41. CCTV Reporter Acknowledges That Part of the Self-Immolation Scene Was Staged
Li Yuqiang is a senior reporter for CCTV’s news show Focal Point. Since the persecution began in 1999 she has been responsible for producing programs defaming Falun Gong, including several interview programs.
In early 2002, as Li was interviewing people at the Tuanhe Labor Camp about the self-immolation, one Falun Gong prisoner, Zhao Ming, raised the matter of the Sprite bottle. Li responded to the quirk candidly, saying, “We shot that scene after the fact. If it looks suspicious we’ll stop showing it.” She then tried to argue that the scene was arranged in an attempt to prove to the audience that Falun Gong practitioners conducted the self-immolation.
What was CCTV doing shooting scenes “after the fact”? Why would Wang Jindong—someone supposedly so crazed and zealous as to set himself on fire—cooperate so fully with CCTV’s wish to re-shoot the scene?
42. Organizations Outside China Publicly Acknowledge that the Self-Immolation Was Staged
On August 14, 2001, at a meeting of the United Nations the NGO International Education Development made a formal statement which declared, “The Chinese regime points to a supposed self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square on January 23, 2001, as proof to slander Falun Gong. However, we have obtained a video of that incident that in our view proves that this event was staged by the government. We have copies of this video here and those interested can pick up a copy.”
The United Nations, Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International, The Washington Post, and The Epoch Times have all acknowledged holes in the official story.
In 2002, a documentary deconstructing the CCTV video footage, False Fire, received an honorary award at the 51st Columbus International Film Festival.
43. Liu Standing, Three Police Officers Using Fire Extinguishers Simultaneously
When one is on fire, the person falls down quickly and is unable to move too far due to severe pain caused by the burning fire. Yet the CCTV footage shows that Liu Chunling, on fire, was still staggering forward. Only if the camera were in position before Liu was set on fire would CCTV be able to capture this. In the same shot, three policemen are seen using fire-extinguishers to put out the fire simultaneously. That is to say, the three policemen would have had to first react to the fire, get extinguishers from the car[s], race for tens of meters to get to the fire (all in less than 10 seconds); and all three policemen from varying distances would have to arrive at the scene virtually simultaneously. Yet the TV footage shows the nearest patrol car about 10 meters away, with other patrol cars much further away.
It is rather strange, then, that the TV footage shows all three of them standing next to the person on fire, in their respective positions, timed it just right to start extinguishing the fire together, and put out the fire in two seconds. One would expect the first policeman to arrive at the scene to put out the fire first, to be followed by others from different directions and different distances away.
44. At Least Two of the Self-Immolators Held Under House Arrest
Two of the self-immolators, Chen Guo and her mother Hao Huijun, have been held under house arrest at the Beijiao Welfare Home in Kaifeng City. Zhan Jingui, a retired officer from the Kaifeng City Police Department is in charge of guarding the two. The police watch Chen Guo and her mother around the clock to prevent any contact with the outside world. The police have privately revealed that the government is trying to take care of the two and not let them die, so they can be used to attack and discredit Falun Gong.
45. Liu Yunfang, Arrested Even Though He Never Set Himself On Fire, Makes Contradictory Statements
It was mentioned in the Xinhua report of February 28, 2001, “Liu Yunfang, who considered himself to be a ‘Falun Dafa veteran practitioner,’ and who directly organized the self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square, was not as ‘attached’…. In accordance with their prearranged agreement, they set fire to themselves to achieve ‘consummation’ on Tiananmen Square, timed to coincide with the Spring Festival. But Liu didn’t even pour a drop of gasoline on his body.” In the Beijing Public Security Bureau Detention Center, when a reporter asked him about this, Liu Yunfang scoffed at the question and tried to defend the inconsistencies of his actions and statements, and saying, “I did not set myself on fire because the ‘master’ wanted me to stay. He wanted me to live so that I could speak.”
One year later, CCTV reporters interviewed Liu Yunfang. When asked about the purpose of “self-immolation,” Liu said the it was to “clarify the truth to people.”
“Clarifying the truth” is a term used in Falun Gong to describe efforts to expose the lies of the Communist regime and clear up misconceptions about the practice. “Consummation” is a seperate term that refers to completing one’s cultivation. Neither term has anything to do with dying or self-immolation. Why would Liu deliberately mislead the public with his words? And why would Liu change his story– twice?
46. CCP Makes Bogus Claim: “Urge to Self-Immolate” After Reading Articles By Falun Gong’s Founder
CCP media claimed that the “self-immolators” were urged to set themselves on fire after reading articles written by the founder of Falun Gong. This doesn’t make sense. There are so many Falun Gong practitioners around the world who read the same articles.
Practitioners have worked tirelessly to clarify the facts and expose the persecution in China so that people who are deceived by the rumors and lies can understand the beauty of Falun Gong. How could the “self-immolators” disregard the fact that countless practitioners are being persecuted, and then to burn themselves in public, creating more excuses for Jiang Zemin’s regime to persecute Falun Gong?
Of course, since the persecution began, all Falun Gong books have been banned, and no one in Mainland China has easy access to verify that this is false. The CCP has never published articles written by Falun Gong’s founder to support their claim.
47. Popular Novel Banned Immediately Following the Incident
“Soon after the immolation incident, a popular novel that had been published ten years prior, Yellow Disaster (Huang Huo), was, curiously enough, banned throughout China. It would seem the supposed self-immolation on Tiananmen Square bore surprising resemblance to an episode in Yellow Disaster. In chapter two of the novel someone pays off terminally ill persons to burn themselves, and then uses the incident to frame opponents in a politically-motivated persecution. Could Jiang and company have drawn inspiration from the incident in Yellow Disaster? Why the sudden ban?” 
48. Jiang Zemin Needed An Event to Set Public Opinion Against Falun Gong
“By mid-2000, almost a year had passed since then-president Jiang Zemin launched his persecution of Falun Gong. Things weren’t going as Jiang had pictured, however (i.e., people condemning Falun Gong en masse.) Many a lie had been spread, many a scathing critique had been written, and countless “study sessions” had been organized, yet people just weren’t buying into it. They had seen too many mass political movements before; they knew what Jiang was up to. Many people were of the belief that: “If Jiang did not like Falun Gong, then let him go through all of that—just don’t get us tangled up in it.”
“With the exception of a few regions that implemented Party policies closely, leaders in many regions—including even 6-10 Office staff [Agency responsible for implementing the persecution of Falun Gong]—were none too enthused. One former 6-10 officer who was in charge of the Hangu district in Tianjin city has described the situation at that time saying:
‘To be honest, the people who were in charge at the local level didn’t like to do this [kind of persecuting], as the police there lived in close proximity to ordinary people. For example, maybe you would live right next door to me, and we would see each other all the time. How could I arrest you, then? And this was Hangu—a small place by the sea with only four police stations. Whoever you arrested was bound to be an acquaintance. A police officer’s wife might work together in the same work unit as the wife of the person he arrests, for example. The police at the police station may live on the same street that they’re in charge of, with the person they arrest living right downstairs below them. We were all neighbors and acquaintances. If people like that don’t do anything corrupt or violate the law, could you have the heart to arrest them?’
“At the Fifth Plenary Session of the Fifteenth CCP National Congress, held October 9 to 11, 2000, in Beijing, several members of the CCP’s Central Committee called into question the persecution of Falun Gong. They asked for an explanation of the campaign. Among the seven members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, four members—more than half—namely, Zhu Rongji, Hu Jintao, Li Ruihuan, and Wei Jianxing, opposed continuation of the persecution of Falun Gong. Meanwhile the former head of the People’s Congress, Qiao Shi, expressed that he was disturbed by the killing of innocent Falun Gong adherents. He returned from some distance to Beijing and went to Tiananmen Square to see firsthand the beating and arrest of adherents that he had heard about. The Premier of the State Council, Zhu Rongji, went in person to the fifth department of the Beijing Public Safety Bureau and urged public safety officials, “Don’t make it any harder than it already is for Falun Gong practitioners!”
“Jiang racked his brain to come up with ways to set Falun Gong up as an “evil cult.” On October 25, 1999, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Jiang referred to Falun Gong for the first time as an “evil cult” (xiejiao). That same year at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, Jiang personally handed the president of the United States and other leaders booklets attempting to discredit Falun Gong. He even seized upon the opportunity of an interview with CBS’s Mike Wallace to libel Falun Gong, claiming, misleadingly, “Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have committed suicide.” Media in mainland China didn’t dare to report this specific part of the interview, fearing Jiang would be seen through and ridiculed. Jiang thus summoned Luo Gan for many a secret meeting, plotting how to incite public hatred toward the still-popular meditation group. After repeated failures to entrap Falun Gong practitioners, Jiang sought out Luo Gan several times to secretly discuss ways to create a bombshell that would demonize Falun Gong. Luo gave Jiang a guarantee that this time, he would succeed. Luo started off by sowing some seeds of misinformation. On December 29, 2000, the government-run Xinhua News Agency ran—acting on directives from the Central Committee’s 6-10 office—an anonymous news story that told of a “failed group suicide” by Falun Gong members. The vague report failed to disclose the names of any persons allegedly involved, the details of the event, or even its location. The report claimed that the adherents had been “instigated” and plotted a collective suicide sometime near New Year’s Day. The report was meant to prepare readers for what was to come. A month later, once footage of the Self-Immolation was broadcast, the disturbing, tragic scenes stirred up tremendous anger in China. Animosity toward Falun Gong surged, with most people quickly forgetting all the good they had come to see in the practice and its practitioners. People forgot what they had seen with their own eyes and experienced for themselves, as if the government’s claims were more reliable. Such was the emotional power of the images CCTV put together. The state’s propaganda machinery had now emerged from its period of lull with a vengeance. Personalities of every sort appeared on state-run television to condemn Falun Gong. As they spoke CCTV would insert periodically, for added effect, a chilling scene or two from the immolations. At Jiang’s instruction all media outlets in China, large or small, thus launched a new campaign of criticism targeting Falun Gong. The general office of the CCP’s Central Committee issued a notice declaring that a nationwide political movement be launched to “further expose and criticize the true face of the Falun Gong evil cult.” In the four days following the day of the immolation, Xinhua News Agency and China News Agency published online 107 and 64 articles, respectively, criticizing and condemning Falun Gong. State-run media claimed that “the public” in at least fourteen provinces, municipalities, and regions had come forward in droves to denounce the Falun Gong. Leaders in the Party, government, and military along with civic groups of every variety were required to show support for the Central Committee’s “wise decision.” Local-level organizations were required, meanwhile, to organize “criticism meetings,” big and small, to condemn “the unspeakable crimes of the evil cult.” Daily CCTV broadcast interviews with people from various walks of life who showed support, replaying the segments often enough to ensure no eyes or ears were missed. The goal was to have everyone come to hate Falun Gong.
49. Jiang and Luo Tried to Trap Falun Gong Practitioners in May 1999
“Back in May of 1999 when the persecution of Falun Gong was still in its preparatory stage, Jiang and Luo on one occasion planned a chilling “special action.” First the Central Committee’s General Office issued a document claiming that ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners were planning to commit “group suicide” in Xiangshan, Beijing’s western suburb. The document was then purposefully leaked to overseas media for dissemination. Then local police, plainclothes police, and infiltrators spread the word to Falun Gong adherents that there would be a large “gathering” in Xiangshan. Along with this army troops were dispatched to Xiangshan, and armed riot police were positioned there in hiding. The whole thing was an elaborate trap. Falun Gong practitioners were meant to be lured to there, to Xiangshan, where they would be murdered. The scene would then be portrayed in state-run media propaganda as a tragic “collective suicide” or “failed suicide.” Jiang would then have grounds to label Falun Gong an “evil cult,” and efforts to frame and suppress the group could expand with ease. But as it turned out, not a single Falun Gong practitioner went to Xiangshan. Three times between May 1 and September 9 police and plainclothes police changed the “gathering date” they passed on to Falun Gong practitioners, hoping for better results. Nothing came of the ploy in the end.” 
50. Jiang Overreacts Even Further After Video Deconstruction is Aired
“On the night of March 5, 2002, the regular programming of eight cable TV stations was interrupted and replaced with a forty-five minute broadcast about Falun Gong. The broadcast included documentaries such as ‘Self-immolation or Deception?’ and ‘Falun Dafa’s Spread Around the World’. The lies the CCP propaganda machine had been telling for years were thus discredited in less than an hour. The videos revealed Falun Gong’s rapid growth in mainland China before the crackdown along with its current spreading in over sixty countries; it highlighted the truth about Falun Gong and its noble teachings on Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Hundreds of thousands of people in Changchun city were astonished as the documentary ‘Self-immolation or Deception?’ analyzed the footage of the incident from CCTV in slow motion, pointing out its inconsistencies one by one. The next day, the slow-motion sequence of Liu Chunling being struck over the head by a police officer while she was on fire became the talk of the town; discussion of the matter could be heard at the office, on the bus, in school, or at the supermarket, demonstrating the impact on people’s minds of a lie being exposed.
“Jiang was furious when he heard the news about the TV tapping that night. He reportedly shook from anger for several minutes. He then reacted by pounding his fist on the table and shouting, “Send for Zeng Qinghong and Luo Gan immediately!” Jiang’s secretary, though already accustomed to his boss’s temper, had never seen Jiang so mad and violent. Fully aware of the seriousness of the matter, the secretary picked up the phone, his hand trembling.
“Following suggestions by Zeng and Luo, Jiang ordered that level II war preparedness be declared in the Shenyang Military Region and that level I awareness be established in the Changchun Military Region and among the armed police of Jilin province. Luo ordered the Public Security Office of Jilin and the Public Security Bureau of Changchun to investigate the TV tapping and crack the case within a short timeframe. As Luo was on the phone, telling his men what to do, Jiang commanded:
‘Tell all the police to shoot to kill any Falun Gong practitioners who were involved in the TV tapping. Kill them without exception! I guarantee that any officer who kills Falun Gong practitioners will not be held responsible. This case has to be resolved within a week, or else the Party chief in Changchun city and the police chiefs at multiple levels in the city will have to step down.’” 
51. BBC Invited For “Arranged Interview”
In BBC and Chinese official reports, on April 3, 2002, the Chinese government arranged 12 Chinese and international media to interview Wang Jindong and others. BBC’s report “Arranged Interview” stated, “The Chinese government had always refused any International media to interview on the self-immolation event, yet all of a sudden, foreign reporters were arranged to interview the self-immolation survivors.” BBC’s special reporter also said that the Chinese government’s intention of this arranged interview was obviously an effort to prove the legitimacy of the government’s persecution towards Falun Gong.
Foreign Journalists have never had real freedom to interview practitioners, because all the interviewees are arranged by the CCP. The BBC quoted Reporters Without Borders in its report on December 4, 2001:
“Since the eradication campaign against Falun Gong was launched by the authorities, foreign journalists have systematically been hindered in their work on this topic. Foreign photographers and cameramen are prevented from working on and around Tiananmen Square where hundreds of Falun Gong followers have demonstrated for the passed years. According to Reporters Without Borders’ estimations, at least 50 representatives of international media have been questioned. Some of them have been beaten by the police. The correspondents who have tried to cover the banned movement’s activities have been harassed by the security services. Finally, many Falun Gong followers have been jailed for being interviewed by foreign journalists.”
52. At Least 10 Eyewitness or Other Accounts All Point to the Self-Immolation Being Staged
53. At Least 6 Insiders Reveal the Self-Immolation Was Staged
54. Date of Self-Immolation Deliberately Selected
January 23, 2001 might seem like an ordinary date oustide of China. But for Chinese, January 24 was Chinese New Year’s Day for 2001. The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important of festivities in China– it lasts two weeks, has a long history, and is perhaps the happiest time of the year for most Chinese. So by staging the “self-immolation” on New Year’s Eve, the CCP was sure to provide the effect of shocking the public during what should have been a time for family and celebration, and instill even further hatred towards Falun Gong.