(Minghui.org) When a 1999 Hollywood movie Fight Club was video streamed in China last month, viewers were stunned to see that the ending of the movie had been modified. Instead of explosion scenes, the censored version simply displayed a message claiming that the police had arrested all criminals and an explosion was averted.
This triggered intense dissatisfaction and anger from viewers.
“This is absurd!” one person wrote on social media.
“I now know that the authorities not only delete information, but also alter the contents too,” another netizen added.
“This is brainwashing with no reservations,” yet another wrote.
It is not uncommon for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) broadcasters to censor anything and everything for political reasons, reported the BBC. “The Chinese government works tirelessly to ensure that the only stories told within China are ones that it specifically approves… creating a climate of self-censorship that renders filmmakers unwilling or unable to criticise the decisions of a government that regulates the lives of over 1.4 billion people and that increasingly dominates the global conversation,” stated an August 2000 report from the literary and human rights group Pen American, titled “Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing.”
Such a trend is alarming because it affects not only Chinese citizens, but also people outside of China. “Today, Chinese censors are playing a role in determining the content or message of movies that are released worldwide: this represents the risk that only movies that please one of the world’s most censorious regimes find their way to movie screens across the globe,” the report continued.
Recognising and admitting such misinformation may not be straightforward, as shown in Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved folktale “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The crowd was deceiving others and deceiving themselves until a little child called out, “But he hasn’t got anything on.” In today’s society when the CCP exploits state-of-the-art technology to turn white into black, it could require even more effort and courage to discover what is real or true.
Take the regime’s systematic suppression of Falun Gong as an example. Falun Gong is a meditation discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Since the CCP launched a brutal persecution of this traditional practice in July 1999, it has fabricated numerous lies to deceive the public. One such example is the self-immolation hoax of 2001.
On January 23, 2001, the eve of the Chinese New Year Eve, state-owned CCTV reported that five “Falun Gong practitioners” had set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square. Undeniable evidence, however, including detailed analysis of the CCP’s own video footage from CCTV’s Focus Report, showed that it was a staged self-immolated incident to defame Falun Gong.
International Education Development stated in a United Nations conference on August 14 that year that “we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government. We have copies of that video available for distribution.” It also referred to this incident as part of the state terrorism created by the CCP. Chinese delegates at the conference did not respond to this accusation.
False Fire, a documentary produced by NTD Television on the topic, won an honorary award at the 51st Columbus International Film and Television Festival on November 8. With footage from the defamatory programs made by the CCTV, this film analysed the scenes and identified numerous gaps, indicating that the so-called self-immolation was an elaborate plot crafted by the CCP against Falun Gong.
Lies that Kill
Attacking Falun Gong with lies has not been incidental for the CCP, whose core ideology of brutality and deceit fundamentally contradicts traditional values such as Falun Gong’s core principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
After former CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide campaign against Falun Gong in July 1999, many CCP officials and the general public initially were not really on board with the persecution, having witnessed Falun Gong’s tremendous benefits through their family members, co-workers, and neighbors.
Instead of eradicating Falun Gong in three months as Jiang had vowed he would do, the persecution met with resistance and the harshness of the suppression even triggered sympathy toward innocent practitioners.
To sustain and escalate the persecution, Jiang and his followers created the self-immolation incident on Chinese New Year’s Eve 2001 and had the state-run media report on the hoax continuously. The event was even included in textbooks and other school reading materials to mislead students.
Influenced by this systematic brainwashing, a large portion of the population changed from being sympathetic or indifferent, to having hostility and hatred towards Falun Gong. Since the self-immolation, the persecution escalated across China, resulting in sharp increases in arrests, torture, and deaths of Falun Gong practitioners.
One year after the self-immolation incident, in July 2002 the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 188, urging the Chinese government to stop persecuting Falun Gong. The Legislative Yuan in Taiwan also unanimously passed a resolution in June 2004 demanding that the CCP release all detained practitioners and end the suppression.
The CCP “utilised state-owned propaganda machines to defame Falun Gong and Mr. Li Hongzhi [the founder of Falun Gong]… inciting people’s hatred against Falun Gong purposely,” stated the resolution in Taiwan.
It pointed out that the persecution had extended from mainland China to the international community, including the arrest and detention of Taiwanese citizens, the creation of a blacklist, and the offer of financial aid to foreign media in return for defaming Falun Gong.
An Orwellian State
According to Minghui Report: The 20-Year Persecution of Falun Gong in China, at least 2.5 or 3 million practitioners had been arrested in China for practicing Falun Gong as of July 1999. This number does not even include those practitioners who refused to reveal their names or contact information after being arrested (to prevent their family members or employers from being implicated). Many of them were transferred to secret camps and became victims of forced organ harvesting.
In addition, a large number of practitioners were discriminated against, terminated from their jobs, harassed, detained and tortured physically as well as mentally, and forced to stay away from home, essentially breaking families apart.
The victims go beyond Falun Gong practitioners. To direct the nationwide persecution, Jiang and his followers established the 610 Office at all government levels. Functioning as an extrajudicial entity, this agency works closely with the police, procuratorate, the courts, and the justice system to prioritize resources against innocent Falun Gong practitioners with enormous incentives. Such an imbalance has not only broken the Chinese legal system, but also undermines the moral values of Chinese society.
When the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are targeted, society faces unprecedented uncertainty. Censored and modified Hollywood movies are just one example, and gradually the CCP’s alternative version of information will dominate the world – unless we stop it in time.
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