A New Yorker, who lives in Australia, believes the country’s government-funded broadcaster is so left leaning its content is appearing in communist propaganda to justify violence against prisoners of conscience.
Sky News Host James Morrow has questioned the editorial impartiality of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) after it began airing the “Power of Falun Gong,” which seemingly stigmatized millions of peaceful Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) adherents who face savage persecution in mainland China.
“It is one thing to joke about the leftward bias at the ABC but it is quite another thing again when the ABC’s coverage tilts so far in pursuit of its quarry that it actually wins praise from the Chinese Communist Party for its efforts,” he said in an opinion piece published by the Daily Telegraph. “A new three-part attack on the spiritual movement known as Falun Gong is earning plenty of criticism—except from the Chinese Communist Party [CCP], which is using it for propaganda.”
ABC’s “Foreign Correspondent” and “Background Briefing” programs jointly created the series after interviewing three individuals who claimed to be former Falun Gong practitioners and were upset after allegedly being called “fat,” discouraged from taking antibiotics, and hearing the media established by adherents supported the president’s re-election campaign for the 2020 general election on Nov. 3.
“What viewers found out was, well, not a lot,” Morrow said. “Falun Gong teaches—like plenty of other faiths—that there is a reward in the next life for finding the right path in this one, and believes in heterosexual marriage. Oh, and Falun Gong is, through its media arm, working hard to get Trump re-elected to reward him for his tough anti-China stance.”
However, this “fairly thin gruel” was exactly what Beijing propagandists wanted to hear and the China State Council’s so-called anti-cult website publicly congratulated the ABC for confronting and exposing the “evil nature” of the group.
“China had publicly cracked down on the Falun Gong … in July 1999 , warning the world of the nature of the Falun Gong,” the website said. “Exactly 21 years later, Australian national media began to confront and expose the serious mental and health harm caused by the Falun Gong … to its citizens for the first time.”
The website separately featured other articles that positively reviewed the program and even commented that the state council was “shocked” to learn Victorian Liberal-Democrats MP David Limbrick wrote to the ABC Board, demanding an investigation into the “circumstances around the production and broadcast” of the report on Falun Gong.
“A few days later, China’s Guancha–or Observer–likewise cheered on the ABC, writing, ‘What is worth noting is that this is the first time that the Australian state media has confronted and exposed the Falun Gong,'” Morrow said.
“[The ABC reported] that in order to help get Trump re-elected, Falun Gong has undertaken a series of secret operations … they had no hesitation to spend millions of dollars on propaganda to beatify Trump and vigorously promote their radical anti-China policy in order to please the current U.S. government.”
From 1992 to 1999, Falun Gong enjoyed immense popularity with an estimated 70 million to 100 million people practicing in mainland China alone. The practice has also spread to the United States and more than 70 countries across the world while Falun Gong books have been translated into over 40 different languages.
However, the CCP grew increasingly unsettled by the group’s rapid growth and the high number of influential party members who joined. In late 1999, Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin decided to arbitrarily arrest and torture adherents to death, confiscated and destroyed more than 2 million Falun Gong books, and ordered state-run media to publish hundreds of articles that defamed the practice.
The two decadeslong human rights crisis has caused at least 4,363 known Falun Gong adherents to be persecuted to death, with “tens of thousands more [cases] to be confirmed” according to the latest data collected by the Minghui website. The CCP’s policy to cremate the deceased bodies of victims without asking permission from family members, has only added to the difficulty in ascertaining exactly how many Falun Gong adherents have been persecuted to death since 1999.
The coverage has brought a jump in “hate speech” against Falun Gong, with at least one passerby shouting “Why don’t you take medicine” to the local meditation group according to Falun Dafa Association of Australia President Lucy Zhao, who relocated from Toronto, Ontario.
“Why is it taxpayer money is being spent on something not in our national interest?” she said to Morrow.
The nationalistic Australian Values Alliance (AVA) has urged the broadcaster to stop airing the rest of the series because it discriminates and vilifies people on the basis of their beliefs and infringes on their civil rights.
“ABC reporters who produce the series have not demonstrated the same balanced and objective approach to journalism as we normally associate with ABC’s news programs,” it said in a statement. “We are particularly concerned about the random use of isolated cases to define the whole group, and how this irresponsible approach will unfairly stigmatize this minority group. … AVA fears that this ABC current affairs series will validate social discrimination against this already vulnerable religious group.”
An ABC representative did not respond to a request for comment before publication.