Investigative Report on the Persecution of Falun Gong by Li Yuqiang
Full Name of Perpetrator: Li (last name) Yuqiang (first name) (李玉强)
Date/year of Birth: (unknown)
Place of Birth: (unknown)
Li Yuqiang's public identity is a “reporter” and “editor” for the CCTV (Chinese Central Television) program “Focus Report.” However, someone at CCTV verified with an Epoch Times reporter that Li Yuqiang is not employed by CCTV. She was appointed by the “610 Office” (a special office for directing the persecution of Falun Gong), and she has been responsible for producing programs for CCTV defaming Falun Gong, including conducting related interviews. One of her programs won an award at the 2002 China News Awards.
Background of the Anti-Falun Gong Programs on CCTV's “Focus Report”
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong is not a rule of law but a perspective political campaign, so naturally it has one of the typical features of CCP's past political movements – using propaganda to defame its target. CCTV's “Focus Report” was one of the main media programs carrying anti-Falun Gong propaganda. Below are a few examples of the programs.
The “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation” hoax: On January 23, 2001, a group of five people “set themselves on fire” in the square. Only two hours after the incident, Xinhua News Agency, the biggest official state-run media, announced to the world that it was done by Falun Gong members. Soon CCTV's “Focus Report” followed with a special edition with “images taken at the scene” as they claimed. Li Yuqiang was the editor.
Interview with Wang Bo: Ms. Wang Bo and her parents began to practice Falun Gong in 1996. After the CCP launched the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, Ms. Wang was arrested in late 2000. She was detained in a labor camp “brainwashing center” and was tortured until she was forced to give up her belief. In April 2002, “Focus Report” broadcasted a “story” on Ms. Wang's family with “interviews” that were heavily edited and twisted in order to slander Falun Gong. Li Yuqiang was the editor.
Zhejiang Beggar Murder Case: On June 26, 2003, a series of cases of beggars who murdered with poison were reported in Wenzhou City, Zhejiang province. On July 2, the Xinhua News Agency carried an article based on some farfetched reasons claiming that the case had been solved and the “alleged suspect Chen Fuzhao is a Falun Gong follower.” Following the article, CCTV carried further reports on the incident, launching another round of attacks and slander against Falun Gong. Li Yuqiang was the editor.
Under the roles of “reporter” and “editor” for CCTV's “Focus Report,” Li Yuqiang participated in making many programs defaming Falun Gong. Many times, she was the writer, “live” reporter, and editor for these programs. The programs fabricated lies with falsified “evidence,” which misled audiences and spread hatred toward Falun Gong. As a result, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted to death; hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been illegally detained or forced to leave their hometowns in order to avoid being captured; and millions of practitioners and their family members suffered discrimination. Li Yuqiang should be held fully responsible for the consequences of her actions.
Below is a partial list of “Focus Report” programs Li Yuqiang helped produce and served as an editor.
1. “Illegal Organizations and Illegal Gathering” (July 27, 1999)
2. “Illegal Activities Destroy Stability” (July 28, 1999)
3. “Seeing Through...” (August 4, 1999)
4. “Sinister Deception” (August 8, 1999)
5. “Harmful and Deadly” (August 24, 1999)
6. “Walking Away from Imprisonment” (December 4, 1999)
7. “Evil Cult Kills Lives” (January 30, 2001) - This was the first edition of “Focus Report” about the “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation” incident. Li Yuqiang was both reporter and editor
8. “Brutal Murder” (July 19, 2001) -- This edition imputed a murder case on Falun Gong
9. “Can't Cover Up” (2001-9-18) -- This edition imputed another murder case on Falun Gong
10. “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation Follow-Up” (January 23, 2002) -- a special edition on the anniversary of the “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation” hoax
11. “From Perished to a New Life - Wang Bo and Her Father and Mother” (two editions, April 7 and 8, 2002)
12. “Cruel and Ruthless” (May 8, 2002) -- This edition imputed another murder case on Falun Gong
13. “From a Falun Gong Self-Immolationer” (two editions, May 19 and 20, 2002) – These were interviews of Wang Jindong, one of the Tiananmen Square self-immolationers
14. “Adjudgment” (September 20, 2002) -- This was a commentary on a group trial of Falun Gong practitioners who participated in the TV taping in Changchun City. Most of these practitioners have been persecuted to death.
15. “Falun Gong Attacks Satellite Again” (September 24, 2002)
16. In 2003, “Focus Report” had a total of four editions defaming Falun Gong, including “Zhejiang Beggar Murder Case.” Li Yuqiang was editor for all of them.
In addition to producing many TV programs defaming Falun Gong, Li Yuqiang also participated in other activities persecuting Falun Gong. She went many times to the labor camps in Beijing city and Hebei province to “transform” Falun Gong practitioners. She also contributed to some anti-Falun Gong publications in Jilin province.
1. Li Yuqiang Acknowledged that Part of the Self-Immolation Scene Shown in “Focus Report” was Staged
In early 2002, as Li was interviewing people at the Tuanhe Labor Camp about the self-immolation, one Falun Gong prisoner raised the issue of the Sprite bottle in the self-immolation video clip (which showed Wang Jingdong, who was severely burned, with a plastic Sprite bottle between his legs supposedly filled with gasoline that was undamaged). Li responded to the quirk candidly, saying, “We shot that scene after the fact. If we knew it would look suspicious, we would not have shown it.” She tried to argue that the scene was arranged in an attempt to prove to the audience that Falun Gong practitioners conducted the self-immolation.
In 2003, a documentary made by New Tang Dynasty Television, “False Fire,” received an honorary award at the 51st Columbus International Film Festival. The documentary analyzed the inconsistencies in the accounts of the self-immolation event in CCTV’s video footage, including: within a minute of the fire starting, four fire extinguishers appeared; a slow-motion sequence showed Liu Chunling being struck over the head by a police officer; the plastic Sprite bottle between Wang Jindong legs, supposedly filled with gasoline, was undamaged when Wang was “on fire”; 12-year-old Liu Siying sang to reporters shortly after undergoing a tracheotomy.
Obviously, Li Yuqiang knew about these fake “facts” in the self-immolation report, and Li is responsible for having them in the program.
2. The “Focus Report” “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation” Program Escalated the Persecution
The “Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation” hoax stirred up the general public to hate Falun Gong, and many people started to agree with the CCP's crackdown on Falun Gong after believing the reports. The persecution significantly intensified. According to incomplete statistics, the number of Falun Gong practitioners who were persecuted to death jumped from 173 (by 18 months prior to the “self-immolation”) to 881 in 36 months (708 deaths between the “self-immolation” and January 2004).
3. “Focus Report” Distorted the Truth in Ms. Wang Bo's Case
In July 2005 after having freed themselves from detention, Ms. Wang Bo and her parents publicized in detail how reporters from the “Focal Point” interview edited, twisted, and took their words out of context to slander Falun Gong. Ms. Wang revealed that “reporter Li Yuqiang called [her] after the broadcast and explained to [her] that they made some changes to the interviews in order to pass upper level officials' review.” Mr. Wang Xinzhong, Ms. Wang's father, wrote: “After watching 'Focal Point,' I was shocked and disgusted at how they distorted and twisted the facts.”
Ms. Wang and her parents were secretly arrested again by CCP officials in Dalian City on the evening of July 27, 2006 and were taken back to Shijiazhuang city, where they were illegally detained. On November 5, Ms. Wang was sentenced to five years in prison, and her parents to four years each.
4. “Focus Report” Used Mentally-Ill Person to Fabricate “Zhejiang Beggar Murder Case”
Soon after the “Zhejiang Beggar Murder Case” was aired on June 26, 2003, an investigator from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) contacted local officers from the county Propaganda Department. A local officer stated clearly that the case had not been solved, and they did not say the murderer was a Falun Gong follower. The investigation result revealed that the alleged suspect Chen Fuzhao is an intermittent psychotic. His father said that he had brought Chen to a hospital for his mental illness prior to the incident taking place. The investigation results also showed that some of the “interviews” were completely fake, and the Public Security Ministry and the Central “610 Office” directly controlled this case behind the scenes in order to launch another round of attacks and slander against Falun Gong.