(Minghui.org) According to a survey conducted by the French marketing firm Ipsos, about 93% of Chinese people said they are happy. This number is higher than most other countries, making many outsiders wonder: how could so many Chinese citizens feel satisfied in a land with no freedom or basic human rights?

The long-term brainwashing and brutality by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) offers a clue. On the one hand, the systematic propaganda makes people believe the CCP is the best; on the other hand, any efforts to voice opinions different from the Party’s official tone would meet with severe suppression. As a result, people have adapted to the new normal and – to avoid trouble of being targeted by the Party or alienated by peers – they tend to accept the status quo and even praise it.

But not all people are the same. Some remember the ancient Chinese saying of “a scholar prefers death to humiliation” and the Western ideology to “be free or die.” Like Falun Gong practitioners who follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, however, anyone who dare to exercise their independent thoughts have met with serious retaliation from the Party.

One tactic used by the CCP is to instigate the majority (say 95%) of the population against the tiny portion of the remaining population. Over the decades, from the Anti-Rightist Campaign to the Cultural Revolution, from the Tiananmen Square Massacre to the Hong Kong suppression, attacks on various minority groups and dissidents have occurred over and over again. Even lawyers who safeguard the basic rights of Falun Gong and other minority groups have been suppressed as well.

Illusion vs. Reality

Here are a few examples.

The manager at my former workplace in China once visited me while he was on a trip to the U.S. I brought up the topic of Falun Gong and he dismissed it saying the CCP is not that bad. When I asked if he could take some DVDs with Falun Gong information back to China to give to my friends, he declined immediately, “I don’t want to get into trouble.” Only then did he realize that the real situation in China is different from what the Party claims it is.

Such a dilemma also existed elsewhere. Some of my friends and former classmates in China could not understand why Falun Gong practitioners continue exposing the persecution in China. “It [the suppression] is already over – even newspapers do not mention it now,” one of them said. He remained silent though when I challenged him to walk around Tiananmen Square wearing a shirt with phrases of “Falun Dafa is good” and “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” to see how long he could stay safe without being arrested.

Another friend is a Chinese citizen with a US residency. To keep his status as a permanent resident valid, he has to spend a certain amount of time in the U.S. Once he stayed in the U.S. for a long time, during which he had video streaming equipment to watch TV programs from China. I suggested he watch some overseas TV channels in Chinese, but he dismissed them as “nonsense.”

One interesting topic I had with this friend is human rights. He always insisted on talking about U.S. human rights first before discussing the situation in China. He then gave a long list of how poor human rights are in America.

When asked why he still immigrated to the U.S. through investment, however, he changed his stance and said, “Private property is protected in the U.S. The money and real estate I own are secure. After all, it is a society of law and order, with human rights respected.” He did not even remember just a few minutes ago, he had labeled the U.S. as a human rights villain like a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson would do.

But such political correctness can cost people dearly. Yuan Xiaoliang, a Chinese living in Australia, was well known in online forums and social media for defending the CCP on human rights with the pseudonym Ran Xiang. But she and her husband returned to China in January 2019, her husband was arrested by the CCP immediately with no whereabouts known for months. Yuan had no choice but to beg the Australian government for help since her husband is an Australian citizen. “To be honest, I am extremely upset and in despair now,” said the internet influencer.

I hope other “50 Cent Party” members (those who post online articles to defend the CCP and receive 50 cents per post) and others can learn from this lesson. By praising the totalitarian CCP regime, we simply make our life more miserable when we are targeted as the 5% minority someday. Even if we are not that minority yet, the economic, legal, and moral cost can be huge for Chinese citizens in general.

Growing Economy

The growth of the Chinese economy has relied on support from Western countries, especially the U.S., for the past few decades. The U.S. was instrumental in providing assistance to China in technology, capital, and talent as well as market access such as helping China enter the WTO. By doing that, U.S. politicians hoped China would advance toward democracy and fundamentally improve human rights.

But this did not happen and human rights in China have instead deteriorated. If trade wars are started in order to force China to close the human rights gap, Chinese people would suffer the consequences.

Extrajudicial Agencies Override Legal Systems

Modern management science has a Wooden Bucket Theory, also known as the Cannikin Law. That is, the capacity of a bucket is determined by the shortest stave. In the judicial field, that means if the CCP abuses the law to suppress certain citizens, all Chinese people could face a similar legal crisis.

It is especially the case with Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Since July 1999, the CCP has been brutally persecuting Falun Gong.

An extralegal entity named 610 Office was created to work with the existing Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), to orchestrate the persecution throughout the nation.

Both agencies were given the power to override China’s law enforcement, procuratorate, and court systems. Zhou Yongkang, former Minister of Public Security and later Party secretary of the PLAC and the head of the Central 610 Leadership Team, once instructed lower officials, “You can ignore murderers or arsonists, but you have to go after Falun Gong!”

Like Zhou, many lower officials have abused laws to persecute Falun Gong practitioners. When Ms. Han Yuejuan, a Falun Gong practitioner and a section chief in the propaganda department of Dongshan District of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was sentenced to three years for her faith in 2002, she said to the presiding judge that the prison sentence was illegal and called out “Falun Dafa is good” three times. The judge immediately increased her sentence to six years. Every utterance of “Falun Dafa is good” counted toward one extra year, said the judge.

A similar incident happened to Mr. Zhang Jinsheng from Qingyuan County, Liaoning Province. He was tried in September 2004 and sentenced to eight years for helping others access the Minghui website. To defend his innocence, Mr. Zhang called out “Falun Dafa is good” and wrote the same on the official verdict. The judge extended his sentence to 13 years, saying, “One more word means one more year in jail.” That is, each word of Fa-lun-da-fa-hao (“Falun Dafa is good”) was counted as one extra year.

Throughout the persecution of Falun Gong, the CCP has further abused laws to intensify its ruling. It is simply a matter of time for the regime to apply this apparatus to target other groups.

Hefty Moral Price

When the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are targeted, all of society suffers. As with corruption in the legal system, moral degeneration is very serious in China.

Wang Yue (also known as Little Yueyue), a two-year-old girl in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, was hit by two cars, one after the other, when she was playing outside her home in October 2011. Over 10 pedestrians saw this, but none of them stepped forward to help. The girl died despite emergency care.

From fake merchandise to poisonous food, from ignoring incidents like Wang Yue to plagiarizing by scholars, the principles and integrity of mankind are almost completely missing in China. People around the world wonder: What is happening with China and the Chinese people?

China has a long tradition of faith. But the CCP has nearly wiped out the traditional Chinese culture in the past few decades and replaced it with the communist ideology of hatred, brutality, and lies.

Even the Party's anti-corruption initiatives are doomed to fail since it is like constructing a building on sand. For example, Lu Wei, former head of the CCP’s Propaganda Department, was well known for calling for a society of integrity through information digitization. But Lu himself was charged with corruption and sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2019.

It was amid such chaos that Falun Gong was introduced to the public. With nearly 100 million people following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, the practice has brought a huge positive effect to society and given people hope. The brutal persecution over the past 23 years not only harms innocent Falun Gong practitioners but also threatens China's entire society.

Besides the Ipsos survey mentioned at the beginning of the article, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network also publishes the annual World Happiness Report on GDP per capita, social support, health life expectancy, degree of freedom, and so on.

Among the 150 countries listed, China is below average. In fact, about 600 million Chinese people have an income of less than 1,000 yuan (or $158) per month, over one billion people have never taken a ride on an airplane in their life, and more than 200 million Chinese household have no flush toilet.

Born and raised amidst a sea of pro-Party propaganda, it is understandable why Chinese people feel “happy” under the totalitarian CCP regime. But as more people gain access to uncensored information and have a glimpse of the real world, they may realize what a society free of communism would be like, where people follow their own conscience and enjoy personal freedoms unknown to people in China today.