After 18 Years, False Fire of Hate Propaganda Continues Smoldering
(Minghui.org) China is well known for its media suppression and censorship, but two hours after a self-immolation incident occurred on Tiananmen Square in Beijing—one of the most politically sensitive spots in China—on January 23, 2001, the Xinhua News Agency reported this event in both Chinese and English. Triggered by this unusual “transparency” and “efficiency,” some journalists began their own investigations to find out what really happened.
Xinhua alleged that it was Falun Gong practitioners who set themselves on fire. But many journalists and human rights advocates, based on their own independent investigation, indicated that the self-immolation incident was staged by the Chinese Communist Party to defame Falun Gong.
Philip Pan of the Washington Post reported that Liu Chunling, one of the people involved in the incident, did not behave like a Falun Gong practitioner and no one ever saw her practice Falun Gong.
Similarly, the United Nations, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, and The Epoch Times all discovered loopholes in the official Xinhua story. False Fire: China's Tragic New Standard in State Deception, a documentary produced by NTD Television that showed how the self-immolation was staged, won a Certificate of Honorable Mention at the 51st Columbus International Film & Video Festival. Furthermore, numerous witnesses testified independently that martial law was enforced at Tiananmen Square on that day, and that the entire drama was a staged event.
Raging Fire of Lies
But people in China were not aware of this. The repeated coverage of the incident through almost all news channels in China created and fueled public hatred against Falun Gong. The then-18-month-long persecution of Falun Gong was reinvigorated with increased intensity and breadth, extending it to the decades-long tragedy we have seen today. Through these nearly 20 years, over 4,200 Falun Gong practitioners have lost their lives as a result of torture in police custody, according to Minghui, and many more have been arrested, detained, and severely abused both physically and mentally.
The Communist Party has continued to defame Falun Gong through the staged self-immolation incident. A Chinese businessman was instructed to hold a press conference in New York in 2014, when he brought out two of the people involved in the 2001 self-immolation to slander Falun Gong in public. Information received by Minghui shows that, as recently as late 2018, the Communist Party was still using this event to demonize Falun Gong.
Readers can refer to earlier reports from Minghui for detailed clarification on this issue. For example, at least 54 facts have been identified that show that the self-immolation on Tiananmen Square was staged. Here, I just want to focus on the core principles of Falun Gong, and why those involved in the self-immolation cannot be practitioners.
Falun Gong Forbids Killing and Suicide
The Chinese Communist Party has deceived a large percentage of the population by claiming that those involved in the 2001 self-immolation incident were Falun Gong practitioners. With these individuals either dead or barred from interviews, plus the nationwide ban on all Falun Gong books, it can be difficult for people to discern what is true or false.
But the truth is that Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a peaceful self-improvement system that helps one to become a better person. In Zhuan Falun, the core teachings of Falun Gong, as well as in many other lectures, Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, clearly states that practitioners cannot kill others or themselves.
“Therefore the people who did the supposed self-immolation could not have even been remotely connected to Falun Gong. This is merely another tactic being used to conspire against us,” explained Zhang Erping, spokesperson for Falun Gong.
Who Killed These People?
Falun Gong is a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Around the globe, tens of millions of practitioners have benefited physically and spiritually from the practice. None of them have engaged in actions like the self-immolation incident.
The behavior of those involved in the Tiananmen self-immolation runs counter to the teachings of Falun Gong, which instructs students to be upright people and exemplary citizens who cherish all lives, including their own.
The officials involved in the planning and execution of the self-immolation incident should be held responsible for the deaths of those individuals who died in the tragedy.
Time to Put Out Toxic Flame
There have been numerous incidents of self-immolation in recent times. For example, Jamphel Yeshi, a 27-year-old Tibetan exile, set himself on fire in 2012 to protest the Communist Party's rule over Tibet. The Chinese state-run media has never bothered to report these self-immolation incidents, though it has repeatedly broadcast the 2001 self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square.
Efforts by Falun Gong practitioners in China to clarify this issue have been met with harsh suppression. After Liu Chengjun and several other Falun Gong practitioners successfully intercepted cable television signals to broadcast False Fire in Changchun City, Jilin Province, thousands of practitioners were arrested and several practitioners, including Liu, were tortured to death.
The regime's harsh retaliation against Mr. Liu and others only serves to show that the self-immolation incident was a conspiracy set up to frame Falun Gong; otherwise, they wouldn't have resorted to such extreme measures to stop the truth from being exposed to the public. Eighteen years is too long and it is time to put out the toxic flame and end the persecution of Falun Gong.