Review | “Zooming in on the Staged "Self-immolation" Case Reported by Xinhua News Agency: Who Directed These People to Set Themselves on Fire?”
(Minghui.org) This article was first published in January 2005.
Ms. Chen Guo, a university student and her mother, Hao Huijun, who set themselves on fire at Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001 did not die. More than one year later, CCTV conducted an exclusive interview with Chen Guo. People saw that she had no facial expression because her facial muscles had atrophied from severe burns. Her lips had shriveled and as a result she could not close her mouth. Because the camera lens was close to her face, the audience could see the wretched state of a disfigured Chen Guo.
What CCTV and the Xinhua News Agency failed to report is that Chen Guo and her mother have been held under house arrest at the Beijiao Welfare Home in Kaifeng City. Zhan Jingui, a retired officer from the Kaifeng City Police Department is in charge of guarding the two. The police watch Chen Guo and her mother around the clock to prevent any contact with the outside world. Since the hoax of the self-immolation is widely known, the police have privately revealed that the government is trying to take care of the two and not let them die, so they can be used to attack and discredit Falun Gong.
Chen Guo, her mother and other immolators who are being pushed to center stage by Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s media are obviously victims. We deeply sympathize with all of the self-immolation participants, regardless of their motives. The key point is: Who directed Chen Guo to commit self-immolation? Was it really Falun Gong, as the Xinhua News Agency claims? In the past 50 years, the Xinhua News Agency has habitually used the propaganda technique of twisting concepts to confuse people's thinking. Now they are again selling the old lie about self-immolation inside and outside of China, and that "Falun Gong tells people to commit self-immolation," a "conclusion" reached without analysis or evidence. Is this conclusion credible, as the Xinhua News Agency has claimed?
Philip Pan, a Washington Post reporter, went to Kaifeng, the hometown of immolator Liu Chunling, to conduct an investigation. Her neighbors said they never saw her practice Falun Gong. Liu, who worked in a bar, had moved to Henan Province with her elderly mother and a 12-year-old daughter. This report was widely circulated, and then the Xinhua News Agency had to modify its claims to support its lies. A February 8th report states, “Liu Chunling started practicing Falun Gong after the persecution began,” and “she practiced at home to avoid being seen by others.”
With only a little reasoning, people can see from the above that Liu Chunling was never a Falun Gong practitioner. As Falun Gong practitioners, we want to ask, "Who told Liu Chunling to burn herself in Tiananmen Square in the name of a Falun Gong? Why did a military man hit the back of her head with a heavy object and kill her during the immolation?"
Due to the Chinese government's strict information blockade, it is difficult to verify whether the self-immolators who claimed to be Falun Gong practitioners had ever learned Falun Gong. We do not wish to jump to more specific conclusions without conducting an on-site investigation. But we have the same question for Chen Guo and her mother: “Who told you to take part in the staged ‘Tiananmen Square Self-immolation?’” Can you find any “evidence of self-immolation” from the Falun Gong teachings, not words taken out of context but whole passages, and give us all a clear look?
There are thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in North America, and most of us started practicing before July 20, 1999. We have been clarifying the truth to society since the persecution began. We have studied all of Master Li Hongzhi's teachings, but it never occurred to any of us to injure or kill ourselves, or set ourselves on fire. We know for a fact that your extremist behavior cannot be traced to any Falun Gong teachings or writings.
There are millions of Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan, Mainland China and other parts of the world. Why is it that, in the past and present, none of them support self-immolation?
On the contrary, all Dafa practitioners clearly know that “giving up the attachment to life and death” means giving up the fear of death, and being able to understand the essence of such phenomena as life and death in human society. It's an issue of understanding and does not lead one to commit suicide. Falun Gong books explicitly state that killing and suicide are forbidden, and explain why.
As for “clarifying the truth,” during the past five years, Falun Gong practitioners around the world have clarified the truth about the persecution and the fact that “Falun Dafa is Good.” We have done this in order to help people deceived by the CCP propaganda have a positive and objective understanding of Falun Gong, and indeed, we have achieved the effect of clarifying the truth. If a person claims to be a Falun Gong practitioner, why would he or she do something that all Falun Gong practitioners around the world firmly oppose and that pleases the persecutors, Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan? The result of the self-immolation has caused the public’s misunderstanding and enmity toward Falun Gong. How can they explain this result? Can the self-immolators explain in a clearly logical manner how what they did was the result of Falun Gong teachings?
From another perspective, as many people know, monks in temples should strictly follow the decree “no killing.” If a monk kills a life, he would be expelled from the temple. If after the killing he tells people, “I used to be a monk at this temple and I can recite some Buddhist scriptures,” then is that sufficient to make a claim that the head of the temple told him to kill?
We think it's important to determine what is the most critical issue that requires verification. Whether or not Chen Guo and Hao Huijun have read Falun Gong books is not what’s important. The focal point of our questions should be the Xinhua News Agency’s claim that Falun Gong directed Chen Guo to commit self-immolation. Since the self-immolation was staged in January 2001, everything we have seen and heard have been things taken out of context from Falun Gong’s teachings. We have not seen one piece of solid evidence or one fact that supports the claim that Falun Gong teaches people to commit self-immolation.