(Minghui.org) Many people have heard about Falun Gong and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s persecution of it in China. While working tirelessly to raise awareness of the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have never harbored any political agenda or personal interests. They simply want to share with people the goodness of the practice and expose the illegality of the persecution. Here, we would like to review some basic facts that help explain why practitioners in China are so determined to uphold their faith despite the relentless persecution. 

Great Benefits

Before the CCP launched a campaign against Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the communist regime actually welcomed the mind-body spiritual discipline in its early years for its huge benefits to society. 

On May 15, 1998, CCTV1’s Evening News and CCTV5 both reported a visit that Wu Shaozu, former Director of State Sports General Administration, made to Falun Gong exercise sites in Changchun City, Jilin Province, the birthplace of the practice. During his visit, he observed many people practicing Falun Gong.

Also in 1998, medical experts from Beijing, Wuhan, Dalian, and Guangdong conducted five separate surveys with nearly 30,000 participants. Across the surveys, an average of 97.9% of participants reported that their illnesses had disappeared after practicing Falun Gong. In these surveys, the one from Guangdong with 10,000 participants reported a 97.9% cure rate of illnesses, and the one in Beijing, also with about 10,000 participants, reported a cure rate of 99.1%. 

In addition, Qiao Shi, former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and over 180 high-ranking officials also conducted a survey in the second half of 1998. Based on the survey results, they submitted a report to the Politburo stating “Falun Gong benefits our nation and people in many ways while causing no harm.”

Popularity of Falun Gong

The huge benefits of Falun Gong can explain why it was well accepted by Chinese citizens. 

For example, Mr. Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong, attended the Oriental Health Expos in both 1992 and 1993. Attendees and staff members witnessed countless Falun Gong miracles. In both expos, Falun Gong received numerous awards for the miraculous effect of curing illnesses. In fact, the organizer was so impressed after the 1993 expo that Mr. Li was invited to give three seminars to the public. 

Already available in over 40 different languages, Zhuan Falun (main teachings of Falun Gong) is one of the most translated books in the world. According to The Telegraph, in a list compiled by Creators Synectics in 2007, Mr. Li was listed in the 12th position in the “100 Living Geniuses.” Because of that, May 13 is well celebrated as World Falun Dafa Day to celebrate the practice’s introduction to the public in 1992. More than 5,000 proclamations and awards were issued by various governments across the world to honor Mr. Li and Falun Gong for the great contribution to society. 

Defamation Lies from the CCP

After former CCP leader Jiang Zemin began to suppress Falun Gong in 1999, the regime made up numerous lies to slander the practice and turn the public against the peaceful, innocent practitioners. 

One of the worst lies is the staged self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, the Chinese New Year’s Eve. As many families gathered in front of the television waiting to watch the New Year Gala, the programming suddenly broadcast a horrific scene on Tiananmen Square, with several people setting themselves on fire. The CCP mouthpiece media outlets claimed that the self-immolators were Falun Gong practitioners. Numerous follow-up reports appeared in news media, magazines, the entertainment industry, literature, and even school textbooks to brainwash Chinese citizens. 

False Fire, a documentary produced by NTD Television on the topic, won an honorary award at the 51st Columbus International Film and Television Festival on November 8. With footage from the defamatory programs made by the CCTV, this film analyzed the scenes and identified numerous gaps, which indicate that the so-called self-immolation was a staged event aimed to incite fear and hatred of Falun Gong. 

International Education Development stated at a United Nations conference on August 14 that year that “we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government. We have copies of that video available for distribution.” As a result, it referred to this incident as part of the state terrorism created by the CCP. Chinese delegates at the conference did not respond to this accusation. 

Suppression in China Against Falun Gong Is Unlawful

As one of the largest human rights violations in the world, the persecution of Falun Gong remains unabated after 23 years. But the persecution is illegal even by the standards of China’s own laws. 

Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution protects the freedom of belief, which gives citizens the right to practice Falun Gong. 

The CCP often charges practitioners with violating Article 300 of the Criminal Law, which states that anyone using a cult organization to sabotage law enforcement should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No statutory law in China, however, criminalizes Falun Gong or labels it a cult. Even the lists of evil religious organizations published by the Ministry of Public Security and State Council, neither of which is a law-making body in China, do not contain Falun Gong. In other words, citing Article 300 to frame and imprison Falun Gong practitioners has no legal basis at all. 

Furthermore, Announcement 50 issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication on March 1, 2011, lifted the ban on Falun Gong books. Therefore, it is lawful to publish and own Falun Gong books in China. 

About 100 lawyers in China have defended Falun Gong practitioners’ innocence in about 1,000 trials in recent years. They cited the reasons above to show that their clients should never have been prosecuted for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of belief and freedom of the press. 

Perpetrators Are Also Victims

As the CCP struggled to eradicate Falun Gong as Jiang vowed 23 years ago, it launched one campaign after another to try to force practitioners to renounce their faith. The latest “zero-out” campaign started two years ago, in particular, saw police and officials harass every practitioner on their blacklists and attempt to make them give up their belief. 

While blindly following the persecution policy for political gains and personal interest, the perpetrators may not know such “zero-out” campaigns have violated the Constitution (Articles 35, 36, 37, 38, 41) and Criminal Law (Articles 238, 243, 246, 397, 399), and they could face up to 10 years of imprisonment. 

Similar situations have occurred in the past. After the Cultural Revolution ended, hundreds of the perpetrators were secretly executed to ease the anger of senior officials wrongly suppressed. Liu Chuanxin, then Beijing police chief, heard about this earlier and committed suicide. 

It was said that in 2004, some in the Politburo suggested ending the persecution of Falun Gong, but Jiang Zemin tried to find scapegoats instead. He proposed killing the same number of police officers as the number of practitioners killed in the persecution. This plan did not work out because Falun Gong prohibits killing and its practitioners would never want to see police officers (or any others) killed and Jiang’s crimes covered up. 

Article 60 of China’s Law on Civil Servants states, “...where a civil servant implements a decision or an order which is obviously in serious violation of law, he or she shall bear due responsibility as specified by law.” In February 2021, the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) and Ministry of Public Security also implemented measures of this kind. The Supreme Court also rolled out 12 special prosecutable offenses committed by police, procuratorate, and court officials. 

All these mean that, while some perpetrators persecuted innocent practitioners in the name of following orders from “higher-ups,” they themselves could also be held accountable for their crimes in the end. That is why one police officer said to his coworkers, “We’d better not be so tough on Falun Gong. Many so-called ‘policies’ are unlawful and there could be consequences in the end!”

In traditional Chinese culture, it is generally believed that blessings and misfortunes do not come for no reason. Good deeds will bring blessings, while bad deeds would cause consequences. This could apply to both officials and ordinary citizens in China, and people around the world. Siding with the CCP could jeopardize freedom in society while rejecting the regime could bring safety in the pandemic and beyond.