A Chinese couple who immigrated to Australia over three years ago says having access to uncensored information is critical to unveiling the “ugly purposes” behind any propaganda and understanding that “news can be fake too.”
The couple, who are from South China and whose identities are withheld for safety concerns, told The Epoch Times in an interview that coming across truthful facts in an open society helped them redeem their consciences and free their minds from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lifelong indoctrination.
“It is really brainwashing in all aspects,” said 33-year-old Ms. Wang (alias). “The 15- or 16-year ideological education courses from the first grade to graduating from university are really scary to think about. After being brainwashed, we truly believe that the CCP is very good.
“While growing up, most of the students are educated to believe that what the schools, newspapers, and TV news said is true. They never think that news can be fake too.”
The other was the coronavirus pandemic. My husband now often compares and shows me the videos posted by people in Wuhan and news from mainland China, which allowed me to see the CCP’s propaganda, ugliness, and utter disregard for human life.
‘The Problem Is the CCP’
The couple didn’t like the education environment in China, and they never enrolled their three children in cram schools for special tutoring to cope with their kindergarten studies. In 2018, they left China in hopes of finding a better future and educational environment for their children.
After the family of five moved to Melbourne, they experienced a complete change of world-view—not only was the education system more empowering, but the people were also more openhearted, which eventually had a huge impact on their life. Ms. Wang said that the “spirit of educating people in Australia” can be seen in the things that encourage children to “help others and be kind people.”
“It was completely different from the education method we had in China,” she said. “The education in China produces machines, and the students there compare their grades, family conditions, and so on. We felt we were forced to think more like the CCP, and we had no individuality. The schools in China educate people that, ‘without the communist party, there would be no new China.’”
Ms. Wang even felt that Chinese people’s personalities “have a big gap” when compared to the upbeat and outgoing nature of Australians in general. “I used to observe people’s expressions and found that Chinese people often frown, while foreigners are more natural, sincere, and generous,” she recalled. “When we were in China, we had a resentful attitude and also felt that our financial ability was good. After coming out, we felt ashamed.”
She said the communist ideologies of class struggle and hate have infiltrated all sectors of society and life in China, and the persistent indoctrination has forced Chinese people to have no thoughts of their own. Like countless others, she, too, became a “radical communist follower” after decades of indoctrination, she said.
“Everyone believes in school education,” she added. “How the CCP drove away Japan, liberated China, and fought for land for poor farmers without it being squeezed by landlords.
“I always felt that new generations are living better than previous generations, and are very happy, as there is no famine, so no one needs to go hungry, and that all these changes are brought about by the CCP. Even while talking on the phone to my mother about some social problems, my mother always says, ‘Oh, it’s because the social atmosphere is bad.’ She never ever thinks that the problem is the CCP.”
Discovering Uncensored Truth
Ms. Wang recalled an elementary classroom incident from her childhood days. A teacher barged into the classroom and questioned if any of the students practiced Falun Gong, before announcing that they couldn’t practice it, alleging that it was a “heretical religion,” a term that is usually mistranslated into English as “cult.”
She said that the students were then made to watch a self-immolation video and her school teacher spoke at length for 45 minutes, defaming the practice and brainwashing the young minds.
Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa) is a self-improvement system based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, but it’s been violently persecuted in China since July 1999. During the 22-year-long abuse, countless adherents have faced persecution to varying degrees; many have died from torture or been killed on demand for their organs.
In an attempt to demonize Falun Gong, the communist regime launched a massive propaganda stunt and staged a self-immolation incident where five individuals allegedly set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Jan. 23, 2001. The entire scene was caught on camera, and in no time, the Chinese state-run and world media outlets began reporting that the self-immolators were adherents of Falun Gong.
However, weeks after the event, multiple pieces of evidence pointed to the fact that the entire event was staged by CCP officials, and the immolators weren’t Falun Gong practitioners. Ms. Wang recalled that, being unaware of the propaganda at that time, she and her classmates were scared after watching the video.
“Later, we were tested on Falun Gong in many examinations and we were brainwashed over and over again,” she said. “We had been deeply poisoned in our minds through school education, repeated tests, newspaper propaganda, and other methods.
“Before I began practicing it myself, my opinion of Falun Gong was that it was a cult, and I didn’t dare to contact Falun Gong practitioners and didn’t read the information materials they usually hand out to expose the ongoing persecution.”
Ms. Wang said that she and her husband got the opportunity to see through the hardcore lies only after moving to Australia. She says her family also learned about Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests and the pandemic caused by the CCP virus only after having access to truthful news.
“The Hong Kong situation made me feel a little bit shaken,” she said. “The Chinese authorities said the Hong Kong incident was initiated by ‘chav’ (anti-social youth). When I actually saw the [uncensored] videos, I realized that everything was a propaganda created by the CCP. But when we talked to our families in China about how chaotic and pitiful Hong Kong is now, our family members told us not to listen to ‘foreign anti-China forces.’ We could then see the CCP’s control over people’s thinking.
“The other was the coronavirus pandemic. My husband now often compares and shows me the videos posted by people in Wuhan and news from mainland China, which allowed me to see the CCP’s propaganda, ugliness, and utter disregard for human life.”
Ms. Wang’s husband said that, though he “didn’t dare to understand” Falun Gong back in China due to the persecution, neither did he believe what the Chinese mainstream media said. “When I didn’t really understand Falun Gong, I felt afraid of Falun Gong,” he said. “I knew that the communist party’s propaganda always turns things upside down. There are ugly purposes behind it. But I was in a state of ignorance.
“After I moved to Australia, I was able to access many online videos that were not available in China. At first, I accidentally watched some Falun Gong practitioners’ self-media programs. At that time, I felt that the practitioners said it very well, their speech was rational and peaceful, and it felt very upright, and I couldn’t connect it to any so-called cults.”
In the year 2020, Ms. Wang’s husband, who was facing health issues for a long time, developed swelling and pain in the joints and had difficulty sleeping. Though he was already practicing qigong exercises and taking Chinese medicine after Western medicine couldn’t provide him any relief, the prolonged physical discomfort left him bad-tempered. It was during this time that he thought to try practicing Falun Gong’s meditative exercises, which are known for their health benefits as confirmed by several Chinese state-run and independent surveys.
Living by Falun Gong’s core moral teachings and practicing the meditative exercises, Ms. Wang’s husband said he experienced positive changes in his health and mental state. “My temper has improved a lot. It can be said that I rarely really get angry with others,” he said. “Even if I get angry occasionally, I can quickly realize it and adjust it.”
However, Ms. Wang said that it took her some process to pull herself out of the CCP’s brainwashing and deep-rooted party culture. When her husband asked her to try out practicing Falun Gong, she struggled to make the decision. “At first, I thought it was a cult and didn’t want to read the book, but after my husband’s persuasion, I read it once,” she said. “Actually, I didn’t know the truth. I was like an iceberg, slowly melting. After I came across the true facts, my mood was very complicated. A flood of emotions rushed over—shock, disbelief, fear, etc.”
Ms. Wang shared that, after reading the teachings firsthand, she could see through the CCP’s propaganda that aimed to demonize the peaceful practice, which has over 100 million adherents.
“Falun Gong teaches us to be truthful, compassionate, and tolerant,” she said. “Isn’t this our human nature? Shouldn’t we be people who follow truthfulness, kindness, and tolerance? Or are we going to be hypocritical, evil, acrimonious people?
“On the surface, my physical body changed for the better with the practice, but the real changes I experienced were more mental. Self-cultivation has allowed me to slowly get rid of unhealthy emotions.”
Freeing herself from the shackles of communist ideologies, Ms. Wang now makes efforts to talk to her family and relatives in China to help them escape the psychological traps and break away from the “lies of the CCP.”
“When people go against their own true human nature, there is a real pain,” Ms. Wang said. “When we reveal and show our innocent and kind nature, that is one’s happiest self. This allows us to experience the beauty and the true meaning of life.”
Jocelyn Neo and Arshdeep Sarao contributed to this report.