Modern Chinese City Enjoined in Retrograde Campaign
A government-issued form in China’s economic hub of Shenzhen asks the usual questions: date of birth, work experience, educational background. But then on page two comes the zinger: “Have you ever participated in the ‘June 4’ turmoil, or ‘Falun Gong,’ or other illegal organization activities?”
The term June 4 refers to the Tiananmen Square protests of over two decades ago; Falun Gong is a popular spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999. Both are politically sensitive terms—hence the scare quotes—and involvement in them can lead to a lost job, or far worse (torture and forced labor, for example).
In this case the document is one that prospective Shenzhen dwellers need to fill out in order to transfer their residence permit to the city. The question about Falun Gong is also part of a broad set of intrusive measures to discover, and expel or attack, Falun Gong practitioners in Shenzhen.
The measures are not of a piece with the modern, forward-looking image that Shenzhen cultivates as a city, given that it was one of China’s first special economic zones—places designated by strongman Deng Xiaoping to accept influxes of foreign capital during China’s economic reforms.
The efforts against Falun Gong in Shenzhen are partly explained by the fact that the Chinese official who is behind them, Wang Rong, enjoys close ties with former regime leader Jiang Zemin. Jiang masterminded the campaign against the spiritual practice, and made it a personal crusade while inside and outside of office.
Companies must include similar declarations in their employee transfer forms also, according to a resident who is transferring his residence to Shenzhen.
Mr. Zheng, a Shenzhen resident, said the problem with the process is that it asks companies to intrude on the lives of people, forcing them to give their political stance on matters like Falun Gong.
Some work-units have required employees leaving the city to sign an agreement that they will not practice Falun Gong or read information about it, too, according to Zheng.
He said that the 610 Office in Shenzhen, the extralegal agency that was established to lead the campaign against the practice, has recruited and trained hundreds of unemployed people, including local thugs, to find Falun Gong practitioners and capture them. They’re supplied with motorcycles, cell phones and other equipment used for following and monitoring practitioners, and they infiltrate local communities, or station themselves at subways and buses, to watch out for Falun Gong activities.
Wang Rong has been the deputy Party Secretary of Shenzhen since 2009, and is rumored to have close ties with Jiang Zemin. He has been aggressive in the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, using the enormous budget of the domestic “security maintenance” system, which was until recently also under the control of another Jiang loyalist.
When Wang Rong was mayor of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province from 2003-2007, he led a number of “strike hard” campaigns against Falun Gong practitioners, which led to deaths in custody due to torture and abuse.
During his tenure as director of Education Bureau in Jiangsu Province from 2000 to 2001, Wang worked with the provincial 610 Office to spread anti-Falun Gong propaganda through the school system. He also ordered schools to stock up on anti-Falun Gong propaganda tracts, encouraging children to hate a traditional spiritual practice that teaches meditative exercises and the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Read the original Chinese article.
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