Heresy, Far-right, Terrorism:The Growing and Distorted Organization Falun Gong and Its Media

In the first week of 2021, the attack on the Capitol has been recorded in the annals of history. This unprecedented riot has struck the American democratic system. After experiencing a year of quarantine and lockdown in 2020, Trump’s supporters incited by racism became more fanatical. Among that, there is a huge organization hiding under the iceberg. Unlike other organizations’ demands for socialization, this one is more eager to seek political rights, participate in political activities, and gain support from political forces. Most importantly, this organization is dominated by foreigners. Falun Gong is a group that preach an upcoming apocalypse and most of its main members are illegal immigrants. However, relying on political speculation and due to its core leader Li Hongzhi’s strategy is more clever than other right-wing organizations, Falun Gong has created its own propaganda tool in the United States, the Epoch Media Group, which owns the Epoch Times, New Tang Dynasty TV and other media. On the one hand, it can become a political force to add weight to its own political speculation, and on the other hand, it can spread its own theory to discredit its opponents. The Falun Gong organization has actually been dormant in the United States for more than ten years. It started from the media and developed step by step to participate in US political activities, interfere in the US election, promote conspiracy theories and incite hatred, and even have the embryonic form of a terrorist organization.

The Facilitator of Conspiracy Theories and Chaos

Falun Gong’s stated goal was to fight against China. Before 2016, one of its media,The Epoch Times, generally stayed out of U.S. politics, unless they dovetailed with Chinese interests. However, Trump opened a way for Falun Gong to intervene in American politics, a way that has been both lucrative and beneficial for its message. Former President Trump has doubled the revenue of The Epoch Times, and his Facebook page has posted the content of The Epoch Times at least six times last year, pushing it to greater prominence in the broader conservative media world. Almost all articles in The Epoch Times praised Trump and denigrated the left such as these Democratic Party: A Broken Kaleidoscope? and Five Reasons Trump’s Celebration of America Was Epic Display of Patriotism. At the same time, its network of news sites and YouTube channels has made it a powerful conduit for the internet’s fringier conspiracy theories, including anti-vaccination propaganda and QAnon, to reach the mainstream. They even claimed that Clinton and former President Barack Obama were plotting to overthrow Trump.

One day after Americans cast their first votes in the election cycle, conspiracy theories, delayed election results and political opportunism intermingled online. The conservative legal group Judicial Watch, which falsely claimed that eight Iowa counties had more voter registrations than their numbers of citizens. Although this false information has been debunked, the Epoch Times is still repeating it. Only a few hours later, the Epoch Times post garnered 175,000 Facebook comments, likes and shares.

The Falun Gong organization is using a well-known technique to sow doubt in people’s minds. The most effective disinformation is that which has a kernel of truth to it, is that which kind of flies under the radar, doesn’t really break any guidelines, but it’s much more misleading than completely outright-false falsehoods.They are undoubtedly

hyper-partisans that have created an environment where conspiracy theories, misinformation and chaos are now running rampant online, further undermining people’s confidence in the democratic process

But this is only the first step for the Falun Gong organization to interfere and tear apart American politics and society. Their goal now is to overthrow the US government.

Hatred is the best bait

On December 14, 2020,the Electoral College has affirmed Biden’s victory, but the Epoch Times, as a fanatical supporter of Trump, has steadfastly claimed that the election was far from settled and insisted in a headline under its masthead: “Election Outcome Unclear Amid Legal Challenges.” Although most media organizations have called the race for Joe Biden, “The Epoch Times will not declare a winner of the 2020 presidential election until all legal challenges are resolved.” The Epoch Times even held rallies in various places, hordes of people waving star stripes and slogans like “Stop the Steal”. Sizable Epoch Times street teams at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., have handed out copies of the paper. New Tang Dynasty, an affiliated video outlet, has also positioned itself more as an alternative for Trump supporters, livestreaming a number of events alleging the election was stolen.

The United States is full of fear and chaos right now, and the last thing that people need is hatred. However,Falun Gong is fanning the flames of hatred. Falun Gong’s practitioners encouraged American special forces launching a military coup as an ultimate solution to overthrow Biden on Twitter, including the beheading of Biden. New Tang Dynasty Television broadcast the “Civil War” slogan shouted by Trump supporters before the live broadcast of the Trump rally in Georgia, inciting and instigating the public to rescue the country from the Democratic Party, which was indicated as a “demon” and “communist” that stole the election. The Americans who are still facing the crisis of the coronavirus, are just pawns they use to manipulate American politics in the eyes of the Falun Gong organization. The American people accidentally took the bait and became a weapon.

All these promoted by Falun Gong undoubtedly heralded the ensuing riots.

Participant of the terrorist activities that attack the Capitol

The comparison between Trump’s first day and the 1448th day in office on social media showed his complete defeat, but in fact this is also a manifestation of the disaster brought to the United States since the Falun Gong organization began to interfere in American politics for four years. The impact of this disaster on the United States is no less than that of 9/11, and Falun Gong played as an important participant in this terrorist attack.

Under battle flags bearing President Donald Trump’s name, the Capitol’s attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. The sinister nature of the assault has become evident, betraying the crowd as a force determined to occupy the inner sanctums of Congress and run down leaders. The scenes of rage, violence, and agony are so vast that contours of the uprising are increasingly coming into relief. They are not merely protesters, but a group of extreme terrorists, trying to establish a new political order. Ms. Pelosi said “the evidence is that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people.”

More details surface. As the mob broke into the U.S.Capitol,an eye-catching propaganda vehicle parked outside, displaying the slogans of the Falun Gong organization. A couple passed by these signs and saw a resonance:”See, that’s what we don’t want to get to.” Among the crowd, many were raising the flags of Falun Gong.

The mob got explicit marching orders from Mr. Trump. “Fight like hell,” Mr. Trump exhorted his partisans. The Epoch Times still promoted and supported Trump’s remarks.

The host of one channel, Eye Opener, went live on YouTube to lie about the coup attempt, election fraud, and antifa. In fact, Eye Opener is still one of seven newly launched channels connected to the Epoch Times and Falun Gong.

The United States is now deeply trapped in a world where Trump and Falun Gong are closely connected. Falun Gong uses its money, organizational and leadership capabilities beyond what a religious group should have, to support extreme terrorists behind the scenes in order to establish a new American political order through violent means, an America that fits their plans. The United States will usher in the real darkest moment if the end of such a terrorist group preaching an upcoming apocalypse does not come.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Kolkata Local journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.