Falun Gong slips poems into Chinese newspaper

Reuters/April 4, 2002

Beijing -- Just weeks after hacking into Chinese state television and airing propaganda films, members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement have slipped poems by their leader into a major state-run newspaper, an editor at the paper said on Thursday.

Two poems written by Falun Gong's exiled spiritual leader Li Hongzhi were printed on an economic page in the March 30 edition of South China's Guangzhou Daily, the editor, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

"A Falun Gong adherent presented the two poems as part of an article submitted to the page," he said.

"The editor in charge mistook the poems, which were very ambiguous in meaning, for a description of the general economic situation. They passed through all the editorial checks and got published," he said.

The two four-line poems, which also appeared on Falun Gong's Web site (, describe grim skies and suffocating sandstorms over the Chinese land, with allusions to people dying everywhere and imminent salvation.

Falun Gong, which combines traditional Chinese exercise with Taoism and Buddhism, was outlawed in China as an "evil cult" in mid-1999.

Other officials at the newspaper were not available for comment, but the editor said there was speculation that harsh disciplinary action would be taken against editorial staff found responsible for printing the poems.

In the television hijack, prime-time cable broadcasts in the northeastern city of Changchun were interrupted on March 5 by footage of Li Hongzhi and a film accusing the government of staging a self-immolation in Tiananmen Square last year.

Changchun, capital of Jilin province, is the hometown of the Falun Gong leader, now living in exile in New York.


Around 20 people have been arrested in Changchun for the TV protest, some of whom will be charged with using an evil cult to damage law enforcement, state media and officials have said.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has since accused the government of launching a bloody crackdown. It says more than 5,000 members have been arrested in Changchun and some 100 have died in custody.

The group said China has warned it would sack provincial and city leaders if cable broadcasts were interrupted again and police who missed "arrest quotas" would be fired.

A Changchun government spokesman denied Falun Gong's accusations on Wednesday, saying police stepped up their efforts to control Falun Gong as part of their normal work, but declined to elaborate.

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