For Immediate Release
September 1, 2020
Call for Parliamentary inquiry into foreign influence to be extended to public broadcasters that spread hate propaganda of foreign governments
SYDNEY – The Australian Falun Dafa Association is calling for the Parliamentary Inquiry into foreign influence in universities to be extended to public-funded broadcasters that spread hate propaganda of foreign regimes, and fuel religious persecution
“As an academic and Australian I support the protection of our country’s sovereignty and national interests. I believe such an inquiry is important and timely but should be extended to broader terms and include public-funded broadcasters that spread vilification and propaganda of foreign governments,” says Dr Lucy Zhao, President of the Falun Dafa Association.
The Australian Falun Dafa Association welcomes the call from Hon Andrew Hastie to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into foreign influence within Australian academia and universities, announced on August 31.
“The recent ABC reports defaming Falun Dafa and echoing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lies and propaganda highlight alarming concerns of our media independence being threatened by foreign political infiltration. This also raises the question when taxpayer money in our national broadcaster is not used in line with our values and freedom, nor national interests and community safety and wellbeing, how our government can investigate and facilitate a more effective mechanism to monitor the public fund usage and ensure media codes of practice are strictly followed?” says Dr Zhao.
In a recent report by Alex Joske published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, he states: “Ethnic Chinese communities are a focus of united front work. In activities directed at diaspora communities, the CCP seeks to co-opt, control, and install community leaders, community groups, business associations and media.”
The Falun Dafa Association remains gravely concerned about a series of reports by the ABC in July and August which have been translated and widely promoted by Chinese state media to endorse the CCP’s suppression of Falun Gong. The reports have numerous factual errors suggesting a highly flawed fact-checking process by the ABC programs and have vilified the practice of Falun Dafa, disrupted social cohesion, and sparked an unprecedented increase of both physical and verbal assaults against Falun Gong practitioners across Australia. The ABC reports bring into question the journalistic integrity, where direct and indirect foreign influence may be suspected. The reports also have multiple breaches of ABC’s own Code of Practices about presenting accurate, impartial, balanced reports and avoiding misrepresenting, discriminatory content that may exacerbate serious threats to individual or public health, safety or welfare. (Codes 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 5.3, 7.6, 7.7. For more details on the breaches, please read the formal complaint: https://falunau.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Formal-Complaint-on-the-ABC-August-2020.pdf).
We wonder why ABC made such programs that help fuel the persecution of Falun Gong on-going for 21 years in China. Questions have been raised about the relationships between the ABC and the CCP agencies which warrant further investigation:
- In March 2009, Li Changchun visited ABC. At the time, Li was one of the most powerful officials in China, one of only nine members of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee, and the then-propaganda czar. Li is the official who oversaw the initial global expansion of Chinese state media and other avenues of influence like Confucius Institutes beginning in 2008. In his previous position as Party Secretary of Guangdong Province, Li was known to have played a personal role in directing the persecution of Falun Gong, including identifying individual practitioners for detention. 
- When meeting with ABC then-chairman Guthrie in July 2017, CCTV’s Vice President Wei Dichun expressed hope that “both parties will take this opportunity to further strengthen the joint production of news and children’s programs, and expand the sharing of program resources.” 
Falun Dafa Association hopes that our government can assist in finding a resolution to ensure that irresponsible or harmful media reports can be avoided in the future which may incite hatred and discrimination against Falun Dafa community and any other religious or community groups. “We believe that our government has a responsibility to investigate the shortfalls in media outlets and help facilitate a solid long-term vehicle for any media to follow ethical frameworks, and stay free from any potential foreign influence or editorial bias,” says Dr Zhao.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline comprising health-improving meditation exercises and teachings based on the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance. The practice is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture. Citing expert evidence, a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal stated that “The essence of Falun Gong is spiritual elevation. … Its leader, Li Hongzhi, has written a form of ‘scripture.’ His message is profoundly moral.”
On July 20, 1999, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched an illegal campaign to eradicate Falun Gong through mass hate propaganda to turn people’s opinion against the group, imprisonment, and mental and physical torture due to its popularity and the fact that it was not controlled by the communist regime. Even more disturbing are details contained in reports by independent investigators, human rights groups, and also the U.S. House of Representatives, which in 2016 unanimously passed House Resolution 343, “expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners…”
For further media inquiries, please contact:
Dr Lucy Zhao or John Deller (phone numbers available upon request)
 “Wei Dichun Meets with Michelle Guthrie, President of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,” China Central Television, 14 July 2017, http://www.cctv.cn/2017/07/14/ARTI4v7iDmrvqkytSyx5uOnx170714.shtml