(Minghui.org) Among various groups suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Falun Gong is the largest with about 100 million practitioners when the persecution started in 1999. But the impact is far beyond practitioners. With Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance targeted and basic moral values compromised, the entire society is at risk and everyone has become a victim.
As China recovered from the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) and entered the 1980s, the majority of the population was struggling with poverty, but the moral level was relatively stable. When the economic reform started in the 1990s, the social and cultural situation changed dramatically. Many CCP officials and government employees, including police, procuratorates, and courts, abused their power to fatten their own pockets. As corruption ran rampant, many average citizens found their basic human rights violated and unable to live a normal life. To seek justice for themselves, they filed complaints against officials.
Data from the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that China’s court system handled 83,700 civil complaints, letters, and visits between 1978 and 1982. This number increased 504 times to 42.2 million between 1998 and 2002.
Such a trend was also seen in the soaring number of mass incidents (conflict incidents with over 100 participants), which went from 8,700 in 1993 and about 10,000 in 1994, to 60,000 in 2003. As analyzed below, the sharp increase was closely related to the launching of the 610 Office, an extrajudicial agency tasked with the suppression of Falun Gong, and the expansion of the existing Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) system.
The Rise of Falun Gong
Qigong, a self-improvement system to improve mind and body, became popular in China in the 1980s. But most of the qigong schools at most kept people fit without addressing moral improvement. Falun Gong, introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in May 1992, is totally different. This mind-body practice consists of five sets of exercises suitable for all ages and teaches to be good people by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. It soon drew numerous learners and quickly spread across China through word of mouth. Before the persecution started in 1999, practitioners doing exercises could be seen in public places everywhere.
At that time, there were countless stories of children being good students at school, and adults becoming better employees and more responsible family members. Some examples were covered by CCP-controlled media, including Yangcheng Evening News, Beijing Youth Daily, Medical and Health News, and so on. Besides China, there were also practitioners in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries.
A Gestapo-Like Network
The principles of Falun Gong are a sharp contrast to the CCP’s core ideology of lies, wickedness, and brutality. Out of jealousy, former CCP leader Jiang Zemin singlehandedly started the persecution in July 1999, vowing to eradicate Falun Gong in three months. To achieve that, he also ordered to form the Central 610 Leadership Team and Central 610 Office and gave them the power to override law enforcement and judicial systems.
Given the wide acceptance of Falun Gong, however, officials in some provinces were not very active in persecuting practitioners. In a meeting in late 2000, Jiang criticized the 610 Office for not effectively wiping out Falun Gong. As a result, he ordered that the 610 Office be established in police departments at all levels to fully implement the persecution policy.
The 610 Offices were also set up at all levels in the PLAC (Political and Legal Affairs Committee) network. It became a norm for top officials in the police system to lead 610 Offices. At the province and city-level, the chief or deputy chief of the PLAC is also appointed key positions in 610 Offices. It is important to point out that PLAC directs the operation of police, procuratorate, court, and the justice system, while a PLAC Party Secretary is often a standing member of the CCP Committee. This means 610 Offices at all levels are able to supervise police, state security, justice, procuratorate, and court at that level.
The power given to the 610 Office and PLAC to override the law enforcement and judicial systems has jeopardized the entire legal system in China. Under the two agencies’ directives, government officials, police, procuratorates, and courts at various levels went all out to persecute Falun Gong in order to gain political capital and advance in their careers. “I don’t care if you set a house on fire, kill people, or steal things. But you just cannot practice Falun Gong,” some officials and police officers openly declared.
As the police arrest practitioners, procuratorates indict practitioners and courts sentence practitioners without any legal basis. Practitioners have suffered tremendously for upholding their faith in Falun Gong. It was estimated that between two and three million practitioners had been arrested at one point or another in the past 23 years. They were subjected to fines, home ransacking, employment termination, forced labor, torture, imprisonment, killing, and forced organ harvesting.
A Chaotic Society
This unprecedented crime against Falun Gong has essentially destroyed political, legal, and justice systems, which violate the law when they should be enforcing the law and upholding justice. Based on data between 1999 and 2003 from the Chinese Supreme Procuratorate and Supreme Court, the chance of ordinary citizens committing a crime was one per 400 people. This ratio increased to one per 200 people for government officials and 3 per 200 people for officials in the justice system.
Law enforcement agencies, police, the procuratorate, the court, and the justice system are meant to safeguard justice. When they instead abuse power for their own benefits, however, the entire society suffers financially, ideologically, and morally.
One example is house demolition and relocation for urban development in China. Because of its paramount power, Jiang’s regime started land finance to make money, leading to massive forced demolition and relocation. According to data from the China State Information Center, China Land Transfer Revenue increased from 130 billion yuan in 2001 to 2,900 billion yuan in 2010. Its share in the total local government fiscal revenue jumped from 16.6% to 76.6%.
During this process, the PLAC was a major player which targeted vulnerable farmers with police and armed police. Citing statistics from the Tsinghua University, The Wall Street Journal reported that China had 180,000 protests and other types of mass incidents in 2010. The majority of them were caused by forced demolition. During that time, the expense of maintaining stability exceeded that for national defense, something unheard of in other countries.
When farmers went to appeal after losing land, the court system, controlled by the PLAC, offered no help. An article from China Youth Daily on August 15, 2011, reported an internal document from Heilongjiang Province Higher Court. It ordered lower courts within the province to reject cases related to agriculture, forestry, and land disputes. Similar situations existed in other places and farmers could hardly win any case after their houses were forcibly demolished.
The legal system’s failure to uphold justice led to climbing crime rates. According to the Chinese Rule of Law Blue Book published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2010, the crime rate in China was relatively stable prior to 2000. But a significant increase was observed from 2000 to 2009, during which time violent crimes and property crimes rose sharply.
When people are punished for following the principles of Truthfulness-Compass-Forbearance, everyone else also becomes a victim of systematic suppression.
Zuo Zhuan (The Commentary of Zuo), one of the best-known Chinese history books, wrote, “When virtues are abandoned and immoral behaviors are promoted, catastrophes would follow.”
The moral decline in China in the past 20 years was alarming. Nowadays many people are solely pursuing money without caring about principles. When an elderly person falls on the street, hardly anyone would care to help him or her to stand up. After knocking a pedestrian down on the ground, a driver may step on the gas to run over the victim.
Had the CCP not started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, more people could have been inspired by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and the law enforcement and justice systems might not have become so corrupt as we see today.
“It is painful to see the current crime age is getting younger and the crime rate is increasing year by year. If people are able to restrain themselves, it would reduce the government’s burden,” said a former Hainan Province Justice Bureau chief in a meeting, “The CCP does not allow people to have faith. But with one more person having faith, there would be one fewer criminal. Isn’t this better for our society and country?”
Fortunately, after consistent efforts from Falun Gong practitioners in the past 23 years, many government officials and ordinary citizens have gradually learned the facts and stopped following the persecution policy blindly.
Among those who are still participating in the persecution of practitioners, many have faced consequences. As of January 2021, there were 47 provincial or ministerial officials who had been taken down after their involvement in the suppression. In 2021 alone, nearly 30 additional officials in the PLAC system have been removed from positions and put under investigation.
We hope more people can be awakened from the CCP’s brutality and lies. By stopping the persecution of Falun Gong, China will restore faith and moral values, making it a better country and a better world.
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