[Clearwisdom] Epochtimes, January 23. On Tuesday, the "Xinhua News Agency" (state-run media in China) claimed that five Falun Gong practitioners attempted to set themselves on fire at Tiananmen Square. Epochtimes specially interviewed Falun Gong spokesperson Mr. Zhang Erping about this incident.

Epochtimes: What exactly is going on behind the scenes concerning the report by "Xinhua News"?

Zhang Erping : This is a prime example of the deliberate and slanderous propaganda against Falun Gong practitioners that Jiang Zemin and his accomplices are playing with. They have carried out this "one-sided media campaign" with the State-controlled propaganda machines. As everyone is fully aware, during the past 18 months, under the pressure of the Chinese government, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have chosen to be peaceful and tolerant when appealing to the government and to the society in general. The fundamental principle of Falun Gong is "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance." Furthermore, Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, has always explained to us that it is absolutely forbidden to take a life and this includes taking your own. Therefore, the people who supposedly immolated themselves could not have even been remotely connected to Falun Gong. 

This is merely another tactic being used to conspire against us. We have repeatedly appealed to the Chinese government to allow an unbiased, objective investigation to take place against their persecutions, by third-party organizations, such as international human rights and media groups. Yet Jiang Zemin has continuously denied the request to perform the investigation. We would like to ask Jiang Zemin what is he trying to hide?

Epochtimes: Why would "Xinhua News" conspire against Falun Gong?

Zhang Erping : In late July 1999 when he started the persecution of Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin alleged with great ambition that he would eradicate Falun Gong within three months. More than 18 months have passed, yet the number of Falun Gong practitioners stepping forward keeps increasing. They have been appealing to the world and clarifying the truth. Jiang Zemin and his accomplices have sent tens of thousands of practitioners to forced labor camps and mental hospitals. Also, presently over one hundred practitioners have been tortured to death. However, such brutal persecution can only abuse practitioners physically, it cannot lock up practitioners' hearts nor can it weaken their determination in Dafa. On the contrary, the peaceful and just appeal of practitioners has received more and more sympathy, recognition and support from various people and organizations throughout the world. Faced with such an overwhelming response, the Chinese government's controlled media could do nothing but rely on fabricated lies in order to deceive the public. 

Not long ago, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Affairs Department claimed that no one had ever been sent to a labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. Yet a few days later the Chinese Legal System Review (a newspaper) revealed that a single labor camp in the Masanjia District in Liaoning Province had "transformed" more than 400 Falun Gong practitioners. Such self-contradicting statements are common occurrences for Jiang Zemin and his accomplices and they aroused great indignation among the public. 

Moreover, Falun Gong practitioners are only one group of people who go to Tiananmen Square to appeal using different approaches. There are many other groups, organizations, and individuals who also go to Tiananmen Square to voice their concerns. Some of them even adopted very extreme tactics in order to protest against the government's corruption, wrongful accusations, or unjust verdicts. However, no matter how vicious and brutal the suppression initiated by Jiang Zemin may be, Falun Gong practitioners will always follow "Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance." They will continue to use the most peaceful and non-violent forms of appeal in their quest for what is rightfully their basic human right.

January 23, 2001