(Minghui.org) Among all the propaganda videos that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime produced to attack Falun Gong, the one depicting the staged self-immolation incident on January 23, 2001 was the worst. 

Focus Report, a show on the CCP's mouthpiece China Central Television (CCTV), is one of the most watched programs in China. In 2001, just hours after the incident happened, the show claimed that five “Falun Gong practitioners” set themselves on fire at Tiananmen Square. The vivid footage sowed fear and hatred toward Falun Gong in the minds of countless Chinese and provided justification for the CCP's escalated persecution against innocent Falun Gong practitioners. 

Much evidence and analysis have revealed loopholes indicating that this incident was a hoax to frame Falun Gong. I had always thought this was a video produced by the regular Focus Report crew. It was not until two years ago that I learned from a radio interview that the self-immolation video was made by a special team under the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), an extra-judicial agency given the power to override the legal system and tasked with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.

On January 23, 2019, radio network Sound of Hope interviewed Li Jun, producer of  Qi Shi Wei Huo (False Fire That Deceived the World). When the incident took place in 2001, Li worked at Nanjing Television Station in Jiangsu Province. Li was one of the producers of Corner of Our Society, a regional version of Focus Report. Li and his coworkers also collaborated with the Focus Report crew in Beijing. 

During the interview, Li said that back in 1997 and 1998, he collaborated with Focus Report on seven or eight programs. He was thus familiar with the reporters and cameramen of Focus Report.

“How did that self-immolation video come out? Who is the producer?” Li once asked one of the Focus Report crew members in private. 

“That person was not from here [the regular crew],” that crew member replied. 

“Where did he come from then?” Li continued. 

“He belongs to the PLAC. We normally do not see him. Then he brought us that [self-immolation] video for us to play,” the crew member said. “How did this video come out? We all work in the field and it’s not difficult to figure it out. Right?”

The crew member said that video was made by a special team that was not part of the regular Focus Report crew.

As a television professional himself – both producer and a director, Li also noticed this video shot a staged event, not an unexpected emergency. “After watching the video, my coworkers and I looked at each other – we all knew what was going on, although no one said it out loud,” Li explained. “It was simple. If someone tells me there is a self-immolation incident at Tiananmen Square and gives me a video camera, there is no way any of us could produce such a video.”

Tiananmen Square is big, 109 acres in size (or about 40 football fields). “An incident like self-immolation only lasts one or two minutes. Where should I go to capture the unfolding event? Plus those scenes, such as Wang Jindong sitting on the ground calling out slogans, and the little girl calling for her mother, were all shot from the best angles, something impossible if it was someone that was trying to videotape an unexpected emergency like this,” he explained. “That is why the moment we saw the video, we knew it was a staged event with professionals on standby to capture the best footage.”

Li said the self-immolation video was a typical studio product. The director had planned everything, and all actors did the required things at the right time and the right location. “Take the footage of Wang Jindong as an example, the camera was located at an ideal position,” he continued, “so we knew this is a staged video aimed to defame Falun Gong.”

Chinese version available

Category: Perspective