Six: Persecution Of Faith
7: Plugging The Hole
Right from the beginning, Jiang Zemin’s suppression of Falun Gong was lacking followers. Even his former boss Li Peng advised him to be judicious. Premier Zhu Rongji had grown so jaded and dejected, that he was throwing his towel, ceded all his domains to Jiang Zemin, and did not show his face on television. Hu Jintao, the heir apparent to China’s throne, and Li Changchun remained bystanders and onlookers. They weren’t willing to go down history as shameful persecutors, like Jiang Zemin.
Many cities and provinces weren’t interested in carrying out the persecution. They were derelict. Jiang felt he had no choice,, but make a trip to Guangdong province, to supervise in person the campaign against Falun Gong there. Guangdong province, in the end, began sending Falun Gong adherents to forced labor camps. Among the first ones was a college classmate of Hu Jintao, named Zhang Mengye. Jiang Zemin killed two birds with one stone: set a precedent for the persecution in Guangdong, and gave Hu Jintao a bad name for selling out his classmate.
Jiang had Zhu Rongji come to speak with him. He warned Zhu that the most important of the three emphases was stressing politics, and right now the suppression of Falun Gong was the most important political issue. After leaving Jiang’s office, Zhu was visibly taciturn. Not long afterward, Zhu did take a stand in support of Jiang’s decision to persecute, a stand at odds with his own convictions. Perhaps he didn’t want to suffer the pain being labeled as rightist, or perhaps he thought about the pitiful predicament of Zhao Ziyang.
When it came to the rather moronic move to persecute Falun gong, however, nobody was willing to do much for Jiang. Jiang had to rush to the forefront at every stage. It was he, China’s top leader, who at the APEC conference stood to hand each head of state a small pamphlet maligning Falun Gong. Jiang was hopeful that these heads of state would do what he often denounce other for doing, to meddle with China’s internal affairs, and express approval of his suppression. He does not understand that the freedom of faith is a natural right of mankind. Not one head of state dared to say Jiang’s persecution campaign was reasonable. On the contrary, many criticized the persecution of Falun Gong in mainland China.
Three months passed, the suppression faced with pressures from other nations, and increased numbers of domestic petitioners. And quite many retired high ranking officials felt terrible about Jiang’s suppressive campaign.
Such sentiments and the topic of stopping the persecution and offering Falun Gong a readdress, were coming up at the meetings of the Politburo. Jiang was extremely displeased.
If Falun gong were readdressed, it would mean to the whole world that he had admitted his own wrongdoing.
Jiang sought Zeng Qinghong and Bo Yibo’s advice. The crafty Zeng told Jiang that if he wanted to intensify the suppression, he must force everybody to get involved by making the suppression part of every official’s performance. Whoever failed to perform, had to face dismissal. The cruel Bo Yibo pitched in with additional advice: “We must have the provinces kill some Falun Gong practitioners. Once it involved lives, they will have to go along with the Party, to carry out the crackdown.”
Jiang also appointed his son Jiang Mianheng as vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to further control the highest body of science and education. He ordered Lu Yongxiang, president of the Academy, to organize a group of academics, to promote science and atheism, as a means of criticizing Falun Gong, and asked him to convert China’s most accomplished scientist, and most influential qigong supporter, Qian Xuesen.
Jiang utilized his son’s company, China Network, to enforce Internet control. However, many overseas Falun Gong students were well-trained scientists, they broke through the blockade with new technology, and kept in touch with fellow practitioners inside China to expose the persecution, and provided them with updated information on news and developments overseas.
In the first 3 months, during which Falun Gong adherents were being unlawfully arrested, several were tortured to death.
As Jiang Zemin thought about the tremendous pressure he was facing from the international community, he realized that he had overlooked something: While plotting the persecution he had not established a legal basis for arresting and charging Falun Gong followers. If Falun Gong were to be finished off, Jiang believed, this hole would have to be plugged.
So, on October 30, 1999, a National People’s Congress incited by Jiang put forth a decision to punish the alleged cult.
To the international community, as long as the law does not call something a crime, one can not be convicted for it. A new law can not make a person guilty of acts committed before the law was enacted. Jiang wanted, however, to use laws made in October to convict Falun Gong followers arrested in July.
It should be pointed out that even today, Chinese law has not banned Falun Gong.
Even though Jiang ordered the Ministry of Public Security to publish an announcement with six bans, such as banning a person from doing Falun Gong or petitioning the government on its behalf, the Ministry of Public Security is not a legislative body. The six bans thus have no legal validity.
Furthermore, the Anti-Cult Legislations that the People’s Congress passed in October 1999, cannot be legally used to convict Falun Gong adherents, of being cult members, for when a law is created, it can only designate certain behaviors as violating the law, not a certain group of people by their identity. The rhetoric denouncing Falun Gong as a cult has either come from Jiang or the People’s Daily, neither of which has legislative power. Their claims can not be used as a basis for court rulings.
Luo Gan acted on prompting from Jiang, and gave orders that former members of Falun Gong Research Society, Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen, Ji Liewu, and Yao Jie were sentenced to prison, the longest sentence being 18 years. What’s more, Jiang Zemin arrested all of the 300 plus practitioners who were presented at the trial, even sent some of them to forced labor camps. Jiang Zemin in the name of the law has been violating the law himself!