Outside Comment: Chinese Foreign Ministry's wording Indicates that the self-immolation incident has nothing to do with Falun Gong
In connection with the self-immolation incident at Tiananmen Square, the US Department of State condemned China's crackdown on Falun Gong. The speaker of China's Foreign Ministry replied with a harshly worded attack. The wording of the speech, although harsh, was merely bureaucratic clich?and did not even mention the self-immolation incident itself. The fact that the subject of the immolation itself was totally ignored is an indication that there are hidden circumstances.
There are four survivors of the Tiananmen self-immolation incident. If they are indeed Falun Gong practitioners, based on their persistent truthfulness in speech and behavior, there's no reason for them to hide their identities, not to mention they were appealing and being prepared to pay the price of appeal with their lives. If it were indeed true that there is relevance for Falun Gong in this incident, Jiang Zemin, who has been unilaterally blamed for his ill-fated inciting of the Falun Gong issue and has no way to back down, would definitely not let go of this perfect opportunity for suppressing and defaming Falun Gong even further. Other top leaders, on the other hand, despite their opposition, would not be able to advance any argument of the crackdown.
However, what we see is that the Foreign Ministry, in their harshly worded attack, avoided the subject of Falun Gong completely! The Foreign Ministry is the subordinate department of China's State Council, which represents the Chinese government's principled stand in the international society. Developing a good relationship with the U.S. is and has always been the emphasis of China's foreign policy. Nonetheless, the Bush administration, immediately after taking office, right away condemned China and her stand on human rights and on groups not in accord with the regime. Being faced with this issue, which affects the bilateral relationship, if China's Foreign Ministry could clear it up, its speaker would definitely not keep silent about the major charge. From the wording of the reply, which is stern yet evasive, we can see the dampening of spirits and helplessness of the Chinese authorities in this incident.
It is worth mentioning that, although, at this point, the U.S. Department of State considers those who burn themselves to be Falun Gong practitioners, they didn't take the stand of the customary so-called "consummation and ascend", a saying imposed on the Xinhua News Agency by the Chinese government. On the contrary, they expressed sorrow based on humanitarianism and appealed to the Chinese government to stop ordering excessive pressure, which clearly shows that they have accepted Falun Gong's statement, reiterating that Falun Gong is AGAINST violence or suicide. Thus, through this event, the atrocities of Jiang Zemin's crackdown on Falun Gong and Falun Gong's principles of "Zhen, Shan, Ren" [Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance] have been widely spread. The slanders and fabrications made by the mouthpieces of Jiang's clique can only serve to deceive themselves but cannot deceive the world.
There is another important point to consider: Although, hours after the situation occurred, and the Xinhua News Agency put the blame on Falun Gong, there have been no follow-up reports. Just think about it; Xinhua and other state-run news agencies, for the past year and a half, had been making untrue statements, publishing trumped-up charges and causing countless troubles with their lies to attack Falun Gong. But, if there was any chance that this regrettable incident, which has drawn international attention, was related to Falun Gong, they would certainly take prime advantage of the situation to make big news. They would even delete and edit the words of those involved and repeatedly broadcast on CCTV till people are tired of it.
Thus, the self-immolation incident has nothing to do with Falun Gong. If that is the case, the Chinese government should feel very fortunate. The crackdown on Falun Gong has indeed gone too far. Were it not for Falun Gong's principles "Zhen, Shan, Ren", how can a large segment of the population endure such a large-scale brutal persecution without rising in rebellion? It is Falun Gong practitioners' extraordinary peace, self-discipline and tolerance that give the Chinese government an opportunity to peacefully resolve the Falun Gong issue. Moreover, Falun Gong is not against the Chinese government since Falun Gong does not get involved in political issues. How can the Chinese government in their ignorance go so far as to hope and force Falun Gong become an anti-government violent group?
If the self-immolation incident really has nothing to do with Falun Gong, Xinhua News Agency will get into big trouble. How to resolve this issue which, has created worldwide attention, will become the focus of the fight between Jiang and other top leaders of China. Jiang will not permit Xinhua to acknowledge this false report or just leave it unsettled, which would then mean the revelation of all of Jiang's disreputable deeds. Unless other top leaders of China's government tolerate Jiang's continued ignoring of the conditions of people's lives and national interests, in all likelihood, this self-immolation incident probably will became the turning point of the Chinese government's policy on the Falun Gong issue.
January 26, 2001