The local branch of a secret police force in the city of Tianjin in northeastern China is seeking to step up measures to intimidate and hunt down Chinese citizens who practice a persecuted spiritual discipline, according to a recent internal memorandum obtained by Epoch Times.
In the document titled “Notice to Launch Special Prevention Task Force,” the 610 Office in Tianjin’s Dongli District called on all “street-level and relevant Chinese Communist Party agencies” in the port city to target adherents of Falun Gong for the purposes of “maintaining the overall stability of the region.” The individual who passed the document to Epoch Times said that he was of the belief that a similar circular was distributed to all other districts in Tianjin.
Established by former Party boss Jiang Zemin, the 610 Office is an extralegal organization that mainly targets practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese self-cultivation practice that involves five sets of exercises and moral teachings. For the last 16 years, Falun Gong practitioners have been targeted in China.
The Tianjin 610 Office’s latest circular declares that the move to “curb and suppress” Falun Gong practitioners will last from Dec. 15 to after the Chinese Lunar New Year in the last week of February.
The circular adds that the various government agencies must take measures to “strengthen the fight against the excessive false lawsuits by Falun Gong,” and that “verification and control measures should be put in place,” though it is not clear precisely what the authors of the document have in mind with the latter injunction.
The talk of “false lawsuits” may be a reference to the large amounts of criminal complaints—over 200,000 since the end of May—filed against Jiang Zemin to the Chinese regime’s highest legal and prosecuting bodies. Minghui.org, a website that serves as a clearinghouse for information about the persecution, keeps a running total of the number of suits filed. The extent to which the mobilization against Falun Gong in Tianjin is linked with this movement is unclear.
The 610 Office’s reason for stepping up efforts against Falun Gong was supposedly because practitioners are bound to “increase activities” during the festive period. (Whether practitioners indeed do so is unclear.)
Tianjin authorities have already started their efforts to vilify Falun Gong. For instance, in the district of Hebei, a wall was plastered with anti-Falun Gong propaganda, a practitioner in the city told Epoch Times. The individual added that the persecution in the city has been severe this year, estimating that at least 500 having been arrested as of Dec. 18.
Larry Ong contributed to this article.