Texte de Sophie Gosselin Sirois
A Trail of Blood
This text can be read on the official website of the United States' Chinese Embassy. Used as a mean of propaganda against the Falun Gong movement, the text states fourteen crime cases where Falun Gong practitioners were the perpetrators. Some of the cases are of men or woman brutally killing their parents or kids, while other are of office workers assaulting their boss with a knife, and so on. Some of the people mentioned in the cases are, according to the government's text, suffering of a sever case of schizophrenia. The text is simple, a small introduction, and then an enumeration and description of the fourteen cases. By reading the introduction, which goes as follows :
“The now banned Falun Gong has claimed upwards of 1500 lives in China. Readers of the following 14 stories can judge for themselves if this deadly cult should be allowed to go unchecked.”
I immediately felt that I was reading a text made for propaganda. Straight from the beginning, the two single phrases that introduce the text are biased. Then, upon reading the rest of the text, my first reaction was “Oh my god, these people are crazy!”, then I thought that the goal of propaganda was reached. Assuming that the people reading this will believe it, since they are “official” stories and facts does seems like something someone would do to discredit a cause or an organization that went against their own principles.
Also, by taking care mentioning that some of the criminals were suffering from schizophrenia, they could be implying two things, the first being that the Falun Gong movement is a place where nutcases can gather and prosper, without proper surveillance. This adds a sense of danger to the overall feeling that the Chinese government want people to feel about the Falun Gong and its practitioners. Secondly, they almost seem to be suggesting that the Falun Gong could actually make people that way, make them schizophrenic and giving them the urges to attack people. For example, in the first text, there is a case of a young girl slowly isolating herself from the world, then living in a nightmarish kind of hallucination where she is violated and beheaded, and she eventually killed a man to whom she had never spoken to before, persuaded that he had raped her. According to the text, all of this only started after she began practicing Falun Gong, which seems a little too big of a story for my personal taste. While I am willing to accept the fact that being part of a sect can make you do weird things, I think that laying mental problems and suggesting that the Falun Gong might be the cause for it might be a bit too much.
I am, however, more than willing to believe that there are people who will believe everything that is written in that text, and will start thinking that the Falun Gong can make people crazy, or can make crazy people crazier. These people are the ones the Chinese government intended this message for, and I guess they did a pretty good job. A lot of people will only read the text and stay with the first impression they had about it, which would probably be the same I had, and will not take the time to actually think about what they just read, hence, fulfilling the goal of this mass-scale propaganda.