Saving Lives by Tapping Into China’s TV

August 8, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Chung Ai,
Chung Ai, the daughter of imprisoned Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioner Chung Ting-pang, speaks at a public event on July 23 in Taipei. She was unconvinced and highly unimpressed with Chinese state media's recent claim that her father had "admitted guilt." (Lin Shih-chieh/The Epoch Times)

A Taiwan businessman named Chung Ting-pang was on his way home after visiting family in mainland China when he was abducted on June 18 by police at the airport in Ganzhou City in southeastern China’s Jiangxi Province. The police have since said Chung was in China because he planned on broadcasting information about the spiritual practice of Falun Gong on China’s cable TV system.

The 53-year-old Chung is a Falun Gong practitioner. He is also a very friendly and highly respected businessman, an IT manager of a high-tech company in Hsinchu City, Taiwan.

Chung has been formally charged with “endangering national security and public security.” The detailed charges claim that he: gathered secret documents while in mainland China, provided equipment for tapping into TV signals, urged the Chinese people to destroy broadcast and TV infrastructure, and tapped into the mainland Chinese TV signals several times.

Broadcast in Changchun

Ever since March 5, 2002, the Chinese regime has been very nervous about the possibility that unauthorized programming could be sent out over the nation’s cable TV networks.

On that date in Changchun City in northeastern China’s Jilin Province, a small group of Falun Gong practitioners used a DVD player and some wire cutters to take over the city’s cable network, sending out their chosen programs in place of China Central TV’s (CCTV) coverage of a Party meeting in Beijing.

For about 50 minutes short videos such as “Falun Dafa Spread Around the World” and “Is It Self-immolation or Hoax?”—debunking the claim that practitioners had set themselves on fire on Tiananmen Square in January 2001—were seen on the city’s TVs.

The city’s authorities were frantic and at one point simply turned the power off in a large part of the city, rather than allow the broadcasts to continue.

After the Communist Party regained control of the TV signal, a reign of terror descended, at least 5,000 practitioners were rounded up and a kind of martial law imposed. Eight of those charged with the Changchun TV broadcast have died in prison from torture.

Nonetheless, similar broadcasts began happening in other parts of China, with practitioners willingly risking their lives in order to tell Chinese people about what Falun Gong is and how it is being persecuted by the Chinese regime.

Murder Weapon

China does not have a normal society and TV in China does not play a normal role. Under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the TV can be turned into a murder weapon.

Falun Gong is an ancient, traditional qigong practice that involves doing five meditative exercises and living according to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, tolerance. It had been passed down through the ages from master to student, but in 1992, Mr. Li Hongzhi began teaching Falun Gong publicly.

It spread very rapidly and by 1999 the Chinese authorities estimated 100 million people were practicing Falun Gong—1 in 12 Chinese and more than were members of the CCP. This made then head of the Party Jiang Zemin scared and jealous, and he ordered a campaign to eradicate Falun Gong.

Jiang understood that in order to wipe out Falun Gong, he had to turn the people of China against it. As soon as the persecution began on July 20, 1999, all of China’s media began carrying stories attacking Falun Gong, just as though some switch had been flipped.

TV played a key role in this onslaught aimed at poisoning the hearts and minds of an entire nation against a meditation practice.

CCTV carried programs claiming, “1,400 people had died from practicing Falun Gong.” Practitioners often exposed these claims as lies—showing one person said to have died from practicing Falun Gong was fit and alive or showing another had never practiced Falun Gong. But getting this information to the Chinese people was difficult and dangerous.

Still, for the first year and a half after the persecution began, the Chinese people did not seem to be moved very much by the incessant lies. Then, on Jan. 23, 2001, five individuals said to be Falun Gong practitioners were filmed on Tiananmen Square setting fire to themselves. Within hours state-run media was flooded with reports about the incident.

Among those said to have set fire to themselves was a young girl, and the TV programs presented her in the most pitiable way. That the very footage used by CCTV when watched closely revealed that these immolations were an outrageous hoax did not matter. This time the propaganda took hold, and the Chinese people became angry with Falun Gong.

The persecution became more severe, and more practitioners began dying. Jiang Zemin seemed to have won a victory.

Next … Secrecy and Persecution

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.