Former Chinese Reporter Reveals CCP's Far Reaching Propaganda

By Fan Huiqiang, Special to The Epoch Times
November 6, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 6, 2007 12:00 am

On October 23, The Melbourne branch of The Epoch Times held a symposium on The Nine Commentaries —a series of social commentaries detailing the brutal history of the Chinese Communist Party

For example, on April 5, 1976 people in Beijing went to Tiananmen Square to mourn the death of former Premier Zhou Enlai. The authorities did not like people to mourn the premier so they ordered to disperse the people with force. Politburo member Yao Wenyuan, who was in charge of propaganda, came to the then broadcasting administrative bureau and held a press briefing. He declared the gathering an anti-revolutionary activity. Therefore all media directly under the central government would follow the same line. This is the instruction on the level of the central government.

As for local media, since they have no editorial rights to cover such major events, they merely reprint stories from Xinhua News Agency. For local major events, the media takes its instructions from the propaganda department at the local level. These local media outlets have only one editorial policy—declare how great, how glorious and how correct the Party is. Sometimes when the Party is clearly at fault, people will simply be told to have the faith in the government.

In fact, the Party decides exactly what people will read, listen to and watch. When this degree of brainwashing day after day, month after month and year after year people become accustomed to it and begin to assume that what they read, hear and watch is the truth. Even when you are wrongly accused, imprisoned or thrown into the forced labor camps you and your family would thank the CCP for its leniency when you are released.

2. The CCP Uses Every Possible Means to Block Outside Information from Reaching the Chinese People

To make sure its lies are not exposed, the CCP has continuously tried to cut off all links with the outside world. In the days before the Internet, the CCP jammed signals from the BBC, VOA, and Taiwanese radio stations, and branded these as enemy transmissions, and those found listening to these stations would be punished.

In the summer of 1978 I went back to Shanghai City to visit my parents. One day, I switched the radio on and tuned to Beijing Radio Broadcast's English broadcast. Since it was very hot inside the house I turned the volume a bit louder so that I could hear the radio from outside. Soon, a lady from our neighborhood committee came over to see what was going on. Since she could not understand the language being spoken on the radio, she thought I was listening to a foreign station. She started to question me about the content. When I explained that it was one of our own radio stations and it was the very station I was working for she was not convinced. Only when the “The East Is Red” came on was she satisfied and left.

When satellite TV and the Internet came into being, people outside China thought that the Chinese people would now be able to freely access information. But they have been proven wrong. The CCP screened Internet content with what they called the “Golden Shield” firewall which blocks all so-called “sensitive” topics and words.

Installing a satellite receiver is illegal in China. Individuals receive a 5,000 yuan (US$671) fine and organizations a 50,000 yuan ($6,706) fine for installing a satellite receiver. In the absence of any alternatives, people still read what the Party allows them to read from the Internet and continue to watch CCTV.

3. Propaganda Effectiveness

I think a lot of you still remember the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre. I was working at Radio Australia so I am not qualified to talk too much about the massacre itself. I only want to tell you how effective the CCP's brainwashing propaganda was. We received thousands of letters from China. All the letters from Beijing described the massacre they had seen or experienced. These listeners all accused the CCP of murdering its own people with guns and tanks. Some listeners vividly described how people were shot dead around them.

As a matter of fact, the deputy director of Beijing Radio Broadcast's Russian Department was shot dead on his way back from work. However, listeners from other parts of the country all believed the version they got from the Chinese media. They thought no one was killed and in their letters they enclosed local newspaper clippings accusing the “mob” of anti-revolutionary activities and claims that the students attacked the soldiers.

Here are some more examples of the CCP manipulating news: When SARS occurred in China the Chinese media covered up the facts for a long period of time. When it could not cover up the true situation any more it finally admitted the existence of the epidemic. The strategy then switched to blanket coverage of how much the Chinese government was concerned about people's welfare, and promoting that under Party leadership SARS would be brought under control and finally eliminated.

In the current campaign to wipe out Falun Gong, the CCP, on the one hand, has mobilized the media and bombarded the Chinese people with fabricated stories to demonize the practice and scare the populace, so that they will shun Falun Gong practitioners. On the other hand, this media campaign has destroyed all the Falun Gong books and materials so that people have no way to check whether what the media says is true or not. With no other source of information, many people only believe what the media tells them.

4. CCP's Media Has Always Maintained that Socialism Will Prevail Over Capitalism

I was born after the CCP took over power in 1949 and was brainwashed by the 'education' I received growing up. Therefore, I always believed what I had learned was the truth and never had doubts about what the CCP told us.

After the Cultural Revolution, all the intellectuals, including teachers and students of higher learning, must go to a special school to temper themselves through labor (or reform through labor). In 1974 I went to such a school in Fengyang County, Anhui Province. We all stayed at local peasants homes. I was very shocked to see how poor the peasants were—they live in a mud house. Inside, there was no normal furniture as I would have expected. A small table and a homemade bed (a wooden frame with strings woven across) were the only furnishings. Kids were dressed in rags, if dressed at all, and survived on sweet potatoes. They all had big bellies due to malnutrition.

We were told that all the grains were for the urban people. If they could have one meal with pork during in an entire year it was considered a good year. The most shocking thing to learn was that during the three-year famine from 1959 to 1961 the locals had to eat tree bark and grass and when these were gone they were forced to eat dirt. Finally they began to eat people. If I had not heard this in person it would have been hard to believe. The CCP attributed the famine to natural disaster, but now we know that the weather then was not the problem. It was callousness, unrealistic fantasy and stupidity on the part of the Party that had caused the famine responsible for the deaths of 40 million people.

5. How the CCP Fools 'Foreign Devils'

One hoax occurred during Nixon's visit to Shanghai in the early 1970s. American officials were visiting China for the very first time since the CCP took power. During his travels, Mr. Nixon was accompanied by a group of what people called China experts. In order to leave the American visitors with a good impression a large scale campaign was organized. A friend who lived in Huangpu District where the famous Nanjing Road is located told me a story. She said her neighborhood committee asked her to go to Nanjing Road at a specific date and time. She was told to dress in her best clothes and walk along a certain section of the road.

Therefore, when Mr. Nixon arrived, it would give him the impression there were a lot of well-dressed people walking along the Nanking Road. This was, of course, an illusion as they were there merely to fulfill a political task. The store Nixon was to visit also received orders and prepared for their performance. They made up a whole new set of marked down price tags for every item for sale in the shop. Shop assistants were advised that when certain music was played they had to change all the usual price tags with the new ones. In this way the Americans would be impressed at how cheap prices were in China. That was a very complicated campaign involving thousands of people and the coordination of many departments. However, the CCP managed it with ease.

Now think about it, how easy would it be for the CCP to stage a Tiananmen Square Self-immolation or take American diplomats to a hospital at Sujiatun and “prove” to them that there was no organ harvesting going on there? It would be a piece of cake.

Some people might question whether what I say is accurate. Let me tell you something; I have been personally involved in one of these campaigns of deception. In 1978 when a film crew from America's NBC network was making a documentary on China's education system I worked as their interpreter. During their filming they requested to take shots of a food market in Beijing. We, the hosts, contacted Dongsi Market and told them foreigners would go there to shoot a documentary and advised them to get well prepared.

I have to explain here, the host would be held responsible if the image of the Party or socialism was damaged in any way. On the day when we arrived I was amazed myself at the transformation. The normally barren market was full of goodies. There were live chickens and ducks, live fish, lean pork meat, all sorts of fresh vegetables and soybean products like tofu. When the documentary was broadcasted in America, people would think it was a typical food market in China, but actually it is not.

We Chinese have a saying: “Domestic shame shouldn't be made public.” The CCP took that to heart and created the theory of “Keeping inside information from outsiders or foreigners.” At that time I did not think it was bad, and instead believed it was my duty to do what was necessary to make the Party look good and not lose face. I thought it was important that we must leave foreigners with a good impression of China. When the Party and authorities were experiencing difficulties we had to help them to “cheating the foreign devils.” This expression was very often used by the CCP.

6. CCP's Media Control Has Expanded Overseas

The CCP pays great attention to what people say about it outside of China. To make sure that no one exposes its crimes, the CCP has worked very hard and spent huge sums of money to control the overseas media, especially the overseas Chinese media. The CCP uses four types of methods to reach this goal.

  • (1) Completely take over or at least buy up the majority of shares of a media company so as to directly control the overseas Chinese newspapers, TV stations and radio stations;
  • (2) Use an independent media company's business interests in China as a means of gaining influence and exerting economic blackmail;
  • (3) Buy blocks of air-time or advertising space;
  • (4) Have Chinese government employees infiltrate media organizations to cause disruption from within.

While keeping a tight control on media at home the CCP still tries to force Chinese people living outside China to follow the Party line. It reprints the Party's newspaper the People's Daily here in Australia, which is given away free of charge and it has also been distributed to all the Chinese language schools, Chinese shops and restaurants. CCTV has also landed here in Australia. The tragedy is a lot of Chinese people who've fled their country and have settled down in Australia still read the “People's Daily” and watch CCTV. Therefore, their mindset is still in line with the Party.

However, this is only a one-way trade. Western media is still banned in China; though many people have tried to enter into China's media market they've failed to make it. Australian born global media executive Rupert Murdoch is a typical example. He spent a lot of money and many years of effort, but finally he had to admit the failure of his project and pulled out of China.

Thank you