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Behind the invisible battle lines
Xiao Ming

As the high-tech information industry advances, the virtual world of the Internet is becoming more and more colorful. Computer users can now learn about things happening all around the world through the Internet.
Television, which was invented in the US during the 1940s, also let people around the world share both joy and sadness across space and time. Nearly a billion viewers tuned into the World Cup soccer tournament jointly hosted by Korea and Japan. Both excited fans of winning teams and dejected fans of losing teams had their images transmitted throughout the world via television screens.

However, sad and disturbing things are happening on the Internet, which was supposed to be a haven for free information flow. In the past four years, the Jiang Zemin regime in China has used the Internet to persecute Falun Gong. (Falun Gong is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principles of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is practiced in over 60 countries worldwide.) The Chinese rulers have imported advanced network technologies from abroad, established a bloated Internet police force, and invested large amounts of money, technology, and talent to implement their persecution campaigns. Jiang Mianheng, Jiang Zemin’s son, supervised the development of digital monitoring systems, including the “Golden Shield” Project. Jiang Jr. was the original proponent of the “Golden Shield” Project, which is a comprehensive digital monitoring system. Jiang Sr. adopted the project as part of his national policy.

The project has so far cost US $800 million (6.4 billion yuan). Once the system is fully operational, closed-circuit TVs will monitor all the public areas in China and all network information flow, including telephone calls, Internet communications, financial transactions, and personal activities, will be stored in giant databases. Everything a Chinese person says or does will be under the watchful eyes of the government.

The Internet police force in China is currently 300,000 strong and consists of young communist cadres with computer and network expertise. In addition, the central and local governments have recruited Internet security guards to block foreign web sites, filter Internet content according to state-sanctioned lists of keywords, hijack domain names, block IP numbers of dissident web sites, and monitor e-mail.

The Jiang regime has used the Internet to monitor, arrest, and persecute Falun Gong practitioners. According to the website, a 47-year-old Falun Gong practitioner in Daqing City, Helongjiang Province was tortured to death for posting factual information about Falun Gong on the Internet. Wang Yang, a Falun Gong practitioner in Zhengzhou was arrested for sending Falun Gong materials on the Internet.

Jiang Zhong, former Qingdao Beer manager in Weifang City, Shandong Province, was sent to Hanting Detention Center for sending e-mail to Hong Kong in July of 1999. Jiang was not allowed to practice Falun Gong in the detention center, which is very harsh to inmates. Once he was chained up like a death-row inmate for practicing Falun Gong. He was often forced to do hard labor and would be deprived of food if he did not meet production quotas. Prisoners would not be allowed to eat for days if they failed to recite the prison rules or if they practiced Falun Gong. Their meals consisted of a small piece of hard steamed bread with turnips boiled in dirty salt water, which had a bitter and astringent taste. Jiang lost over 60 lbs. over the course of eight months. His mother (also a practitioner) traveled from Qingdao to visit him several times, but the guards never let her see him even once. His mother petitioned and appealed to the government without any response. In April of 2000, Jiang Zhong was sentenced to three years in the Weibei labor camp.

On February 19, “Reporters without Borders” denounced China for sentencing five Falun Gong practitioners to prison terms. These five practitioners, who exposed the abuse of other Falun Gong practitioners in Chinese prisons, were accused of “spreading false information” and “libeling the government” and sentenced to 5 to 14 years. One of the sentenced was the CEO of a technology firm. The court paper said that the information posted by Falun Gong practitioners on the Internet “damaged the image of the government.” So far, several dozen practitioners have been imprisoned for posting information on the Internet. A “Reporters without Borders” statement said that there was absolutely no reason to repress the members of this spiritual movement and called for the release of all of these prisoners.

The Jiang regime has used large amounts of resources and manpower to persecute Falun Gong practitioners of all walks of life. Many local officials claim that they are simply following the orders of their superiors in persecuting peaceful Falun Gong practitioners, blocking Falun Gong web sites, and monitoring and tracing Internet users, many of whom have been arrested, detained, or sent to labor camps.

In the famous Nuremberg trial after World War II, Nazi war criminals were classified into different types according to their crimes. Nazi officers who murdered victims were only class C war criminals, and those who gave orders were class A war criminals and eligible for the death penalty. Without those who gave orders and those who followed orders against their own consciences, there would have been no murders. Like the war criminals in Nuremberg, Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, Liu Jing, and Zhou Yongkang, the four top officials who ordered and who are coordinating the persecution of Falun Gong and other officials who followed their orders cannot escape the trials of history. Everyone, even all-powerful dictators, must take individual responsibility for what they have done.

Chinese Internet users have lost their right to knowledge. The Chinese government is also using taxpayer money to deceive Internet users with their propaganda and to incite hatred against Falun Gong. Consequently, the Chinese people are not aware of the truth. They are not aware of the tragedy that is happening not only to Falun Gong practitioners, but to all citizens in China.

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