A series of internal Communist Party documents, some of them posted online, reveal the details of a new three-year, multi-billion dollar campaign targeting Falun Gong practitioners across China.
The campaign’s stated goal is to “transform” 75 percent of all known practitioners, who number in the tens of millions despite eleven years of brutal suppression. Specifically, the campaign calls upon security forces to go into “villages and households” to “educate and conquer” Falun Gong practitioners.
Transformation—a euphemism for forcing practitioners to renounce Falun Gong and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party—has been at the core of the anti-Falun Gong campaign since its inception. As part of the transformation process, individuals are typically subjected to physical and psychological torture. “What these documents call for is a campaign of surveillance, extralegal abductions, physical torture, and psychological abuse on a massive scale,” says Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang. “The scenes playing out across China could be taken right out of Orwell’s 1984.”
“When Chinese authorities talk of ‘transforming’ Falun Gong practitioners, what they mean is torturing out of people the aspiration to be honest, kind, and tolerant. They torment healthy, rational people to the point where the victim either betrays his or her most deeply held beliefs and completely submits to the will of the Communist Party, dies from abuse, or is driven to the edge of sanity. They push practitioners to the point where life is a living hell.”
The Falun Dafa Information Center has obtained eight documents from various localities describing a campaign to intensify efforts to transform Falun Gong practitioners from 2010 to 2012. Seven of the documents are available online, while the eighth was obtained from an internal source whose identity and location cannot be revealed for fear of retribution.
Based on details in the documents, the campaign is a multi-billion dollar initiative. On one webpage from Xinglong township in Sichuan province, the instructions call for an increase in funding for transformation efforts. The document states that “to transform one Falun Gong person costs on average 45,000 yuan [$6,750] nationwide, 40,900 yuan in Sichuan provice, [and] in my township, 39,000 yuan.” Given that Falun Gong practitioners in China number from 20 to 40 million, the total cost reaches tens of billions of dollars.
Although all eight documents are from the level of county or below, there is little doubt that the instructions originated at the top echelons of the Communist Party. One document explicitly states that the campaign was initiated by the central 6-10 Office, an extralegal security force that has led the persecution of Falun Gong since 1999. In addition, identical wording is evident among the documents, as are references to campaign performance being a criteria for evaluation at the end of the year. Both are elements typical of high-level instructions implemented down the ranks of the Party apparatus.
“Beyond the revelations they provide on the latest danger facing Falun Gong practitioners in China, these internal documents dispel—in the Communist Party’s own words—the common misconception that Falun Gong has been crushed,” says Zhang.
“After all, if the Party had succeeded in eliminating the group, as it often claims publicly, why would it need to invest billions of dollars in a three-year campaign to strengthen the ‘battle’ against Falun Gong?”
Henan Province Document Lists Transformation Quota
An online notice from the Communist Party Committee of Laodian township in Henan dated May 2010 is one of the most detailed of the documents describing the campaign. It speaks of implementing “a 2010-2012 plan to educate, transform, and conquer key targets” in order to gain ground in the “overall battle” against Falun Gong. To do so, the order requires “every administrative village” and “all units under the township” to push the campaign forward “in full force.”
The document then articulates the campaign’s goal to “achieve a transformation rate of 75% by the end of 2012” and to keep the rate of those who resume practicing Falun Gong upon release from custody “to less than 6%.”
To fulfill these quotas, local officials are first tasked with identifying all Falun Gong practitioners in a given area. Then, they are to send the practitioners to “law education seminars,” more commonly known as brainwashing centers. Inside the brainwashing centers, practitioners are pressured to sign statements asserting they have given up their belief in Falun Gong. Those who refuse face physical and psychological torture, as well as the prospect of indefinite detention.
The document encourages local authorities to continuously refine so-called “effective” methods for forcing practitioners to renounce their belief, including making use of scientific expertise to accomplish that goal. For practitioners not taken to brainwashing centers, neighbors from local Party committees and other organizations are recruited to regularly monitor and harass them in an effort to compel them to stop practicing.
Reports of Abductions, Deaths in Brainwashing Centers
The Communist Party has consistently used brainwashing centers in its decade-long persecution of Falun Gong. Nonetheless, since the issuing of the above orders in mid-2010, the Falun Dafa Information Center has noted increased reports of practitioners being taken by the dozens to such facilities.
Since mid-September alone, cases have been received of practitioners being taken to brainwashing centers in Beijing, Shaanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin, Hebei, Hubei, Sichuan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Given the temporary and extralegal nature of the facilities, many of the above mentioned centers are located in schools, hotels, and other public buildings.
As an indication of the severe treatment meted out at these facilities, cases of Falun Gong practitioners being killed within days of being taken to brainwashing centers have also emerged. On August 2, 2010, the director of a local residential committee and several police officers abducted Ms. Yan Pingjun, a seamstress, from her stall in Shijiazhuang of Hebei province. Police then ransacked her home, extorting 550 yuan from her husband to allegedly pay for his wife’s living expenses while at a brainwashing class. Eight days later, police informed him that Ms. Yan had died at a “Legal Education Training Center” in the city’s Xinhua District. She was 45 years old.