Six: Persecution Of Faith
4: The Hidden Agenda
Although Falun Gong’s spread was touching people’s heart and benefiting the nation and its citizens, in 1996 Vice Minister of the Central Ministry Propaganda, Xu Guangchun, seeking political gains for himself, summoned to a meeting the editors-in-chief of the ten major newspapers run by the Central Committee, and ordered to publish an article maligning Falun Gong. Afterward, the present publication administration under the Central Ministry of Propaganda, violating the Policy of “3 No’s”, prohibited the publication of all Falun Gong’s books.
However, by that time, there were adherents of Falun Gong working at almost every major newspaper. And in the Ministry of Public Security, notably many chiefs and directors of the public security bureau, and public security dept. in various cities, were practicing Falun Gong. The relevant governments’ offices received hundreds of thousands of letters of support, from the public describing what Falun Gong was all about.
The attempted 1996 suppression of Falun Gong thus fizzled out before it got out off ground.
Luo Gan then attempted twice, one in 1997 and again in 1998, to suppress Falun Gong, on the ground that it was a heretic cult. This was not because, notably, Falun Gong had done something wrong, instead, it was because Luo had been appointed the secretary of the Commission on Political and Legal Affairs, which was about as high of a rank as he could reach at the time. And as such, he needed to do something impressive, if he wishes to gain further promotion. Just as servicemen are most esteemed in times of war, Luo wanted to muddy the water of his country so that he himself as the Secretary of the Commission on Political and Legal Affairs, would become the political focus of things.
He ordered the regional Public Security Dept. to collect evidence. Agents were sent to the practice sites of Falun Gong.
They studied the Falun Gong’s main text “Zhuan Falun” as planted agents. But Falun Gong, as a rule, has no secret to hide.
Its activities were open, and the public was welcomed.
Persons came and left freely, with no registration or membership fee involved. Many of the planted agents, in fact, decided to take up the practice for real.
Luo grew worried that evidence incriminating Falun Gong was not turning up. It was at this time that he learned that those charged with overseeing qigong in the Ministry of Public Security, typically knew a lot about qigong, and many were themselves practicing it. It turned out the relevant persons in charge wouldn’t implement his orders. Luo had begun as early as 1996 to restructure the Ministry of Public Security.
He transferred to other Dept. all of those who were handling qigong affairs, and those who were knowledgeable about qigong.
The two investigations conducted by Luo, did, however, have some severe adverse consequences for Falun Gong in some areas. For example, the Public Security Bureau in Chao Yang City, Liaoning Province, issued in 1998 a certain document #37, entitled” Notice On Forbidding Illegal Activities Of Falun Gong”
The item was sent to its subsidiary Public Security Branches. Some of Falun Gong’s volunteer helpers were fined multiple times, with total fines over four thousand yuan. No receipt or only unofficial receipts were given. More than 40 people went to the Ministry of Public Security to petition authority on the matter. More than one thousand persons submitted jointed complains to Chao Yang Public Security Bureau, on the ground that the bureau’s actions were unlawful, and violating citizen’s rights.
In other areas, such as Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Hebei and Fujian Provinces, local public security officers used force to disperse people who had gathered in public to do the exercises of Falun Gong. They unlawfully ransacked adherents’ homes, broke into private residences, and confiscated personal properties.
Upon learning of what Luo had done, Zhu Rongji had reprimanded Luo, criticized him for using the most advanced spy tactics to deal with common people, instead of focusing on more major and serious matters. Luo was quite dejected by this. Unremorseful, Luo backed on his good relationship with Jiang Zemin, and dared to withhold a positive memo on Falun Gong written by Zhu Rongji, stopping it from being passed on to subsidiary departments.
The State Sports Administration carried out a comprehensive investigation of Falun Gong in May of 1998. The survey found that overall Falun Gong was effective in improving the health and fitness level of 97.9% of those involved. And it had achieved remarkable results in improving society’s stability and moral ethics. During the same period, an investigation conducted by nongovernmental organizations in Dalian City, Beijing, and other places, arrived at similar results.
In 1998, several retired senior officials of the National People’s Congress, with Qiao Shi as the head, launched their investigation into Falun Gong. The investigation concluded that Falun Gong has many benefits, and does nothing to harm the state or the people. It was submitted to the Politburo headed by Jiang Zemin.
In Feb. of 1999, a major magazine in the United States,”US News And World Report”, run an article that quoted a Chinese government source as saying, that Falun Gong could save each person one thousand yuan in annual medical fees. If one hundred million people were practicing it, one hundred billion yuan would be saved per year in medical fees. Premier Zhu Rongji said very happily: “The country could use the money right now.”
By early 1999, Media Outlet in China stated in their fitness reportage that one hundred million people were practicing Falun Gong. The book “Zhuan Falun” was translated into many foreign languages, and was being read in 30 countries and territories around the world. Many persons of non-Chinese descents traveled thousands of miles to China to learn Chinese, just so that they could read the original Chinese text of Zhuan Falun. The Chinese culture, despite its experiences in modern times, once again, spread to the world.
The 1999 Qing Hua alumni union happened to be on April 25, the day ten thousand followers of Falun Gong gathered in a demonstration at the State Letter and Complain Bureau near Zhong Nan Hai. Hu Jintao and his wife saw the dramatic scene on their way back to Zhong Nan Hai from the alumni party.
Worrying about a possible crackdown, Hu right away passed on words to his former classmate, Falun Gong practitioner, Zhang Mengye, to be careful.
In 1995, Jiang Zemin began to promote his theory of so-called “3 Represents”. Few, if any, really took it seriously. By contrast, however, Jiang could find the Falun Gong’s guiding book “Zhuan Falun” just about everywhere. And he knew the number of Falun Gong practitioners had been growing at a torrid pace. From time to time, somebody, in Jiang’s present, would express admiration for Master Li’s noble character and exemplary conduct.
This was a lot for Jiang Zemin’s ego to handle.