On March 5, 2002, Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun City of Jilin Province intercepted television signals to broadcast programs exposing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s defamatory propaganda against their faith, a mind-body practice also known as Falun Dafa that is based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Mr. Jin Xuezhe, one of the participants, was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the incident. In prison he suffered brutal torture. Later on he was able to flee China and came abroad.
On the 19th anniversary of the incident, Mr. Jin expressed his gratitude to Falun Gong. “I am grateful to Mr. Li Hongzhi (founder of Falun Gong) for the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” he said, “It is Master Li [Falun Gong’s founder] who led us on the path of returning to the origin.”
He also said, “Falun Dafa has enabled me to distinguish good from evil, and to find the true meaning of life. My gratitude to Master is beyond words.” He thanked Master Li for having forged numerous Dafa disciples who hold firm to their faith and have the courage to face the tyrannical communist regime.
Mr. Jin continued, “Twenty-two years have passed since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999. There have been numerous tribulations along the way, but I could sense Master’s compassionate protection in each of the tribulations that I had to pass. My journey of cultivating Falun Gong has shown me time and again that what Master taught us is the truth, which is why nothing can shake my faith no matter how arduous the journey is, how severe the persecution is, and how difficult the tribulations are.”
Below is a testimony from Mr. Jin.
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Getting to Know Falun Gong
During a holiday in early May 1996, I went to visit my parents. My mother had already started to practice Falun Gong at the time and she showed me Zhuan Falun. I finished reading the book in two days and was very impressed – this book is very profound and it answered all my questions about life. Later I also purchased a copy myself.
Back then I was working in a foreign firm in Changchun as a supervisor in the production unit. The company operated well and, like other managers, I also had lots of gray income. Although money was not an issue, my mind was like an empty soul. Besides smoking and drinking, I was gambling on a regular basis.
The book Zhuan Falun changed all this. I knew why I came to this world and decided to be a good person by following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
But my progress was slow. I often told myself this would be the last time that I would smoke and drink. But I kept breaking my own promise. This continued until July 4, 1997. On that day, I had a stomachache and was diagnosed with appendicitis. I then went to the Jilin University Hospital. The doctor could not confirm the illness and recommended hospitalisation due to my severe pain.
I told my young brother to get Zhuan Falun for me and I spent the entire next day reading the book. The pain suddenly stopped at midnight and it was like a miracle.
Since I had learned the exercises from my mother previously, I went to a practice site near Jilin University the following day. Knowing I no longer needed hospitalisation or medicine, I went back to the hospital and processed the paperwork to be discharged. Since then, I stopped smoking and drinking and became a genuine practitioner.
I read Dafa books after work every day, and often looked within when running into conflicts. Rain or shine, I also got up early every day to do the exercises at the local practice site. My health was soon restored and my character improved.
When I was little, I often envied those who had a Master to guide them in genuine cultivation. Now that I became a Falun Dafa practitioner, I felt extremely fortunate to have Master looking after me.
Having practiced for so long, I can sense Master’s compassion each and every day. I am extremely grateful to Master’s compassionate salvation.
Persecution and Defamation Against Falun Gong
My happy days of studying the Fa and doing the exercises without any worries didn’t last long. Former CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched the persecution against Falun Gong in July 1999. Within days, news media and nearly all state organs were mobilised to slander the practice.
To further step up the suppression, Jiang’s followers staged the self-immolation incident at Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, the eve of the Chinese New Year. The state-run TV stations and other media outlets continued covering the incident.
The slanderous propaganda also made its way in education, publishing, and even entertainment. This turned a large number of Chinese people against Falun Gong and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Numerous pieces of evidence showed the incident was staged. International Educational Development (IED) presented at The United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on August 14 that, “we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government.”
Still, the defamatory propaganda poisoned many people and stirred up hatred against Falun Gong, which the regime used to further justify the persecution. Many more practitioners were arrested, detained, and tortured. When practitioners exposed the regime’s persecution, they in turn faced further retaliation from the CCP.
With all these communication channels blocked, some of us in Changchun decided to intercept the television signal to expose the persecution of Falun Gong, especially the staged self-immolation incident. We knew doing so could risk our lives or families, but we decided to go ahead because we couldn’t afford to see so many Chinese people deceived by the CCP’s lies against Master and Falun Gong.
Severe Torture After the Television Interception
At 8 p.m. on March 5, 2002, practitioners in Changchun intercepted the television signal and played two videos, one on the staged self-immolation incident and another on the popularity of Falun Gong around the world. It lasted nearly 50 minutes and covered about 300,000 families (or one million people) on 32 channels. Many residents in Changchun learned the real story of Falun Gong and how the CCP made up lies to slander the practice.
From what we knew, the day after the TV interception, many people across Changchun were talking about the videos. They were excited to learn about the truth of Falun Gong.
The retaliation from the CCP was intense and fierce. Within one hour after the incident, officials mobilised military forces to arrest practitioners. Jiang also issued the secret order of “killing with no mercy.” About 5,000 practitioners in Changchun were arrested. Among them, at least 8 lost their lives.
Furthermore, 15 practitioners were sentenced with terms ranging between 4 and 20 years. As a result of physical and mental abuse, some of them died and some had mental disorders.
Mr. Hou Mingkai was tortured to death within two days of his arrest. Mr. Liu Haibo “was stripped naked and shackled in a kneeling position on a tiger bench. His head was also clamped. Two officers were shocking him while forcibly pushing an electrical baton into his anus,” described a witness in a Minghui article.
Police officers shocked Mr. Liu Chengjun, another key member of the TV interception operation, and tortured him for 52 hours on a tiger bench and other devices before sending him to Jilin Prison. He suffered additional abuse in prison such as being suspended in the air with his four limbs stretched in four directions and in the end died on December 26, 2003.
Officials forcibly cremated his body within 7 hours. Several other practitioners also died in Jilin Prison due to abuse, including Mr. Zhang Jianhua, Mr. Cui Weidong, and Mr. He Yuanhui.
Mr. Lei Ming was another key participant. After his arrest, he was detained at Changchun Police Department and Jilin Prison. The torture methods included the tiger bench, handcuffing tightly behind the back, beating, shocking with electric batons, suffocation with a plastic bag, having his head covered with a metal bucket that was banged by a stick, stretching torture, and squashing his testis. As a result, he had a large lung cavity with only 20% of the tissue left and he died.
I saw Mr. Liang Zhenxing in prison in 2006. Several inmates were assigned to watch him. To force him to give up his belief, guards repeatedly tortured him at a facility near Jingyuetan.
One witness said Mr. Liang always walked out of his cell on his own but was carried back after the torture. Every time he had bruises all over. One of his nipples was burnt off, his ribs were broken, and his private parts were burned. The torture continued until Mr. Liang died. He never gave in.
Mr. Zhang Zhongyu was a deputy editor-in-chief for Lan Tai Nei Wai, a magazine of Jilin Province Archive Bureau. After he was detained, officers such as Zhang Hang shocked him with two electric batons many times especially at his private part. Mr. Zhang was in great pain and often lost consciousness.
I believe that the lives lost won’t be in vain and that people in the future will forever remember the special day – March 5, 2002.
Perpetrators Faced Consequences
During the 22-year-long persecution against Falun Gong in China, the staged self-immolation incident played a crucial role in escalating the brutality, leaving tens of millions of practitioners along with their families in endless misery.
Some key perpetrators involved in the incident and its massive defamatory campaign met their fate. Below are some examples.
Liu Jing, the director of the central 610 Office in 2001, was responsible for the planning and execution of the self-immolation incident. He was later diagnosed with throat cancer.
Li Dongsheng, deputy head of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, was involved in plotting the self-immolation incident and the video production. In 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Luo Jing was a news anchor from CCTV who covered the Tiananmen Square Incident (1989), the persecution of Falun Gong (since 1999), and the staged self-immolation incident (in 2001). He died in 2009 at the age of 48 with ulcers in his mouth and tongue.
Chen Meng, producer of the staged self-immolation video, died of gastric cancer at 47.
The persecution still continues in China and we need to continue our efforts to clarify the truth so that more people will know the facts of Falun Gong.
Movie Replays the TV Interception
New Realms Studios in Toronto, Canada, decided to produce a documentary on the television inception. I was invited to play myself in the movie.
During the 23 days of production, I was assigned to the team of art and props. I tried my best to recall the setup back in 2002 when we intercepted the TV signals, so that we could present history factually. In the end, all these items were laid out together including a wire signal amplifier, trunk cable, electrical pole, and an old VCD player. Looking at all these items, I was very touched and did not want to blink my eyes.
During the movie scenes, it was as if I had traveled back to the old days with the other practitioners. I was often in tears. The movie, Eternal 50 Minutes, helped people from around the world learn what happened in March 2002 and how much sacrifice practitioners had made to speak out the truth.
I would like to thank those practitioners who took part in the TV interception, especially those who had lost their lives and say to them, “We did what we were supposed to do, for history, and for the future of others as well as our own.” I know that people will forever remember those who have sacrificed their lives to seek justice for Falun Gong.
Safeguarding Basic Principles
On the afternoon of September 5, 2007, the Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation in Australia held the 2007 Human Rights Awards Ceremony in the Parliament House of New South Wales.
The foundation presented the Fidelity Vindicator Award to the late Mr. Liu Chengjun for his efforts in the television interception. Because Mr. Liu had died, Mr. Erping Zhang, a spokesperson for Falun Gong practitioners, received the award on his behalf. The foundation specifically thanked Mr. Liu and other practitioners for the contribution to human rights in China.
Twenty-two years have passed since the CCP began to suppress Falun Gong in 1999. It has been a lengthy, arduous journey, but we practitioners have made it. We know the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance from Falun Gong and Master Li are upright. No matter how much the CCP and its followers want to defame Falun Gong and persecute the innocent practitioners, the righteous will prevail in the end.
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