[Editor's note: This speech was given at the forum "China's State-Run Terrorism: The Persecution of Falun Gong" held at National Press Club in Washington DC on October 10, 2001.]

Dr. Shiyu Zhou, Professor of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania


I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Palmer and Friends of Falun Gong for having me on the panel today to discuss the issue of China's state terrorism in its persecution of Falun Gong.

The term "state terrorism," the very first form of terrorism, originates from Robespierre's "reign of terror" in the 18th-century French Revolution, during which Robespierre and the Jacobins rounded up and executed tens of thousands of those they deemed "enemies of the state," and used violence and terror as an instrument of social control.

Today, under the rhetoric of "social stability," China's Communist regime terrorizes tens of millions of its own people -- which include those who practice Falun Gong, their families and associates, among others. The government terrorizes them through violence, propaganda, brainwashing, and extortion of money and goods. These are the characteristics of "a regime that resorts to state terrorism" -- as was said in a statement by the International Education Development organization at the United Nations in August of 2001.

Next, I'd like to take a few moments to tell you about the Chinese government's key organ for carrying out its terrorist persecution campaign against Falun Gong, a department known as the "610 Office."

The Establishment of the "610 Office"

On June 7, 1999, about a month before the oppression of Falun Gong began, Jiang Zemin gave a speech at a XX Party's Politburo meeting, in which he fully laid out his policy of oppression against Falun Gong. At that meeting, he ordered his subordinates to establish what he called a "leadership group that will specialize in handling the 'Falun Gong' issue," and appointed the three chiefs of the group, including the head of the Political and Judiciary Committee, Luo Gan. Under Jiang's direct orders, on June 10, 1999, the Chinese XX Party Central Committee officially set up an office for the "leadership group" and named it the "610 Office."

In his speech, which was later documented with the name, "Comrade Jiang Zemin's Speech at a Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee Regarding Handling and Resolving the 'Falun Gong' Issue Without Delay," Jiang further specified that "the Central Committee and government units in all ministries and commissions, and all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government need to act in close coordination" with the "610 Office." Consequently, the "610" became a well-organized and independent system spanning from the Central Government to the local governments, having absolute power over each level of administration in the Party, as well as over the political and judiciary branches. It is the highest authority deployed by Jiang Zemin and his accomplices to specifically persecute Falun Gong.

According to Jiang, the "610 Office" was established to "investigate and come up with a unified approach in terms of specific steps, methods, and measures to resolve the 'Falun Gong' problem." Just as chilling as it sounds, the "610 Office" has orchestrated the two-year-plus brutal persecution of Falun Gong and its practitioners, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of cases of arbitrary detention, false imprisonment, defamation, torture, sexual and psychiatric abuse, disappearance, and murder.

The Execution of the "610 Office"

Over the past two years, evidence has shown that the "610 Office" headed by Luo Gan has been developed into the primary mechanism of Jiang's state terrorism policy against Falun Gong. It employs forceful indoctrination, violence, and fear to terrorize and dominate the minds and hearts of Falun Gong practitioners as well as all other Chinese citizens. Documentation from the testimonials of hundreds of witnesses shows that for the past two years, Jiang Zemin's regime has constantly issued various secret orders against Falun Gong through the "610 Office," from giving the directive to "Physically destroy Falun Gong practitioners" to issuing the suggestive statement that "Falun Gong practitioners' being tortured to death is counted as suicide," to the directive "Do not identify [Falun Gong practitioners'] bodies. Cremate them locally."

These secretive and deadly directives have given local police free rein to torture, sexually assault, and even murder men and women who practice Falun Gong. The brutality is beyond comprehension. In detention facilities, violence and torture have become a common tool used against Falun Gong practitioners, regardless of age, gender, or physical condition. Here are just some of the recorded means of torture inflicted upon these persons: battering; force-feeding with hot pepper or high-density salt water; denial of food, sleep, and toilet use; exposure to extreme hot and cold weather; burning with cigarettes and heated metal; shocks with electric batons, and so on. The women targeted in this campaign have suffered all kinds of sexual assault including rape and use of electric stun devices to shock sensitive areas. Pregnant women have been subject to forced late-stage abortion in order to prolong their detention, rather than letting them be released to give birth.

The rapid increase of deaths over the past year is a direct result of these orders from the "610 Office." Currently the verified death toll has reached 295 cases, while the actual death toll is surely far greater. Inside sources from the Chinese Communist Party say that the death toll has actually reached at least one thousand.

But the "610 Office" is terrorizing not only Falun Gong practitioners, but almost the entire population of China. It incites hatred against Falun Gong through imposing direct pressure on even those who have no connection to Falun Gong. Examples of this include, in many regions, children in school being forced to sign statements denouncing Falun Gong, or risk expulsion; adults, also, must sign such statements or lose their positions or pensions; police, too, are threatened with loss of salary, loss of their residential privilege, or even loss of their jobs if they don't fulfill the orders of the "610 Office." Almost everyone in Chinese society is affected by this government-sanctioned, official terrorist organization.

In a United Nations' progress report, Special Rapporteur Ms. Kalliopi Koufa stated, "There are different manifestations of terrorism used by the State...[one of which] is the so-called 'regime' or 'government' terror, that is, the traditional type or form of State terrorism, which is conducted by the organs of the State against its own population... in order to preserve a given regime...."

The "610 Office" is no doubt such an organ. It is much like the Cultural Revolution Leadership Group of the XX Party Central Committee during China's Cultural Revolution, which was established to wage that disastrous and horrifying campaign of persecution decades ago. China's XX regime has been carrying out a policy of state terrorism against its own culture and citizens for the past 50 years. A clear pattern of state terrorism is evident in China's recent history.

At present, the lives and security, not to mention dignity, of millions of innocent citizens are at stake. The "610 Office" epitomizes Jiang Zemin's dictatorial regime. Its operations must be stopped.