The murder Saturday in Beijing of American tourist Todd Bachman, a relative of the U.S. Olympic volleyball coach, grabbed the world’s attention just as Games were getting underway. The Chinese regime’s official Xinhua News Agency was quick to dismiss the killing as the random act of a depressed man, whom they quickly identified as Mr. Tang Yongmin.
“The Police Department of Zhejiang province investigated and verified that Tang Yongming’s armed attack in Gulou, Beijing Dongcheng District was an individual act of extreme behaviour caused by his being depressed,” Xinhua said.
But such reports have been quietly taken offline, and some fear the regime is now using its internet police force – said to number in the tens of thousands – to spread rumours linking the killing to Falun Gong, a spiritual group persecuted by the Communist regime in China.
Over the last few days, similar unsubstantiated postings began appearing on Mainland Chinese websites alleging that the killer was a practitioner of Falun Gong and suggested the murder was connected to the practice.
The initial Xinhua reports that were taken down made no mention of Falun Gong.
Falun Gong is based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. It is a peaceful practice that is rooted in Chinese traditions.
The Chinese authorities sponsored Falun Gong classes in the 1990’s because of health benefits. However, in 1999 when it was learned that the practice had attracted more participants than the membership of the Communist party, it was banned by the officially atheist regime.
Those who continued their practice have been arrested or tortured. At least 3000 have been tortured to death, according to the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, which monitors the situation of Falun Gong in China.
In the face of international criticism over the crackdown, the regime has relied on an intense anti-Falun Gong propaganda effort to fuel its repression of the group.
On Aug. 8, a day before the murder, the Falun Dafa Information Center warned that the Chinese regime “may attempt to stage an incident, perhaps even one involving violence, and then label the actors as Falun Gong practitioners.”
“Over the past nine years, the CCP has used a variety of inaccurate labels on Falun Gong,” says Information Center spokesperson Erping Zhang. “In each case, the aim has been to vilify people who practice Falun Gong, and therefore, justify the horrors these people are subject to under CCP rule.”
Chinese dissidents including democracy activists and Falun Gong practitioners have long been the target of Chinese internet agents, who spread false articles and attack writers who are critical of the Chinese regime.
According to Lucy Zhou, Falun Gong's spokesperson in Canada, this seems a well orchestrated systematic work of Chinese internet agents.
Aug 13, 2008