Six: Persecution Of Faith
5: An Easy Target
In 1999, the pseudo-scientist, He Zuoxiu published an article in Tianjin to frame-up Falun Gong. Several thousand Falun Gong followers went to the newspaper to clarify the truth. The publisher was about to issue a correction when the municipal government sent riot police, who had beaten up and dispersed the crowd, and arrested 45 people. The Tianjin government claimed, that they were just following orders from Beijing.
The persons then in charge of Falun Gong Research Society, among whom were Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen, and Ji Liewu, discussed the situation, and decided to lodge an appeal with the State Letter and Complain Bureau on April 25. Those who heard of the decision contacted one another, with the result being some ten thousand persons appearing at the State Letter and Complain Bureau, located adjacent to Zhong Nan Hai that day. Their requests were, first, the Tianjin government to release the fellow practitioners it had detained; second, freedom to practice Falun Gong to be ensured; third, once again the publications of Falun Gong books to be allowed in China. The episode was known in history as the April 25 Event.
Premier Zhu Rongji was himself twice ostracized under Mao Zedong. And just one year before, he had written a positive valuation of Falun Gong. So it was that Zhu did something in stark contrast to the CCP’s manner of handling petitioners, that is, not making contact, not dialoguing, and not make compromises. He had himself a meeting with the representatives of the petitioners, and instructed Tianjin to release the people it detained.
As for Jiang Zemin, he was part of the Tian An Men Massacre, as well as its biggest beneficiary. Due to this, the event of April 25 was downright frightening: Jiang promptly called Beijing Garrison Force, and asked whether the army stationed in Beijing could immediately march to the scene of Zhong Nan Hai, and drive out via force the surrounding Falun Gong adherents, if they did not disperse at midnight. The one who answered the phone declared at once, to follow Chairman Jiang’s order at any time! Later Jiang would promote the person several ranks. In the afternoon, Jiang called You Xigui, director of the Central Guard Bureau, and told him to enact Martial Law as soon as possible. Jiang said he wanted to come out and personally to inspect the scene.
Jiang then went about inspecting the scene from behind the tinted glass of a bullet-proof passenger vehicle in which he rode. Outside in front of the Falun Gong demonstrators, was the cordon set up expressly for Jiang’s inspection. In Jiang’s view, that so many people practice Falun Gong meant it was competing with the Party for the masses; that it was because Falun Gong had a tight organization that its students adopted a peaceful and reasonable means of demonstration; and that the Falun Gong group coming to Zhong Nan Hai was openly challenging him!
What drove his irritation especially was that he saw at least a few dozen servicemen, bearing military insignia who apparently followed Falun Gong, instead of himself, the Chairman of the Military Commission of the CCP!
The meeting that took place inside Zhong Nan Hai was not all that smooth, however. The officials made no promises in the discussion because for one, Jiang Zemin hadn’t told them the bottom line as how to handle the meeting. And secondly, Luo Gan had been trying to find fault with Falun Gong. Later, Li Chang along with Wang Youqun and three others came to Zhong Nan Hai to join the dialogue.
Some ten thousand Falun Gong students waited quietly outside Zhong Nan Hai. The dialogue ended not until after 8 pm. Upon learning then, of the release of those detained in Tianjin, the crowd outside the compound quietly left the scene, and not a piece of paper was left behind. The group had gone out of its way to keep the site clean and orderly. International media portrayed, in a positive light, both the Falun Gong demonstrators for their composure, and the government for its open-mindedness. The event was seen as the first non-violent rational dialogue to have taken place between officials and the public, since the CCP had come to power.
However, Jiang Zemin flew into a rage. He had been jealous of the legendary Master Li Hongzhi. In addition, his old enemy, Qiao Shi had been a Falun Gong supporter. Coupled with this was the fact that international media reported in a positive light on both parties involved in the event, which undoubtedly boosted the merit of Zhu Rongji. This only served to fan the flame of Jiang’s jealousy.
Taking a page from Mao Zedong, who launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966, with a letter entitled” Bombard the Central Command”, Jiang also wrote a letter to the Politburo on the evening of April 25. To garner support for his decision among the members of the Standing Committee, Jiang in his letter accused Falun Gong of having connections with overseas and Western forces, and demanded the Communist Party using Marx-Leninism defeat Falun Gong! The letter was later printed and distributed, as a notice from the general office of the Central Committee of the CCP, to be studied and implemented.
The day after the event of April 25, Luo Gan, Jia Qinglin and the members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, held a meeting to discuss how the issue should be handled.
Of the seven members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, all but Jiang openly expressed objection to the idea of suppression. Jiang insisted that the issue was a political one, involving the very existence of the Party and the nation.
” Exterminate it! Exterminate it! Decisively exterminate it!” Jiang flailed his hand shouting. In order to force the other committee members over to his side, Jiang Zemin used the Ministry of State Security to fabricate alleged evidence, claiming that the founder of Falun Gong was supported by the CIA, and that the CIA had furnished Falun Gong with tens of millions of dollars.
Even the French, blindly believed the CCP’s misinformation. Only later, after a long investigation by their own intelligence system, did the French come to realize that the CIA rumor was bogus, and that they could let down their guard against Falun Gong.
So it was that Jiang, acting on the so-called conclusive evidence, inflated the issue to that Falun Gong would spell the demise of the Party and the country, and must be suppressed at all cost. Nothing does the CCP fear as much as its demise, and nobody wanted on his hand the responsibility of the demise of the nation. Jiang thus managed to unify the group’s viewpoints, and started up the CCP’s violent suppressive machinery, with Falun Gong as its target. What Jiang had in mind, was a classic case of Zhao Gao calling stag a horse so that he could finally see who was really on his side.
Jiang came to see, that Falun Gong was a pacifist group that made a practice of turning the other cheek, and an easy target he could swiftly eliminate within but three months. Afterward, he would be regarded as having saved the Party at a critical moment, and enjoy enormous political gains.