FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On 21st anniversary of Falun Gong genocide in China, ABC toes the Communist Party’s line
China’s Gestapo promotes misleading and bigoted ABC program to justify mass imprisonment, torture, and killing of Falun Gong adherents
Press conference Tuesday 21 July 11.30am-12.30pm outside ABC Building
SYDNEY (21 July 2020) ABC has chosen to run a report smearing Falun Gong on the anniversary of the persecution when Falun Gong practitioners around the world are mourning for those killed in one of the worst crimes against humanities of the century. Anyone with basic sensitivity wouldn’t choose such a date to do that.
Twenty-one years ago this week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, a Buddhist spiritual practice that once claimed tens of millions of adherents. Chinese authorities have sanctioned the use of torture, forced religious conversion, and extrajudicial killing against Falun Gong faithful, including through organ harvesting (See Falun Gong: Religious Freedom in China, Freedom House 2017).
The mass imprisonment and killing of Falun Gong practitioners was made possible through what Amnesty International described as a “massive propaganda campaign, which dehumanised practitioners and incited hatred and violence against them.
This week, on the anniversary of the launch of this persecution, Australia’s national public broadcaster plans to air a documentary that attacks Falun Gong in almost the same terms as the Chinese Communist Party. The forthcoming program is now being promoted on websites run by China’s Gestapo-like 610 Office, which oversees the campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong.
The content of the ABC documentary, as indicated by the press release, closely tracks with the discredited propaganda narratives that the Chinese Communist Party has used to incite hatred against Falun Gong. It falsely implies that the spiritual practice is a tightly organized, well-financed, and opaque organization, with strange or dangerous beliefs and a pro-Trump political agenda. Because of this, the release implies that Falun Gong adherents may not be deserving of the sympathy their plight has garnered in the West.
Contrary to these depictions, Falun Gong is a peaceful faith practice from the Buddhist school. It consists of meditation and a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. Falun Gong has no system of membership, no fees or tithing, and no organizational hierarchy or centralized administration. The teachings and practice are entirely open to the public. As a spiritual practice, Falun Gong does not take a position on U.S. politics, and practitioners hold diverse views on social and political issues.
“The ABC report appears to contain basic factual errors, as well as inflammatory and prejudiced misrepresentations of Falun Gong’s beliefs and practices,” says John Dellar, a volunteer representative with the Falun Dafa Association. “It reflects a deep cultural illiteracy, bordering on anti-religious bigotry. This will obscure far more than it will illuminate, and only the Chinese Communist Party stands to gain.
“The promotional material for [the] scheduled documentary on Falun Gong is an exercise in bigotry or prejudice,” says David Matas, a Canadian human rights lawyer and expert on Falun Gong. “[It] is defamatory, degrading and demeaning to innocent practitioners of Falun Gong.”
Yesterday, the forthcoming ABC program was promoted on a website run by China’s “610 Office,” which oversees the campaign to eliminate Falun Gong. The website proclaimed: “Big News! 21 years after China’s warning, Australia’s national media starts to expose and criticize the wicked conduct of ‘Falun Gong’”
The first paragraph read: “Since July 1999 China has publicly attacked and dealt with the ‘Falun Gong’ evil religion, warning the world about its evil religious essence. Now a whole 21 years later, Australia’s national broadcaster has just begun to face up to and expose the ‘Falun Gong’ evil religion.”
The Falun Dafa Association of Australia believes the ABC program and associated podcasts on Background Briefing and Radio National will incite hatred and hostility against Falun Gong adherents, potentially re-traumatizing refugees who came here fleeing persecution in China, and providing justification for the CCP’s atrocious human rights violations against the group.
Sydney resident Tony Liu was detained in a forced labour camp in China for his spiritual practice of Falun Gong. He suffered horrific torture at the hands of both guards and other inmates.
“I saw the trailer for this program and felt shocked and heartbroken. It reminded me of being back in China when the Chinese Communist Party media spread lies and propaganda about Falun Gong to turn people against us. I came to Australia to escape persecution. I never dreamed it would follow me here,” Tony said.
The report appears to violate the ABC’s own Code of Practice regarding accuracy, balance, impartiality, fair treatment, open-mindedness, the avoidance of misleading information, sensitivity to foreign cultural practices, and harm mitigation.
The Falun Dafa Association of Australia sent letters (read the letter) to the ABC expressing concerns about the Foreign Correspondent/Background Briefing programme “Dark Karma/ The Power of Falun Gong.” The letter provided a detailed discussion of aspects of the Falun Gong teachings and practices that were misrepresented in the ABC promotion, and raised concerns that ABC was being used to promote CCP narratives and vilify an already marginalize faith practice. ABC has not responded to those concerns.
FURTHER NOTE TO THE EDITORS: IPAC STATEMENT ON ORGAN HARVESTING
This week, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) published a statement highlighting the plight of Falun Gong practitioners, particularly the reports of forced organ harvesting. “Evidence of forced organ harvesting in China emerged 15 years ago and an independent and rigorous legal project – the China Tribunal – last year found beyond reasonable doubt that this practice had been perpetrated on a widespread, state-sponsored, and systematic level.
IPAC co-chairs include Andrew Hastie MP and Sen. Kimberley Kitching.
https://www.ipac.global/team/ and www.chinatribunal.com
Over 600 Lawmakers from 30 Countries Call for the Immediate End to the Chinese Regime’s 21-year “Systematic and Brutal” Persecution of Falun Gong