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Censoring independent voices
The Chinese government is sending up a satellite to block transmissions about Falun Gong
Suman Srinivasan

According to International Data Group’s Singapore branch, China is preparing to launch a satellite that is aimed exclusively at blocking video transmissions made by Falun Gong practitioners. The report says that the Sinosat-2 satellite is currently under construction and will be launched next year. It will not be known if the anti-jamming technology will work until the satellite is launched.

Why is the Chinese government spending a huge amount of money to send up a satellite for the sole purpose of blocking transmissions about Falun Gong? One has to take a closer look at recent events to find out the real motive of a few leaders of the Chinese government.

Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, China’s state-run media has repeatedly portrayed Falun Gong and its practitioners in a poor light, making them out to be people who are dangerous to society. In addition, workplaces, schools and colleges are encouraged to use all means necessary to make Falun Gong practitioners give up their practice. Regular defamatory sessions and classes are held to malign the meditation practice and to instigate hatred in the minds of Chinese people against Falun Gong.

The Chinese government has denied its citizens access to independent information about Falun Gong. All Internet websites that contain information about Falun Gong, about the physical and mental benefits of Falun Gong, and that support the practice and the human rights of practitioners in China are severely restricted. Anyone who tries to access (a website that details the persecution that Falun Gong practitioners face in China on a daily basis) is tracked down and arrested, or at the very least, warned sternly not to access the website again.

As a result, many Chinese people have developed animosity toward Falun Gong practitioners and support the Chinese government's often violent efforts to suppress the practice. Many recent examples of this have been demonstrated, even overseas – in America and France, Falun Gong practitioners have been prohibited from taking part in Chinese cultural events because of misunderstanding.

It was under such circumstances that in March 2002, Falun Gong practitioners first tapped into a local cable television network in Changchun city to broadcast truthful information about Falun Gong and the persecution unfolding in China. Such a brave act was followed by more such transmissions of videos that expressed concern over the persecution of Falun Gong over cable networks. Just like other means that they have used, such as hanging up banners and distributing videos and pamphlets, the transmission of video signals was done in a totally peaceful way, using peaceful means designed not to harm anyone.

That first cable transmission terrified the top leaders of the Chinese government, especially Jiang Zemin, who had personally overridden the mechanism of the Chinese government to launch the persecution against Falun Gong.

Amnesty International reported that “the 610 office, established to lead the campaign against the Falun Gong, issued unwritten instructions in 2001 allowing the police and other officials to go beyond legal restraints in the campaign, discharging them of responsibility if a Falun Gong member dies in detention due to beatings.” The Falun Dafa Information Center reported that the police were given orders by the 610 office to “kill without pardon.” This led to a large-scale hunting down of Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun city. Over 5,000 practitioners were arrested over the next couple of weeks, some very violently, as a consequence of this.

In one horrifying incident, police shot one practitioner, Liu Chengjun, through both knees while arresting him. He died on Christmas Day 2003, after months of agonizing torture.

The IDG reported that the Ministry of Information Industry claimed that the video transmission was a "threat to national security." And, pray - what is a "threat to national security?" A group of harmless, unarmed people trying to reveal the truth about an unjustifiable campaign of violence that is being imposed on them?

It is said that knowledge is power. In that case, a few of China's leaders are doing all they can to stop one of the world's most ancient cultures from rising to a respectable position in the world - by denying its citizens access to the truth about Falun Gong.

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