There are many discussions regarding the "TV interception" by Falun Gong practitioners. The purpose of this article is to explore the righteousness and urgency of the "Interception" from the perspective of TV itself.
1. The Significant Influence of TV Propagandas in the Persecution of Falun Gong
Based on the "National satellite channel coverage survey" published by the China Central Television (CCTV) market research subsidiary, there are 306 million families who own TV's; the total TV viewer population has reached 1.07 billion people. The national average TV ownership rate has reached 85.88%.
It used to take a week for the government's highest directives to reach the vast populace, now they can be broadcasted to the entire country via TV. Lately, there have been fewer political movements, so TV's political impact has not been that outstanding. Only after the current situation where Jiang Zemin initiated the persecution of Falun Gong did the political potential of TV fully reveal itself.
Since July 1999, CCTV has taken a leading role with its vast propaganda experience gained during the past several decades in interviewing, editing and compiling video images, and repeatedly broadcast on a massive scale a series of emotionally charged, broadcasts with purportedly indisputable "evidence" that defamed Falun Gong. Using fabricated details the broadcasts were perceived by the public to be highly credible and authoritative which accomplished CCTV's mission as the mouth of the Jiang Regime. The massive coverage was designed to give Falun Gong a death knell. It takes just a few days time to completely engulf hundreds of millions of viewers with a deceptive assault initiated by Jiang Zemin.
If people still had any skepticism left in them after the decades of political movements, then the fabricated "Tiananmen Self Immolation" incident broadcast by CCTV's "Focus Interview" targeted them to completely demolish their remaining skepticism.
There was a scene from this program showing an electrical appliance department in a large super market where several dozen TV's were neatly stacked in the bright and spacious demo hallway. All the TV screens were simultaneously showing the "Tiananmen Self Immolation" on the "Focus Interview" program . The intense and emotionally charged voice of denunciation by the program commentator echoed in the quiet hallway, and people all stopped in front of the TV to take a closer look.
In that instant, the facial expressions of people were filled with shock, anger and hatred towards Falun Gong.
Whenever I saw or even thought about that scene, I could feel an incredible sense of hopelessness and helplessness for Falun Gong. I felt that the air froze and time stopped at that instant. Both stirred the feeling in me that Falun Gong would never be vindicated again under this immense, yet invisible pressure.
During past political persecutions the media's tools only consisted of the newspaper and bullhorns. They were no match for today's TV's propaganda. People have always believed what they can "see with their own eyes." Yet TV can bring to you activities that were taking places thousands of miles away, just like if you were there in person. It has completely broken down the time and space barrier. Now TV technology has become even more refined and the results are even more dazzling. Coupled with the government, TV's intrinsic authority, TV provides a complete "in front of your eyes" experience to the viewers.
Just think about it, when someone who was personally involved talks about it on TV, how could it not be true? When our neighbors speak out how could it not be true? The TV picture looks so real, how could it not be true?
Ordinary viewers have little idea of the recent developments in digital multimedia technology. They know even less about the technology available to alter the picture and to construct a falsified video image. Yet it was precisely such altering techniques that are exploited to the limit to disgrace and discredit Falun Gong during the propaganda blitzkriegs instigated by Jiang Zemin.
Today, TV has become an inseparable part of people's lives. Even if you do not intentionally watch anti-Falun Gong programs, so long as these programs are shown on TV, audiences will have seen them, heard about them, and more importantly, believed in them. There are people who are critical about Falun Gong even though they have never come in contact with Falun Gong practitioners. When asked why they hold such grudges against Falun Gong, they often reply, "That was what we saw on TV."
A friend of mine, who worked at an insurance company in Chongqing city, claimed that he did not believe either side of the Falun Gong issues. But what was really surprising was that this friend was very familiar with just about every Falun Gong slandering report aired by CCTV, from so-called suicides to self immolation, from murder to poisoning. He had good recollections and believed them, even though he thought he was immune from the influence of propaganda.
This is the power of TV! While it can bring a variety of entertainment to people, it also allows dictators to more tightly control people's thoughts. It has even become a murder weapon.
This is the wickedness of Jiang Zemin. Who ever possessed such powerful propaganda machines in history? Who ever exploited such superiority to attack a weak civilian population? Only Jiang Zemin! Jiang Zemin has taken full advantage of the popularity of TV coverage in China to distribute unprecedented hatred towards Falun Gong practitioners. He has indeed committed the worst atrocity in history.
2. The Immense Power to Clear Lies Using "TV Interception"
To some people, those Falun Gong slandering video images incited by CCTV have created deep impressions on their sensory perceptions. Using your own mouth, a printed pamphlet, or a piece of email to clarify the truth, how much will people believe you? After our understanding of the role played by the television in the persecution of Falun Gong, it became apparent that the most direct and effective way to unmask the lies is television.
In an environment where all TV media were being controlled by Jiang Zemin, it became inevitable and expected to implement "TV Interception."
There were no psychological burden on the viewer during TV interception and no extra effort was needed. Just like when viewers were unconsciously deceived by the "Focus Interview" program on CCTV, the viewers would naturally and unpretentiously learn the truth by watching factual and truthful TV programs.
3. How to Deal With "TV Interception"
People can accept Falun Gong pamphlets, but they feel that the situation is out of control when "TV is intercepted." This raises many issues.
1) The legal issue
Is it legal to distribute Falun Gong pamphlets in China? Based on the suppression policy, it is "illegal" and you will be subject to arrest and detention. Similarly, other than as a tool for the struggle against the illegal atrocity, "TV Interception" is no different from a legal perspective, and technically it is more complex. The only difference is that a pamphlet is handed to you whereas the video image is transmitted via TV.
2) Was it a disruption to others?
The truth clarification program was unquestionably a shocking program to audiences in China and it was inherently attractive to them. When people are concerned whether they were being deceived by the government, they are very interested to learn the truth. In a way, most people would be receptive and willing to watch it. But could there be some disruptions to a small group of people? This is inevitable, but it is reasonable. Even when the government officially approved a demonstration, it could cause certain roadblocks and congestion, as well as causing a bit of inconvenience to some people who were in a hurry to go somewhere. Yet, this is the price that must be paid to safeguard human rights. This is also a recognized rule in modern society. Therefore, to use the reason of "it was a disruption to others" to forbid such activity concerning the interest of hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners is not a legitimate defense. To put it in another perspective, how many anti-Falun Gong TV programs have been aired by TV stations under the control of the Jiang Zemin regime that disrupted the people's enjoyment of regular TV programs?
3) The issue of going to extremes
Some people believe that "TV Interception" indicates that Falun Gong has started to become extremist. In actuality, "TV Interception" is a natural extension of the effort by Falun Gong practitioners to clarify the truth in an environment where Jiang Zemin uses TV to falsify the facts to deceive people and to tightly cover up the truth.
Just review the history of Falun Gong since its introduction in 1992. In a country controlled by an atheist regime, in order for a spiritual and upright faith to spread, it not only must face tremendous pressure from the atheist regime, it must also face the segregation and expulsion by other religions. The developmental path taken by Falun Gong is a story of surviving amidst censorship. The only survival tool available is to "clarify the truth." It could be stated that ever since the introduction of Falun Gong in 1992, practitioners have been "clarifying the truth," letting people become aware that Falun Gong is beneficial to people and society.
An official report from the Chinese government stated that there were more than 300 "sieges" of various government branches before the suppression of Falun Gong in 1999. The purported "siege" was appealing to responsible government offices to clarify the truth. Only after the persecution started did Jiang Zemin deliberately call the "appeal" a "siege." On the contrary, it fully illustrated that Falun Gong had been following this approach during the past years to clarify the truth. In the past, at least, there were places for practitioners to appeal and to clarify the facts. After the suppression, all such avenues were shut off. When all the avenues had been sealed off on the ground, then clarifying the truth over the air became a natural extension of their activities begun in 1992. The consistency in their activities demonstrates that they are not extremists.
4) The issue of "to promote Falun Gong all over the place"
Some people accused Falun Gong saying, "Why are you still trying to promote Falun Gong all over the place after you have committed so many murders and suicides? People won't believe in you. People won't practice Falun Gong." Yet, Jiang Zemin never dared to publicize and reveal the content of the "TV Interception." He would only talk about the "interception" being a way to promote Falun Gong, giving people the impression that Falun Gong was trying to promote itself as a religion. The fact is, Jiang Zemin falsely accused Falun Gong of murdering people, and Falun Gong was trying to "intercept" and right the wrong with their own programs to reveal the "murderous lies" of Jiang Zemin. Because Jiang Zemin deliberately tried to hide this important point, it has clearly exposed his devious nature.
In a place where people are allowed to speak out and to voice their vindication, they will not need "TV Interception." When people are forced to do "TV Interception," it clearly illustrates the most evil authoritarian nature of Jiang Zemin.