Who is the criminal and who is upholding law and order?
Yesterday, CNN reported that eight Falun Gong practitioners have been sentenced
to up to 13 years in prison for tapping into local television and radio signals
in eastern Chinas Anhui province.
Throughout more than three years of horrific persecution and continuous attacks
by Chinas state-run televisions, radios and newspapers, practitioners
of Falun Gong in China have continued to appeal, seeking peaceful ways to expose
the atrocities, and cut through the lies and slander of the propaganda.
Some have successfully tapped into television and radio signals to make their
Is this a criminal or heroic act? One that violates the rule of law or one
that seeks to restore it?
A Lesson From History
December 1938. Germany. Open violence against Jewish people has become commonplace.
Most quietly and fearfully look the other way. Dr. Joseph Goebbels Ministry
of Propaganda maintains draconian control over what Germans read, see and hear.
"The essence of propaganda consists in
winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end
they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it."
-- Dr. Joseph Goebbels,
Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment for Nazi Germany
Among the measures Dr. Goebbels has taken is to
organize the sale of cheap radios -- commonly known as the "Peoples
Receivers" -- to ensure the people would hear Hitlers speeches
and other propaganda material. Cafes and public properties are equipped
with loudspeakers for the same reason.
Then one evening in late December, as the people
gather around their radios, and huddle over their coffees at the cafes,
the regular program suddenly goes dead...silence. From the silence emerges
a voice, and it speaks clearly: "The Jewish people are a good and
honorable people. They have a rich tradition grounded in virtues that
build healthy families and strong communities."
Everyone stops moving. No one makes a sound. All eyes are fixed on the
radios and speakers. The voice continues...
"The Jewish people in Germany are being horribly persecuted. Many have
died. Hitlers regime has adopted a policy of genocide. The world must
The voice cuts off mid-sentence. Theres a crackle and then silence again.
A small group of Jews have engineered a tap into the Nazi central broadcast
and overridden the broadcast with a message of their own: A message they hope
will cut through the lies and slander about Jewish people, expose the horrific
persecution that is unfolding upon them, and awaken people to the darkness that
has engulfed their nation.
Are these Jews criminals or heroes? Have they "disrupted social order"
or laid their very lives on the line to maintain it?
This particular broadcast is fictitious, but the point is very real: How would
history judge such "hackers" of Nazi television and radio under such
The Conditions in Modern Day China Under Jiang Zemins Regime
In the middle of the night on July 20, 1999, volunteers
in cities throughout the country who organize Falun Gong practice sites
in their local parks were rounded up by police -- many taken from their
beds and families.
Some were never heard from again.
Over the next two days, tens of thousands of practitioners
of Falun Gong were rounded up and detained in detention centers and stadiums
in Chinas larger cities as people spontaneously gathered to peacefully
appeal for an end to the sudden crackdown.
Since that time, reports of Falun Gong practitioners
being tortured to death in police custody have surfaced almost every day.
Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being
sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.
"We have learned from history that in the
face of evil, we must speak out regardless of the consequences. Silence
only encourages tyranny."
-- Dr. Shiyu Zhou,
Falun Gong practitioner
Many practitioners of Falun Gong have been fired from their jobs, expelled
from schools, have their homes ransacked by Chinese police, their businesses
interrupted and their property confiscated.
And it continues to this very day.
According to a December 27 CNN report, Chinas new police chief Zhou Yongkang
said Chinas "police and para-military People's Armed Police must
target the Falun Gong spiritual movement" in addition to other groups deemed
by Jiangs regime to be dangerous or "destabilizing."
With Chinese government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun
Gong before July 1999, this persecution targets nearly 1 out of every 12 people
in China -- not including family members of Falun Gong practitioners who have
also been targeted since July 1999.
History in the Re-Making?
Like Dr. Joseph Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda, Jiang Zemins state
propaganda apparatus is a finely tuned machine, capable of covering up and deceiving
on a massive scale. One of the biggest mistakes we could make today is to assume
that -- in this era of sophisticated media analysis and communication channels
-- it is not possible for us to be caught unawares and lulled into complacency
by such a machine. Many details of the persecution of Falun Gong remain hidden.
Many lies and slanders about Falun Gong have usurped fact.
Yesterday, eight individuals were reportedly imprisoned for their peaceful
attempts to expose the atrocities of this persecution and to expose the lies
and slander about Falun Gong that saturates the propaganda of Jiangs regime.
It is the responsibility of the international community to peacefully enact
an end to this reign of terror. Let us not wait for history to make this clear.
Posting date: 30/Dec/2002
Original article date: 29/Dec/2002
Category: Open Forum