Minghui Focus TV Program: Why Falun Gong Practitioners Interrupt TV Broadcasts in China
Editor's Note: The following is a transcript of a recent episode of the Minghui Focus television program. The transcript is an English translation taken from the original Chinese language video files, which can be viewed on our Chinese-language sister website, Minghui.org, here: http://minghui.org/mh/articles/2007/10/15/164443.html
Presenter Yue Feng: Hello everyone; welcome to the Minghui Focus program. The man you see on the screen is 30-year-old Lei Ming. On March 5, 2002, the programming on eight cable TV stations of the Changchun City, Jilin Province network was suddenly interrupted and replaced with a broadcast of Falun Gong truth-clarification programs, such as "Self-immolation or Deceit?" and "Falun Dafa around the World." The Falun Gong programs continued for 40 to 50 minutes, sending an enormous shock wave into the local area.
Lei Ming was one of the Falun Gong practitioners involved in the incident. Soon afterwards, Lei Ming and a number of other practitioners were arrested and died as a result of torture. In today's program, those people who were involved in the incident will explain what happened to them, and why Falun Gong practitioners took such seemingly "extreme" action as to tapping into local TV systems.
Reporter: An hour after the incident of tapping into the Changchun cable TV system, the authorities had already begun arresting Falun Gong practitioners, one after another, followed by mass arrests of Falun Gong practitioners across the province. According to a Minghui/Clearwisdom website report, when the then Chinese Communist regime leader Jiang Zemin heard about the cable tapping incident, he flew into a rage. He secretly ordered the police to "mercilessly kill" the practitioners involved.
Reporter: In the following days, Changchun experienced fierce winds. The air was filled with sand and dust. Police officers and plainclothes agents were everywhere. People on the streets were stopped and questioned, their bags searched. In a period of time, every electricity pole in Changchun City was guarded by someone. When there was a manpower shortage, employees from various places of work were assigned to help guard the electricity poles. Soon we heard news that some Falun Gong practitioners died as a result of torture and persecution.
Reporter: During the subsequent round of mass arrests, as many as 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners were captured and detained. Eight of those died as a result of torture. Hou Mingkai who was involved in the cable tapping incident died under torture within two days after his arrest. Liu Chengjun, the key person, died on December 26, 2003, after suffering from one year and nine months of cruel torture in prison. The police forcibly cremated his remains within seven hours of his death.
The person we see on the screen is Falun Gong practitioner Lei Ming from Baishan City, Jilin Province, who was involved in the cable tapping incident. He is demonstrating how he was tortured after his arrest. An eyewitness revealed later that Lei Ming was beaten to the point that all his bones were broken. He could only move his eyes. He saw Lei Ming lying on a stretcher, with bloodstains on his ears, eyes, nostrils, lips and teeth. The criminal inmate who was assigned to carry him back to his cell said he had no way to sleep in the evenings.
Falun Gong practitioner Lei Ming: When I was sent to a cell in a detention center, the head of the cell ordered me to take off my clothes to take a shower. When I removed my clothes, injuries from the electric shocks and burns were visible on my body. The inmates' faces twitched with shock when they saw this; some of them could not even bear to look.
After six months of detention, on September 18, 2002, Changchun City Intermediate Court sentenced 15 Falun Gong practitioners who were involved in the wire tapping incident. Although we had all suffered cruel tortures, the way we conducted ourselves in court greatly moved all those present.
Lei Ming: When the fifteen of us walked into the hall in a line, we shouted, "Falun Dafa is good." Then the court police tried to pull us out. We shouted even louder, at the top of our voices. All of us were eventually pulled away.
They had a "discipline room" in which there were police officers, each holding a high-voltage electric baton. The voltage was extremely high. Each of us was taken into the room and cruelly shocked. They [the police] were very vicious and interrogated us one by one. Each time a practitioner was brought into the room, they would start video recording while asking questions.
When it was my turn, they asked me why we tapped into the TV system. I told them the reason we did it was because this regime slanders Falun Gong and we had nowhere to turn to speak for ourselves; that was why we used this method [to explain the facts]. They shifted the video camera away from me before I could even finish the sentence. They then called for "the next one." They showed no interest in what I said. They put the practitioners one by one under the camera. They were there actually only for the purpose of video recording. They could not care less about what we told them. They would hold a microphone and ask questions, but before one could finish even a few sentences, the judge would call the next practitioner, and the microphone would immediately be removed from the practitioner just questioned. They would not let us speak.
There was no publicity, no fairness, no justice. They never follow the law when it comes to dealing with Falun Gong practitioners. They could sentence us to as many years as they wished. The sentences had long been decided.
Reporter: After this court hearing, accompanied by electric shocks and torture, the 15 practitioners were sentenced from four to 20 years of imprisonment. Lei Ming was sentenced to 17 years and was taken to the Jilin Prison on October 25, 2002. In their frenzy to "reform" Lei Ming, the authorities incited the inmates to torture him beyond imagination.
Lei Ming: Two of them held my legs, one held my hands, and another took off my pants and squeezed hard on my penis. He squeezed it with such a force that I hovered between life and death from the excruciating pain. I screamed. One of them came over to cover my month. I still screamed and was sweating profusely from the pain. Later on, when they realized they could not stop me from screaming they stopped, for fear of being heard by those who were on their way back to their cells after a night shift. Lei Ming was taken to a hospital in November 2004 with breathing difficulties. He was in a life-threatening situation. It was under such circumstances that the prison authorities let him out on medical parole. His leg muscles had atrophied from the long-time brutal torture. He could not walk and could not take care of himself. His family members carried him home from the prison on their backs.
Lei Ming, reduced to a skeleton-like state, died on August 6, 2006, at age 30.
(Note: the personal interview was taken before his death)
Presenter: The majority of the Chinese people boil with anger when they become aware of the Communist Party' ruthless persecution of Falun Gong. On the other hand, some people disapprove of Falun Gong practitioners from time to time daring to go beyond the bounds that provoked the Chinese Communist regime. Consequently, those people who disapprove keep a distance from the persecution issue. How should we look at this?
Reporter: John Broadus Watson, one of the American representative figures in early behavioral psychology and his assistants in 1920 conducted a well-known experiment in the history of psychology. The experiment revealed how an infant forms a conditioned response to fear.
The subject of the experiment was a nine-month-old boy called Albert. Researchers put a white mouse next to him. Albert initially showed no fear of the mouse; however, when researchers used a hammer to hit a steel bar behind his head, making a loud sound he shivered and tried to move away from the mouse, showing expressions of fear. They allowed two months for him to forget this incident and then started the experiment again. After repeating this scenario a few times, Albert developed a total conditioned response of fear of the mouse, not to the sound. He was fearful of the mouse as well as anything hairy that was shown to him, even though there was no any loud sound from hitting a steel bar.
This is one of the well-known experiments conducted to elicit fear, which is called "the formation of fear."
Decades later, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its leaders again carried out a similar experiment, not on Albert, but on the whole of the Chinese people.
Dr. Yang Jingduan from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA:
The Chinese people's fear of the CCP is a typical conditioned reflex. In the past decades the Chinese people have experienced the "Three Antis" and "Five Antis" campaign, the "Suppression of Counter-revolutionaries" campaign, the "Anti-rightists" campaign, the "Cultural Revolution," the "June 4th 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre" and the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong. The Chinese people have witnessed time and time again when the CCP does not like you, it would unhesitatingly drive you to destruction, or make you suffer so much that you would rather die. The Party would completely destroy your reputation and make the whole of society to treat you with contempt and reject you. Under such circumstances, everyone would live with fear and would worry they might become the target of suppression. There is a saying in Chinese, "Kill the chicken to frighten the monkey." Even though the majority of the Chinese people might not have been directly persecuted in each of the oppressive campaigns, a feeling of fear would naturally well up inside them whenever there is a political movement coming up.
The ancient sages used to say, "The observer is what he observes," "The fear is fear itself." Once the learned fear is deeply embedded in people's minds, it no longer has any direct link to punishment; instead, it has become one's way of thinking and way of behaving; therefore, no matter where one goes, fear accompanies you and follows you closely.
Dr. Yang Jingduan: If one has developed a fear mentality, it is not only a reflection of reality but also becomes a kind of memory; when this memory is recalled, it will produce a physiological reflex. People used to say, "Once bitten, twice shy." When he sees something similar to what might hurt him, his sympathetic nervous system would become stimulated and he would start to run away - the "fight or flight" phenomenon. So, in the face of fear, some people would choose to run away. In short, I will keep a long distance from you. That is to say, if I don't like to deal with the students, then I would keep away from the students; if I dislike Falun Gong, then I would keep away from Falun Gong, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, because personal survival has become the No. 1 priority under the fear. There are also those who find another way to deal with fear. They discover that the safest place and the safest way to protect themselves is standing on the side of the CCP. So, they are more than willing to accept its propaganda and its pretext for the suppression, or even help the CCP to carry out the suppression. They feel safe for doing so. In psychiatry we often come across incidents of people taking the side of the perpetrators of their own accord, to gain a sense of security. For them, this is a way to deal with fear.
Psychiatrists say that psychiatric disorders can be cured as the victim ages. As for Albert, behavioral experts think they could use a "marginal strategy." First they would talk to him about animals or something "hairy;" then let him touch some hairy toys, and at the same time talk to him about why he feels fearful. This strategy is said to have achieved an effective rate of 88%. The Chinese people have began for the past two years to adopt a "marginal strategy." Laid-off workers, peasants who have lost their land, people who have been forcibly removed from their dwellings, victims of AIDS, carriers of hepatitis B, and other disenfranchised are all marginally protesting. They have no political, organizational or strategic agendas. Such protests are referred to as "safeguarding rights campaigns," which may fall into the category of small "hairy toys" used in the early stage [of marginal strategy].
Dr. Yang Jingduan: There have been more and more civil movements in China to safeguard basic rights. This is happening because people have been pushed to a desperate point where they have no other alternatives. People's fear is mostly based on their anxiety that they might lose their personal interest or their life. If they have lost the basic environment on which their livelihood depends, have lost their homes, their land, their jobs, or even family members, and when they have lost everything and the only thing they have left is their life, they are ready to risk their lives to fight, as they have nothing to fear any more. Those in China who now exhibit strong fears are actually those who are benefiting from the system, or those who have been offered some small favors. This is rather regrettable. Because they are worried they may lose what they have already gained, they are prepared to conform to various phenomena of unfairness and injustice. This is a real pity, because some of these people are usually well educated and enjoy a certain status in society. They should take up their social responsibility and obligation to protect the interests of the people. However, they have become a group of people who have relatively more fear and anxiety.
The most direct and most confrontational and peaceful protest might be none other but that of Falun Gong. As an example, let us look at the incident of tapping into the cable TV system; after eight Falun Gong practitioners died from torture, including Lei Ming and Liu Chengjun, Falun Gong practitioners did not give up this form of protest. More incidents of tapping into TV cable systems around China have happened.
How did these individuals overcome their fear?
Dr. Yang Jingduan: Since the onset of the persecution of Falun Gong in China there have been different reactions among the practitioners as well. Some people have given up practicing Falun Gong out of fear, or due to pressure or other reasons. Those people have truly suffered severe persecution, because they have lost a wonderful cultivation opportunity. Nevertheless, the majority of Falun Gong practitioners refuse to give up their practice. That is something the Chinese Communist Party did not expect.
How did these practitioners manage to do this? What is it that enabled them to overcome their fear? Actually, this is due to their rather deep understanding of the essence of cultivation and of the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Let's talk about the word "forbearance." Many people think "forbearance" means to swallow an insult. It is actually not so. For cultivators, "forbearance" means to be able to maximally let go of one's personal interests, such as money, status, fame, or even one's life. With such an understanding there is nothing for them to fear. Although they have lost their jobs, their families, their living environment or even their lives, they have no fear. They did not choose to suffer this way, but were forced into such situations. To abide by the word "Truthfulness" is also easier said than done. When the CCP promoted Falun Gong practice and said it was good, you followed the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and stood by your word. When the CCP turned around and began to attack and persecute the practice and said you were bad, you still adhered to the principles and would not change your mind. That is to say your persevering in the truth would not change because of pressure from a political power or an individual's like or dislike.
Many people actually say, "If you are not allowed to practice Falun Gong officially, then you can practice at home; why do you insist on practicing outdoors? Why do you go to appeal? Why do you go to Tiananmen Square?" They are saying this because they do not understand the meaning of the word "Compassion." I feel this word has a strong power inside. When a cultivator has cultivated to this stage, what he/she is concerned with is no longer their own personal interests, but that of others. If such a wonderful way of cultivation, a practice that can help people recover from illnesses and regain health and enable people to raise their morals, is criticized and labeled as bad, even to the extent that people may no longer have the opportunity to know about it and cultivate, then wouldn't this be an enormous loss and damage to them? That is why, faced with such a scenario, the practitioners have demonstrated such great compassion. What the practitioners are doing is completely for the benefit of others. They have well demonstrated the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance over the years of their peaceful activities against the persecution. Their altruism - thinking to benefit others, made them overcome their fear.
Presenter: A person who lives in the shadow of fear has great difficulty living up to their full potential; A nation shrouded in fear is a hopeless nation. For the last eight years, Falun Gong has persevered to do what needs to be done to expose the persecution, from appealing to government officials to holding banners at Tiananmen Square; from writing letters to the CCP leaders to persuading people to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. During this anti-persecution process the practitioners have gradually established their own unique path, paved with their blood and sacrifice. Many of their chosen measures have constantly sent shock waves to various notions and "hidden rules" of the CCP-ruled people in the China. At the same time the measures the practitioners have taken have also enabled people to see that a Chinese nation is already in a revival process, a nation that has overcome the mentality of fear.
Thank you for watching our program today. See you next time.