The Role of China's Implication System in the Persecution of Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) Although the brutal facts of the persecution of Falun Gong have gradually filtered through the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) information blockade, and Westerners have become aware that over 3000 innocent practitioners have been killed and hundreds of thousands illegally detained, beaten, and otherwise tortured--still, many details of this vast and comprehensive government campaign to eradicate the spiritual beliefs of millions of China's finest citizens are little known. For example, certain aspects of the persecution, such as the CCP's use of the extra-legal "implication system" to intimidate the population into submission, are for the most part unheard of and even unimaginable in Western nations that are governed by the rule of law.
The Early Days - Falun Gong Flourishes Throughout China
During the 1990s, millions of people from all age groups, professions, ethnic backgrounds, and economic classes were attracted to the practice of Falun Gong in China. Early in the morning or in the evening after work, in public parks all across the nation, the scene of hundreds or even thousands of people performing the graceful, health-enhancing qigong exercises became quite common.
During this time, it would not be unusual to see a high ranking Party official meditating alongside a taxi driver, a university professor exercising alongside a factory worker, or an aged retiree teaching the movements to a young college student. Such was the power of the principle of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance that it was enthusiastically embraced by a broad spectrum of the Chinese population, because it universally benefited all segments of society.
With its roots sunk deep in China's history, Falun Gong was a national treasure, not something separate and distinct from the life of the people that could easily be isolated and destroyed. So when Jiang Zemin decided to launch his ill-fated persecution on July 20, 1999, he and the CCP were, in effect, declaring war on their own country and their own people.
CCP Attempts to Turn Chinese Society against Falun Gong
To win a war, one needs allies, so after purging all Falun Gong practitioners from its own ranks, the Chinese Communist Party systematically went about the task of turning all agencies of government, social and cultural institutions, and civilian and military organizations into enemies of Falun Gong. For this task, the participation of the media was required, but this was no problem, for the Party had for many years exercised absolute control over the press. From the very beginning of the persecution, daily broadsides of hate-filled, fabricated stories demonizing Falun Gong and its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, filled the airwaves, the newspapers, and magazines. The daily barrage of propaganda was designed for but one purpose: to make the atrocities the government was committing palatable to as many people as possible both inside and outside of China.
China has a constitution, courtrooms, lawyers, and laws on the books, but the tradition of rule by law is relatively new, and from the point of view of the ruling elite, hardly flexible enough to serve the immediate needs of the State. Because Falun Gong practitioners were good, honest, hardworking citizens who had earned the respect and admiration of large segments of society, punishing them under existing laws set forth in China's constitution presented many difficulties. Furthermore, Falun Gong practitioners were not afraid to go to jail for their beliefs. So, to address this situation, Jiang Zemin would resort to another system of "law and justice"--also deeply rooted in Chinese history--the implication system.
Some details of the implication system have trickled out of China in reports by Western journalists. Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ian Johnson became curious as to why, compared to other cities, such a disproportionate number of Falun Gong practitioners were being killed in the city of Weifang. The results of his investigation, chronicled in the Wall Street Journal story "How One Chinese City Resorted to Atrocities to Control Falun Dafa" led him directly to the implication system.
In his research, Mr. Johnson discovered that, superimposed over the nation's official legal system, there existed another established mechanism which, though centuries old, was uniquely suited to advance and enhance the communist dictator's efforts to maintain strict and total centralized control over a diverse and burgeoning population, and to segregate and attack any person or groups of people who were perceived, rightly or wrongly, as threats to the power of the State.
Referring to the relationship between the multiple deaths in the city of Weifang and the flood of Falun Gong protestors in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Johnson wrote:
"Officials in Beijing set up the framework for the killings one year ago after they became impatient with the continued flow of protesters from around China into the capital. Deciding drastic measures were needed, they reached for a tried-and-true method of enforcing central edicts, one honed over centuries of imperial rule.
"Based on the 2,200-year-old bao jia method of controlling society, the system pushes responsibility for following central orders onto neighborhoods, with the local boss responsible for the actions of everyone in his territory. In ancient times, that meant the headman of a family or clan was personally responsible for paying taxes, raising troops and apprehending criminals." (http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2000/12/27/3724.html)
Thus, taking a page from China's feudal past, the Jiang regime employed what has now become known as the "implication system" to pursue and persecute Falun Gong practitioners. A unique feature of this system is its total emphasis on results coupled with its total lack of morality. The word goes down from superior to subordinate through layer upon layer of government: "I don't care how you do it, just make sure the job gets done, or you will be punished (fined, loss of job, beaten, jailed, etc.)." Unlike China's conventional legal system, which has played an important but subordinate role in the persecution of Falun Gong, the implication system is not based on man's highest ideals of fairness, nor is it designed on the utilitarian principle of creating the most good for the most people. Its sole purpose is to disseminate and enforce the will of the dictator throughout every level of society.
A Brief Primer on Growing Up in a Communist State
From the cradle to the grave, citizens of modern China--both men and women--are wrapped up in numerous layers of controlling institutions, all of which function to advance and protect the interests, not of the individual, but of the State. From the household control of the traditional family, to the neighborhood committee, the schools, the Party committee in the workplace, to village, municipal, county, and city government's--all the way up to the top--there is little room for truly free choices, and all aspects of a person's life are bound and channeled by a higher power. This higher power is not God. It is the State, which is represented by the nation's top dictator.
All of these levels of organization serve as "mini-governments," and all serve the interests of the central power. And if this were not enough to wrap the aspiring individual soul in enough chains, the dictator can also establish totally extra-legal agencies to solve specific problems, such as the 610 Office, which Jiang Zemin created for the specific purpose of persecuting and eradicating Falun Gong.
When one adds to this picture the fact that the state-run newspapers, TV, radio, and other media are also made to serve as a level of organization in service to the State, one begins to get an accurate picture of the massive power the Falun Gong practitioners were up against in 1999 when they were forced to choose between their spiritual beliefs and their physical safety.
As long as the citizenry recognizes the legitimacy of this secular higher power and is content to move in the grooves it has established, then a certain kind of peace and harmony exists in the kingdom. But this is the peace of death, not a true peace, not one that is entered into freely and openly by educated and informed citizens.
Anyone who chooses to follow a different power, a higher power, such as those Falun Gong practitioners who embraced the principle of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance, are seen as enemies of the State who must at all costs be destroyed.
And since the government leaders view the conflict as a life and death struggle, they hold nothing back.
Persecuting Falun Gong
Thus, in 1999 when Jiang Zemin declared war on Falun Gong, all these levels of authority were mobilized in service of the State to carry out the will of the State. To even witness this degree of a nation's resources being mobilized against one group of people is indeed frightening. To experience it first hand is hard to imagine.
Yet this is exactly what Falun Gong practitioners were up against as the entire weight of Chinese society was brought to bear against them in July of 1999. Individually and in groups, the Falun Gong practitioners did what, under the constitution, good citizens were encouraged to do: they followed the laws and dutifully appealed to the appropriate agencies for redress of their legitimate grievances. But since the official legal system they appealed to was not the true law of the land, the reward for their efforts was to be cynically beaten, fined, imprisoned, and tortured under the implication system.
The implication system politicizes and undermines the foundational unit of society: the family. If a Falun Gong practitioner does not guarantee to give up his spiritual beliefs, a member of his family, usually the husband or wife, but it also could be parents or children, is assigned as his "guarantor." Then, if the practitioner should become involved in such disapproved activities as appealing for justice in Beijing or distributing Falun Gong literature, the guarantor will be punished in any number of ways, including being fined, losing his or her job, being beaten, or even sent to a detention center.
Great pressure is brought to bear upon married couples. A man whose wife practices Falun Gong will often receive an ultimatum from leaders of his work unit to either divorce her or lose his job. In this way, many Falun Gong practitioners have lost their homes and families as outside pressure was brought to bear through the implication system.
Early on in the persecution, when practitioners were arrested at Tiananmen Square, they refused to tell the police their names or addresses, even at the expense of severe beatings. This was to protect their families and work units from retribution under the implication system; for once the authorities determined the identities of the practitioners, everyone close to them was made to suffer as well.
"Cheng Zhan and Li Xiaojun, two Falun Gong practitioners from Chengdu, were arrested and sent to prison. Their homes were trashed, and the local police proceeded to arrest a dozen of their family members. They were all given 15 days of detention and were released only after their workplaces or other relatives paid a fine of three thousand yuan (about 6 months average wages). Many of them had bruises due to police torture and beatings by the criminals in the prison. (Even convicts are "implicated." If they monitor and beat practitioners, their sentences are reduced.) In addition, while in police custody, they were required to do hard labor for 18 to 19 hours every day and were given just enough food to keep them from starving." (http://clearwisdom.net/html/articles/2001/2/3/4849.html)
This was the picture of family life for Falun Gong practitioners in China, especially during the early years of the persecution. And it was the same story in neighborhood committees, the workplace, the schools, and throughout all levels of government. Meanwhile, as each level of organization put its own pressure on the layer below it to isolate and intimidate practitioners into renouncing their beliefs, the State-sponsored media continued to whip up hatred towards Falun Gong by spreading a plethora of lies and fabricated stories throughout the country. By this method, the persecution of Falun Gong spread through the country like a deadly fog, reaching every nook and cranny of society, with no one and no place being left out. Although some practitioners managed to live on the streets in totally impoverished circumstances to maintain their freedom, for the most part, there was no place to hide, and there were very few places one could go to escape the scrutiny of someone working hand in hand with the government.
Selflessly and courageously, Falun Gong practitioners spent whatever financial resources they could muster to print and distribute literature that cut through the lies and told the truth about the Chinese government's illegal and immoral activities. Armed only with the truth, practitioners fanned out across China's cities and the countryside every day to break through the wall of deceit, and their efforts eventually met with great success, as more and more people came to know the truth about the persecution and began standing up against it. Meanwhile, although they have been on the receiving end of State-sponsored terrorism for eleven years, there have been no credible reports of any Falun Gong practitioners responding with violence against their tormentors.
The Tide is Turning
Things are not always as they seem, and it is becoming more and more clear every day that the Communist regime's greatest weakness is hidden within what appears to be its greatest strength. On the one hand, the implication system greatly enhanced the efficiency of the persecution against Falun Gong because it forced millions of people to become involved and act as government agents, while at the same time terrifying millions more into silence.
On the other hand, in the workplaces, in schools, in hospitals--in every institution in China where people have been coerced, or implicated to assist the persecution--people with consciences and an inborn sense of right and wrong have seen first hand the evil nature of this government and the basic goodness of the Falun Gong practitioners. Had they not been implicated, they might well have gone along pursuing their self-interests without ever stopping to think deeply about these fundamental issues involving good and evil.
Moreover, every one of the millions of Falun Gong practitioners who have been persecuted has family members, friends, and colleagues in the workplace who know they are good people that have been unjustly persecuted. Many of these same people have themselves felt the heavy hand of the police because of their relationships to the practitioners. In this way, untold millions of people now know the truth who would otherwise have remained in the dark.
How could the Falun Gong have withstood this total, comprehensive attempt by the CCP to eradicate them? The fact that even after eleven years of absolutely vicious abuse, Falun Gong practitioners are still standing tall is a testament to the greatness of both the practitioners and the principle of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance which they uphold, even at the cost of their lives.
Category: Opinion & Perspective