This article was first published in January 2005.

( The most recent headline news in China is the passing of Mr. Zhao Ziyang. Many affectionate commemorative articles were found online after this 85-year-old man, who lived under house arrest for 15 years, passed away. The media in Hong Kong heavily reported his death. The title of the headline news of Apple Daily is "CCP Owes Him Justice," and Ming Pao published a front-page article titled "Zhao Ziyang is 'Free.'" Major media in the U.S. also gave lots of coverage to the news. The New York Times published on its international news section a picture of Zhao Ziyang on the eve of June 4, 1989 at the Tiananmen Square, as he gave a speech to the hunger-striking students. The Washington Post reported it as headline news on its international page, including a recent picture of a white-haired Zhao Ziyang. The media in Europe, Russia, Japan, Korea, and other regions around the world also covered the news.

In comparison, what did Xinhua News Agency do? A 56-word barely-noticeable obituary published under international pressure, followed by total silence by the news media. This is completely against the rules of professional news reporting. Avoiding the discussion of Zhao's passing is probably indicative of the Xinhua News Agency's "Party Spirit."

As it blocks the passing of Mr. Zhao to the Chinese public, it did not forget, however, to cook up the old news of the staged self-immolation that took place on January 23, 2001, with such enthusiasm as if celebrating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s birthday. From a certain perspective, the self-immolation is the last straw the CCP uses to persecute Falun Gong, yet this will not help the CCP keep up the persecution for long because many people have seen the analysis tape made by Falun Gong practitioners, and recognized the discrepancies in the CCTV coverage.

On the CCTV videotape, the young Liu Siying sang with a loud and clear voice after her throat was cut open. A severely burnt self-immolator was wrapped in layers of gauze, which completely violates medical commonsense. The main immolator, Wang Jindong, held a soda bottle filled with gasoline between his legs during the burning, yet the bottle was intact afterwards. Police held fire blankets leisurely and waited patiently as Wang Jindong shouted a slogan.

I do not know the motives for these immolators to commit such an act, but I feel sorry for their suffering. However, their extremist act was definitely not the result of Falun Gong teachings, because China would have been a land of fire with 100 million practitioners throughout the country. With several hundred thousand practitioners, Taiwan has not seen a single case of fire, nor has Europe or the U.S. The cause of irrationality in these people is the persecution and the blood-filled propaganda pictures churned out by state-run media. It's probable that they burnt themselves after being brainwashed and promised benefits by Jiang's regime.

The annual revisit of the self-immolation by Xinhua News Agency is not an act of sympathy. The goal is to instigate hatred and to use it as an excuse to justify the persecution. If it had the slightest sympathetic sense, Xinhua News Agency would have reported on the recent series of self-immolation of appealers who sought attention and justice from the government with their desperate act, or major factory and mine accidents that are frequent and serious in consequence. In the eyes of the Xinhua News Agency, lives of the ordinary people are worthless. It is only concerned with how to successfully mislead and manipulate the public, and the self-immolators are only tools with which to achieve this goal.

Xinhua News Agency is aware of its practically non-existent credibility, so it quotes "media from inside and outside of China" in its reports. However, interviews of the referenced media were strictly controlled or outright staged in a fashion similar to the self-immolation, which is comparable to media interviews conducted at Nazi concentration camps during the World War II, when the reporters were led to carefully constructed areas where they could obtain only forged, false images. They could only serve as a megaphone for the CCP's pre-written scripts.

The Xinhua News Agency tries its best to cover up major news such as Zhao Ziyang's passing while repeating old lies such as the self-immolation. The Xinhua News Agency only voices the dictator's will, and Xinhua reporters such as Tian Yu are accomplices in the crimes of concealing the truth. They betray their consciences and bring shame to the news reporting profession.