The Illegality of the Ban and the Orders to Persecute
After the nationwide arrests on June 20, 1999, there was a long editorial published in the Party's newspaper, The People's Daily, on June 22, 1999. The Ministry of Civic Affairs sent out a "notice" regarding the banning of the Falun Dafa Research Association. The Ministry of Public Security declared the "six prohibitions" regarding Falun Gong. They marked the beginning of the government's ban on Falun Gong. Many thought that this represented the entire government's will and decision. It did not.
We won't say much about the editorial that appeared in The People's Daily. Everybody knows that it was just propaganda, but even though an editorial can never be the law, in China, People's Daily editorials can carry more weight than the law itself.
1 - The Declaration by the Ministry of Civic Affairs Was Ridiculous and Illegal
The organization that the Ministry of Civic Affairs' banned in its declaration didn't even officially exist. The Falun Dafa Research Association was originally a branch association of the China Qigong Science Research Association. After leaving the Qigong Science Research Association in 1996, it no longer existed. According to Falun Gong's website, Minghui, after dropping out of the Qigong Science Research Association, the former Falun Dafa Association applied to be a registered association with the Ministry of Civic Affairs, the Strategically United Action Ministry, the People's Congress, the Religion Affairs Administration Bureau, the National Physical Education Committee, the National Physical Education Central Bureau, and other government offices. Yet none approved the application. Article 35 of The Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly stipulates, "The citizens of the PRC have the right to freedom of speech, publication, assembly, association, parade, and protest."
A qigong or cultivation practice such as Falun Gong has traditionally not needed to have an official organizational status. Fitness activities in the park, for example, qigong practices, Taiji, running, Yangge dancing [a popular folk dance in northern China], and sword dancing have never applied to be registered organizations.
Article 5 [Socialist Legal System, Rule of Law] of the Constitution states:
(1) The state upholds the uniformity and dignity of the socialist legal system.
(2) No law or administrative or local rules and regulations shall contravene the Constitution.
(3) All state organs, the armed forces, all political parties and public
organizations, and all enterprises and undertakings must abide by the Constitution
and the law. All acts in violation of the Constitution and the law must be looked
(4) No organization or individual may enjoy the privilege of being above the
Constitution and the law.
Judging from Article 5, not only was the organization banned by the Ministry of Civic Affairs officially non-existent, the declaration itself was illegal because it was in violation of the Constitution.
Furthermore, even assuming that the declaration by the Ministry of Civic Affairs was valid, what it banned was the "Falun Dafa Research Association," but not Falun Gong itself.
2 - The Ministry of Public Security's Declaration of "Six Prohibitions" is Unconstitutional
In order to show that the declaration by the Ministry of Public Security was illegal, all we have to do is take a look at the 6 prohibitions themselves. They are:
The declaration bases a person's guilt on his or her ways of thinking. Everything that is linked to Falun Gong is prohibited. "It is prohibited for anybody to hang or post banners that promote Falun Gong." Implementing such a prohibition is like taking China back to the era of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, who "burned all books, rounded up dissident scholars and burned them alive." [The notorious tyrant, Qin Shihuang, a Chinese emperor of the Qin Dynasty is known in history for doing this. Visit http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2002/9/16/26548.html to find out more about Qin Shihuang.]
The statement that "It is prohibited for anybody to organize, assemble, or lead events that are against government policies," means that if the government makes a policy, no matter how ridiculous it is, people are not allowed to oppose it.
From these prohibitions, we can see what a joke the judicial system and government claims of "democracy," and "rule by the people" are in China. The declaration, so obviously in violation of the Constitution and depriving people of their freedom of thought and ability to criticize the government, was used as legal grounds for the persecution.
We can explain even further how this declaration is in violation of the Constitution. In addition to violating the aforementioned Article 5 and Article 35, it also violates Article 41 of the Constitution:
Article 41 [Freedom of Speech] of the Constitution stipulates:
(1) Citizens of the People's Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions to any state organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints and charges against, or exposures of, any state organ or functionary for violation of the law or dereliction of duty; but fabrication or distortion of facts for the purpose of libel or frame-up is prohibited.
(2) The state organ concerned must deal with complaints, charges or exposures made by citizens in a responsible manner after ascertaining the facts. No one may suppress such complaints, charges and exposure, or retaliate against the citizens making them.
(3) Citizens who have suffered losses through infringement of their civil rights by any state organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with the law.
Rule 8 in "Regulations for Making Appeals" by the State Council of the People's Republic of China:
"An appellant can take the following appeals to relevant state organs:
Accordingly, the rule declared by the Ministry of Public Security, "It is prohibited for anybody to hold a 'conference,' 'parade,' and 'demonstration' that support or promote Falun Gong by means of 'meditation' or 'making appeal,'" not only violates the Constitution, but also violates the State Council's "Regulations for Making Appeals."
3 - "The Legislation by the National People's Congress" Is a Big Fraud
The preceding two public notices declared the start of the persecution, but they were administrative declarations, not laws. There are also no details of implementation. This is far from the much ballyhooed Party line of "Governing the Country by Rule of Law."
After China adopted the "Open Policy" in the late 1970s to fit in with international society, the "anti-revolutionary" charge in Chinese criminal law was rescinded, making it hard to declare someone guilty because of one's thoughts. In the entire Criminal Law, the only article which can be used as a legal basis for persecution is Article 300, which states: "(those) who organize and make use of sects, evil cults, or superstitions to impede the laws or administrative regulations, can be sentenced to 3 to 7 years in jail; or in cases of extreme severity, the jail term can be greater than 7 years." But this article contains no detailed enforcement regulations and no legal definition of "evil cults." In fact, in international legal circles, "evil cult" is not recognized as a legal term.
It was Jiang Zemin who first called Falun Gong an "evil cult." In October 1999, three months after the persecution started, when being interviewed by the French newspaper Le Figaro, Jiang said, "Falun Gong is an evil cult." On October 26, major Chinese newspapers published Jiang's speech on their cover pages, and titled the articles "Falun Gong is an evil cult." On October 27, 1999, the Xinhua News Agency published a special comment, with the same title, in which the author quoted an article published in the People's Daily on the July 22, 1999 to prove Jiang's speech was "reasonable." The People's Daily article was full of groundless rumors and was published just to slander Falun Gong.
A few days later, October 30, 1999, the Chinese People's National Congress passed "The decision to ban evil cult organizations, and to crackdown on evil cult activities" in which it stated "ban without hesitation the evil cult organizations, and severely punish criminal activities organized by evil cults."
One point we see clearly is that Jiang Zemin's speech naming Falun Gong a cult occurred before the National Congress legislation banning them was passed.
Another point is that according to Article 80, 81 of the Chinese Constitution, which defines the extent of the President's power, the President of the country has no right to define crimes based on personality, organization, or practice methods. Article 5 of China's Constitution states: "No organization or individual may enjoy the privilege of being above the Constitution and the law." So without permission or judgment made by the Procurator, the courts, or the National Congress, Jiang Zemin's pronouncement that "Falun Gong is an evil cult" exceeded his authority.
Neither the National Congress "Decision," nor the later "Interpretation of certain problems in implementing the law dealing with cases about the crimes of evil cult organizations" issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procurator, contain wording that specifically relates to Falun Gong. The definition of "evil cult" in the preceding "Interpretation" is: "An illegal organization that is harmful to society, in the name of religion or Qigong, that is established and whose leaders are deified. It creates and spreads superstitious heretical ideas to confuse and deceive people, and it recruits and controls its members."
From a legal point of view, the definition of "heretical ideas" is very subjective. And at the same time, according to Marxist and Chinese Communist Party ideology, all religions spread "heretical ideas." Still, Falun Gong was not mentioned specifically.
So far, over 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced to prison. Most of the court verdicts used words like "making use of evil cult organizations" to describe the practitioner's crimes.
When the law "banning evil cults" was implemented, the so-called "guilt" of Falun Gong was never established. Instead, it was based on the opinions expressed in Jiang Zemin's speech and the pure political propaganda "editorial" in the People's Daily. It was not based on any process of law or independent analysis.
This is to say, except for Jiang Zemin and the People's Daily, no government or other body had deemed Falun Gong to be an evil cult. The persecutors deceived the Chinese people and the international community into believing that the government had declared Falun Gong to be an evil cult, and that the persecution of Falun Gong was legal. In actuality, the persecution is absolutely illegal.
It was only Jiang Zemin who had condemned the practice as a cult. And after he had done so, he caused a law outlawing cults to come into effect.
As unlikely as it may seem, this is in fact what happened. The persecution has now gone on for over four years. China's courts have tried and sentenced many Falun Gong practitioners to jail and forced labor based on Jiang Zemin's speech and the commentary in the People's Daily, not on any of the true laws of the land. This is the reality of Jiang Zemin's dictatorship. Whatever Jiang declares is above all the laws. To give his edicts an air of legitimacy, he simply fashions new laws designed to accommodate his whims.