Falun Gong, Jiang intentionally took advantage of certain mentalities held by the public which tended to lead to a misunderstanding of Falun Gong. He thus created stories that took advantage of these mentalities, so that the public would become unwitting accomplices in the persecution of Falun Gong.
I write this article in an effort to analyze the various mentalities that led to a misunderstanding of Falun Gong. My intention is not to criticize the public, but to help people somehow realize that their underlying prejudiced opinions were taken advantage of by Jiang and his followers. I hope everyone will put forth his own efforts to help stop the persecution against Falun Gong--a persecution that should have never happened.
1. Dozens of years of atheistic education established an ideological foundation for the persecution of Falun Gong.
The atheistic education (in China) equates "belief in God" with "feudal superstition." So people truly believe in their hearts that disciples who believe in God are benighted, anti-scientific, deceived and fooled. The saying, "Advocate science and oppose superstitions" in fact negates all religious beliefs. In China, there exist several religions in name only. But the Chinese government retained these religions historically for the purpose of uniting the people. In recent years, some people who proclaimed themselves as "scientists" or "academicians" have attacked religious belief as "pseudoscience." In an environment where atheism predominates, the public has very limited room to accept any new beliefs.
Actually, in the western developed countries, a lot of accomplished scientists are devout religious disciples. Religion or belief in God does not conflict with science. On the contrary, it has the irreplaceable function of upholding moral standards and stabilizing society.
2. Previous political movements have created the fear of "politics" in the public.
People easily classify those who are suppressed by the government as being politically motivated, regardless of whether the suppressed group has any political agenda or not. Whenever something has the label of "politics" slapped on, people immediately think of "schemes and intrigues," "being used by others" or "being fooled and deceived." In addition, people believe it will certainly "come to no good end." Thus, people naturally dislike the concept of being "politically motivated" and shy away from it.
3. Past political movements have created a public mentality of refusing to bear with things that they don't believe in.
Many people learned to be worldly wise and play it safe, as a result of their experiences in the many political movements of the past. They don't sympathize with things they themselves don't care about. Some people even believe that it is right to persecute the things they don't believe in, or that those things deserve persecution. The bottom line is, because of this mentality, those people who don't believe in Falun Gong easily fall for the slanderous propaganda against Falun Gong by the government media, and they don't care to find out if it is true or not.
4. When hearing about "murder and arson," people would rather believe it than doubt it.
The lies fabricated by Jiang's group have a very obvious pattern. As the persecution of Falun Gong escalated, the lies became bigger and bigger, even contradicting each other. It started with accusing practitioners of refusing to take medicine and escalated to self-injury, suicide, and self-immolation. Then it went even further, accusing practitioners of killing family members, eventually to killing police officers, and finally to the killing of 16 people by one person. In February 2004, Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Public Security, even shouted out to people to strictly guard against "Falun Gong's sabotage activities" in his speech on preventing serious fire and traffic accidents. This put ideas in people's minds as if he were laying a foundation for even bigger lies in the future.
Jiang's regime is very skilled at telling lies. Everyone already knows it. But when it comes to lies about Falun Gong practitioners killing people in fits of insanity, because it involves the issue of human lives, the public tends to believe rather than doubt them. Thus, people naturally become wary of Falun Gong.
5. Magic of TV -- "Believing in what we see with our own eyes," caused people to drop their guard against the CCP.
In the past ten years or so, TV has become very popular in China. According to the official statistics in 2003, the number of people watching TV has reached 1.07 billion. People have the tendency to "believe what they see with their own eyes." So when the TV showed the "real people and real events," confessions of the people involved, tears of the victims, accusations of the neighbors, plus heard the "absolute authority" in the reporter's voice, the audience truly believed the TV programs. The audience had no idea about the interviewing, editing and production methods of modern TV programs; they knew nothing about "stealthily substituting one picture for another" in editing or the montage techniques in filming. How could they possibly not believe what's shown on TV?
Compared to the political propaganda of the past, which utilized newspapers and radio, by utilizing TV, Jiang's group was able to spread lies and rumors on a much larger scale then any previous propaganda movements.
6. Deep-rooted jealousy.
If anybody becomes well known, the first intuitive reaction of many people is, "How could they be so famous... what's their gimmick?" Thus, it is a fairly common scheme to defame a person or an organization with rumors of "seeking to accumulate wealth through dishonest means." Because of underlying jealousy, many people unknowingly tend to believe the attacks on others by the media. In addition, using modern technology, some "real scenes with real objects" can be shown on TV programs. It can be very misleading.
7. The public is alert to groups with certain beliefs because there were cases in Chinese history where secret religious groups rebelled.
Historically in China, some groups that were derived from religious groups developed into political groups that fought for power. Jiang's group accused Falun Gong of having a hidden political agenda and purpose. Because of the historical analogy, it is psychologically easy for many people, especially in intellectual circles--including some intellectuals who value freedom of thought-- to accept the accusation.
A fundamental difference between Falun Gong and those secret religious sects is Falun Gong's openness: for example, exercises are practiced in public, Fa study took place in public, and Falun Gong was spread in public places to the people openly. It is exactly because of Jiang's suppression that Falun Gong practitioners put themselves at risk of being arrested if they practice Falun Gong in public or if they share their experiences in public. One reason Falun Gong practitioners put enormous efforts into opposing the persecution is to gain back their right to practice publicly. In fact, even after several years, Jiang's group has not been able to find any evidence that Falun Gong has any political purpose.
8. Education regarding the Inquisition in the Middle Ages has left a negative impression in people's mind toward religion.
The middle school textbook in China describes how Bruno was burned to death during the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. Students are given a strong impression of religion as being ignorant and anti-scientific. In modern times, the violent and belligerent acts of some extreme religious groups have become excellent "material for negative education" for the Chinese public who believes in atheism. This has further confirmed their belief that religion is an evil thing that endangers society.
In fact, in modern society, church and state have been separated in many countries for a long time. The extremist religious groups are only a small part of the greater population of religious believers. In China, the media seldom talks about the positive functions of righteous religions. When President Clinton and President Bush made speeches in well-known universities in China, they both repeatedly mentioned the necessity of religious freedom in the US and the tremendous contribution of religion in stabilizing society and upholding morals.
9. The public has the mentality of "enjoying laughing at God because they don't believe in God."
"Don't you have God? Isn't God capable? How come you are still bullied by others?" People with this kind of mentality tend to take it as evidence of the nonexistence of God when they see disciples being brutally persecuted. They also tend to accept the slander by the media of those people who "believe in God."
Actually, religion or belief in God is different from the issues among ordinary people. It has a deeper reason that is unknown to ordinary people. Jesus was a god, however he was mocked and nailed to a cross by human beings.
(To be continued)