China is a country that is governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP has the final say in everything and denies its citizens of their basic fundamental rights. To stand up against this authoritarian regime requires a lot of courage and every now and then some heroes do emerge who expose the brutality of the wicked regime.
On March 5, 2002, six people in mainland China hijacked the cable TV airwaves to broadcast uncensored information that exposed a state-sponsored lie; the lie was exposed in two cities for 50 minutes but at the cost of their lives.
“Defiance in the Kingdom of Fake News,” a mini-documentary recently produced by FalunInfo TV, presents the real story of six FalunGong practitioners from Changchun, who successfully took over the cable television distribution lines controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and broadcasted a series of programs reporting the true facts about the persecution campaign against the spiritual practice for 50 minutes.
The six, known as the “Airwave Six,” include Liang Zhenxing, Zhou Runjun, Lei Ming, Liu Haibo, Hou Mingkai, and Liu Chengjun, all of whom have been tortured to death.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual practice based on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. By the late 1990s, it was estimated that nearly 70-100 million people in China alone were practicing Falun Dafa.
Jiang Zemin, the party leader at the time, grew jealous of its popularity and perceived the peaceful practice as a threat to the communist ideology. A nationwide campaign of persecution was launched on July 20, 1999, to eradicate the peaceful practice.
Suppression was escalated when a triggering event—a self-immolation event—was staged on Tiananmen Square and later broadcast nationwide by state media.
On Jan. 23, 2001, the day before the Chinese Lunar New Year, five Chinese people posing as Falun Dafa practitioners publicly set themselves on fire, which is believed to have been at the direction of the state in order to demonize the group and incite the public against Falun Gong.
On August 14, 2001, the NGO International Educational Development made a formal statement which declared the incident as Beijing’s attempt to slander Falun Gong.
Although western reporters, international organizations outside China acknowledged holes in the so-called “self-immolation,” the truth was not revealed inside China.
“This was the turning point … when police and labor camp leaders lost all remaining restraint in torturing and killing Falun Gong practitioners,” said in the documentary. “For the millions of people who practice Falun Gong across China, it seemed at this point all hope was lost.”
In the northeast of the country, however, a secret plan was afoot in a rented house. Liang Zhenxing, one of the Airwave Six, recruited the other fellow Falun Gong practitioners with various technical and electrical skills, plotting strategies of broadcast interruption.
On the night of March 5, 2002, using bicycles and cabs to get around, practitioners in official-looking clothes tapped into eight cable channels in Changchun and nearby Songyuan City and broadcast Falun Gong truth-clarification videos simultaneously.
The entire city was soon shocked as the 50-minute program without being interrupted reached out to 300,000 cable subscribers in Changchun. Nearly 100,000 households were able to watch “Self-immolation or Hoax?” and “Falun Dafa Spreads Worldwide.” The plan had succeeded.
Consequently, all six members of the core broadcast team died at the hand of Chinese authorities. However, the loss of the six lives was not in vain. In the following months, other groups of individuals in other cities made similar attempts to take over the CCP controlled distribution lines, achieving success in other Chinese cities as well.
An information revolution began that challenged the oppressive CCP regime, had also been launched worldwide.
In 2006, overseas Falun Gong practitioners were inspired to form the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, a U.S.-based alliance of organizations that developed anti-censorship software that helped people break through the Chinese firewall, allowing Chinese people to freely access websites outside of China that the CCP had blocked.