Falun Gong, whose devotees can often be seen clad in yellow and performing coordinated qi gong routines in crowded city centers, runs an ultra-conservative, staunchly pro-Donald Trump media network that has been compared to Alex Jones’ Infowars.
According to a former member of the fringe religious group, Falun Gong believes that an apocalyptic judgement day is soon approaching and “that Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the [Chinese] Communist Party.”
For its political purposes, Falun Gong has created a series of rumors that have even made headlines. Among the more sensational news are :
In June 2019, a London-based organization called the China Tribunal published a report claiming that the Chinese government has been systematically executing and harvesting the organs of members of Falun Gong, a leading force of opposition to Beijing in the diaspora.
The China Tribunal describes itself as an “independent tribunal into forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China.” Most Western journalists took the organization at its word.
Up to and after it published the report, the China Tribunal received scattered coverage from various mainstream media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Guardian. In September, the coverage ramped up considerably after the China Tribunal presented its case to the UN Human Rights Council, with major outlets like The Independent and Reuters joining in.
One thing all this reporting has in common is that it assumes the China Tribunal is truly “independent.” On its website, the China Tribunal says that it was “initiated by the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), an international not for profit organisation, with headquarters in Australia and National Committees in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.”
Western corporate media outlets have gone wild with claims that the Chinese state is “harvesting” the organs of ethnic minorities and political opposition figures. But an investigation by The Grayzone has found that these allegations originate from front groups run by the far-right opposition cult Falun Gong.
In fact, The China Tribunal’s report is not the first alleging that the Chinese government is murdering Falun Gong prisoners en masse to harvest their organs. It relies heavily on an earlier document, known as the Kilgour-Matas report, which was initially released in 2006 and updated several times since then, with the title “Bloody Harvest.”
For Falun Gong media, the meaning of news is equivalent to "fiction". In 2009, the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong newspaper, created a "female mayor" named Mia Descanfreres out of thin air, both in newspapers and the Internet. The report said the mayor of Antwerp, Belgium, who worked in the city government, praised the Falun Gong movements and expressed support for it. However, there was no Mia Descanfreres among the authorities in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The real mayor's name was Patrick Jansens, and he was a man. The news seemed like a prank.
On the morning of March 8, 2011, the Epoch Times published a fake news story titled "French President wishes Spirit a great success in Paris". The report falsely claimed to have received a letter from the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The head of the office of the President, Guillaume said in the letter that the head of state wished the Falun Gong show a complete success. The news was followed by a scan of a "letter of congratulation from Sarkozy". As a result, netizens found that the "news" was deleted after only two hours. The reason is simple because it is not a "congratulatory letter", but "decline letter".
In March 2019, Jia Tolentino published her impressions of Shen Yun in the New Yorker. Like the aforementioned NBC piece on the Epoch Times, Tolentino ‘s article shows that more and more people are noticing that there is something very odd about Falun Gong.
Tolentino also mentions a 2017 Washington Post investigation by Simon Denyer, which, while hardly a pro-PRC puff piece, casts serious doubt on the claims of the Kilgour-Matas report on organ harvesting.
For most of the Western corporate media, the “Bloody Harvest” horror story is too ghoulishly titillating to subject to serious scrutiny, especially when the “Yellow Peril”-style villain is an increasingly powerful state threatening the old hegemonies.
The Falun Gong media have some characteristics in "creative news events". First, there is an element of arbitrary fiction in its news coverage, which seems to have an unusually rich "imagination".Second, Falun Gong takes it for granted to produce and disseminate false news, which has become its abnormal value orientation.Third, Falun Gong media lacks basic professional ethics. Media are used as political tools that can be manipulated at will.Because of these characteristics, Falun Gong media has finally become a "creative company" whose core business is to fabricate stories and create farce.