Over 18 years since the dramatic stage-managed event, eyewitnesses of the “self-immolation” who were scared to speak up for fear of being silenced have been stepping forward and revealing the facts of the orchestrated hoax organized by the Chinese communist regime to defame the spiritual group Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice based on the core values of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.

On Jan. 23, 2001, five individuals allegedly set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Just hours after the event, the Chinese state-run media continued a blitz campaign to portray the “self-immolates” as Falun Gong practitioners.

If one traces the genesis of the hate campaign against Falun Gong practitioners, it all started on July 20, 1999. It was the day when Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), announced a nationwide ban on Falun Gong, since he perceived the group’s growing popularity—with official estimates of 70-100 million adherents by the late 1990s—as a threat to the communist rule.

The staged-immolation incident influenced people across China to change their attitude, from respecting and sympathizing with Falun Gong practitioners to becoming infuriated with and attacking the peaceful practice.

In this undated photo, Falun Gong practitioners in China are seen unfurling the banners that read ‘Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance’ while the police officer marches forward to arrest them. (©Minghui.org)

The ruling communist party launched an all-out campaign to use the staged incident to prove its claim that Falun Gong is a dangerous group, and to turn public opinion in China and abroad against this spiritual system, which the party had outlawed 18 months before the “self-immolation” drama. After the incident, hate crimes targeting Falun Gong practitioners increased, and the CCP escalated its persecution with increased arrests, torture, killing and forced “live organ” extractions.

However, an analysis of the entire event clearly shows that the “self-immolation” was the CCP’s fabrication staged to discredit Falun Gong.

An objective look at the seven-minute video showing five people setting themselves on fire gives one the feeling of watching a B-grade film with poor production values and a badly written script, full of holes. A thorough analysis revealed indisputable evidence that the alleged “self-immolation” incident was in fact staged by the Chinese communist regime, only to for the purpose of using it as a vile propaganda against Falun Gong.

The self immolation film is full of inconsistencies

Film makers, fire experts, non-governmental organizations and independent media have closely watched the film and picked the inconsistencies and expressed shock at how a nation could go to such lengths to demonize its own innocent citizens and deny them their freedom of a spiritual faith.

A number of media reports have been published exposing the self-immolation hoax, including articles in the Washington Post and the National Review. Among the best of the media exposing the staged self-immolation is the False Fire website with an excellent documentary “False Fire,” which carefully analyzes every aspect of the tragic hoax. Detailed analysis, including a review of 54 clarifying facts, is available at the Minghui.org website and other sources.

Here we would like to briefly bring to light some glaring loopholes related to this drama.

Where did the fire-fighting equipment come from?

Police officers who patrol Tiananmen Square do not normally carry fire-fighting equipment. The video footage of the area also does not show any fire-fighting equipment on Tiananmen Square. Where did the police get the equipment and how did they get it to the scene so quickly?

A surveillance camera that pans and zooms by itself

A surveillance camera is normally fixed to monitor from a set angle; the camera doesn’t move. In the video footage of the self-immolation hoax, the camera appears to pan and follow the police to the site where the fire began. Furthermore, it zooms in and out to catch all details of the drama as it unfolds. The Chinese media claimed the footage was from CNN.

However, the CNN’s then chief news executive, Eason Jordan, was quoted in the Washington Post saying: “The footage used in the Chinese television reports could not have come from a CNN videotape because the CNN cameraman was arrested almost immediately after the incident began.”

Thus, CNN did not have a chance to shoot any footage.

The plastic Sprite bottle that supposedly contained gasoline remained intact between Wang Jindong’s legs after the fire. Wang’s hair also appears untouched. The police officer holding a fire blanket behind Wang appeared to wait until he finished shouting slogans before throwing the blanket over his head. (©Minghui.org)

Intact hair and plastic bottle filled with gasoline, remains untouched in the flames

According to Minghui.org, one of the “self-immolators,” Wang Jindong, supposedly used a green plastic Sprite bottle filled with gasoline to douse gasoline over his body. On the video footage, the Sprite bottle is seen between Wang’s legs. A plastic bottle filled with gasoline should have been one of the first things to melt. However, it remains remarkably intact between his legs.

A closer look reveals that after being on fire, Wang’s hair is still relatively intact as well. Hair burn quickly and should have been one of the first things to burn.

A policeman held a fire blanket but did not put it on Wang until Wang finished shouting slogans.

Tracheotomy patient speaks with ease, but suddenly dies after recovery

Four days after the “self-immolation,” the little girl Liu Siying, who supposedly had a tracheotomy after being badly burned, was able to be interviewed and was even able to sing. But Siying died suddenly on March 17, 2001, just as she was ready to be discharged from the hospital.

Siying was most likely to divulge that it was a hoax since she was so young. The only way to guarantee her silence, and prevent the truth from coming out, was to kill her.

Although Falun Gong teachings forbid killing and suicide, the communist party nonetheless chose to use this incident to intensify the persecution against the group. Fang Jing, CCTV’s news anchor, continued to defame Falun Gong through the Focus program in 2005, four years after the drama.

Despite intense pressure by the tyrannical regime, people have woken up and chosen to stand on the side of justice. It also means that people are no longer afraid of the suppression, and that they are starting to awaken and oppose the persecution. As of today, more than 320 million people have now chosen to quit the CCP and its affiliated organizations. And the number is still increasing as more than sixty thousand people are quitting the CCP and its organizations every day.


Suren Rao is an advertising professional in creative field, who used to live in Mumbai but now resides in Kolkata, and does freelance content writing. He is committed to promoting and practicing the meditation discipline Falun Dafa, and creating awareness of the human rights violation of its innocent practitioners in China. You can reach out to him at: surenrao9@unseen.is

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