(Minghui.org) January 23, 2001 was Chinese New Year’s Eve, a time for family reunion and happiness. It was during prime time on that day, when countless households across China were watching television together to welcome another year, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) broadcast the self-immolation at Tiananmen Square, one of its worst acts of defamation against Falun Dafa. Through this episode and follow-up programs, the regime instilled hatred of Falun Dafa in almost every Chinese citizen, young and old, in every corner of society.

This infamous event took place 13 months into CCP’s persecution of Falun Dafa, a meditation system based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. At that time, most of the public and even some government officials were not actively participating in the persecution; some were even sympathetic to practitioners for the mistreatment they endured for their belief. This shocking propaganda, however, exploded in essentially all media channels in China, turning people against Falun Dafa practitioners nationwide and escalating the persecution to a new level.

The main “reporter” of the slanderous program was Li Yuqiang, who later participated in hundreds of episodes of Focal Point, a popular CCTV program, to defame Falun Dafa. During a self-introduction in one event, Li said she was involved in producing over 400 episodes of the program, which won her national awards such as the Chinese News Award and the Radio and Television Journalism Award.

But a CCTV staff member told the overseas newspaper The Epoch Times in 2011, “She [Li Yuqiang] is actually not in our establishment. Those programs that she produced, many of us did not like them, either. We all want to stay away from her, to avoid getting bad luck from her. She doesn’t show up often and is always secretive.”

Another CCTV staffer commented, “She was sent here by higher-ups, and we have no control over [what she did]. She reports directly to the 610 Office and specializes in producing programs slandering Falun Gong.” Other CCTV staff also said they had no idea of Li’s whereabouts or her background.

While it’s unclear whether Li had really been involved in producing other programs for Focal Point or won the awards she claimed, her active role in producing propaganda to defame Falun Dafa was certain.

In early 2002, Li visited a brainwashing center in Hebei Province and talked with detained practitioners. The practitioners pointed out the that self-immolation was a hoax and that after one of the self-immolators, Wang Jindong, set himself on fire, a plastic Sprite bottle in his lap that supposedly contained gasoline remained intact. Confronted with the evidence, Li admitted that the Sprite bottle was added to convince viewers that the immolators were Falun Gong practitioners. She added that, had they known the lies would be found out, they would not have filmed it.

Here is another example of how Li manipulated facts to frame Falun Dafa. Zhao Ming, a Tsinghua University graduate studying in Ireland, went back to China in 2000 to appeal for Falun Dafa. He was detained and severely tortured at the notorious Tuanhe Labor Camp in Beijing. One day in late 2001, Li interviewed Zhao for an entire afternoon in the labor camp. Zhao recalled, “She [Li] appeared very supportive of my practice, asking how I started and what benefits I had seen. So I talked a lot, from the improvement in my mind and body to the understanding of Falun Dafa as true science.”

After returning to Ireland several years later, Zhao happened to see a video produced by the CCP that slandered Falun Dafa, which included his interview. By taking his words out of context and adding a narrator’s voice, the video dismissed the torture that Zhao had endured and instead used pieces of his interview to smear Falun Dafa.

The CCP has long targeted minorities with brutality and lies. After the numerous political campaigns and the Cultural Revolution, people reflected on the tragedies and hoped not to repeat the disaster, but when the Tiananmen Square Massacre happened in 1989 and the persecution of Falun Dafa started in 1999, again and again people still believed the CCP’s lies and became accomplices of the vicious regime in harming the innocent.

The fundamental reason is that few people realize that the CCP is the root cause of these tragedies, rather than perpetrators on the surface. Without a clear understanding, people are misled again and again, remaining numb to the brutality and injustice playing out right in front of them.

If this is allowed to continue, more people would suffer, and eventually everyone would become a victim. For example, Liu Siying, the 12-year-old alleged self-immolator brought by her mother, didn’t survive after she served as an actress to fuel hatred of Falun Dafa. As more evidence of the CCP’s forced organ harvesting from Falun Dafa practitioners surfaced, many people were still indifferent until Hu Xinyu, a 15-year-old student in Jiangxi Province, was found mysteriously dead with his organs removed.

We hope people will learn more about the self-immolation hoax, see through the CCP’s true nature, and prevent more tragedies from happening.