(Minghui.org) Over the past 24 years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has mobilized essentially all the media outlets in the country to defame Falun Gong and incite its viewers to hate the practice. The program Focus Report on China Central Television (CCTV), the biggest state-sponsored broadcaster, was one of the worst.

Launched in April 1994, this prime-time daily program quickly became a popular news commentary. After the CCP began to suppress Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, the program operated at full speed to support it with propaganda campaigns. During the five months (about 150 days) between July and December 1999, over 70 episodes targeting Falun Gong were aired on this program.

In particular, Focus Report spent five days in a row (July 31 to August 4, 1999) defaming Falun Gong’s founder. This program’s editing team, videotaping team, and host Fang Hongjin later received a “Special Gold Award.”

The most notorious episode produced by Focus Report was the staged Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident in January 2001. At that time, the persecution had been going on for about 18 months. Many people in China were aware of the brutal suppression and some were sympathetic toward innocent practitioners. The staged self-immolation hoax and a series of follow-up slanderous programs on Focus Report quickly incited hatred for Falun Gong among the general public.

The successful propaganda campaign pushed the persecution to a new level. For example, information received by Minghui.org showed 173 practitioners lost their lives due to the suppression during the 18 months between July 1999 and January 2001. But for the next 36 months between January 2001 and January 2004, the number of deaths soared to 708.

Ji Bingxuan, executive vice minister of the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department, praised Focus Report’s “achievements” in attacking Falun Gong on August 21, 2003. He said the program always stood on the front lines of the news media and its accomplishments were well recognized by the central government. More specifically, he implied that the program played a leading role in both political correctness and brainwashing techniques.

Li Zuoshi, the editor of Focus Report, was later promoted to the producer of the program. He and other members of the team, along with THE CCTV leadership, should be held responsible for facilitating the CCP in persecuting Falun Gong.