Inside the Tip of the Pyramid
The Epoch Times interviewed Mr. Lin Mu, former secretary of Mr. Hu Yaobang, former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), regarding the persecution of Falun Gong. In the interview, Mr. Lin Mu revealed some rare inside information about the attitudes of top-level CCP leaders and members of China's military towards Falun Gong. Mr. Lin Mu believes that Jiang Zemin did not have any ground for suppressing Falun Gong, and thinks the violent and cruel persecution is absurd. In witnessing many Falun Gong practitioners persevering in their spiritual belief and refusing to give up, he said, “I am very touched.”
The following is from the phone interview with Mr. Lin Mu.
ET: When did you start hearing about Falun Gong?
Mr. Lin: I don't practice any qigong. I just know that there are many qigong organizations all over China, but I can't name any off top of my head. I heard about Falun Gong for the first time when the 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners peacefully appealed for Falun Gong [to the State Appeals Office] near Zhongnanhai [on April 25, 1999]. That is when I learned about Falun Gong. I didn't know about it before then.
ET: What is your view on Falun Gong practitioners' appeal on April 20, 1999?
Mr. Lin: At the time I felt it was legal for those over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners to peacefully appeal—it was not illegal.
Later I heard that Zhu Rongji (the Chinese premiere at the time) met with representatives of Falun Gong and listened to their appeal. I think it was very good to have that meeting. Mr. Zhu said that the government had never interfered with people's health exercise or qigong activities and is not planning to do so now nor in the future. The government will get involved only when the law is violated. After the meeting, the CCP's central committee and the State Department issued a notice based on Mr. Zhu's statement during the meeting. Having issued the notice meant Mr. Zhu's statement was approved in the CCP's central committee and State Department.
At the time we all felt Zhu had handled this matter very well.
ET: Then why did the Chinese government start the persecution later?
Mr. Lin: Later Jiang Zemin jumped out and reversed Zhu's decision.
Jiang criticized Zhu Rongji and the Political Bureau and called them naïve. He said Falun Gong would endanger the Chinese Communist regime. Jiang Zemin issued an order and made a verbal criticism on the April 25 Appeal. He later called a meeting with the Politburo Standing Committee of the CCP and forced his personal opinion onto them.
ET: Where were the views of other top-level CCP officials?
Mr. Lin: We knew that Zhu Rongji handled this incident well. Based on what we heard, Li Ruihuan (the former chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) disagreed with Jiang Zemin, so did Hu Jintao (a member of the Politburo Standing Committee back then) at the time. I don't know the actual content of the meeting because we were no longer in charge, and we were also under watch. But we overheard news that Li Ruihuan and Hu Jintao disagreed with Jiang Zemin [on the issue of Falun Gong]. However, those who disagreed with Jiang Zemin did not persevere in their opinions, and succumbed to Jiang Zemin's power.
ET: Have you met any Falun Gong practitioners in person?
Mr. Lin: Yes, many of them. As the persecution against Falun Gong escalated, some Falun Gong practitioners who have suffered the persecution told us the facts about Falun Gong.
For example, I met a few college professors. According to them, they started practicing Falun Gong to restore their physical health and improve their wellbeing. Some of them had terminal illness, but became completely healthy from practicing Falun Gong. This is why they believe in Falun Gong. These are one type of practitioners.
There are other types of practitioners. For example, an associate professor at Northwestern University in China told me a story about himself. He used to be a member of the CCP and believed in communism. Later he lost all faith in it and lacked a spiritual belief. Those people were not like us who pursue freedom and democracy. They didn't want any trouble, so they decided to believe in Falun Gong, a risk-free spiritual belief. At the time they felt it was quite safe to practice Falun Gong because it advocates Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. They didn't expect the CCP to suppress Falun Gong even harsher than freedom and democracy activists. This is the situation of some college professors that have suffered the persecution.
ET: Besides college professors, do you have any other friends that practice Falun Gong?
Mr. Lin: I have some friends in the army. They believe in Falun Gong because their illnesses were gone after they started practicing Falun Gong. For example, a female military officer started to suffer from a very severe type of gynecological disease after she had an abortion. The hospital failed to treat the illness. After she began to practice Falun Gong, her health was restored, and she started to believe in Falun Gong. She was fired when the persecution began. She refused to suffer the injustice, so she went to Beijing to appeal. However, she ended up being arrested and served a few years in a forced labor camp. She is still in Xi'an today and continues to practice Falun Gong. She did not give it up.
ET: So there are military officers who practice Falun Gong?
Mr. Lin: Yes. As far as I know, there are high-level military officers that are Falun Gong practitioners. For example, a former commander of Yantai Military Zone in Shandong Province was a major general. Because he practices Falun Gong, he was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party, but his military service remains untouched.
ET: Why did they expel him from the Chinese Communist Party but keep his military service?
Mr. Lin: The military leaves some room for maneuver on the issue of Falun Gong. A main reason is that those who handle Falun Gong practitioners are confused. This is what I heard.
Of course some veteran cadres from the Chinese Red Army period also practice Falun Gong.
ET: Do you know if there is any top-level official in the Chinese Central Government that practices Falun Gong?
Mr. Lin: Of course—Wei Jianxing, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and a member of the CCP's Disciple Committee. He is very accomplished in punishing corrupted government officials.
Wei's secretary was a PhD in Chemistry, and was a small division leader as well as a Falun Gong practitioner. His secretary has repeatedly appealed to his bosses and explained that Falun Gong will provide hundreds of benefits and will cause no threat to the government.
Actually, there are many people like him. Because he appealed internally, the appeal was not publicized. They didn't throw him into prison. They simply fired him.
The family members of many members of the Political Bureau practice Falun Gong.
ET: What are your friends' views of China's persecution of Falun Gong?
Mr. Lin: My friends and I in the intellectual and academic fields have researched the laws and regulations. We don't easily express our view on anything at will. We think before we talk.
For example, Mr. Xu Liangying is a senior researcher of the History of Modern Physics at Natural Science History of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Together, we have discussed about Falun Gong. Although we did not know much about Falun Gong, and we have never practiced Falun Gong, we think all types of spiritual belief should be classified as religion. Even though Falun Gong is not a religion, it is very close to a religion.
No one can use coercion as far as spiritual belief or religion is concerned. Coercion cannot change one's mind because it has to do with one's spirituality; otherwise, resisitance will follow.
As for He Zuoxiu, the brother-in-law of Luo Gan, his job was to create public slander against Falun Gong and to incite people's hatred against Falun Gong. He is a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who works for the Chinese Communist Party.
Everybody knows about He Zuoxiu. He is a despicable guy in the science arena. He is a scoundrel to start with. He does not have any knowledge or talent that matches his job title.
My friends in the scholarly world have discussed together how we should handle Falun Gong. We arrived at our conclusion after much deliberation and research on Falun Gong's theories.
Jiang Zemin uses violence to suppress Falun Gong and tries to force all Falun Gong practitioners to stop practicing Falun Gong. It is absurd and naïve that he uses coercion and torture to attain his goal. It is Falun Gong practitioners that have the right to believe in or not to believe in Falun Gong.
We went through a process of knowing nothing about Falun Gong to understanding Falun Gong and deciding how to handle Falun Gong.
ET: What is the Chinese Communist Party's internal attitude towards Falun Gong at present?
Mr. Lin: There must be divisions of different opinions.
For example, you can tell there are divisions among them about how to handle Gao Zhisheng. Gao Zhisheng publicly voiced out against the injustice toward Falun Gong. He has the biggest influence in China.
If the CCP thinks Gao has violated the Chinese law by appealing for Falun Gong, then why didn't the CCP arrest him? They didn't arrest Gao because they dare not do so. In that case, the CCP should accept the problem Gao revealed. The CCP should address the issue seriously and ban those tortures against Falun Gong practitioners, but they didn't do that either. Instead, they are watching and following Gao tightly. This illustrates that there must be divisions of opinions at the top-level of the CCP. I think there are three different types of attitudes.
ET: Which three?
Mr. Lin: People in the first group are the head criminals, such as Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan, who still insist fiercely that they have done the right thing to ban and persecute Falun Gong. It is not just those two. There are some others who think that way.
People in the second group knew it was wrong to ban Falun Gong, but they dared not step out against the decision at the time. They now support Falun Gong. The National People's Congress has branded Falun Gong as a cult. These people have done illegal things to suppress Falun Gong as well. For example, China's Supreme Court's interpretation of the law against Falun Gong is actually against the law.
For example, they interpreted that no attorney should represent Falun Gong practitioners in the court of law. This legal interpretation is against the law! But they have made it a law and have started using it. Although they knew it was wrong to do so and were pushed to do it, they did not want to give Falun Gong justice. So they have no choice but to play stupid. They do not have the courage to give Falun Gong justice nor suppress Falun Gong too severely.
ET: Who do we know is in the second group?
Mr. Lin: Hu Jintao may be in this group. He does not persecute Gao Zhisheng or arrest him. This is probably his situation.
ET: What about the third group?
Mr. Lin: The third group is made of people who regard the cruel persecution against Falun Gong as extremely abnormal. They insist on giving Falun Gong justice, but they have no power or authority to do so. They don't know what to do. These may be the three groups of opinions.
ET: Who do we know in this third group?
Mr. Lin: I cannot give you specific names because these are my own surmise. For example, Zhu Rongji and Li Ruihuan knew it was wrong to ban Falun Gong at the time, but they did not have the courage to stand up against Jiang Zemin's decision.
ET: Why didn't they have the courage to express different opinions?
Mr. Lin: This has to do with the CCP's political system. It has two forms of dictatorship: personal dictatorship and group dictatorship. In the times of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, the CCP was all about personal dictatorship. Jiang Zemin is also a typical dictator. No matter how much others may object to it, Jiang Zemin insists on persecuting Falun Gong.
The other is group dictatorship, which is also very frightening.
For example, an elected president or premiere in a democratic world has power to make decisions. If they make mistakes, the congress or parliament and the people have the right to object to their decisions.
However, the so-called president or premiere in a dictatorship regime is controlled by a group. For example, they are controlled and manipulated by the Politburo Standing Committee. They do not enjoy the same type of rights like their counterparts in democratic countries. Therefore, this group dictatorship is quite frightening.
Another problem is that they use a top-down, vertical power mechanism like a pyramid. There is no horizontal management.
For example, individuals must obey their organizations. The minority must obey the majority. The subordinates must obey the superiors. The entire CCP must obey the CCP's central committee. The central committee refers to the Politburo Standing Committee, which represents the tip of the pyramid. Given the environment, an individual, a subordinate or a local government, regardless if you are in the right or you have a much better solution, you must obey orders from the top. The superiors or the central committee, whether they are in the wrong or not, force others to obey them. How can you have any democracy when such a mechanism is in place?
Hence, I cannot tell you whom I think want to give Falun Gong justice, but we have seen through this dictatorship system in China.
ET: During the persecution of Falun Gong, they have used various methods, including brainwashing classes, to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their belief.
Mr. Lin: Although some Falun Gong practitioners have renounced Falun Gong in writing, their hearts did not necessarily follow their actions. They don't necessarily want to give up Falun Gong. Others will persevere in the belief and will never compromise. The Assistant Principal of Xi'an University of Science and Technology (former Xi'an Mining and Metallurgy College) would rather be expelled from the Chinese Communist Party than give up Falun Gong, but later no charge was filed against him.
ET: Indeed a lot of Falun Gong practitioners have exhibited uncompromising spirit.
Mr. Lin: We are very touched by it. They would rather die or suffer from torture and incarceration than give in and renounce their belief. We truly witnessed that a human being's spiritual belief has such an incredible power over him and that spiritual belief can be such a powerful support for its believers. This really caused us to change our view of Falun Gong. Why would a human being rather die than compromise his belief in Falun Gong or renounce Falun Gong? Of course, this is something we must think about. Why?
Therefore, Jiang Zemin's persecution of Falun Gong has an opposite effect. The more he persecutes Falun Gong, the more determined Falun Gong practitioners will become and the more rapidly Falun Gong will be spread.
ET: But some people still refuse to accept Falun Gong today and dismiss it as sheer superstition.
Mr. Lin: Chinese acupuncture was once dismissed as superstition, but it has been proved effective in treating illness. Eventually it is proven that acupuncture points do exist.
During the Three Kingdoms period, Hua Tuo, the famous medical doctor, saw a tumor in Cao Cao's head. He suggested a microsurgery, but Cao Cao refused to believe him. He even locked Hua Tuo in prison. Hua Tuo later died in prison, and Cao Cao died of brain tumor. During that period of time, opening up a patient's stomach or brain for a surgery was considered as witchcraft, but aren't surgeries quite common today?
 Hua Tuo (c. 145 – 208) a famous Chinese physician during the Eastern Han (25–220 AD) and Three Kingdoms era (221-280 AD). He was the first person to perform surgery with the aid of anesthesia, some 1600 years before the practice was adopted by Europeans.
 Cao Cao (155 – March 15, 220), whose name is also often transliterated and should be correctly pronounced as Ts'ao Ts'ao, was a regional warlord and the last Chancellor of Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty in ancient China. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid down foundations for what was to become the Kingdom of Wei.