(Minghui.org) Every July in Washington D.C., there is a candlelight vigil next to the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial to memorialize Falun Gong practitioners in China who have lost their lives for upholding their faith. Similar activities have also been held in many other capital cities around the globe.

Among the deceased are a few residents of Changchun, Jilin Province, who intercepted television broadcast signals in March 2002 in order to expose the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s slanderous propaganda against Falun Gong, a mind-body practice based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

They are good examples of the ruthless extremes the Party goes to in order to silence dissent, and especially to hide the truth from the Chinese people. Because in the light of truth, the Party can only fail.

Ruthless Torture

Huo Jiefu, then supervisor of the Internal Protection Office at the Kuancheng Police Department in Changchun City, Jilin Province, recalled what he saw in 2002.

“At around 7 p.m. on March 13, 2002, while passing the second floor to my office on the sixth floor, I heard yelling and the sounds of someone being beaten from one of the rooms. I opened the door and found several officers torturing Mr. Liu Haibo. He was stripped naked and shackled in a kneeling position on a tiger bench. His head was also clamped. Two officers were shocking him while jamming an electrical baton into his anus. Several broken pieces of wood were scattered on the floor. A large area of Liu's body was already swollen and reddish,” he wrote.

Huo tried to stop the perpetrators, but captain Ai Limin ordered to keep the torture going, citing an order from higher-ups. So Huo went to another captain, Sun Lidong. But it was too late. “After entering the room, I saw that Mr. Liu had already been removed from the tiger bench and placed on the floor, dead. Several officers hurried to put on his clothes, but it was not easy,” Huo continued, “While asking us to leave and Ai to keep quiet on this, Sun went to report the incident to Chief Zhou.”

As usual, the CCP covered up the death. Three days after Mr. Liu was beaten to death, Kuancheng police chief Zhou Chunming said at a meeting that Mr. Liu had died of a heart attack and dispatched forces to guard the body and Mr. Liu’s wife. Huo was later detained and fired for remarking that the persecution of Falun Gong was groundless. In June 2002, he fled China and later testified to Minghui what had happened.

Lies Turn White into Black

So why were practitioners such as Mr. Liu brutally tortured? This stemmed from the CCP’s persecution policy targeting innocent practitioners for upholding their faith and debunking the regime’s lies and slanderous propaganda disseminated through its vast media mouthpiece.

Falun Gong was introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in May 1992. The practice’s miraculous health benefits and improvement of moral character were well recognized. After close investigations and review of results surveying Falun Gong practitioners, Qiao Shi, then Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and many other high-ranking officials submitted a report to the Politburo stating that “Falun Gong benefits our nation and people in many ways while causing no harm.”

But the CCP is known for controlling people’s minds. This was especially the case with then CCP leader Jiang Zemin. After rising to the top position for his tyranny in the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, Jiang was jealous that the number of Falun Gong practitioners had exceeded membership in the CCP. Although other members of the Politburo Standing Committee disagreed, Jiang was the primary driver to launch the nationwide campaign against Falun Gong in July 1999, vowing to eradicate the peaceful group in three months.

To more fully implement his top-down persecution policy, Jiang established the 610 Office, which effectively bypassed the judicial system to arbitrarily detain, torture and kill tens of thousands in pursuit of Jiang's goals.

Because of the well known benefits of Falun Gong, however, officials and ordinary citizens were relatively passive in the persecution. Some were even sympathetic to Falun Gong practitioners for the mistreatment they suffered because of their belief.

It was under this circumstance that Jiang and his accomplices staged the self-immolation propaganda stunt on Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, the eve of the Chinese New Year.

While many families across the country gathered in front of television waiting to watch the prime news hour and New Year celebration, horrific self-immolation scenes on Tiananmen Square were suddenly broadcast on CCTV (Chinese Central Television), shocking the entire nation and effectively turning public opinion against Falun Gong. However, few people realized that the footage – long shots, medium, and close-up – came from prepared professional television crews and could not have been filmed in an emergency like self-immolation.

Detailed analysis of the video footage showed dozens of loopholes according to award-winning documentary False Fire. But Li Dongsheng, deputy head of Central 610 Office and deputy director of CCTV, worked with other officials and continued pushing the hate propaganda through the 610 Office network, government agencies, news media, textbooks, literature, science education, entertainment, and many more. This stirred up hatred in officials and the general public toward Falun Gong, leading to the escalated, unprecedented and bloody persecution.

“Killing With No Mercy”

Several days before Mr. Liu’s death, practitioners in Changchun City successfully intercepted television signals of multiple channels in Changchun on March 6, 2002. Up to 50 minutes of videos were broadcast that debunked the hate propaganda of self-immolation and explained how Falun Gong is well received around the world except in China.

The response from the public was phenomenal. “In some neighborhoods, local party officials grew desperate and cut the power, plunging streets into darkness. In others, such as those near Cultural Square, people spilled into the streets to celebrate. The ban is over! Falun Gong is rehabilitated! A few practitioners emerged from factories and hideouts, openly handing out literature. Neighbors, children, random strangers, even the old ladies with the red armbands approached them, everyone talking at once, bubbling over, laughing, slapping them playfully, congratulating them,” wrote author Ethan Gutmann in “Into Thin Airwaves”, an article published in The Weekly Standard in 2010.

But severe retaliation followed immediately. Jiang personally issued the order of “killing with no mercy.” Liu Jing, deputy head of Central 610 Office and deputy minister of Public Security, went to Changchun urging local officials to either solve the case or be terminated. Over 5,000 Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun were arrested, detained, and tortured within a few days of the TV interception.

Victims of the Persecution

The Changchun Intermediate Court also sentenced 15 practitioners on September 18, 2002. They included Ms. Zhou Runjun (20 years), Mr. Liu Weiming (20 years), Mr. Liu Chengjun (19 years), Mr. Liang Zhenxing (19 years), Mr. Zhang Wen (18 years), and Mr. Lei Ming (18 years).

In addition to Mr. Liu Haibo mentioned above, Mr. Liu Chengjun also died of torture in custody. At least 6 other arrested practitioners also lost their lives to torture, including Mr. Lei Ming, Mr. Liang Zhenxing, Mr. Hou Mingkai, and others.

During its 2007 Human Rights Awards Ceremony in the Parliament House of New South Wales, the Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation in Australia issued the Fidelity Vindicator Award to Mr. Liu Chengjun. Gordon Moyes, Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, attended the ceremony and referred to this award as a testimony of history.

But Falun Gong practitioners are not the only victims of the persecution and the hate propaganda. Many perpetrators involved in the persecution have faced consequences for following the persecution policy.

Sun Lidong, a captain at Kuancheng Police Department when the TV interception happened, was one of the main perpetrators who caused Mr. Liu Haibo’s death. He had also led other officers and arrested nearly 100 practitioners in total. Sun suddenly dropped dead in his office in early 2004. Some of his subordinates believed it was retribution for his persecution of Falun Gong.

Liu Yuanjun, Party Secretary at Changchun Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), led the arrest of about 5,000 practitioners after the TV interception incident. He fell ill in mid-April 2006 and died of liver cancer on May 4, 2006.

Some working in news media also met ill fates. Luo Jing was the news anchor for CCTV who broadcast fake news about the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989 and the staged self-immolation in 2001. After being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2009, he could not speak before dying at age 48 due to ulcers in his mouth and tongue.

Practitioners wish everyone a healthy and happy life. While suffering the ongoing persecution themselves, they have been working hard to urge perpetrators to stop participation in the persecution so as not be held responsible when the CCP is brought to justice for its crimes against Falun Gong.