The drama was engineered with the most careful thought. A billion Chinese people were to be deceived by it. There was little room for error, and a pretext was badly needed – a justification for the regime’s cold blooded genocide of a group of kind-hearted people.

As with the Tibetan Buddhists, their crime was one of innocence – that they were not the atheist-Marxist kind; that they practiced Truthfulness-Kindness-Endurance, and a gentle meditation involving gentle, ancient qigong [tai chi] exercises.

Their number, state statistics put at over 70 million, in mainland China alone. That was a figure that topped the communist party membership – and a cause of grave concern for the regime.

For the regime, anything spiritual, be they Tibetan Buddhists, or the practitioners of Falun Dafa, were a perceived threat to its atheist-materialist ideology, and, hence, to its hold to absolute power over the people,  and was something that had to be eradicated.

Practitioners of Falun Dafa, the fastest growing system of mind-body cultivation in the history of China, had become a target of the regime’s persecution, two years before, in 1999, when a brutal wave of persecution was unleashed against them. ( )

For this drama, among a few others, a 12 year old and her mother were chosen. They agreed, probably under promises of rewards, under threats, or, perhaps, both.

Scripted into that drama, and unaware to them, was their cold blooded murder, on that very stage. In the middle of Tiananmen Square, the mother would be clubbed to death – and the 12 year old, tortured, over months, in a hospital, whilst she is denied access to the external world.

The blame for the incident would then be shifted on to a 100 million innocents, and the public sentiment would be turned against them.

The drama was played out as planned. News were telecast nationwide immediately saying five Falun Dafa practitioners had set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square, in protest of the ongoing persecution.The reports went contrary to protocols which requires all sensitive news to be vetted by the multiple levels of the regime-apparatus; and contrary to protocols which curtail coverage in state media of protests against the government.

While they presented no evidence to support their claim, the Chinese state media repeatedly asserted: The immolators were practitioners of the ancient spiritual way, the most popular system of qi gong mediation then in China.

Video footage of the scene, however, only appeared after “a week of production,” news dissector Danny Schechter notes.

Despite the careful engineering that went in, the footage of the incident eventually became a complete exposé of the regime's nature, and a case-study of how the regime had been deceiving its own citizens, throughout its history: Feeding them with little more than propaganda, and continually denying them the right to freedom, be it in access to information, or even in mere thought, or in what they may choose to believe.

Note 1: Propaganda against groups or people which the regime wishes to suppress has been part of the regime’s modus operandi throughout its history. In a recent case, when the jailed democracy activist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, the regime labeled the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, an “evil cult.”

Note 2: As another example of characteristic PRC propaganda: A People’s Daily article, dated June 01, 2000, claims: “The commentary also unveiled the evil deeds of Dalai Lama and his followers during their armed insurgence in 1959 which aimed to protect feudal serfdom. Their evil deeds include splitting the motherland, butchering Tibetan people, looting temples, and raping women.. They killed a nine-year-old boy Samni, for example, cutting open his belly and eating his heart. Then, they cut the boy into small pieces and had him hung from a tree.” –Thursday, June 01, 2000, Chinese state owned news: People’s Daily [ archived: ] . It is interesting to note that “butchering Tibetan people, looting temples, and raping women,” are things the Chinese Communist Party itself is doing. Such propaganda manages to function in an environment where all forms of media are quarantined, and even twitter, bbc, and facebook are illegal.

Note 3: The Chinese regime has, as part of its propaganda appartus, an estimated 300,000 strong group of paid online commentators, known as the 50-cent party, who work to skew public opinion in favor of the regime. See also, the BBC article: "China's internet spin doctors"


Five people were reported to have set themselves on fire on that day in Tiananmen Square. The flames were completely put out by policemen standing by with fire extinguishers, within a span of 90 seconds.

The nearest building is over 10 minutes away, and the police do not routinely carry fire extinguishers – yet, nearly 25 pieces of firefighting equipment were used in an interval of 90 seconds. The police are not known to carry firefighting equipment in their usual patrols of the square.

A European Journalist noted: "I have never seen policemen patrolling on Tiananmen Square carrying fire extinguishers. How come they all showed up today? The location of the incident is at least 20 minutes roundtrip from the nearest building — the People's Great Hall. If they were to have dashed over there to get the equipment, it would have been too late."

For prudent observers, the most obvious giveaways were the masks. The face of the victims seemed nothing like burned skin – and were formed of patches of two colors, alternating sharply across artistically drawn curves[See Figure on Right].

And as the camera zoomed in to the face of a so called victim, more details became obvious - There were layers of likely fire-proof clothing that the immolators were bagged in, and the faces seemed clearly covered with masks. The reader is urged to view the award-winning analysis of in the incident – False Fire, on .

Danny Schechter notes that practitioners were quick to draw attention to that the exercise movements or the meditation posture of the self-immolators were not correct, which would be strange given the regime’s claim they are long term practitioners of the system. Further, all forms of killing, including suicide are considered sinful, in the Buddhist teachings of the ancient Buddhist tradition.

Professor David Ownby notes that “Falun gong representative from outside of China immediately contested the accuracy of reports coming from the mainland. Over and over again, they insisted – correctly – that there is no sanction for violence in Li Hongzhi’s writings or in Falun Gong practice – whether it be violence targeted at someone else, or at oneself.”

Philip Pan of Washington Post who visited the hometown of two purported self-immolators, writes:

Beijing denied requests to interview Liu Siying and the three other survivors, who are all hospitalized ... A Kaifeng official said only China Central Television and the official New China News Agency were permitted to speak to their relatives or their colleagues. A man who answered the door at the Liu home referred questions to the government.

..But Liu Chunling's Apple Orchard neighbors described her as a woman who led a troubled life and suffered from psychological problems. State media identified 78-year-old Hao Xiuzhen as her adoptive mother. Neighbors said they quarreled often before Liu drove the woman from their home last year. "There was something wrong with her," said neighbor Liu Min, 51. "She hit her mother, and her mother was crying and yelling. She hit her daughter, too."

..There were also questions about how Liu supported herself and about the whereabouts of her daughter's father. Neighbors said Liu was not a native of Kaifeng, and that a man in southern Guangdong province paid her rent. Others, including neighbor Wen Jian, 22, said Liu worked in a local nightclub and was paid to dine with and dance with customers.

Professor David Ownby notes that such is: “Hardly a typical profile of a practitioner.” Philip Pan further notes that “None ever saw her practice Falun Gong.” After this article, the reporter was arrested upon returning to the immolator’s hometown for further investigation.

“Significantly,” points out news analyst Danny Schechter, “one of the CNN producers on the scene, just 50 feet away, says she did not even see a child there.”

Beatrice Turpin covered Falun Gong in China for Associated Press TV and wrote about her experiences for MediaChannel. She responded from her home in Thailand: "There was a big brouhaha with Falun Gong protests and footage of police beating practitioners last Chinese New Year and it would certainly fit in with typical China strategy to stage an event this year and make the show their own."

Speech identification technology at a world-renowned laboratory in speech identification, synthesis and verification in Taiwan, pointed out that the lead self-immolator, “Wang Jindong,” who appeared several times on China’s state-run CCTV programs, could only have been played by two different people, as the voices were unambiguously determined to belong to two people. This evidence emerged further corroborating a previous analysis which showed the hairline and ears of the “Wang Jindong” in the self-immolation footage as being different from the photo of “Wang Jindong” released by China’s state-run media.


 If the incident lasted just a couple of minutes, “Who took the videos?” How come they zoom in and out - how come an entire camera crew were in place to capture the action in all detail? The footage, as aired on state television, shows the cameras zooming in on the victims’ face, and the victims are taken to hospital only after their apparent agonies are thoroughly caught on camera. The footage can be seen in the award-winning documentary-analysis – “False Fire.” ( )

The victims, speak a something to the camera - rehearsed lines - which Falun Dafa practitioners point out has nothing to do with their teachings. And these statements, and displays of agony, are thoroughly videographed before they are “rushed” to the hospital.

The regime answered questions raised on the source of the footage, saying it was from a CNN crew who happened to be there at the time in Tiananmen Square. In a Washington Post article, CNN’s chief news executive, Eason Jordan, said “the footage used in the Chinese television reports could not have come from CNN videotape because the CNN cameraman was arrested almost immediately after the incident began.” The Washington Post article goes on to say, “The close-up shots shown on Chinese television appear to have been taken without any interference from police. In some, the camera is clearly behind police barricades …In addition, footage from overhead surveillance cameras in Tiananmen Square appears to show a man using a small handheld video camera to film the scene, not a large TV news camera.” The man with the video camera is dressed like a Chinese police officer and is moving freely among them to video tape the scene at close range. In one instance: The officer stands beside the person, holds a blanket near the self-immolator’s body and waits. Finally, the self-immolator shouts out something for the camera , which runs like “This universal dafa is something everyone has to get through,” (spokespersons for the Falun Dafa Information Center make it clear that this statement has absolutely no basis in the teachings of Falun Dafa) at which point the officer than throws the blanket on the man, and the camera moves. Why was it that the officer waited for the man to shout this slogan as the video camera was rolling right in front of him?

Source of long-range footage remains unknown. The long-distance surveillance cameras located on roofs of the buildings surrounding Tiananmen Square pan back and forth automatically, and do not have the capability to zoom in and out. Yet, the long distance footage of the self-immolations was not panning, but focusing in and on the exact locations of the self-immolations. Additionally, these cameras were zooming in and out. Who took this footage and how did they happen to be on the rooftops with a long distance zoom-capable video camera at the right time?

Unusual Alacrity

The Wall Street Journal's Ian Johnson, observed the state media "reported [the victim's] death with unusual alacrity, implying that either the death took place earlier than reported or the usually cautious media had top-level approval to rush out electronic reports and a televised dispatch. The 7 p.m. local evening news, for example, had a filmed report from Mr. Tan's hometown of Changde, a small city in Hunan province. Most reports for the evening news are vetted by noon, so the daily broadcast rarely carries reports from the same day, let alone an event that happened at noon and involved satellite feeds from relatively remote parts of the country."

Bludgeoned to Death

Above footage, at 3:53, shows a victim of the incident fall from being bludgeoned by a man in military coat.

“In the slowed version, it appears that Liu Chunling, one of two people who died, collapsed not from the flames but from being bludgeoned by a man in a military overcoat.” – The Boston Globe

Footage Shows a Self-Immolator Clubbed on the Head by Security Officer: From the video recording of the self-immolation aired on CCTV, one can see a man wearing a military overcoat and he appears to have a heavy object that strikes the head of Ms. Liu Chunling, one of the self-immolators. The impact of the blow sends her immediately to the ground. Analysts believe that Liu Chunling died at the scene from this assault. Who is this man and why did he strike Ms. Liu on the head? One theory derived from Ms. Liu’s frantic motion and reported yelling during the incident suggests she had done or said something that might betray the self-immolation plot. Another, is they needed a death or two for sentimental impact.

In The Hospital

“The government says doctors performed a tracheotomy on the victim, but a pediatric surgeon said that, if that were true, the child wouldn't be speaking right away.” – Danny Schechter, News Dissector

Medical personnel at Jishuitan Hospital – the hospital where the self-immolators were rushed to after the incident – revealed that the ambulance carrying the self-immolators arrived two hours after they were loaded into the ambulance on Tiananmen Square. It is only about 6 miles between Tiananmen Square and Jishuitan Hospital. The trip should take approximately 15 minutes. Where were the victims during these two hours?

Mysterious Death of Young Girl: Medical staff at Jishuitan Hospital also say the 12-year-old girl reportedly involved in the self-immolation died “suddenly” just before she was to be released from the hospital. They reported that her death was “very suspicious” because she had recovered well and showed good health just a day before she died. They reported that on the morning of March 17, 2001 – the day she was to be released – she was “quite animated and active” and was visited by the head of the Beijing City Medical Administration Division. A few hours later she was suddenly in critical condition and died.

The reader is urged to watch the False Fire documentary for further information on the topic. , 

"You've got Falun Gong people in this country, they've been oppressed over and over again, they are not allowed to speak, they are not allowed to assert any of their rights as citizens, the level of frustration must be terribly, terribly high.. I can understand people doing that.. but ironically, we ultimately found out that it was staged anyway, it was not real.. it was completely staged by the government." – Clive Ansley, North American President of CIPFG, former professor of Chinese History and Law, from the Documentary, Beyond the Red Well.

Further information on the ongoing persecution:,,,,