After Repeating the Same Mistakes in Thousands of Years, Will Mankind Eventually Learn a Positive Lesson?
(Minghui.org) A big fire broke out in Rome on the night of July 18, 64 AD. It destroyed much of the city in seven days. Three of its fourteen districts were completely razed to the ground and another seven only had a few half-burnt relics of houses left. Hundreds of people died in the fire and thousands more became homeless.
Tacitus, a famous historian who witnessed the fire when he was 9, wrote the following, “The blaze in its fury ran first through the level portions of the city, then rising to the hills, while it again devastated every place below them, it outstripped all preventive measures; so rapid was the mischief and so completely at its mercy the city, with those narrow winding passages and irregular streets, which characterized old Rome.
“No one dared to stop the mischief, because of incessant menaces from a number of persons who forbade the extinguishing of the flames, because again others openly hurled brands, and kept shouting that there was one who gave them authority, either seeking to plunder more freely, or obeying orders.”
Shortly after the fire, the Roman emperor Nero launched the construction of his new palace, the Golden House. However, public opinion also spread quickly around the city that it was Nero who started the fire.
In the face of people’s anger and criticism, Nero shifted the blame to the Christian community in the city. He announced martial law in the city. And while investigating how the fire was started, he executed many brave senators who objected to him.
To justify his persecution of the Christians, Nero spread many made-up crimes against them, such as their killing babies, drinking the babies’ blood or eating them during worship. He also blamed the Christians for all the wicked practices prevalent in society, including binge drinking or promiscuity.
Tacitus later wrote in the book Annals, “Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. … Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of ‘hating the human race.’”
Tacitus continues: “In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights.”
Years later, the Roman people eventually opposed Nero’s brutal massacre of the Christians. After Nero was declared the enemy of the state in 68 AD and hunted down like a common criminal, he took his own life to avoid being arrested. Soon afterward, the Roman empire started to decline and eventually collapsed.
A Similar Fire and Slaughter of Another Religious Group
Two thousand years later, on January 23, 2001, the eve of the Chinese New Year, horrific news broke out before dinner time – five people set themselves on fire at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.
Within two hours, Xinhua News, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), published comprehensive reports about the incident, claiming that the five people were all Falun Gong practitioners who were attempting to transcend to heaven through self-immolation.
For the entire evening, the news about these “self-immolators” was broadcast non-stop on almost every channel. From accounts of the surviving participants to the interviews of police officers who put out the fire – the public wasn’t given a chance to make their own judgement, but had to take in all the information forced on them.
Zhang Weiguo, the chief editor of the Dongxiang magazine, once said that “For such a significant case, it should be investigated by the Justice Department first. Only after it goes through a court hearing, can we make any judgment about it. The fact that the mouthpieces in Beijing convicted Falun Gong and its practitioners so quickly on media makes me feel that the case isn’t so simple as it seems.”
Shortly after the self-immolation incident, over 2,000 newspapers, 1,000 magazines, hundreds of radio and TV stations, bombarded a misinformation campaign attacking Falun Gong.
Just like how Nero smeared the Christians, Jiang Zemin, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who ordered the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, spread a series of demonizing propaganda against the ancient spiritual and meditation discipline. The practitioners were accused of “cutting their bellies open to look for a Falun (law wheel),” “not taking medicine,” “anti-China,” or “collecting money.” Through manipulating public opinion, Jiang successfully turned the Chinese people against Falun Gong and make them turn a blind eye against all the torture and slaughter that was about to happen to these peaceful practitioners.
The “Capitol Breach” in the U.S.
Almost 20 years after the Tiananmen self-immolation incident, the CCP has successfully infiltrated many democratic countries and corrupted many government officials.
On January 6, 2021, during a historic protest by supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump against election fraud, some “protesters” stormed into the Capitol building when Congress was about to certify the false election result against Trump. One of his supporters, a female veteran, was shot in the neck and died a few hours later.
In no time, Congress was called into a recess. Tear gas was fired at the peaceful crowd. President Trump was blamed for inciting hatred and violence among his supporters.
When Congress reconvened at night, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) from Florida directly pointed out that some of the people who broke into the Capitol were not Trump supporters but actually members of the violent terrorist group Antifa masquerading as Trump supporters.
He said to his colleagues, “This morning, President Trump explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful… We should seek to build America up, not tear her down and destroy her.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia added, “President Trump has held over 600 rallies in the last four years. None of them included assaulting police, destroying businesses, or burning down cities. Democrats have spent all this time endorsing and enabling violent riots that left billions in property damage and 47 dead across the United States.”
History Always Repeats Itself
The above three incidents took place at different times and locations, but they share some major similarities:
Significance of Location: The three incidents took place at locations of significance, which have helped elevate the lies and attacks to the next level.- The Great Fire of Rome broke out near Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus;- The self-immolation in China took place at Tiananmen Square, the heart of the capital city;- The alleged “Trump supporters” stormed the U.S. capitol.
Presumption of Guilt Without Investigation or Evidence: No thorough investigation was ever done before the rulers called out the “culprits.”- Nero imposed martial law and blamed Christians for starting the fire when in fact he had ordered people to set things on fire;- Former CCP leader Jiang directed the staged self-immolation and blamed Falun Gong for making people go astray and setting themselves on fire;- Leftist politicians and media in the U.S. blamed Trump for inciting insurrection.
Use of Propaganda to Influence Public Opinion: A massive propaganda campaign was carried out, almost immediately following each of the three incidents, to vilify and incite hatred against the “bad people.”- Nero had people make up crimes that were said to have been committed by Christians and spread the lies across the country to incite people's hatred towards Christians;- Jiang's state-run propaganda machine ran at full speed to churn out one fabrication after another against Falun Gong following the self-immolation hoax;- Mainstream media in the U.S. blamed Trump and his supporters for storming the Capitol and inciting insurrection. Several leaders in some western countries also issued statements to say that the incident had smeared American democracy.
Purging Victims: Those who have the courage to speak out the truth later on were only attacked and silenced themselves.- Christians in Rome who dared to seek the truth and speak out were tortured to death;- Jiang and his accomplices used the self-immolation incident as an excuse to intensify the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and carry out the genocidal policy of “ruining practitioners' reputation, bankrupting them financially, and destroying their bodies.” In the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been subjected to various forms of persecution, including arrests, detention, imprisonment, torture, and even live organ harvesting. Falun Gong practitioners are also discriminated against in society, fired from their jobs, or driven out from their homes.- For Trump supporters, they are facing a similar “Cancel culture,” where they were labeled as racists or rioters, their social media accounts were suspended, their business partners abandoned them or the publications of their books were canceled. For Trump himself, many city governments canceled their contracts with his venues, his bank accounts were closed and he is now facing a second impeachment that aims to prevent him from ever running for public office again.
Dawn Before the Darkest of the Dark
When the Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, Marx regarded the God-hating philosophy of atheism and class struggle as the central dogma of communism. He said, “They [The communists] openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
Marx's partner Engels, on the other hand, said, “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other party by means of rifles, bayonets, and cannon — authoritarian means...”
In the summer of 1918, Russia ran out of food due to the civil war. Lenin sent Stalin to Tsaritsyn in the Volga Valley in June 1918 because it was a traditional Russian granary. Lenin ordered Stalin to carry out mass murder in Tsaritsyn. Immediately after Stalin got there, he began mass executions of farmers. His telegram to Lenin read: “Don't worry, our hands will not tremble." Soon after, a large amount of grain was transported to Moscow.
At the beginning of 1949, the Chinese Communist Party just grabbed power, and Mao Zedong said that in order to carry the revolution to the end, they must use revolution to completely annihilate all anti-revolutionary forces. So he purged all those who doubted his and his Party's authority and showed independent thinking.
J. Stapleton Roy, a former senior United States diplomat specializing in Asian affairs, praised Mao for being a great leader. And he was not the only one showing affinity to China. Since the Nixon administration in the 1970s, the U.S. adopted an appeasement policy towards China. After the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin wall was torn down around 1990, the international community believed that the threat of communism had gone and the U.S. became even more friendly to the Chinese Communist Party.
Entering the 21st century, China joined the World Bank, was granted permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), became part of the WTO, and also entered U.S. stock and bond markets. It quickly grew to be the second-largest economy in the world. At the same time, it also started to infiltrate into the West. While the “Belt and Road” initiative aims to expand the CCP’s economic and political influence, the “Confucius Institute” was considered as their “soft power” to export the communist ideology under the banner of “cultural exchange.”
When the massive protests took place in Hong Kong against the extradition law in 2019, the Hong Kong police, with the order from Beijing, fired tens of thousands of tear gas at the young protesters. In the next few months, over 2,000 protestors died suspiciously and many were blamed for “committing suicide.”
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Wuhan, China, the CCP locked down the country, while allowing millions of Wuhan citizens to fly to every corner of the world and calling the situation “preventable and controllable.”
As pointed out by the book How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World, “This is the startling reality humankind now faces: The evil specter’s conspiracy to destroy humankind is on the verge of success.”
However, the world is still looked after by the divine over us. There is a saying in Chinese that, “Things will develop in the opposite direction when they reach the extreme.” Maybe what awaits behind the darkest moment is the light of dawn. But whether we can embrace a bright new future all depends on whether we still uphold faith and kindness in our hearts.