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Guilty of Intention

Around 3 p.m. on June 4, 2005, Hu Jing, a 37-year-old man from Chongqing, China, was arrested in Tiananmen Square, where uniformed and plainclothes police officers outnumbered tourists on this politically sensitive day. They arrested Hu Jing because he "intended to burn the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) flag." Since then, Hu seems to have been sucked up by a black hole, and his whereabouts remain unknown to this day.

A friend of mine sent me a text message asking what kind of law Hu broke if he was simply intending to burn the Party flag. Since actually burning the Party flag does not constitute a crime, at least according to the laws publicized by the Chinese government, how can the intent to burn it be a crime? As many readers have asked, if it’s not a crime, then why was Hu Jing arrested?

The stories I’m about to tell may help you find the answer.

Story One

Before June 4, 2004, the authorities were tipped off that Hu Jia, a well-known human rights activist, might go to Tiananmen Square on the night of June 4 and light candles in front of the People’s Hero Monument to commemorate those killed on the same evening in 1989. The mighty government responded swiftly and in strength. Nearly ten police cars arrived at Hu Jia’s residence. Over 30 anti-riot policemen blindfolded Hu Jia and took this frail scholar to an unknown basement, where dozens of police officers watched him for several weeks.

This long-term, large-scale action against citizen Hu Jia was successful. It successfully made the totally despaired Hu Jia agree not to go to Tiananmen Square and light candles on the evening of June 4. Hu’s ordeal, however, was not over yet. Just before June 4, Mr. Hu’s phone rang. "Although you won’t be going to Tiananmen Square to light candles on June 4, are you going to do it at home?" asked a government official. Barely able to control his anger, Hu replied, "How can my lighting the candles at home be any of your business?!" and hung up the phone.

To his surprise, the authorities, out of extreme concern for national security, dispatched several police cars with eight officers to station themselves in Hu’s home, just to make sure that he would not light candles in his own home. A few dozen police officers watched him nervously around the clock for several weeks and eventually extinguished, successfully, his intention to light candles at home. Their mission to safeguard national security was accomplished.

With a smile on his face, Hu later told me that he truly admired the dedication of the police to our national security. I was amazed at how calm Hu was when he told me this story.
Story Two

In late March 2005, Chiang Bingkun, vice chairman of the CCP’s arch rivalthe Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), visited the mainland. On March 31, the ever scrupulously dutiful police discovered an unfamiliar face among the welcoming crowds gathered at Biyun Temple in Fragrance Mountain Park in Beijing. The face belonged to Zhang Wenhe, a Beijing resident. The police took Zhang away and detained him for 12 hours. Because he showed up uninvited in a sensitive location, Zhang Wenhe instantly became a dangerous element harmful to national security.

From April 26 to May 3, 2005 when Lien Chan, Chairman of the KMT, visited China, and days after May 5 when Soong Chuyu, Chairman of Taiwan’s People First Party (PFP), was touring the mainland, Zhang Wenhe received VIP treatment as well. He was surrounded by ten police officers and six security guards around the clock in his home. Their mission was simple: to prevent Zhang from welcoming Mr. Lien and Mr. Soong without permission, thus jeopardizing national security.

Both times he was placed under house arrest, Zhang Wenhe called me for help. Unfortunately, he misjudged the situation. How could I handle the 16 tough guys and the vast national apparatus behind them? I could only express my sadness with a deep sigh.

Story Three

When Mr. Lien and Mr. Soong’s high-profile visits were over, Zhang Wenhe’s special treatment, courtesy of our government, was over as well, and he eventually regained his freedom. Still upset about being deprived of his personal freedom without even a legal formality, Mr. Zhang insisted that he meet with me. I was in the Shangdao Café at Beijing’s International Club to meet with two ladies from Shanghai. One was an elderly lady in her 70s, mother of Hong Kong citizen Shen Ting; the other was the wife of the imprisoned lawyer Zheng Enchong. When Zhang arrived at the café, he laid eyes on a scene that shocked him speechless: nine men, all in black with dark sunglasses and most of them with shaved heads, surrounded both women and followed them closely. The older lady was obviously frightened. She told me that these men had several kinds of vehicles at their disposal to make sure that they could follow the two women under any circumstances. She asked me in a trembling voice, "Attorney Gao, they openly follow us in broad daylight. Do they really think that we, two frail ladies, are dangerous?"

I did not have an answer for her. Zhang Wenhe, who had come to complain about his own plight, spent his time comforting the two poor ladies instead. It was quite dramatic.
Story Four

Even more dramatic have been my own personal experiences. Last summer I traveled to a particular province to work on a case. When I got off the plane, I was surrounded by several police cars. Over the following several days, whenever I went outside, I had at least four police cars providing constant "protection." Whenever I stayed in, I had seven to eleven police officers as "bodyguards" 24 hours a day. This was, using their words, to "guarantee your absolute safety under our provincial jurisdiction." Translation: to guarantee that you cannot accomplish anything under our provincial jurisdiction. Their blatant, shameless behavior made me feel absolutely helpless.

When I went to Gaizhou City in Liaoning Province in early March 2005, several elderly citizens, who had repeatedly appealed to the government protesting personal injustices, wanted to confer with me. Within five minutes of our meeting, more than ten police cars and several dozen police officers surrounded us, claiming that they had received information that we were holding an illegal meeting. I was baffled.

I’m hoping that, after reading these stories, you are prepared for any unforeseeable event in China. In a country where citizens are considered bandits by the rulers who live in a constant state of anxiety and hide behind the almighty power of the state, you even need to be careful of what you dream every night. With advancements in modern technology, our government can track your mind activities in your sleep. You may wake up in handcuffs. I say this because I’m sure that I should be arrested every morning when I wake up.

Gao Zhicheng is a civil rights lawyer in China. His willingness to help those who cannot afford lawsuit expenses to have the courage to challenge the privileged officials has won him the reputation as one of the top ten human rights lawyers in China.

Beijing Plays Politics with InvestorsThe Story of a Taiwan Businessman

From Most Favored Guest to Least Welcome Businessman

Hsu Wen-lung, a 78-year-old Taiwan businessman, is known as the "Father of Taiwan Acrylic" and the "King of ABS (material for production of PC, home appliance and communication products)." In 2004, Forbes Magazine ranked him number six out of ten Taiwanese billionaires. Hsu founded Chi Mei Corporation in 1959, and by 1999, the corporation had become the largest manufacturer of ABS in the world. Hsu led the Chi Mei Corporation in starting its China adventure in 1991. His investment experience in China has had ups and downs and is a good example of the political pitfalls foreign investors may run into.

When Hsu began to invest in China in 1991, the country was isolated internationally and was offering lucrative business incentives to attract investment from Taiwan. The Communist government promised to separate business from politics and announced that political views would not intervene in cross-strait trade.

Hsu initially set up several plastic dyeing factories in Danyang in Guangdong Province, and Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. In 1996, he decided to put major investment in China and chose Zhengjiang (a city in Jiangsu Province) as the Polystyrene and ABS production site for Chi Mei. He also planned to set up Chi Mei Electronics factories in Shanghai and Ningbo before 2000.

Hsu is politically influential in Taiwan. He is a personal friend to two presidents of Taiwan, former president Lee Deng-hui and current president Chen Shui-bian. During Lee’s presidency, Hsu was his National Advisor. Now, Hsu is the Presidential Advisor for Mr. Chen. As a businessman interested in China’s market, Hsu used his influence as presidential advisor to convince the Taiwan government to be more lenient in its cross-strait trade policy. This helped to facilitate Taiwan investors in moving capital and factories to China. Hsu was welcomed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and his investments enjoyed a welcome environment on the mainland.

However, his business hit an unexpected political bump in 2000 when Hsu was labeled by Beijing as a "Green" businessman for his association with the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan. Hsu gave his support to Chen Shui-bian’s presidential candidacy in the 2000 race. Chen and the DPP won the election. However, due to the "Green" label, Hsu Wen-lung was "downgraded" from the most favored to the least welcome businessman in China. Consequently, Chi Mei Corporation started to have a lot of trouble on the mainland. Local authorities frequented Chi Mei’s factories under pretexts of account audits, fire safety inspections, and the like. Rumors were spread about shutting down Chi Mei’s plant in Zhengjian. Chi Mei’s suppliers started to cancel their contracts. Chi Mei’s financial loans were cut off. One of its senior managers was imprisoned, and the list goes on.
Why Such a Change in the Business Environment?

In the 1990s, Hsu and other overseas investors were needed to boost mainland China’s economy. The Chinese government treated those businessmen as most welcome guests, providing business incentives and a friendly environment. Things changed dramatically a decade later. China was no longer short of foreign capital but had to worry about how to cool down the overheated economy. At the same time, the Chinese government had made Taiwan a top issue in China to serve as a political scapegoat. The state-controlled media led the Chinese people to deeply resent Chen Shui-bian, who is for Taiwan independence.

Conditions were ripe for the communist government to pick on some Taiwan businessmen in order to set an example for others. When Chen Shui-bian won the Presidency of Taiwan in 2000, Beijing appeared shocked and angry. Because Hsu gave his support for Chen’s presidential candidacy, that qualified him as an "enemy" of the Chinese government and a prime target.

Hsu had little choice but to continue his business in China. With billions of dollars invested in China, it was too late for him to pull out. Yet, he would have to face more economic and political pressure from the government in the years to come.

Making a Political Statement to Save the Business

On May 25, 2004, two months after Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian was reelected as Taiwan’s president, China’s official news agency once again referred to Hsu Wen-lung as the "Green" businessman. Three days later on May 28, 2004, Hsu announced his retirement as president of Chi Mei Corporation. Chi Mei’s stock tumbled for six consecutive days and lost 18 percent of its market value.

Zhang Mingqing, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council issued a statement: "China doesn’t welcome those who make money on the Chinese mainland but support ‘Taiwan Independence’ when returning to Taiwan." Hsu’s retirement as president in 2004 did not stop harassment of Chi Mei because, as the chairman of the board, Hsu was believed to still have strong influence on business decisions. So, the Chinese government imposed more demands.

On March 26, 2005, less than a year after Hsu’s retirement from Chi Mei, Xinhua News Agency published an open letter from Hsu stating that he favored a "One China" policy and that "Taiwan independence could only lead Taiwan to war and drag people to disaster." However, it is widely believed that Hsu shifted his political stance due to pressure to save Chi Mei Corporation in China, which is valued at US$3 billion in total investment.
Hsu’s close friend and former president Lee Deng-hui observed that the turn of events reflects that the Chinese government is beginning to pressure China-based Taiwanese business people. "As his friend, I can understand why he says such a thing," Lee said. "Hsu’s statement is at the expense of his own reputation and for the sake of over 100,000 people working for him in China because he doesn’t have any other choice."

Taiwan’s Vice President Annett Lu said that the statement released by Hsu is "a white paper written by others," that is, Mr. Hsu was asked to sign the statement prepared by the Chinese Communist Party. According to Taiwan’s China Post report on May 11, 2005, Wang Xin-nan, a Democratic Progressive Party legislator, told the reporter that Hsu had shown him the letter the day before it was published, saying the contents were dictated by Beijing. Hsu said if he failed to do what he was told to do, the business group would fall, affecting thousands of workers and shareholders. Hsu had to sacrifice his personal honor in order to save the business. Hsu himself did not officially comment on the report.

Surviving Communist Politics

Beijing’s attempt to tie allegiance to the communists’ "one-China policy" with investment opportunities in China impacts many Taiwanese businessmen. There are currently 400,000 to 600,000 Taiwanese entrepreneurs with permanent residence in China. Their total investment is around US$60 billion and accounts for 50 percent of total overseas investment in China.

Taiwan authorities have issued many warnings on investing in China and ask entrepreneurs to diversify their investments and shift them to other countries. Some Taiwanese entrepreneurs have started to pull their investments out of China. Many are hoping that after China joins the WTO, conditions will change. Others are undecided and waiting because it is too costly to pull out their investments.

Hsu’s case has prompted many pro-Democratic Progressive Party (Green) Taiwanese entrepreneurs to keep a low profile on their political views and to pay attention to political boundaries. During Taiwan’s presidential general election in 2004, many would not talk publicly about the election, and almost all Taiwanese entrepreneurs said in public that they were pro-Blue (as opposed to pro-Green). On those sensitive days, many pro-Green entrepreneurs, fearing trouble, postponed their trips to China. According to a 2002 survey conducted by the Chinese Professional Management Association of Taipei, the tense cross-strait environment is the biggest concern among Taiwan’s entrepreneurs.
In addition to being sensitive to political boundaries, Taiwanese entrepreneurs also face a worsening business environment, including ever-changing business policies, unexpected local taxes and fees, arbitrary tax investigation, shortage of water and electricity, increased interest rates, and the pressure of appreciation of the yuan. For example, in order to attract entrepreneurs and investment, China implemented all kinds of tax deduction programs. However, once the political atmosphere changed, the government reversed its policy and the tax departments started to investigate "tax evasion."

In a July 1, 2004 report, Taiwan’s Liberty Times quoted a statement by Gao Weibang, the Director of the Association of Victimized Taiwanese Investigators in China, that at one time it was estimated that nearly 1,000 Taiwanese entrepreneurs were imprisoned in China for tax evasion.

Had Hsu Wen-lung known that one day he might be the victim of China’s unpredictable, politicized business policies, he might not have advocated for easing trade with China.

Lukun Yu is a financial analyst in New York.

China: A Tale of Two Economies

The commentary and debate over CNOOC’s attempt to pursue Unocal and, to a lesser extent, Haier’s offer to take over the struggling Maytag, may have given Americans an inward shudder. China, like Japan in the 1980s and early 1990s, is emerging as an economic powerhouse that directly challenges the dominance of the United States. Two neglected anomalies, however, should first be consideredand hopefully, resolvedbefore it makes sense to jump on the bandwagon of the boom in the Chinese economy.

According to a Wall Street Journal report on July 6 that, mysteriously, is not widely quoted, Chinese regulators have imposed a freeze on new issues of stock in a bid "to support sagging share prices on the country’s two domestic exchanges." The same article also reports that, "The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.8 percent at 1039.04 yesterday. The benchmark has fallen 18 percent since the start of the year, and is hovering just above its lowest level since 1997." The article, however, fails to mention that since the markets peaked in 2001, their capitalization has lost 60 percent of its value, triggering an emergency bailout from the government.

Another fact that contradicts belief in the barometers for economic prosperity, concerns the job market for college graduates in China: Half of them are forced to settle for unemployment when the euphoria of graduation gives way to frustration, anxiety, and confusion. In the United States, every time the stock market tanked and a tight job market replaced a robust one, the country entered a recession. Surprisingly, despite similar signs in the Chinese market, nobody is so much as hinting at the same possibility for the Chinese economy.

If these data and facts give interested parties a certain amount of pause about the Chinese economy, it becomes easy to see that different pictures are being painted about Chinaat the same time, in the same article. Just when excitement sets in because China is becoming a growing trade powerhouse enjoying a respectable surplus with the United States every year, puzzlement follows as we find that China actually has a net trading deficit of over US$10 billion in each of the last several years, and is relying more and more on the outside for oil and raw materials to sustain its development. It is true, however, just as Shan Weijian, an alum of mine, pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal, that China’s trade statistics suggest an undervaluation, rather than an upward revaluation, of its currency.

Surprisingly, similar instances, with wry contrast, permeate the Chinese economy. Just as you are awe-struck by the annual inflow of US$50 billion into China, your breath will be taken away by an even greater amount of capital flight each year.

Just as you become excited about the privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by way of management buy-out, in a form that is supposedly more advanced than Russia’s share-purchase program, you would learn most of those "buy-outs" are ill-disguised looting, with all the debts mysteriously written off, with the Party secretaries, the so-called managers, paying less than one tenth of their enterprises’ market value to become the new private owners.
Just as you are stunned by the announcement that China will export cars into Americaat less than half of the regular price we’re seeing these daysyou are told the cars are just too, too similar to one of the mini models GM is working on. So, again, just as quickly, a confident debut to announce China’s arrival in global competition becomes a highlight of its inveterate failure to protect intellectual property.

Just as you are proud, as a Chinese person, to hear people call your country the "world’s factory," you realize, on an afterthought, that it is probably as much an insult as a complimentafter all, a factory in the current hi-tech era means your only assets are people who have manual labor rather than mental power to sell.

Like me, any Chinese person will feel good about the number of people who have been lifted out of poverty in China, but will be totally flabbergasted at the following statistics of China’s Gini coefficient. It shows a steady rise from 0.1 in 1980 to the current 0.6, one of the highest in the worldbear in mind that the Gini coefficient by design ranges from 0 to 1, with a higher number signifying a higher level of income inequality in the society. Of course, there is always the cloud over China’s moribund banking behemoths, sitting on US$500 billion worth of bad loans and aspiring to be listed abroad after huge capital infusion from the Chinese government to improve the looks of its balance sheet.

Such an awkward juxtaposition and blend of pretty and ugly, hope and despair, new and old, static and dynamic, defines the economic reality of today’s China. Contemplating the economic realities of China is as if when heading out after a relaxing break in a Starbucks at Tiananmen Square, you lifted your head, and a shudder ran through you as your eyes met the empty but stern stare of Mao Zedong still hung on the rostruma reminder of where you really were.

Before the 1992 presidential election, a lot of people were anticipating an easy success for George Bush Sr., because he had just won a war in a most beautiful, if not easy, manner and his approval rating had been at an all-time high. But his mismanagement of the timing of economic recovery cost his second term, and spawned the now popular wisecrack for anyone who is politically inclined in the United States, "It’s the economy, stupid!!"

In my groping search for a thread, a theme, which runs through the 16 years of post-1989 Chinese economy, that vernacular aphorism for electioneering in the United States suddenly becomes inspirational. Indeed, to put all the froth and bubble puffed out by the Chinese economy into perspective, another wisecrack comes in handy and proves adequateIt is about political survival, stupid!!

In 1989, China chose to stick to authoritarianism at the crossroads where the other signpost read "Liberty," which turned out to be the path taken in the same year by all its ideological buddies in Russia and Eastern Europe. At that time, creating a bloodbath in Tiananmen might have been an easy decision and had the appearance of success to the Chinese regime, but the real challenge lay ahead. How to feed China’s ever-growing population while only tinkering with the economic system set up in the early 1980s? The regime had no choice but to confront this issue head-on, because in the wake of the total collapse of the Soviet-bloc, its legitimacy could only be guaranteed through economic growth.
Since then, the Chinese government has been busy pumping an inordinate amount of capital flowing in from the outside, into the abysmal hole of SOEs, to save it from bankruptcy, so that chances of social unrest due to mass layoffs are reduced. In fact, the government has in recent years quickened its pace to hand over the market and natural resources to foreign businesses, in the hopes of feeding its own people via foreign capital. This was evidenced by the dramatic accession to WTO by China in the year 2001, which amounted to handing down a death sentence to most of China’s SOEs.

Indeed, over half of China’s total export is now accounted for by foreign enterprises based in China, and the proportion of fully owned foreign enterprises permitted in the 1990s has been increasing exponentially in recent years, now reaching the percentage of 65 percent. These fully owned foreign enterprises are much less inclined to transfer technology, and they dominate the hi-tech exports. Which means, unlike joint ventures, these foreign enterprises will have no contractual obligation to help the Chinese obtain or develop advanced technologythe only benefit it brings are jobs for Chinese workers.

Many people have likened the Chinese economic growth to experiences of other Asian economies, and hope it will ultimately tread on the same path to democracy. But data in this respect suggests a divergent pattern. According to Professor Huang Yasheng of MIT, no more than 20 percent of the exports of Taiwan and South Korea were accounted for by foreign enterprises during the 1970s, their take-off period, and now are much lower. In Thailand, the share dropped from 18 percent to 6 percent by the mid-1980s. In contrast, all the Asian tigers instituted hugely preferential policies to help privately owned enterprises to develop international brands. South Korea’s Hyundi and Samsung are typical examples. In the case of Taiwan, it has become the #1 provider of computer chips, accounting for 70 percent of the world market worth US$8.9 billion, and the leader in many other computing areas. Taiwan is also the recipient of 5,299 U.S. patents, while China has only gotten 366. Not to mention Japan, whose Ministry of International Trade & Industry of Japan (MITTI) has been legendarily effective in cultivating home-grown competitive prowess.

The above analyses might help you understand the downward spiral of China’s competitiveness, as reported by the most recent report by IMD, a prestigious business based in Switzerland. More importantly, they should reveal a more serious problem underlying the Chinese economy: the fundamental mismatch between its governance and development. Political calculations of the communist regime have compelled it to sacrifice the country’s long-term development to maintain its grip on power. Big businesses from the West seem to have become another winner, on the back of the misery of cheap Chinese labor. But this pleasant party, cheered on by the press and pro-business politicians, can’t go on forever.

Imagine this, most liberal democracies these days have their economies propelled by the engine of productivity on four wheelsrespect of private ownership, competition, transparency, and accountability. Ahead of them, however, is a gigantic cyclist, going fast, on two huge, spinning wheels. One reads cheap labor, and the other foreign capital. To stay in the race, the cyclist pedals so hard while the people in the other cars look on. One person in the crowd, a Mr. Gordon Chang, who authors the book titled The Coming Collapse of the China, and who knows the cyclist very well, opines, "This poor guy will collapse soon," but his words only invite a huge "boo!"everyone is enjoying the show and nobody wants to be bothered. Their indifference, apathy, and callousness continue to cheer the cyclist onward. Now, you tell me, who is right?

The China-U.S. Trade Conflict: Just a Beginning

In the escalating China-E.U. and China-U.S. textile trade dispute, the Chinese government recently flip-flopped its policies almost overnight. On May 20, China announced increases in export tariffs on 74 categories of textile products as of June 1. The tariffs on these textile products increased in some cases by 400 percent. On May 30, however, before the United States or the European Union had had enough time to react to the "good news," the Chinese government suddenly announced the withdrawal of export tariffs on 81 categories of textile products as of June 1, completely annulling the "good news" on export tariff increases announced on May 20.

Why the Sudden Change?

In just 10 days, China had shifted its policy from an export tariff increase of up to 400 percent to the actual withdrawal of export tariffs. What happened during those 10 days? Why did China change so dramatically?

The China-E.U. textile trade dispute intensified after the E.U.’s publication of Guidelines on Special Safeguard Measures on Textile and Clothing Imports from China, which suggested that China impose limitations on its own textile products. On May 17, an E.U. commission decided to impose quotas on T-shirts (Category 4) and flax-yarn items (Category 115) made in China. Since May 18, besides cotton trousers, cotton shirts, and cotton and man-made fiber underwear made in China, the U.S. government has added four other categories of cotton products made in China to its "Safeguard Measures" list. Under great pressure, China announced significant increases in export tariffsin some cases four times the previous tariffson 74 categories of textile exports beginning June 1.

The Chinese government had expected the compromise would lead to positive reactions from the European Union and the United States. The Deputy Minister of Commerce of China, Gao Hucheng, was sent to Brussels for emergency talks with E.U. Commissioner Peter Mandelson. After the talks, the E.U. Commission postponed the start date for the "Safeguard Measures," and the last meeting was scheduled for May 31. Even as the dispute seemed to be cooling off, the E.U. Commission issued a brief statement on May 27 to start "Safeguard Measures" immediately on two categories of Chinese textile products.

The United States, however, did not give any response that pleased the Chinese government. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez was scheduled to pay a three-day visit to China from June 2 to 4. According to The Wall Street Journal of May 27, Gutierrez said of his upcoming visit to China, "This is an opportunity to explain the United States’s view. I’ll also explain the importance of implementing quota limitations." Gutierrez also announced through the Department of Commerce that, during his trip to China, he would try his best to explain that the decision of the United States to place constraints on Chinese textiles was a legal action based on World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.
To the Chinese government, the repeated levying of quota limitations on Chinese textiles by the United States and the European Union are simply hostile acts that totally ignore the Chinese government’s kind gesture of self-imposed export tariffs on textiles. Plus, the Chinese government knew early on that this time the two parties would discuss China’s notorious weaknessthe one thing against which China has no defensenamely, intellectual property rights. In order to take charge in the negotiations, the Chinese government had to re-establish the bottom line. That is the reason for the sudden change of policy.

Are the United States and Europe Intimidated by China’s Growing Strength?

In terms of trade, China is in a weak position, because China needs the U.S. and E.U. markets. The United States and the European Union are in a strong position, because similar products from other countries can be easily obtained in the absence of Chinese products.

In terms of the mechanics of setting trade policy, China, as a totalitarian government, is a formidable presence. So far, the United States and Europe have been talking about economic issues in terms of countries’ economies and have shown no signs of extending the discussion into the political arena. Even if an individual politician wanted to resolve a trade dispute by political means, the business community would not follow the government’s or senate’s lead, because it is extremely time-consuming to establish new policies. China, in contrast, can change its policy almost overnight. The current change of policy in 10 days is just one such example. China can also incite nationalistic sentiment by using the media to forge "the people’s opinion" and then use this as a diplomatic gambling chip. Since 1990, in order to cover up its diplomatic incompetence, the Chinese government has often used this secret weapon of "public opinion" in dealing with the United States and Japan. This time when the United States and Europe proposed to re-impose quota limitations on Chinese textiles, it was very difficult for the Chinese government to get satisfactory results through diplomatic channels, so it again employed nationalistic sentiment.

How did the Chinese government play the "nationalism" card this time? They first politicized the issue of foreign trade through its public media. Once again the theory of the United States and Europe’s "conspiracy" to prevent China from rising peacefully as an economic power was very much in the air. An article entitled "Their Target Is Not the Textile Industry" states, "The United States and the European Union have an ulterior motive in maintaining quota limitations on Chinese textile imports, viz., to hold back China’s rise as an economic power. The U.S. and E.U. governments know that nothing can prevent China from rising as an economic power. Given this, it will be most desirable if they can decelerate China’s rise to some extent and gain as much profit as possible before that happens. The textile industry is a place where the United States and Europe can work to hold back China’s rise." According to the article, China’s export of textile products makes up 16 percent of China’s entire export. The textile industry directly employs 19 million, and the employment in related industries exceeds 100 million. More importantly, the implementing of quota limitations on seven categories of textile products by the United States has decreased China’s exports by US$300 million and has affected employment accordingly. The textile industry is one of the main channels by which China is able to absorb the vast surplus labor pool from the countryside. Therefore, the imposition of the quota system amounts to fostering social conflict in China.
The article reviews the heartbreaking process of China’s effort to join the WTO, when China was treated unfairly by the United States and the European Union, "To engage China in a U.S. and E.U.-dominated world trade system, they imposed more rigorous conditions than they did on other countries. First, they insisted on treating China as a non-market economy as far as anti-dumping is concerned; second, special protective annexes were appended to Protocol on the Accession of the People’s Republic of China as regards China’s export; third, within 15 years of China’s accession, there will be an annual evaluation on how China is fulfilling its commitments. This shows how far the United States and the European Union will go to restrain China from rising economically." The article was published in the May issue of International Finance and was subsequently put on almost all major websites. Tsinghua University students later relied almost exclusively on this article in questioning the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Instigate Nationalism

Since it is related to "the conspiracy by the international anti-China forces to prevent China from strengthening itself," it is "natural" for China to resort to nationalism to resolve the issue. Since the end of May, many Chinese websites have subsequently launched an online signature campaign to "support the export of China’s textiles." Unfortunately, the campaign has not been as successful as that of the Anti-Japanese movement. Otherwise, the number of supporters would have been made public to show how much the Chinese people oppose the "Western conspiracy."

The China Association of the Textile Industry also issued a press release to strongly protest the quota imposed by the United States, which it claims violates WTO’s principles and the spirit of the "Textile and Apparel Agreements" and contradicts the WTO’s merit of free trade. Interestingly, the association’s complaints dovetailed perfectly with the media attacks. As a matter of fact, although all the various industries’ associations appear to be non-official, the government controls every one of them. As stated in a Chinese high school textbook on politics, "The concept of non-official organizations is clearly defined as ‘the official organs in the name of folk organizations.’"

On the first day of his visit to Beijing, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez certainly "smelled the smoke" after the Chinese students bombarded him with questions on the "issue of Sino-U.S. textile trade." Carefully designed by the Chinese government, the students’ questions demonstrated how well they played the "ethics" card. "The new quota on China’s textiles by the U.S. will lead to a dramatic increase in unemployment in the nineteen-million-strong Chinese textile industry and will negatively impact local businesses and employment," the students commented. To prove China’s victory of "diplomacy in the people’s war," the Chinese media was obsessed with exaggerating how uncomfortable Mr. Gutierrez was.
China Is Overly Relying on Overseas Markets

The less-than-polite manner demonstrated by the Chinese government during the textile trade war actually reflected its anxiety, which can be attributed to China’s heavy reliance on overseas markets for the health of its economy.

The ratio of the import and export values over the GDP of a nation is called the degree of reliance on foreign trade, which represents how much an economy depends on foreign trade and how much the country is involved in the world division of labor. It also reflects various elements of its strategy for the economic development of the country. Finally, it greatly affects the country’s foreign policies as well.

In the past 10 years, the scale of China’s foreign trade has expanded rapidly. In 2004, out of the US$1.65 trillion of China’s GDP, 70 percent, or US$1.1547 trillion, was attributed to foreign trade. This is equivalent to a reliance degree of 70 percent, a 60 percent increase from that of 1978. In terms of this measure, China certainly ranked very high among the major economies in the world.

In contrast, between 1980 and 2001, the United States, Japan, India, and Germany’s reliance on foreign trade was between 14 percent and 20 percent. It is apparent that China’s economy has a distinct characteristic: Its products rely very heavily on foreign markets.

Although China knows where its weakness lies, it is not able to overcome it. This is because the only way for China’s economy to take off is to mimic the "Four Little Dragons of East Asia" by taking advantage of foreign capital and building a relationship with foreign markets according to the "theory of comparative advantages."

According to this theory, only through exporting products with comparative advantages and importing those without comparative advantages can a developing country optimally utilize the efficiency of labor distribution in the world to serve its national economy. Although the theory has been successfully applied to the "Four Little Dragons of East Asia" in the past, its application to China will surely cause serious problems. This is because, in the history of world economy, China’s rapid development and its excessive reliance on world markets are unprecedented. Indeed, the Four Little Dragons of Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong did develop rapidly in a short period of time and quickly surpassed many of the developed countries, but their economies are not very large. On the other hand, the United States once jumped from a second-class world economy to a first-class one, but it had a large and fairly stable domestic market.
Trade Counterforces Always Accompany China

The reason why it is problematic to apply the theory of comparative advantages to China is twofold. First, as a result of chasing "comparative advantages" and the excessive production capacity in many of its industries, China is bound to face the awkward situation that whatever it produces will be cheap. Second, lacking a domestic market supported by effective demands, China will surely have to rely excessively on overseas markets. Because of the heavy weight of China’s foreign trade in the overall world trade stage, the effect of China’s pricing in its trade with the world economy cannot be underestimated. In particular, the concentration of China’s exports in several countries and regions is problematic. For example, China’s trade volume with the United States, Japan, and the European Union accounts for half of the overall trade. Consequently China’s dumping of any products on these three markets will surely create tremendous pressure on these countries.

China has been trying to rely on the gigantic world markets to support its own economy and to feed its huge supply of cheap labor. Such strategy may work well for a short period of time. As time goes by, however, it will surely create friction with other countries due to the conflict of interests. The textile trade war is only the beginning of a larger war of the upsetting of markets caused by China’s tremendous supply.

Mrs. He Qinglian is a renowned economist and journalist from China. She is currently staying in the United States as a guest researcher.

Who Will Succeed Wen Jiabao?Vice Premier Candidates for the 2008 Chinese Government

Recently, China’s personnel shuffle for future top leaders once again became the focus of public attention. On July 4, 2005, the Asian Times Online published a report by Feng Liang analyzing the top candidates for the vice premier position in the 2008 Chinese government cabinet. The article was widely circulated among Chinese websites.

Since Hu Jintao acquired the top leadership position in China, he has quietly promoted a number of officials with "Communist Youth League (CYL)" backgrounds to key positions, which has attracted a lot of public attention. According to the analysis in the Asian Times Online article, Bo Xilai, Xi Jinping, and Wang Qishan, who belong to the so-called "Crown Prince Party," [1] and Li Keqiang, who has close ties with the CYL, are believed to be top contenders for the position.

According to the article, among all the personnel appointments, candidates for vice premier are the most sensitive ones because they have a profound influence. Currently China has four vice premiers: Huang Ju, Wu Yi, Zeng Peiyan, and Hui Liangyu. Huang, Wu, and Zeng are over 67 years old; Hui Liangyu is 61. In other words, Huang Ju, Wu Yi, and Zeng Peiyan will pass the upper age limit of 70 during the time of the next cabinet. So the next government will, by default, have at least three new vice premiers.

The reason why the Chinese are speculating about who will become the new vice premiers is because one of them will most likely become China’s new premier in 2013. According to outside speculation, Premier Wen Jiabao, 63, is expected to serve a second term in 2008. He will probably retire at age 71. Therefore, one of the new vice premiers will, most likely, succeed Wen Jiabao.

Hui Liangyu will be 64 by 2008. If he becomes the vice premier, he will be 69 at the end of his first term, near retirement age. In addition, Hui is being viewed by some as part of the "Jiang Zemin faction." Therefore, Hui Liangyu is very unlikely to be Wen Jiabao’s successor.

On June 28, 2005, Liaowang East Weekly News, an official government-sponsored magazine, published an article that included photos of Bo Xilai, Xi Jinping, Wang Qishan, and Li Keqiang. Usually, political observers view such an article as a media warm-up for important personnel changes. Therefore, many believe that Bo, Xi, Li, and Wang, among others, are top candidates for vice premiers in the next government.

Among the four, Bo Xilai is currently the Minister of Commerce; Xi Jinping is the Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province; Wang Qishan serves as Beijing’s Mayor; and Li Keqiang is the Party Secretary of Liaoning Province. All of them are at their respective key positions and a step up will appear to be a very natural move.
It is worth noting that Bo Xilai, Xi Jinping, and Wang Qishan are either children of the Chinese Communist Old Guards or of their family members; Li Keqiang, on the other hand, is a key figure in the "Youth League faction" which has close ties with President Hu Jintao. Bo Xilai, 56, is the son of CCP old guard Bo Yibo; Xi Jinping, 52, is the son of Xi Zhongxun, former Vice Chair of the National People’s Congress from 1988 to 1993; Wang Qishan, 57, is the son-in-law of Yao Yilin, former Vice Premier of China; Li Keqiang, 50, was the First Secretary of the CYL from 1993 to 1998. Li has a close relationship with Hu Jintao who served as the First Secretary of the CYL in the 1980s.

According to an analysis, the scenario of Bo Xilai, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Wang Qishan becoming the top candidates to be the next vice premiers goes along with the current Chinese political climate. Right now, China’s politics face a very delicate time. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, both from humble family backgrounds, became the president and premier. China’s politics is entering a "specialist" era. Many children of the first generation revolutionists stay away from politics; some move into business.

However, even Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao still need the old guard’s blessing. In the meantime, the "Crown Prince Party" is still very influential in politics. Therefore, Hu Jintao still relies heavily on Zeng Qinghong, son of "Revolutionary Forefather" Zeng Shan. Currently in the provincial and central governments, Hu Jintao is promoting people having a similar political ideology to his. For example, the Vice Governor of Shandong Province, Wu Aiying, recently became the Minister of Justice. Wu used to be a CYL secretary of the Changwei District branch, Shandong Province. Zhang Baoshun, former secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CYL, recently became the Governor of Shanxi Province. In the central government, if Hu Jintao supports children of the old guard to become vice premiers together with one of his protégés, it will achieve a good balance. Then, Hu will get support from the old guard, and this will also help the CYL division to consolidate its power.

In general, preparation for the next government in 2008 should take over two years. Therefore, it’s not surprising that this "personnel issue" is getting attention right now.

[1] From Wikipedia: "Crown Prince Party" (Pinyin: Tàizĭ Dang), or The Princelings, are the descendants (usually in the second-generation) of prominent and influential senior communists of the People’s Republic of China. It is not a political party, but an informal, and often derogatory, categorization to signify those benefiting from nepotism.

Joshua Li is a correspondent for Chinascope.

Falun Gong: 1992 û 2005

The Spreading of Falun Gong

Falun Gongalso known as Falun Dafa, the Great Way of LawWheel Cultivation Practice-is an ancient form of cultivation practice.

From its earliest establishment, Chinese culture has embraced the concept of the "Oneness of Heaven and Man." The way for man to achieve the Oneness, or his true self, is cultivation practice. Chinese literature is filled with legends of people achieving the status of deities, becoming enlightened, or obtaining the Tao through cultivation, and there have existed thousands of different schools of cultivation over the course of Chinese history. Cultivation practice, therefore, is a generic term for the practice of mind and body transcendence.

Cultivation practice has left its imprint on almost every aspect of Chinese culture. The teachings of Lao Zi and Confucius, for example, were originally for guiding the cultivation of their respective disciples. A great number of historical figures who contributed to shaping Chinese history were practitioners of cultivation. In fact, cultivation of moral character was a prerequisite for students of any serious study, and the ethical values derived from teachings of cultivation played an essential role in establishing and maintaining social morality.

Cultivation has also long been recognized for its effects on physical health and supernormal abilities. The health benefits of Tai Chi and martial arts, for example, are well known. Many famous doctors and physicians throughout Chinese history were practitioners of cultivation. Some of them had developed abilities to visualize meridian channels and points in the human body, some could see through the human body to detect illnesses, some could see how components of herbs function in the human body, and some could emit energy to cure diseases. These practitioners of cultivation were entirely responsible for establishing the theory and practice of Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine that we know today.

Communist rule of China brought an abrupt end to this rich tradition of cultivation. The Communist Party’s atheist ideology and totalitarian power precluded any other ideas. Cultivation was branded as "superstition" and brutally persecuted. In the first two years of communist rule, approximately two million people were executed in the name of "suppressing counter-revolutionary superstitious sects and secret societies." For the next four decades, no one dared to mention cultivation in public.

Political repression cannot suppress illness, however, and repeated political persecution caused severe physical and psychological trauma to Chinese citizens. In the 1970s, feeding citizens’ need for healing and fitness, some unique exercises were quietly introduced to the public under a novel name qigong and gained instant popularity for their remarkable health benefits. The term qigong, however, had never existed before, and no one knew the real origin of qigong.
In 1992, Mr. Li Hongzhi began to give lectures on Falun Gong. Mr. Li revealed that qigong was really the physical aspect of cultivation practice, that the term qigong had been coined to avoid political persecution, and that to receive the full benefit of cultivation one must pay attention to the mental aspect improving one’s moral and mental quality. By introducing Falun Gong to the public, Mr. Li brought thousands of years of cultivation practice tradition back to the Chinese people.

Awakened to the tradition, practitioners of Falun Gong followed the principle of Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance and devoted themselves to the cultivation of their inner selves and the improvement of their mental and moral quality. This, combined with five sets of gentle exercises of proven efficacy in health improvement, has enabled practitioners to achieve purposeful living, morality, improved health, and inner peace. As a testament to its superior benefits, Falun Gong had become a global phenomenon encompassing over 100 million practitioners across more than 60 countries by 1999, just seven years after its introduction to the public.

The Authorities’ Escalating Hostility

At the beginning, various levels of the Chinese government recognized and commended the benefits of Falun Gong practice to people and to society, and their support facilitated the spread of Falun Gong in the early 1990s. In fact, one third of the 60 million Communist Party members and a large number of high-ranking government officials practiced Falun Gong.

A few Party ideologues, however, were affronted by the increasing popularity of Falun Gong. These atheist Party vanguards could not accept the fact that after more than 40 years of Marxist indoctrination, so many people, including Communist Party members, would look elsewhere for moral and spiritual guidance. They also had vested interest in finding fault with Falun Gong as an excuse to mount ideological strikes against those more open-minded and supportive officials and to cleanse the Party to their liking. Turning a blind eye to Falun Gong’s positive impact on the people and society, these power-seeking figures busied themselves with wave after wave of witch-hunting and discrediting of Falun Gong.

Among them was Luo Gan, Secretary-General of the State Council, and a close follower of Jiang Zemin, the Party’s General Secretary at the time. From very early on, Luo Gan instructed the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Public Security to plant agents as Falun Gong practitioners. The clandestine investigations found no evidence to implicate Falun Gong; instead, many of these agents ended up practicing Falun Gong. The inquisitors then resorted to framing. In December 1994, a joint letter by "over 100 Falun Gong practitioners" was fabricated, accusing Mr. Li of falsifying his date of birth, amassing wealth, evading taxes, and so on, and was used as the basis for the Ministry of Public Security’s order to ban Falun Gong.
The ban was to be announced on February 3, 1995. Fortunately, a Falun Gong practitioner working in the Ministry of Public Security learned about this one week before its announcement. He and other Falun Gong practitioners submitted three reports to dispel the false accusations, and were able to head off the crisis at the last minute.

In 1996, a concerted media campaign against Falun Gong began with an article published on June 17, 1996, in the Guangming Daily, the mouthpiece of the State Council. Many state-controlled newspapers around the country followed with slanderous articles. On July 24, 1996, the Communist Party’s Department of Propaganda issued an internal notice, banning books authored by Mr. Li.

In early 1997, Luo Gan instructed the Ministry of Public Security to conduct a nationwide investigation of "Falun Gong’s illegal religious activities." However, early reports from many places indicated "no problems discerned so far," and Luo Gan had to call off the investigation. Many agents who participated in the investigation began practicing Falun Gong.

At the end of May 1998, the Beijing TV Station broadcast a program featuring He Zuoxiu, a self-proclaimed physicist. He Zuoxiu’s wife and Luo Gan’s wife are sisters. In the program, He Zuoxiu made many false accusations against Falun Gong. Following suit, on July 21, 1998, Luo Gan once again resorted to the tactic of "trumping up charges and finding the evidence later" and instructed police departments around the country to "uncover and collect evidence of Falun Gong’s spreading of heresy and conducting of criminal activities." Many cities then banned the Falun Gong practice, and arrested and fined Falun Gong practitioners for holding group practices on the charge of "participating in illegal gatherings."

These incidents represent only a small fraction of the authorities’ discrimination against and repression of Falun Gong. They are typical tactics of the Party to scare people off from something that it does not sanction. Later on, the Chinese government claimed to be startled by the sudden appearance of a large following of Falun Gong. Many observers thus rationalized the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong as a reaction to feeling threatened. The fact is, the authorities had been monitoring the situation of Falun Gong at all times, and had made various attempts to suppress and intimidate Falun Gong practitioners.

The Tianjin Incident

The suppression failed to deter or provoke Falun Gong practitioners, however. Adhering to Mr. Li’s teaching of "Other people may treat us badly, but we do not treat others badly, nor do we treat people as enemies," Falun Gong practitioners quietly endured the bullying, and time and again gave those prejudiced people opportunities to understand what cultivation is about and what kind of people practitioners are. Many practitioners, including Communist Party members and government officials, also wrote to the central leadership to testify from their own experiences that Falun Gong is beneficial to society and and not a threat. These appeals could easily have been interpreted as "standing in opposition to the Party," "disrupting the Party’s normal work," or even "counter-revolutionary." Any one allegation was enough for someone to lose his job or even his freedom, but practitioners stepped forward spontaneously and in large numbers to speak of the facts and in defense of Falun Gong.
The large number of appeal letters prompted a group of senior government officials, led by Mr. Qiao Shi, former Chairman of the People’s Congress (March 1993 to March 1998), to organize investigations in the later part of 1998 to examine the impact of Falun Gong on people’s health and on society in order to provide a basis for solving the controversies surrounding Falun Gong. Among these investigations were a series of health surveys sponsored by the State Council and the National Bureau of Sports and conducted by professionals in state-owned medical institutions in several major Chinese cities ( of Health Surveys.htm). With over 34,000 practitioners participating, these are the most systematic and comprehensive health surveys done on Falun Gong practitioners to date. The results show that among those surveyed, 98.7 percent experienced improvement in physical health and 97.7 percent reported improvement in mental conditions after beginning Falun Gong practice.

Based on these investigations, the group of senior officials submitted a formal report to the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, with a conclusion that "Falun Gong has numerous benefits to the country and people and not a single detriment." This conclusion, however, did not sit well to Jiang Zemin, who bitterly wrote on the report: "[The report is] too complicated; I do not understand." With an obvious intention, Jiang assigned Luo Gan to handle the report and related issues.

Luo Gan readily took the hint and looked for opportunities elsewhere. On April 11, 1999, He Zuoxiu published yet another article slandering Falun Gong in a magazine in the city of Tianjin. Since the article was full of fabrications, many Falun Gong practitioners visited the editorial offices of the magazine to tell the editors their personal experiences of Falun Gong practice, and ask the magazine to retract the erroneous article. On April 22 and 23, 1999, armed police forces violently assaulted Falun Gong practitioners in front of the magazine’s office and arbitrarily detained 45 of them. Mysteriously, the police urged Falun Gong practitioners at the scene to go to the central government in Beijing to address their grievance.

The April 25th Peaceful Appeal

Two days later, on April 25, 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered quietly in Beijing outside the State Council Bureau of Appeal, located in the vicinity of the Chinese leadership compound, to request the release of the practitioners detained in Tianjin and the lifting of the ban on Falun Gong books.

The gathering was peaceful, orderly. People stood three-deep in rows between the roadway and sidewalk so as not to block the traffic; they advised curious pedestrians to move on so as not to create a scene; they picked up trash and litter that was thrown by passers-by, and even picked up the cigarette butts from the police watching them. The police, however, took advantage of the practitioners’ kindheartedness. Soon after the gathering began to form, they told practitioners to follow them to see the central leadership. The police then divided the practitioners into two columns and led them away by separate routes that converged at the gate of Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound. The separate routes resulted in an encirclement of Zhongnanhai, which was later used to incriminate Falun Gong.
According to one participant, Dr. Shi Caidong, Premier Zhu Rongji walked out of the gate and toward the Falun Gong practitioners at around 7:30 a.m., and inquired what the gathering was about. Premier Zhu then invited three practitioners to go inside the compound to have a dialogue. It was from this dialog that the practitioners learned that Premier Zhu had issued an instruction several days earlier to the State Council not to harass Falun Gong practitioners, but someone had withheld this instruction and never made it known to Falun Gong. That afternoon, Premier Zhu met with five representatives of the Falun Gong practitioners, and ordered the release of those detained in Tianjin. Upon learning the news, the practitioners quietly dispersed. Because of this gathering, Falun Gong began to receive international attention.

Jiang’s Personal Crusade Against Falun Gong

The peaceful resolution of the April 25 petition was highly regarded by international observers and media. Many viewed it as a precedent of solving social conflict through compromise, a milestone in China’s progress toward civil society.

Jiang Zemin, however, deeply resented Premier Zhu’s handling of the event. Less than three weeks earlier, when Premier Zhu returned from a successful state visit to the United States and Canada and was credited with getting China’s effort to join the WTO back on track, Jiang could not conceal his enmity and was awkwardly missing from Zhu’s welcome ceremony.

Apparently seeking to augment his personal authority, Jiang wanted a different way his way. According to reliable sources, when Luo Gan reported the course of the April 25 Falun Gong petition, Jiang waved his fists and yelled, "Crush it! Crush it! Resolutely crush it!" At the first meeting of the Party’s Standing Committee of the Political Bureau to discuss the April 25 petition, Premier Zhu pleaded, "Just leave them practicing…" Before Zhu could finish, Jiang pointed a finger at him, "Foolish! Foolish! Foolish! It will lead to the destruction of our Party and nation!"

Premier Zhu fell silent. He knew all too well what it meant to defy a paramount chief of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1966, Liu Shaoqi, then heir-apparent to Chairman Mao, fell from power. He died three years later in handcuffs and tied to a wooden board naked, after suffering extensive torture and inhuman treatment. In 1971, Lin Biao, Mao’s second heir-apparent, fled for his life but was killed when the airplane he was on mysteriously crashed in Mongolia. In 1976, Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s right-hand man, was stripped of power and "expelled from the Party forever." Deng was fortunate enough to have survived and later rose to leadership; however, he duplicated what Mao had done to him, sacking his own handpicked successors Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang in 1986 and 1989, respectively. All these were too familiar to those at the meeting, and no one opposed Jiang further.
While most officials in the government would not openly oppose Jiang, his high-handed policy was not popular either, for many government officials practiced or were sympathetic to Falun Gong. Some government officials wrote to Jiang and other top leaders to suggest more conciliatory approaches. To heighten the pressure, Jiang gave a speech on June 7, 1999, to the full assembly of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.

Jiang’s June 7 speech was soon distributed to all Party branches as a Central Committee document. It was significant in several respects. The speech accused Falun Gong practitioners of "fighting with the Party and the government to win the people’s favor," established "the Party’s position on Falun Gong," and mandated "severe treatment" of those who refused to comply with the Party’s position. Following Jiang’s speech, the Central Committee made the decision to persecute Falun Gong.

More importantly, Jiang had already sensed that the existing government and Party structure would not fully support his personal crusade against Falun Gong. In the speech, Jiang appointed Li Lanqing, Ding Guangen, and Luo Gan to form a body specifically for handling the Falun Gong issue. This was the origin of the infamous "610 Office." Three days later, on June 10, 1999, following Jiang’s instructions, the "Central Committee’s Leadership Group on Handling the Falun Gong Issue" was formed, with Li Lanqing as the head. Under the Central Leadership Group was the "Central 610 Office," the real operational entity, with Luo Gan in charge. The Leadership Group and the "610 Office" were set up as independent organs within the Party and the government, with absolute power over the Party and the government. They were granted the authority to directly issue orders to the military, security forces, police, the judiciary, and the propaganda ministry, with the power to command all government resources and systems. Below the Central Leadership Group and the "Central 610 Office" were the leadership groups and "610 Offices" at all levels of the Party and the government, from federal to municipal, with corresponding power to direct resources and systems at their levels. Simply put, the "610 Office" system was Jiang’s personal network for controlling the whole government.

With everything under his control, Jiang’s crusade against Falun Gong was in full operation.

Falun Gong Practitioners’ Nationwide Petition on July 20, 1999

On the morning of July 20, the state-run media began to bombard the nation with anti-Falun Gong hate propaganda, saturating the airwaves and print media with fabrications and invectives. The propaganda machinery also broadcast tearful "confessions" and "denunciations" from "transformed" Falun Gong practitioners to intimidate Falun Gong practitioners, their families, and those who were sympathetic to them. The night before, in a nationwide blitz of arrests, the authorities had detained all Falun Gong practitioners they thought of as key to the Falun Gong "organization." From their past experience, the authorities were confident that without these "key leaders" the Falun Gong "organization" would collapse in disorder and the 100 million Falun Gong practitioners would simply disperse due to the high pressure.
For the next few days, however, in every major city in China, Falun Gong practitioners came spontaneously by the tens of thousands to petition the city and provincial governments. Large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners also traveled to Beijing spontaneously to appeal to the central government. Witnesses estimated that millions went to Beijing in the first two days. They came with kind hearts and with trust in the government, and they came for one very simple reason: to testify to the goodness of Falun Gong from their personal experiences, and to urge the government to correct its mistake of launching a persecution based on groundless incrimination.

The authorities were not interested in hearing what Falun Gong practitioners had to say, however. The peaceful petitions were met with violence from the police, who had the heart to wield clubs at 80-year-old ladies, to kick pregnant women, to slap preteen children, and to strip the clothes from young women in public. In contrast with the violent police, Falun Gong practitioners remained completely peaceful; not a single Falun Gong practitioner in the whole nation retaliated.

It is not known how many Falun Gong practitioners participated in the petitioning on July 20, 1999. What is known is that the number was so large that there were not enough detention centers to hold them. Instead, the police forcibly herded practitioners into sports arenas and large warehouses, where they demanded the practitioners provide their names and identify their work units. The kindhearted and unsuspecting practitioners felt that they had nothing to hide and complied, not knowing that the information would be used for further persecution. The police then ordered the practitioners’ work units to come and pick them up.

As darkness fell, July 20, 1999, went down in history as the beginning of an unprecedented persecution. Amidst this sudden descent of terror, Falun Gong practitioners came forth with courage; amidst the storm of violence, practitioners exemplified peace. As the contest of courage and terror continues, July 20, 1999, will be remembered as the beginning of Falun Gong practitioners’ journey of peace.

Solemnity and Heroism on Tiananmen Square

Throughout the persecution, Tiananmen Square in Beijing has been a focal point. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Falun Gong practitioners have come to the vast square from all over China and the world to stage petitions, unfurl banners declaring the innocence of Falun Gong, demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises, and simply proclaim, "Falun Gong is good!" For this simple and peaceful expression of opinion, they have suffered tremendously. Almost all were beaten by police or hired thugs, who felt no inhibition in the presence of thousands of tourists on the Square. Some were beaten to unconsciousness, while some were beaten to death on the spot; children and the elderly were assaulted with full force; pregnant women were kicked in their abdomens. The attacks were usually so violent and forceful that the victims were silenced in less than a minute. Yet, for just that brief moment, practitioners kept coming and coming, despite the consequences. This seemed puzzling to foreign journalists: Could it be worthwhile? What was this all about?
For Chinese, Tiananmen Square, the "Heavenly Peace Gate" Square, is sacred. The modern history of China is considered to have begun with a student-led patriotic demonstration in Tiananmen Square back in 1919. Several other demonstrations with historical impact, including the 1976 and 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, also took place in the Square. Tiananmen Square is therefore regarded as a sanctified ground for patriotism, sacrifice, and the last resort for appealing to public conscience.

The sudden descent of terror threw the lives of Falun Gong practitioners into a tailspin, but could not take away their internal conviction and commitment to being good people. After the initial shock, and trusting that the government would halt the persecution if they could clear up the officials’ misunderstanding about Falun Gong, practitioners all over China started to converge at the State Council Bureau of Appeal to hand in their petitions, explaining how Falun Gong is beneficial and can only make positive contributions to society. The kindhearted practitioners soon discovered that the State Council Bureau of Appeal had been turned into a detention center. The "State Council Bureau of Appeal" sign was taken down, and those who asked for directions were tricked into waiting police vans and driven away, with no chance to submit their petitions.

As more and more practitioners came, the authorities issued a ban on coming to the State Council Bureau of Appeal to petition for Falun Gong and ordered local governments to enforce the ban. This was another unconstitutional order and a shocking step back to the Cultural Revolution. The State Council Bureau of Appeal was set up after the Cultural Revolution as a way to help resolve those "framed-up, sham, and unjust cases" and for the wronged to address their grievances. There were literally millions of such cases at that time, and establishments at different levels tried to cover everything up and escape responsibility. In response to the outcry from the whole society, the State Council Bureau of Appeal was established to receive complaints directly from the victims, circumventing layers and layers of obstacles. Referred to as "heaven’s ears" by Chinese citizens, this mechanism played a key role in settling the social discontent that resulted from the Cultural Revolution, and the right to address grievances to the State Council Bureau of Appeal was subsequently written into China’s constitution. The brazen stripping of this constitutional right, and the appalling beatings of practitioners caught traveling to Beijing by different levels of authorities, unmistakably signaled to the practitioners that the government was not at all interested in what they had to say. The practitioners were left with no choice but the last resort of appealing to public conscienceand where more symbolic than in Tiananmen Square?

The first known demonstration by Falun Gong practitioners was on September 29, 1999. The night before, a group of practitioners from different parts of China gathered at Tsinghua University, calmly took pictures, wrote down what they were going to do, e-mailed their plans to people they knew overseas, and the next morning, they went!
In the Square, they chose to display the second set of Falun Gong exercises. This was probably the longest demonstration practitioners were able to stage; according to one participant, time seemed to freeze at that moment. Completely unprepared, the police took a while to react; and unprepared for how to react, the police showed their true facekicking, beating, wrestling, and eventually manhandling all of the peaceful practitioners. We do not have a complete name list of these practitioners, and we do not know their whereabouts; however, their heroism and that solemn moment are imprinted in history forever.

The public demonstrations in Tiananmen Square were disastrous for Jiang Zemin. From August to October 1999, Jiang traveled abroad frequently. Among other things on his agenda, he tried to sway world opinion with his version of "handling the Falun Gong issue" and entice other governments’ cooperation with his persecution through giving away business interests and territory claims. Feeling confident, and contrary to his later rejection of international criticism as "interfering with internal policy," he personally passed out booklets that smeared Falun Gong to leaders of other governments, and offered interviews on the subject of Falun Gong to the international media, thus inviting international attention to the Falun Gong issue and to his ability to handle crises.

The continuous demonstrations by Falun Gong practitioners not only deflated Jiang’s claim of having solved 98 percent of "the Falun Gong problem," but also unmasked his fairy tale of "education and affection" in "solving" the "problem." People, including international reporters, started to wonder: If the police can be this violent in public, what will they not do behind the closed doors of jails, detention centers, and labor camps?

The practitioners’ sacrifices, however, were tremendous. Not only were those in the Square brutalized, but those suspected of having the "inclination" to travel to Beijing were rounded up by local authorities and coerced into signing the so-called "double pledges": a pledge to renounce Falun Gong and a pledge not to appeal for Falun Gong. Those who refused to comply were tortured, some to death.

However, Falun Gong practitioners continued to stage petition after petition in Tiananmen Square. In October, an enraged Jiang ordered the Chinese national legislature to pass a law to legitimize a tougher persecution. The Washington Post noted in an article on November 2, 1999, that, "When [China’s Communist leaders] found themselves without the laws they needed to vigorously persecute a peaceful meditation society, the Party simply ordered up some new laws. Now these will be appliedretroactively, of course… By these standards, Stalin was a scrupulous observer of civil rights."

At the same time, Jiang ordered all levels of government to stop practitioners from going to Tiananmen Square, and those officials who failed to do so would be demoted. Precious resources were diverted to set up checkpoints at airports, train and bus stations, public highways, and even hotels to intercept Falun Gong practitioners. To pass the checkpoints, travelers were required to curse Falun Gong, or to spit on or step on Falun Gong books, and anyone who refused would be detained.
To further diminish practitioners’ ability to travel to Beijing, Jiang issued an order to "destroy their reputation, bankrupt them financially, and exterminate them physically." The cruelty of this order was amplified by the greed of local officials, who took the opportunity to loot or seize practitioners’ homes, personal property, and businesses, and to extort large amounts of ransom from the families of those they arrested. The oppression by local tyrants sometimes had the effect of compelling practitioners to go to Beijing, because they could not safely remain at home and had nothing left but grievances to address.

With no money, no help, no map, and no compass, many practitioners started to walk or bike to Beijing. Scaling mountains, crossing the wilderness, sleeping under trees, begging for food, and avoiding checkpoints, they went to Beijing step by step and one by one. Along the way, they were intercepted by ferocious policemen, by misinformed locals, and by patrol teams recruited to hunt them. But they were also helped by kindhearted people, by those who were willing to listen to their side of the story, and by those who looked in their eyes and found not bitterness but peace. After their few seconds in Tiananmen Square, they refused to give out their names and addresses to the interrogating police, or they would be escorted back and it would be months before they could walk to Beijing again.

It is important to note that these appeals all happened spontaneously. From its past despotic experiences, the Chinese government thought it could paralyze the Falun Gong "organization" by arresting all the important "leaders." What the government could never understand is that Falun Gong genuinely has no organization. While practitioners may know each other, their decisions and actions are completely from their own hearts, their own initiatives, and their own determination to speak the truth.

Torture and Killing

For more than 50 years, the Chinese communist regime has had its way in destroying people’s wills and crushing non-conforming groups through terror and deceit. It had never failed at any previous persecution. The continuing appeals by Falun Gong practitioners in Tiananmen Square, and the insistence on the right to practice by millions upon millions around the nation, made it clear that Falun Gong practitioners would not yield to the persecution. Embarrassed and enraged, Jiang instructed through the "610 Office" system that "No measure is too excessive against Falun Gong," and ordered the use of extreme torture. As the persecution continued to meet practitioners’ peaceful resistance, Jiang’s personal crusade became a personal vendetta.

Since July 20, 1999, from information that has leaked through the tight control of the Chinese government, we know that millions of people have suffered arbitrary incarceration, almost all under inhumane conditions; hundreds of thousands, including pregnant women, the elderly, and young children, have been put into labor camps; and thousands have been detained and severely tortured with nerve-damaging drugs in mental hospitals. Thousands have died in custody, while countless others are still unaccounted for. The scope and severity of the atrocities are difficult to fathom.
The worst atrocities are usually those of genocide. Genocidal killings are done to physically eliminate a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, and so they generally result in a large number of deaths.

The persecution of Falun Gong by Jiang Zemin and his "610 Office" system uses a different kind, arguably a worse kind, of killing: the killing of people’s minds. Its goal is not to physically kill a large number of people, although the death toll is of no concern to the murderers. The purpose is to force a victim to choose between a physical death and a mental demisethe giving up of his will, his fundamental values, and his conscience.

Torturing to the brink of death, therefore, is a necessary ingredient of this kind of killing. The Chinese police have openly told Falun Gong practitioners, "We will make you beg for life while dying, and beg for death while living!" The only way out? To lie and say that Falun Gong has done harm to them and to society, to say Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance is evil, and to thank and applaud the government for saving them from Falun Gong. Tell lies to live, or tell the truth and die.

Due to the Chinese government’s blockage of information, we do not know how many practitioners have been tortured to death in police custody. From the over 2,600 reports we have received on the torture and deaths of the victims, we see an almost unimaginable picture of tragedy: Some died from their bodies being ripped apart by slowly pulling the limbs; some died after being locked in "water cages" and immersed in filthy water for months; some died from prolonged electric baton shocks on or in their genitals; some were frozen to death; some were burned alive. In extreme cases, an eight-month-old infant was killed with his mother, a 75-year-old grandmother was murdered, and a disabled man with a hunched back was killed when police forcefully "flattened out" his torso.

In addition to external injuries, the police also inflict internal pain through horrific force-feeding. These torturous force-feedings are not at all meant to nourish, but to cause excruciating internal pain. Policemen, guards, or convicts who are ordered to do so will jam a firm plastic tube into the victim’s nose and force it down to the stomach; sometimes it enters the lungs instead. The tube is often pulled out and re-inserted several times, causing internal bleeding. Boiling water, urine, feces, hot pepper oil, concentrated vinegar, mustard paste, and other irritating liquids are then poured through the tube. Of the known cases of killings of Falun Gong practitioners, this is by far the number one cause of death.

The mass killings of Falun Gong practitioners by the Chinese authorities have been reported by many journalists and human rights organizations. For example, in a Wall Street Journal report on December 26, 2000, Mr. Ian Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his series of reports on the persecution of Falun Gong, wrote:
"WEIFANG, ChinaRising out of the North China Plain… this is an unremarkable Chinese city in every respect but one: local police regularly torture residents to death. Since the beginning of the year, when police killed a 58-year-old retiree, at least 10 more Weifang residents have died in police custody. Weifang, which has less than one percent of the national population, accounts for 15 percent of those deaths."

Since Mr. Johnson’s report, at least 54 additional Falun Gong practitioners have died at the hands of the Weifang police.

It is important to note that the killings carried out in Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong aim only to demolish the minds and consciences of the victims, but they also result in the moral destruction of the torturers. Deceived by the hate propaganda, driven by government instruction, encouraged by promises of impunity, and enticed by financial rewards, police carry on torture and killing completely devoid of humanity, as some openly yell at Falun Gong practitioners, "We are reincarnated little devils from hell, and we’ll beat you into hell as well."

It is a killing of conscience, indeed.


Horrific as the tortures and killings are, the most sinister aspect of the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong is the so-called "transformation"-the brainwashing of practitioners so that they go against their own wills to publicly renounce and condemn Falun Gong. For victims of the persecution, the most painful memories are invariably of "being transformed."

Mr. Zhao Ming, who suffered 22 months of torture in six different detention centers and a labor camp, wrote, "After being given electric shocks for over half an hour, a thought came to my mind, ‘That’s it. I don’t want to bear it anymore. I can disclose their crimes after I get out.’ Because of this thought, I gave in… Many fellow practitioners asked me what pained me the most in the forced labor camp. This is it… The wounds from the physical torture can heal as time passes by, but the mental pain from this persecution can haunt a person for his entire life."

Through international pressure, Zhao Ming was freed and allowed to continue his studies at Trinity College in Ireland. He recalled, "I stepped out of the labor camp without any happiness, hope, or relief, because my spirit had been murdered."

Another Falun Gong practitioner wrote about her haunting experience: "On October 10, 2000, I had reached my limit of enduring the torture, and was forced to write the pledge to never again practice Falun Gong. The hurt is beyond description. At that moment I felt that my whole life, all the essence of my beingeverythinghad just vanished from me, and all I had left was an empty shell. I mumbled incessantly: ‘I am transformed, I am transformed, I am…’ Two years have passed, but I still have not completely walked out from the shadow and shame of being forced to betray my beliefs and barter away my own principles. From my own personal experience, I can attest to how those who are forced to ‘transform’ have been tortured beyond the limits of what any person can bear."
The "transformation" process embodies and distills all of the sinister nature of the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong. To force Falun Gong practitioners to give in, the police spare no trickery or coercion. They bring in practitioners’ families to beg them to give in and "go home"; they torture one practitioner until others submit; they even plead with practitioners that they be "sympathetic" to the officers’ "hard work." To soften a practitioner’s resolve, one police officer will inflict savage beatings and another will act sympathetic. Once the "tender" approach fails, the police do not hesitate to resort to torture. They even use nerve-damaging drugs to subdue practitioners and then press their fingerprints onto prepared "pledge letters."

Many "transformed" practitioners have suffered further humiliation from being forced to read their "pledge letters" to brainwashing classes or on publicly broadcast radio or television programs. To show that they are "sincere" in their "transformation," some practitioners have been forced to assist the police in coercing their fellow practitioners to "transform": to use their own experiences of "being saved by the government" to persuade other practitioners, to curse others as they have been cursed before, and to use on others the torture devices that they have been subjected to. In this way, they "show in action" that they have "completely broken away from Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance."

One can only guess at the guilt, shame, and self-loathing that "transformed" practitioners have endured. What helps them to recover, in the end, is Falun Gong. Mr. Chen Gang’s experience is typical: "When I was in desperation, it was again Falun Gong that lifted me up. No matter how much I felt like a damaged lonely boat striking out in the storm, I felt that I still had a pure and harmonious space inside my heart, the perfect harmony and serenity that I had experienced, and the pure land of Truth-Benevolence-Forbearance… Gradually, I found my self-confidence and my direction, and recovered my serenity and caring state."

Coercion cannot change one’s heart. Since 2001, over 270,000 Falun Gong practitioners have sent their "solemn declarations" to be posted on the Clearwisdom website, a site created by overseas Falun Gong practitioners. These solemn declarations are practitioners’ avowals that whatever they said or did under duress and deception that was against Falun Gong is null and void, and that they will resolutely continue to practice Falun Gong.

A Staged Self-Immolation and the Deception of World Opinion

At the same time as the violent persecution, Jiang’s regime also launched a far-reaching campaign of disinformation to justify its persecution and to escape world condemnation. State-run media flooded the printing presses and airwaves with fabrications about Mr. Li Hongzhi and Falun Gong. As with all lies, the propaganda faied miserably in the details. For example, the Chinese government made up claims that the practice of Falun Gong caused 1,400 people to die or to become insane. This number, even if assumed to be true, divided by 100 million practitioners, would be many orders of magnitude below the national average. In another example, the Chinese government claimed that Mr. Li Hongzhi had falsified his date of birth, and even produced a "hospital record" to prove that his mother was treated with oxytocin in 1952, before his birth. Oxytocin, however, was not to be identified until 1953.
In early 2001, the authorities attempted an outrageous stunt: a staged self-immolation of five people in Tiananmen Square. No less devious than Nero’s shift of blame for the Great Fire of Rome to Christians, the state-run media alleged that the immolators were Falun Gong practitioners and incited hatred in society toward Falun Gong. This staged self-immolation, however, has been analyzed by neutral reporters and by careful observers of the same videotape that was published by the Chinese government. There were many holes in the story, as well as contradictions and inconsistencies:

• An investigative story published by the Washington Post reported that no one had ever seen Ms. Liu Chunling, one of the "immolators," practice Falun Gong.

• Police were mysteriously patrolling Tiananmen Square with dozens of pieces of firefighting equipment that day.

• Liu Siying, the 12-year-old girl "immolator," was purported to have had a tracheotomy, but spoke and sang clearly to the interviewing camera, a medical impossibility.

• Ms. Hao Huijun, another "immolator," was reported to have graduated from Henan Music College in 1974. That college’s own website reveals that it did not admit students between 1962 and 1984.

• Mr. Wang Jindong was shown to have been badly burned; hair burns and plastic melts extremely rapidly; however, his hair and the plastic 7-UP bottle that he had "used to dowse gasoline" remained miraculously intact.

These holes prompted International Education Development, a United Nations NGO, to issue the following statement during the 2001 session of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: "The regime points to a supposed self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, as proof that Falun Gong is an ‘evil cult.’ However, we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government."

The Chinese Government’s Global Coercion of Conscience

In addition to deceit, the Chinese government has also repeatedly made threats of economic sanctions against countries, states, cities, and businesses that dare to criticize its persecution of Falun Gong. This creates a fear, a fear of being left out of some economic gain, a fear of speaking for conscience. With this tactic, the Chinese government has induced several major Western news media corporations to apply self-censorship in reporting China’s human rights violations, forced cities in a number of countries to rescind their moral support for the victims, and even coerced some democratic governments to stifle the voices of Falun Gong practitioners. In France, Germany, Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, and a few other countries, there have been cases in which local police forces were pressured into arbitrary and wrongful detention of Falun Gong practitioners who were merely exercising their rights of peaceful demonstration.
The Chinese agencies, however, do not stop at blackmail. Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders had the following to say about being physically assaulted by Chinese diplomats in February 2000:

"I wore [a T-shirt that talked about Falun Gong] out to a function that was being hosted by the People’s Republic’s Embassy here, in this building [Parliament]. I stood at the back of the room, and then all of a sudden I had four or five men surround me and start to harass me, and point fingers, and jostle me physically, saying that I had to leave, that I wasn’t welcome, go home, you know, cowboy, you don’t know what you’re doing… and what crossed my mind immediately was four or five people that comprise a gang on behalf of the People’s Republic of China think they can get away with doing that to me as a Member of Parliament, on Canadian soil, in my place of work, in the House of Commonscan you imagine what they’re doing to people back home in their own country? It was absolutely over the top! And then when a media reporter came over with his camera, they started to grab his camera, they tried to force it down to the ground, they told him to go away… They were issuing orders to a member of the free press here in Canada. … It was absolutely outrageous. And it just proved what Falun Dafa is up against. … We’re at a very critical moment. If we don’t take a stand now, history will look back at us and sigh."

Similar incidents of intimidation and assault have also happened in the United States, Iceland, Germany, Australia, Russia, Romania, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and many more. Simply put, the Chinese regime has exported its persecution to the world as a global campaign of evil against conscience.

Murder Attempt on Falun Gong Practitioners in South Africa

On June 28, 2004, at around 8:30 p.m., five Falun Gong practitioners were driving from Johannesburg International Airport to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, when a white car came up from behind and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle. The practitioners tried to change their speed to dodge the attack, but the assassins kept speed with them and continued to shoot. The practitioners’ car and driver were hit and forced off the road; the injured driver managed to stop in a field. The gunmen stopped and watched for a few seconds, then fled the scene.

This shooting was by no means a simple homicide attempt. The victims were among the group of nine Falun Gong practitioners from Australia who were there to file a lawsuitcharging China’s Vice President, Zeng Qinghong, and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, who were visiting South Africa from June 27 to June 29with torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Even before they left Australia, one of them had received two threatening phone calls. When they arrived in Johannesburg International Airport, they noticed a suspicious-looking man following and watching them. In addition, Mr. David Liang, the driver who was shot, was wearing a Falun Gong jacket. The South African police noted that the shooting site was not a high-crime area. The gunmen obviously did not want to rob the practitioners. These factors point toward a political motive for this shooting.
A hasty statement on June 30 by China’s Embassy in South Africa only adds to the suspicion. As the representative of Chinese nationals in South Africa, the embassy showed no sympathy toward Mr. Liang, who suffered gunshot wounds in both feet and bone fractures in the right foot. On the contrary, the embassy claimed that the incident was a Falun Gong conspiracy, and warned the international media not to make any "irresponsible report about the incident."

This shooting was by no means an isolated attack on Falun Gong practitioners. To stifle overseas Falun Gong practitioners’ efforts to reveal the brutality in China, agents of the Chinese government have resorted to violence and hate crimes to intimidate Falun Gong practitioners. In the United States alone, there have been multiple incidents of physical assault on Falun Gong practitioners by Chinese nationals with close ties to the Chinese consulates in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City. In response to these blatant infringements of civil rights, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 304) on October 4, 2004, calling on China to immediately stop persecuting Falun Gong inside and outside China.

The Struggle Between Truth and Lies

On March 5, 2002, at around 8 p.m., eight channels of the local cable TV system in the city of Changchun simultaneously broadcast documentary films showing the spread of Falun Gong around the world, the Chinese government’s violent persecution of Falun Gong, and the staged self-immolation in Tiananmen Square. The broadcast lasted more than 50 minutes. The shockwave spread quickly and far beyond Changchun; by the next day, people in other regions had begun to whisper to each other, "The self-immolation is a hoax!"

The broadcast was the first-ever showing of dissenting messages from any persecuted group via state-controlled media in the entire history of communist China. The magnanimous act is not only another demonstration of Falun Gong practitioners’ courage, but also represents their deepening understanding of the nature of the persecution and their benevolence toward the general public, which is under the control of the lies of Jiang’s regime.

At the beginning of the persecution, the trusting Falun Gong practitioners believed that the persecution must have been the result of the leadership being misinformed and misled by a few who hated Falun Gong, so they went to Beijing in large numbers or wrote to the government to plead their case. At the same time, they peacefully endured the ill-treatment from the police, and calmly told them "We don’t hate you for not understanding us," and "If our sufferance can deflate some of your hatred toward Falun Gong, I am willing." Their forbearance has moved many Chinese people, including even the policemen.
Because there are so many Falun Gong practitioners, and because they are very self-disciplined and totally peaceful, it was difficult for their neighbors, colleagues, families, and friends to turn against them. The staged self-immolation, however, had the nation deceived. As reported by a Washington Post article on August 5, 2001, "The self-immolation of five purported [practitioners] in Tiananmen Square on January 23 was a turning point. A 12-year-old girl and her mother died, and the Party made the incident the centerpiece of its campaign to discredit Falun Gong. By repeatedly broadcasting images of the girl’s burning body and interviews with the others saying they believed self-immolation would lead them to paradise, the government convinced many Chinese that Falun Gong was an ‘evil cult.’"

Many misinformed people began to assist in the government’s persecution, or even directly participate in the abuse and beatings. Policemen were even more affected. Consumed by the hate propaganda, some intensified their torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners, claiming, "We will kill you and set your body on fire as self-immolation!"

There is no question that these are criminal acts, and it is easy to hate back. However, to Falun Gong practitioners, their violators are also victims of the Chinese government’s persecution, and they should be given the opportunity to awaken. With great benevolence, Falun Gong practitioners take great risks to tell the facts to their torturers, to their misinformed classmates, and to the general public, so as to wake them up from a persecution that is completely based on lies. They mass-mail letters to police stations, they pass out flyers in supermarkets, they distribute VCDs to mailboxes, they post articles on the Internet, etc. In the Chinese language, this is called "clarifying the truth."
Their truth clarification is powerful. There are numerous stories of policemen changing their attitude toward practitioners, cellmates of practitioners learning Falun Gong, strangers protecting practitioners, and prejudiced family members helping to clarify the truth. There are even people in charge of "610 Offices" who have become Falun Gong practitioners.

To Jiang Zemin, truth is disastrous. Upon learning of the Changchun broadcast of Falun Gong programs, he issued a strict order that if a similar broadcast happened again, all city officials would be fired. He also instructed the Changchun police department that all Falun Gong practitioners involved in the broadcast must be "killed without pardon." Later, Jiang instructed the "610 Offices" that any Falun Gong practitioner spotted distributing Falun Gong material can be "shot on sight."

For their benevolent spreading of the truth, Falun Gong practitioners have sacrificed enormously. In the month following the Changchun broadcast, over 5,000 practitioners were arrested in the city, and at least a dozen died during "interrogation." When the police arrested Mr. Liu Chengjun, the organizer of the broadcast, they fired two shots into his leg even after he was handcuffed and shackled. Mr. Liu died on the night of Christmas 2003, after enduring over one year of extreme torture.
However, truth is invincible. After the Changchun broadcast, many similar broadcasts followed in other cities. Every hour, in every corner in China, numerous Falun Gong practitioners are preparing and distributing truth clarification materials. They may not have comparable literary grace, but they are the living Justin Martyr, Origen, and Ignatius.

"Coming for You"

On November 20, 2001, at around 2 p.m., 36 Western practitioners from 12 countries gathered in Tiananmen Square. They sat in a meditation position, unfurled a large yellow Falun Gong banner, shut their eyes, and began their Falun Gong meditation exercise.

Within seconds, several police vans rushed over and surrounded the group, and officers began dragging, kicking, punching, and pushing the practitioners into the vans. In response, they started to shout in Chinese: "Falun Gong is good!"

These 36 foreigners were the first of many foreign practitioners who traveled to China to hold peaceful appeals. Like their fellow practitioners in China, they wanted to let the Chinese people know the truth. In their own countries, they often pass out flyers to Chinese tourists who are surprised to learn that, contrary to what the Chinese government had led them to believe, Falun Gong is not banned in other countries. Sometimes they engage Chinese tourists in conversation and discover just how misinformed they are about Falun Gong. To let more Chinese people know the truth, they decided to go to China.

To date, hundreds of practitioners from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and several other countries have traveled to China, as the words of their song say, "Facing violence and danger, again and again I come for you; I come with love for you…"

For their love of a traditional Chinese practice, for their benevolence to the Chinese people, they were arrested, mistreated, and deported; many were beaten, some severely. While most were arrested in Tiananmen Square, many were abducted while walking on the street or taken from their hotel rooms. While in detention, they were not allowed to contact their families or their embassies. They were interrogated and intimidated, and most had their valuable belongings stolen by the police. When they cited international standards for the treatment of foreign nationals, the police simply stated, "This is China."

If the Chinese policemen have no inhibition in beating foreigners, knowing that they are to be deported within hours, what would they not do to Chinese Falun Gong practitioners, whom they can incarcerate indefinitely?
Falun Gong Practitioners’ Quest for Justice

When Jiang Zemin launched the persecution against Falun Gong, he was counting on a quick kill. The state-run media publicly announced that the government would "completely solve the Falun Gong problem" in three months, and Jiang himself confidently proclaimed, "I don’t believe I cannot conquer Falun Gong."

As the struggle between truth and lies, love and hate, peace and violence unfolds, as it becomes more and more clear that Jiang will never succeed in his campaign to eradicate Falun Gong, the contrast between courage and cowardice also starts to show. In July 2001, during Jiang Zemin’s visit to Malta, a Chinese woman walked up to him and asked him to stop persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. In April 2002, when Jiang visited Germany, a white male greeted him in Chinese, and then said "Falun Dafa is good" in Chinese. Fearing to see more protests from Falun Gong practitioners, Jiang demanded that his foreign hosts take drastic measures to ensure that he would see no more Falun Gong practitioners. As a result, during many state visits, Jiang’s motorcade dared not use the front gates of hotels or restaurants, but instead used back doors or underground tunnels.

Jiang, however, has more than protests to run from. With the help of many prominent human rights lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners around the world have filed dozens of lawsuits against him and his accomplices for genocide, crimes against humanity, and torture, making Jiang the only dictator in history to be sued in over a dozen countries. As more and more shocking facts of the Jiang regime’s hate incitement, state terrorism, violence, and cruelty are revealed, the day of a new Nuremberg trial for the regime’s crimes against conscience is bound to come.

The Persecution still Continues

The persecution of Falun Gong is still ongoing in China and the death toll rises daily. The death of Ms. Gao Rongrong is a recent example of the severity of the persecution. On May 7, 2004, two policemen at Longshan Labor Camp handcuffed Ms. Gao to a heating pipe, used three electric batons to shock her face for seven hours, and disfigured her. In July 2004, Falun Gong practitioners in China sent photos of Ms. Gao overseas to expose the barbarity. On October 5, 2004, Ms. Gao, with the help of fellow Falun Gong practitioners, escaped from police custody. This shocked the Chinese authorities. Luo Gan instructed that the exposure of Ms. Gao’s pictures and her escape "have grave international repercussions" and must be "handled well." The Ministry of Public Security set recapturing Ms. Gao as a top priority. The authorities even used public radio to solicit information to aid their search. On March 6, 2005, the police captured Ms. Gao and those who had helped her. The Chinese government could not let Ms. Gao live and be evidence of its barbarity. Her parents tried for several months to locate her, but were given the runaround. Not until June 12, 2005, when Ms. Gao had lost consciousness and was on the verge of death, were her parents notified to see her in an emergency room in a hospital. Even in her parents’ presence, the police repeatedly asked the doctors, "When will she die?"
Ms. Gao died on June 16, 2005, at the age of 37. She was the 2,583rd Falun Gong practitioner confirmed to have died as a result of the persecution.

These people could have stayed alive if they had agree