Cutting the Wires of China's State-Run Media

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[6:01:37 PM] Eléonora: It was an idea hatched by three men in a prison cell. Their tools: a pair of wire cutters, a DVD player, and their faith. Their purpose: to tell the people of Changchun the truth.

Like the rest of China, the people of Changchun lived behind a wall. An invisible barrier, run by the state, that determines what information gets in, and what gets out.

Then on March 5, 2002, something unexpected appeared on televisions across the city.

[Zhang Zhongyu, Falun Gong Practitioner]:
"When I entered the store, I suddenly noticed the store owner and three customers were surrounding the TV, looking very excited...The TV was broadcasting programs that showed the truth about Falun Gong."

By 2002, the Falun Gong meditation practice had been banned by the Chinese regime for three years. People in Changchun went from practicing in Victory Park to protesting in Tiananmen Square.

A key part of the regime's campaign against Falun Gong was what the Wall Street Journal called a "communist-style propaganda war."

A major blow in that war was the self-immolation incident on Tiananmen Square. Five people set themselves on fire. State-run media claimed that they were Falun Gong practitioners. And they used it to turn public opinion against the practice.

But practitioners knew it was a fake. Falun Gong does not allow suicide. And Western media found other holes in the story.

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