New York-based video-sharing platform Gan Jing World was attacked by hackers from the Chinese communist regime on July 20 while airing a live stream of an event to mark the 24th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong. The hackers tried to spread hate messages against the spiritual practice.
Falun Gong practitioners held a rally and parade in Washington to commemorate the start of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) persecution of the faith, in which untold millions have faced intimidation, arbitrary detention, torture, forced labor, and even death by forced organ harvesting. NTD, a sister outlet of The Epoch Times, broadcasted the parade live on the online platform, whose name "Gan Jing" means "clean" in Chinese.
The comment sections of NTD's and several commentators’ channels on Gan Jing World were flooded with malicious messages targeting Falun Gong, posted by hundreds of accounts at the same time.
Falun Gong is a traditional spiritual practice based on the principles of truth, compassion, and forbearance. Its estimated 100 million adherents have been brutally persecuted by the Chinese regime since former CCP leader Jiang Zemin launched a campaign to eradicate it in 1999.
On July 20, the U.S. State Department issued a statement reaffirming the U.S. commitment to supporting Falun Gong practitioners' freedom of belief. U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain called on the CCP to end the 24-year persecution of Falun Gong practitioners on Twitter. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China also issued a statement condemning the CCP's "most appalling human rights abuses" and urging the Chinese authorities to unconditionally release all detained Falun Gong practitioners.
Coordinated AttackAccording to Gan Jing World’s technicians, the malicious messages that appeared on the platform on July 20 were all in Chinese and averaged no more than 30 characters in length. Hundreds of accounts copied essentially the same messages, which contained slander against Falun Gong. Almost all of the accounts had been registered in a short period of time, and few had posted any comments other than the above-mentioned hate messages.
Nick Janicki, a spokesman for Gan Jing World, told The Epoch Times that the hackers had set up some accounts specifically to upload videos that vilify Falun Gong. In addition to NTD's live broadcast of the July 20 event, other programs that were targeted included well-known Chinese current affairs commentators, particularly those who have exposed the CCP's crime of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners. The malicious comments and the channels that were attacked were all in Chinese, he said.
Mr. Janicki said Gan Jing World is investigating the source of the attacks and will also address accounts that spread hate and malicious content, in accordance with the platform’s community guidelines.
Exporting PersecutionRegarding the CCP’s online attack on the live-streaming of the Falun Gong parade, U.S.-based current affairs commentator Heng He said that whenever the CCP launches this kind of attack, it exposes its malign nature.
The CCP doesn’t abide by international rules, he said.
“Its nature is to break international rules," Mr. Heng said. "This kind of cyber troll attack, just like the long-arm jurisdiction it uses, actually has a strong political purpose, aiming to extend its persecution of Falun Gong, freedom of religious belief, and human rights to other countries.”
Mr. Heng noted that, despite 24 years of persecution in China, Falun Gong has been well-received in countries all over the world outside of China, and the CCP is powerless to stop the practice.
"People in many countries and regions have long recognized it, and the U.S. government has supported Falun Gong against the persecution," he said. "For the CCP, it feels very helpless.”