Practitioner Recalls Intercepting Television Signals in 2002 to Expose the Persecution of His Faith
(Minghui.org) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been defaming Falun Gong with massive propaganda campaigns ever since beginning the persecution of the mind-body practice in July 1999. Thousands of state-owned television and radio stations and newspapers were mobilized to slander Falun Gong, while practitioners had no place to voice their first-hand experiences with the practice.
With no official channel to appeal for their right to practice Falun Gong, practitioners in Changchun City, Jilin Province successfully intercepted television signals on March 5, 2002. Up to a million residents were able to view videos that explained Falun Gong's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and its benefits, as well as videos that debunked the CCP’s hate propaganda.
The CCP retaliated with a vengeance. Jiang Zemin, the former communist leader who ordered the persecution, issued a secret order to “kill [practitioners] with no mercy.” Over 5,000 were arrested as a result. Several of them lost their lives and many were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
As a participant in this effort, I was arrested in February 2003 and sentenced to ten years in prison. I would like to share my recollections of the event.
Banners with Balloons
Falun Gong, a meditation system also known as Falun Dafa, was first introduced to the public by Master Li Hongzhi in Changchun. After the persecution started, practitioners in Changchun worked hard to debunk the CCP’s defamatory propaganda. We distributed materials and put up banners.
There were no official coordinators, but as time went on, Liang Zhenxing began taking the initiative to organize many activities in our area. In September 2001, we released banners attached to helium balloons on Nanhu Road. As the balloons rose into the air, the banners that said “Falun Dafa Is Good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is Good” were caught in the treetops and street lamp posts. Many pedestrians saw them, and some gave a thumbs up to show their support.
Based on that experience, we improved our technique and reached out to more areas in Changchun on October 27 that year. Several other practitioners and I went to a public square near Jilin University Museum of Geology to put up two banners.
When the 15-yard-long banners gradually unfolded as the balloons went up, a security guard near us was stunned and speechless. Officers were not able to get them down with firetrucks until about 40 minutes later. Many pedestrians on the crowded square saw the banners and were discussing them.
After releasing the balloons, I was able to leave the site immediately. Several other practitioners who did not leave right away were arrested.
Training and Preparation
Through previous collaborations, Liang and other coordinators were familiar with our practitioners’ abilities. A team was set up to evaluate the feasibility of intercepting cable television signals.
This idea started when Zhou Ruijun happened to see, on her own television, an electronic game being played by a neighbor’s child. Thinking it might be possible to broadcast Falun Gong information through a cable network, she talked with other practitioners and was glad to find out some of them had the same idea.
Liang contacted me about this in late 2001 and we discussed it at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. He compared the effect of distributing materials including CDs versus broadcasting videos through the cable network. I agreed to help, and the next day we met at a storage place that Liang rented, near an electronics warehouse. One practitioner, Liu, explained the technical details to us.
As more practitioners joined, the storage place was not big enough, so we met at an apartment on Liuying Road. That was where I met other practitioners on the team, including Zhou Runjun, Liu Chengjun, Lei Ming, Zhao Jian, Sun Changjun, and Zhuang Xiankun.
Liang shared his understandings with us. To get more practitioners involved, he suggested that we focus on training so that more people would have the needed skills. If we intercepted television signals simultaneously in a relatively large area, we could overcome the information blockade and help many people learn the facts about the persecution. He also discussed the effectiveness of the project and potential retaliation from the CCP. With that in mind, he reminded us that we should participate voluntarily and that everyone involved should pay particular attention to security.
I was also involved in a materials production site at the time, where I printed and distributed materials. Two practitioners from the materials site also joined the interception project. I went to the technical site once or twice a week to learn how to intercept TV signals. Meanwhile, Liang also asked us to find more practitioners familiar with electricity. Zhang, another practitioner who worked at the same company as I did, was an electrician. He also joined the project and helped train us.
According to Zhang, television interception was not difficult in theory. We would need to identify amplifiers along the main service line and connect the output signal of a video compact disc (VCD) player to the amplifier’s input port. The VCD player’s power source would be the high voltage electrical wire, with voltage adjusted by a transformer. With these connections in place, the original input signal of the amplifiers from the cable television would be cut off and the video signal from the VCD would be transmitted to thousands, or more, families.
The real operation, on the other hand, was much more challenging. This project required us to not only maintain strong righteous thoughts, but to also stay calm and be clearheaded, agile, and skilled. The practitioners who actually executed the plan—including Sun Changjun, Liu Weiming, Zhang, Lei Ming, and Liu Chengjun—practiced at the technical site almost every day. Because the work needed to be done on utility poles, Zhang brought special pole-climbing shoes for us to try in remote areas. Some female practitioners even tried that, because we did not know who, in the end, might be needed.
Although I went to the technical site only once or twice a week, I met many practitioners, some of whom were from other cities, and went back after learning the techniques. Because Liang took care of the logistics, purchasing equipment, and maintaining his own business, he was very busy every day.
In late February 2002, we heard that Liang had been arrested. Despite torture, he did not yield, so the police still did not know about our plan. But other practitioners faced intense pressure and the training was stopped. Liu Chengjun and several other skilled practitioners decided to intercept the television signal on March 5, 2002, in Changchun City and Songyuan City, at the same time. Several of us looked around for spots along the main service lines that would be ideal for interception. I also helped to purchase many inexpensive VCD players for about 50 yuan (about $6 at the time) each.
Intercepting Television Signals
On March 3 and 4, we gathered at the technical site for our final preparations. We connected the output cable and the transformers to the VCD players and secured them with tape. Duplicate equipment was prepared for each site as backup. Noticing that some practitioners weren’t using gloves to assemble the equipment, I cleaned the assembled sets one by one to remove any fingerprints, just to be safe. Seeing some practitioners using their cell phones, I reminded them to be careful and security conscious.
During a meeting hosted by Liu Chengjun on March 5, we finalized the video contents to be used: one video on how Falun Gong was well received and widely practiced around the world, and another that clarified the staged self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square. After the VCDs were prepared, Liu and other practitioners went to Songyuan City. In Changchun, we divided into two teams, one led by Liu Weiming and Sun Changjun, and the other by Lei Ming and Zhang. Seven practitioners, including me, were on Lei’s team.
We went to a small alley in the residential area near the Changchun Cable Television Station. Both Lei and Zhang climbed up the pole to intercept the television signal at 6:30 p.m. The rest of us stayed to secure the area.
Liu Weiming’s team called us at 7:00 p.m. to say that they were ready and just needed to cut off the cable television input. At that point Lei and Zhang had some minor issues and the 30-minute job took a little longer than anticipated. At 7:20 p.m., Chen, who was surveying the area, said someone was coming. The stranger came close, looked up at Lei and Zhang on the electrical pole, and walked away. We followed him and noticed he was on his cell phone notifying the police.
We immediately went back to the pole and Zhang said they were ready, too. We told Liu’s team to make the switch—and we had been spotted. After Zhang made the switch, he and Lei began to climb down the pole. On the other end of the alley, several people ran towards us. Except for Lei and Zhang, the rest of us were able to leave safely.
We returned to the technical site by taxi and Liu’s team also returned. Zhang showed up more than ten minutes later, saying that he and Lei had been able to run and hide somewhere near the alley while the security officers were looking for them. Lei then got up first and started to run, but the officers were able to catch him after some distance. As the officers pushed Lei down on the ground, Zhang was able to escape.
At 4:30 a.m. the next day, Chen called me to say that they had to move everything out of the technical site. Yun Qingbin came with a minivan, and seven of us loaded up the equipment and materials. By 6:00 a.m., we had transferred everything to another storage place, except for an old clock. I later read in the news that, after being tortured the entire night, Lei could no longer withstand it and told them about the technical site. The police arrived there only two hours after we had moved out.
All of Changchun was talking about it the next day, March 6, 2012. People everywhere were discussing the videos, especially in public places such as stores. They did not know that Falun Gong was so popular around the world in spite of the suppression in China. This was also the first time many of them understood that the CCP had fabricated stories to defame Falun Gong.
The CCP began to retaliate immediately. Several practitioners (unrelated to the interception) were scheduled to be tried in Nanguan Court in Changchun on March 6, and many practitioners attended. At about 10:00 a.m., the police blocked all the streets in that area, and all the practitioners in the courthouse were arrested.
Also on that day, a massive arrest of practitioners took place in Changchun, with nearly 5,000 detained in just a few days. Jiang issued an order to “Kill [practitioners] with no mercy.” Through Luo Gan, then secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, he authorized the police to shoot practitioners on sight if they were seen intercepting television signals again. The order threatened, “If this case is not resolved within one week, the Changchun Party secretary and all major officers in the police departments will be removed from their posts.” Practitioners were being arrested every day, and the police tortured them without mercy for more information.
My wife and I had already been forced to stay away from home by then. Our rental place was secure and we were not arrested at the time. Chen, another practitioner who participated in the interception, and I met for the last time on March 10. I told her that Master Li, the founder of Falun Gong, had a new article in which he wrote about the vicious persecution in China:
“Right now, the Dafa disciples of mainland China using television to let people know the truth is exposing the evil’s persecution, is saving the sentient beings whose minds have been poisoned by the evil’s deceit, and is a magnificent act of mercy.” (“Look at Things with Righteous Thoughts,” The Essentials of Diligent Progress Vol. III)
Chen said that Liu Chengjun and others who had been forced to stay away from home did not have the Internet, and that they should see the article. I printed some copies for her. She also said she needed to get some clothes from her mother’s place and insisted on going there, although I warned her it might not be safe. I heard the next day that, as soon as she arrived at her mother's, she was arrested by police lying in wait.
Returning home in May 2002, I discovered that the police had broken in, ransacked my residence, and confiscated personal belongings. They even took my wife’s jewelry and my collection of several antique items. My personal albums were also taken. Our neighbors told us that the police came on March 6 and that they even lived in our home for more than ten days.
On February 27, 2003, one year after Liang was arrested, I was detained and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Liang Zhenxing and Liu Chengjun were sentenced to 19 years, while Zhou Runjun and Liu Weiming were sentenced to 20 years each. Several others have died already in the persecution.