Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1089 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 4 (Goose Hopping in Hong Kong with Pepe the Frog)

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Falun Gong sym­bol

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing our look at glob­al fas­cism, we vis­it Hong Kong and (by exten­sion) Chi­na, where an intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty desta­bi­liza­tion effort is under­way. That effort is uti­liz­ing Islam­ic fas­cists in the Uighur com­mu­ni­ty in Xin­jiang Province and the Falun Gong, a fas­cist mind con­trol cult that has devel­oped close oper­a­tional links with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Steve Ban­non and the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors (a CIA “deriv­a­tive.”)

Begin­ning our sojourn in Hong Kong, we review the preva­lence of the Pepe the Frog icon in the Hong Kong protests. The New York Times’ dis­claimer that the pro­test­ers are not “alt-right” should be seen in per­spec­tive.

With Steve Ban­non at the epi­cen­ter of the anti-Chi­na move­ment, Pepe’s pres­ence in Hong Kong is not sur­pris­ing.

Note Ban­non and com­pa­ny’s net­work­ing with the Falun Gong cult.

In our long series pred­i­cat­ed on Yasha Levine’s Sur­veil­lance Val­ley, we not­ed the Inter­net Free­dom move­ment and its fun­da­men­tal posi­tion as part of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s “soft pow­er” pro­pa­gan­da and regime change arse­nal.

Yasha Levine sums up the fun­da­men­tal con­tra­dic­tions inher­ent  in this dynam­ic: ” . . . . If you stepped back to sur­vey the scene, the entire land­scape of this new Inter­net Free­dom pri­va­cy move­ment looked absurd. Cold War-era orga­ni­za­tions spun off from the CIA now fund­ing the glob­al move­ment against gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Google and Face­book, com­pa­nies that ran pri­vate sur­veil­lance net­works and worked hand in hand with the NSA, deploy­ing gov­ern­ment-fund­ed pri­va­cy tech to pro­tect their users from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Pri­va­cy activists work­ing with Sil­i­con Val­ley and the US gov­ern­ment to fight gov­ern­ment surveillance—and with the sup­port of Edward Snow­den him­self? . . . .”

In Chi­na, Falun Gong is among the recip­i­ents of Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors mon­ey. Recall that the BBG is a CIA “deriv­a­tive.”: ” . . . . It also fund­ed sev­er­al small out­fits run by prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun gong, a con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese anti­com­mu­nist cult banned in Chi­na whose leader believes that humans are being cor­rupt­ed by aliens from oth­er dimen­sions and that peo­ple of mixed blood are sub­hu­mans and unfit for sal­va­tion. . . . ”

After excerpt­ing a puff piece that lion­izes Falun Gong in their strug­gles with the Chi­nese, we high­light the beliefs of the orga­ni­za­tion.

The Falun Gong teach­es that: post menopausal women can regain men­stru­a­tion, con­sid­ered manda­to­ry for spir­i­tu­al evo­lu­tion; gays are demo­nized; mixed race peo­ple are demo­nized; cult mem­bers are dis­cour­aged from seek­ing mod­ern med­ical treat­ment; space aliens are inhab­it­ing human bod­ies and are respon­si­ble for mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy such as air­planes and com­put­ers; tiny beings are said to be invad­ing human bod­ies and caus­ing “bad kar­ma;” mas­ter Li Hongzhi knows the secrets of the uni­verse; mas­ter Li Hongzhi can lev­i­tate and walk through walls; mas­ter Li Hongzhi can install a phys­i­cal “Falun”–swastika–in the abdomen of fol­low­ers which revolves in var­i­ous direc­tions; Falun Gong teach­ing demo­nizes fem­i­nists and pop­u­lar music; there will be a “Judge­ment Day” on which com­mu­nists and oth­ers deemed unwor­thy by mas­ter Li Hongzhi will be neu­tral­ized.

We con­clude with part of an arti­cle which will be pre­sent­ed and ana­lyzed at greater length in our next pro­gram.

Falun Gong–largely through its Epoch Times newspaper–has estab­lished a major social media pres­ence and is a key ally of Pres­i­dent Trump’s re-elec­tion effort: “. . . . In April, at the height of its ad spend­ing, videos from the Epoch Media Group, which includes The Epoch Times and dig­i­tal video out­let New Tang Dynasty, or NTD, com­bined for around 3 bil­lion views on Face­book, YouTube and Twit­ter, rank­ing 11th among all video cre­ators across plat­forms and out­rank­ing every oth­er tra­di­tion­al news pub­lish­er, accord­ing to data from the social media ana­lyt­ics com­pa­ny Tubu­lar.That engage­ment has made The Epoch Times a favorite of the Trump fam­i­ly and a key com­po­nent of the president’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. . . . .”

1. Begin­ning our sojourn in Hong Kong, we note the preva­lence of the Pepe the Frog icon in the Hong Kong protests. As will be seen in our next sto­ry, The New York Times’ dis­claimer that the pro­test­ers are not “alt-right” should be seen in per­spec­tive.

“Hong Kong Pro­test­ers Love Pepe the Frog. No, They’re Not Alt-Right.” by Daniel Vic­tor; The New York Times; 08/19/2019

Ask the Anti-Defama­tion League, and they will tell you Pepe the Frog is a hate sym­bol, a cheer­leader of racism and anti-Semi­tism, a friend of alt-right extrem­ists. The sad, green frog is wide­ly viewed as tox­ic across the world, a sig­nal of a sin­is­ter and dan­ger­ous world­view.

So it can be a bit jar­ring to see Pepe in his new role: a pro-democ­ra­cy free­dom fight­er in the Hong Kong protests, sid­ing with the peo­ple in their strug­gle against an author­i­tar­i­an state. The pro­test­ers here hold signs with his image, use stick­ers of him in mes­sag­ing apps and dis­cus­sion forums, and even spray paint his face on walls.

Pro­tes­tors graf­fi­tied a “Press Pepe” at the Lennon Wall at Hong Kong’s Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment Office tonight. Civ­il ser­vants gonna see this in the morn­ing…#HongKong­Protests#antiELAB #antiELABhk #Pepe#PressPepe pic.twitter.com/xWxQFWLP5p

— Alex Hof­ford (@alexhofford) August 18, 2019

Does that mean that Hong Kong pro­test­ers are alt-right, or that they sup­port the racism he rep­re­sents?

The ques­tion con­fus­es many pro­test­ers, many of whom had no idea about the symbol’s racist con­no­ta­tions else­where in the world. They just like him. . . . .

2. Steve Bannon–one of the lumi­nar­ies of the “Alt-Right,” and a for­mer key Trump aide is cen­tral­ly involved in the anti-Chi­na effort. This sug­gests that the pres­ence of Pepe the Frog’s image in Hong Kong might have some­thing to do with the “Alt-Right” after all.

Note Ban­non and com­pa­ny’s net­work­ing with the Falun Gong cult and “Chi­nese Mus­lim Free­dom Fighters”–read “Uighurs.’

“A New Red Scare Is Reshap­ing Wash­ing­ton” by Ana Swan­son; The New York Times; 7/20/2019.

In a ball­room across from the Capi­tol build­ing, an unlike­ly group of mil­i­tary hawks, pop­ulist cru­saders, Chi­nese Mus­lim free­dom fight­ers [Uighurs–D.E.] and fol­low­ers of the Falun Gong has been meet­ing to warn any­one who will lis­ten that Chi­na pos­es an exis­ten­tial threat to the Unit­ed States that will not end until the Com­mu­nist Par­ty is over­thrown.

If the warn­ings sound straight out of the Cold War, they are. The Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger, a long-defunct group that cam­paigned against the dan­gers of the Sovi­et Union in the 1970s and 1980s, has recent­ly been revived with the help of Stephen K. Ban­non, the president’s for­mer chief strate­gist, to warn against the dan­gers of Chi­na.

Once dis­missed as xeno­phobes and fringe ele­ments, the group’s mem­bers are find­ing their views increas­ing­ly embraced in Pres­i­dent Trump’s Wash­ing­ton, where skep­ti­cism and mis­trust of Chi­na have tak­en hold. Fear of Chi­na has spread across the gov­ern­ment, from the White House to Con­gress to fed­er­al agen­cies, where Beijing’s rise is unques­tion­ing­ly viewed as an eco­nom­ic and nation­al secu­ri­ty threat and the defin­ing chal­lenge of the 21st cen­tu­ry.

“These are two sys­tems that are incom­pat­i­ble,” Mr. Ban­non said of the Unit­ed States and Chi­na. “One side is going to win, and one side is going to lose.” . . . .

3. In our long series pred­i­cat­ed on Yasha Levine’s Sur­veil­lance Val­ley, we not­ed the Inter­net Free­dom move­ment and its fun­da­men­tal posi­tion as part of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s “soft pow­er” pro­pa­gan­da and regime change arse­nal.

Yasha Levine sums up the fun­da­men­tal con­tra­dic­tions inher­ent  in this dynam­ic: ” . . . . If you stepped back to sur­vey the scene, the entire land­scape of this new Inter­net Free­dom pri­va­cy move­ment looked absurd. Cold War-era orga­ni­za­tions spun off from the CIA now fund­ing the glob­al move­ment against gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Google and Face­book, com­pa­nies that ran pri­vate sur­veil­lance net­works and worked hand in hand with the NSA, deploy­ing gov­ern­ment-fund­ed pri­va­cy tech to pro­tect their users from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance? Pri­va­cy activists work­ing with Sil­i­con Val­ley and the US gov­ern­ment to fight gov­ern­ment surveillance—and with the sup­port of Edward Snow­den him­self? . . . .”

In Chi­na, Falun Gong is among the recip­i­ents of Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors mon­ey. Recall that the BBG is a CIA “deriv­a­tive.”

 Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 234—235.

. . . . The CIA had been tar­get­ing the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na with covert broad­cast­ing since at least 1951, when the agency launched Radio Free Asia. Over the decades, the agency shut down and re-launched Radio Free Asia under dif­fer­ent guis­es and, ulti­mate­ly hand­ed it of to the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors.

When the com­mer­cial Inter­net began to pen­e­trate Chi­na in the ear­ly 2000s, BBG and Radio Free Asia chan­neled their efforts into web-based pro­gram­ming. But this expan­sion did­n’t go very smooth­ly. For years, Chi­na had been jam­ming Voice of Amer­i­ca and Radio Free Asia by play­ing loud nois­es or lop­ing Chi­nese opera music over the same fre­quen­cies with a more pow­er­ful radio sig­nal, which bumped Amer­i­can broad­casts off he air. When these broad­casts switched to the Inter­net as just anoth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion medi­um being used b Amer­i­ca to under­mine their gov­ern­ment. Jam­ming this kind of activ­i­ty was stan­dard prac­tice in Chi­na long before the Inter­net arrived.

Expect­ed or not, the US gov­ern­ment did not let the mat­ter drop. Attempts by Chi­na to con­trol its own domes­tic Inter­net space and block access to mate­r­i­al and infor­ma­tion were seen as bel­liger­ent acts–something like a mod­ern trade embar­go that lim­it­ed US busi­ness­es’ and gov­ern­ment agen­cies’ abil­i­ty to oper­ate freely. Under Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy plan­ners for­mu­lat­ed poli­cies that would become known over the next decade as “Inter­net Free­dom.” While couched in lofty lan­guage about fight­ing cen­sor­ship, pro­mot­ing democ­ra­cy, and safe­guard­ing “free­dom of expres­sion,” these poli­cies were root­ed in big pow­er pol­i­tics: the fight to open mar­kets to Amer­i­can com­pa­nies and expand Amer­i­ca’s dom­i­nance in the age of the Inter­net. Inter­net Free­dom was enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly backed by Amer­i­can busi­ness­es, espe­cial­ly bud­ding Inter­net giants like Yahoo!, Ama­zon, eBay, Google and lat­er Face­book and Twit­ter. They saw for­eign con­trol of the Inter­net, first in Chi­na bug also in Iran and lat­er Viet­nam, Rus­sia, and Myan­mar, as an ille­git­i­mate check on their abil­i­ty to expand into new glob­al mar­kets, and ulti­mate­ly as a threat to their busi­ness­es.

Inter­net Free­dom required a new set of “soft-pow­er” weapons: dig­i­tal crow bard that cold be used to wrench holes in a coun­try’s telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture. Int he ear­ly 2000s, the US gov­ern­ment began fund­ing projects that would allow peo­ple inside Chi­na to tun­nel through their coun­try’s gov­ern­ment fire­wall. The BBG’s Inter­net Anti-Cen­sor­ship Divi­sion led the pack, sink­ing mil­lions into all sorts of ear­ly “cen­sor­ship cir­cum­ven­tion” tech­nolo­gies. It backed SafeWeb, an Inter­net proxy fund­ed by the CIA’s ven­ture cap­i­tal firm In-Q-Tel. It also fund­ed sev­er­al small out­fits run by prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun gong, a con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese anti­com­mu­nist cult banned in Chi­na whose leader believes that humans are being cor­rupt­ed by aliens from oth­er dimen­sions and that peo­ple of mixed blood are sub­hu­mans and unfit for sal­va­tion.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment saw these anti-cen­sor­ship tools as weapons in an upgrad­ed ver­sion of an old war. “The Inter­net has become a new bat­tle­field between chi­na and the U.S.” declared a 2010 edi­to­r­i­al of the Xin­hua News Agency, Chi­na’s offi­cial press agency. “The U.S. State Depart­ment is col­lab­o­rat­ing with Google, Twit­ter and oth­er IT giants to joint­ly launch soft­ware that ‘will enable every­one to use the Inter­net freely,’ using a kind of U.S. gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ed anti-block­ing soft­ware, in an attempt to spread ide­ol­o­gy and val­ues in line with the Unit­ed States’ demands.”

Chi­na saw Inter­net Free­dom as a threat, an ille­git­i­mate attempt to under­mine the coun­try’s sov­er­eign­ty through “net­work war­fare,” and began build­ing a sophis­ti­cat­ed sys­tem of Inter­net cen­sor­ship and con­trol, which grew into the infa­mous Great Fire­wall of Chi­na. Iran soon fol­lowed in Chi­na’s foot­steps. . . . .

4. A puff piece from Wired mag­a­zine, which (through Nicholas Negro­ponte) has links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty) sug­ar coats Falun Gong and their role in the online anti-Chi­na effort.

“Dig­i­tal Weapons Help Dis­si­dents Punch Holes in China’s Great Fire­wall” by Vince Beis­er; Wired; 1/11/2010.

. . . . Huang has hunched shoul­ders and a round face thatched with bushy black hair; his bash­ful mien occa­sion­al­ly retreats into a ner­vous gig­gle. He’s no charis­mat­ic rev­o­lu­tion­ary. But by 2002, he had assem­bled a dozen like-mind­ed Falun Gong-prac­tic­ing col­leagues. In the small garage attached to his four-bed­room bun­ga­low, they devel­oped a dig­i­tal weapon for their com­pa­tri­ots back in Chi­na: a pro­gram designed to foil gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ship and sur­veil­lance. Dubbed Ultra­Surf, it has since become one of the most impor­tant free-speech tools on the Inter­net, used by mil­lions from Chi­na to Sau­di Ara­bia.

A sep­a­rate group of Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers, it turned out, was work­ing on some­thing sim­i­lar, and in 2006 the two groups joined forces as the Glob­al Inter­net Free­dom Con­sor­tium. Most GIFC mem­bers spend their days as cubi­cle-bound pro­gram­mers and engi­neers at places rang­ing from Microsoft to NASA. But off the clock, at night and on week­ends, they wage dig­i­tal guer­ril­la war­fare on the Chi­nese government’s cyber­po­lice, match­ing their tech­ni­cal savvy, donat­ed com­put­ers, and home-office resources against the world’s sec­ond-largest super­pow­er. Again and again, Bei­jing has attacked the fire­wall-beat­ing pro­grams; again and again, the scrap­py band of vol­un­teers has defeat­ed those attacks.

The vic­to­ries don’t come eas­i­ly. Huang quit a lucra­tive job to devote all his time to the cause. He has drained almost all of his sav­ings. He had to sell his home and move his fam­i­ly into a rental, where he now works out of a spare room, mak­ing ends meet with free­lance con­sult­ing gigs. Most days he sits in an arm­less swiv­el chair, bent over com­put­ers set up on a fold­ing table. But there is one major con­so­la­tion. “More and more peo­ple are using our tech­nol­o­gy,” he says. “And that’s the force that will tear down the Great Fire­wall.”

Chi­na main­tains what is prob­a­bly the world’s most advanced sys­tem for con­trol­ling dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Author­i­ties and oppo­nents call it the Great Fire­wall, and the Chi­nese take it extreme­ly seri­ous­ly. At least 72 Chi­nese citizens—more than in any oth­er country—are cur­rent­ly locked up for things they said online. Fire­walls typ­i­cal­ly block access to cer­tain sites, but the cen­ter­piece of the Chi­nese sys­tem, called Gold­en Shield, does much more. It’s essen­tial­ly a nation­al dig­i­tal sur­veil­lance net­work that mon­i­tors China’s esti­mat­ed 420 mil­lion online cit­i­zens. This titan­ic task is facil­i­tat­ed by the fact that all inter­na­tion­al Inter­net traf­fic pass­es through just a hand­ful of state-run pipelines. . . .

5a. Falun Gong’s racism, anti-gay sen­ti­ment and oth­er­world­ly beliefs, as well as the blind feal­ty its adher­ents pay to mas­ter Li Hongzhi, are a mat­ter of record.

“Why All the Fuss about Falun Gong? [Cult Edu­ca­tion Net­work];” Cult News; 1/28/2006.

. . . . At a hear­ing held by the city’s Board of Super­vi­sors both sides of the Falun Gong con­tro­ver­sy spoke out and some of strange teach­ings of Li Hongzhi leaked out.

Accord­ing to Falun Gong’s leader “elder women will regain the men­stru­al peri­od because a cul­ti­va­tion prac­tice of mind and body requires menses.” Hongzhi con­cludes, “Oth­er­wise, how can they cul­ti­vate their bod­ies with­out it?”

Hongzhi’s teach­ings about homo­sex­u­al­i­ty must dis­turb many in the Bay area, which includes a large gay com­mu­ni­ty. Li says that a “black sub­stance” accu­mu­lates in the body due to homo­sex­u­al­i­ty that caus­es bad health. Hongzhi’s homo­pho­bia also goes beyond sim­ply describ­ing its link to a “black sub­stance” he has also called gays “dis­gust­ing,” and proph­e­sizes that one day they will be ’elim­i­nat­ed’’ by ’the gods.’’

Hongzhi also appears to be a racist.

He teach­es his fol­low­ers that “mixed-race peo­ple [are] instru­ments of an alien plot to destroy humanity’s link to heav­en.” And that these inter­ra­cial unions are some­how part of “a plot by evil extrater­res­tri­als.”

More bizarre is that prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun Gong believe that “Mas­ter Li” actu­al­ly can “per­son­al­ly install’’ falun (a wheel of law) in their abdomens, can “lev­i­tate,” “become invis­i­ble” and knows the “top secret of the Uni­verse.”

Hongzhi also changed his date of birth from July 7 to May 13, which is when Bud­dha was born, report­ed Asi­aweek.

Sound like a per­son­al­i­ty-dri­ven “cult”?

“If you want a good descrip­tion of a cult, all you have to do is read what they say they are,” Mar­garet Singer told the San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle at a Seat­tle con­fer­ence in 2000. The psy­chol­o­gist, who was the most respect­ed cult expert of the 20th Cen­tu­ry observed, “They actu­al­ly say ‘Don’t Think.’ Just recite the master’s teach­ing.”

Last month Steve Has­san a cult coun­selor from Boston told the Chron­i­cle that Li’s fol­low­ers are “told not to think neg­a­tive thoughts, and are giv­en fears if they con­sid­er any oth­er real­i­ty” and that Hongzhi “comes very much out of the cult extreme, the author­i­tar­i­an stereo­type.”

David Clark, a Penn­syl­va­nia cult coun­selor sees Falun Gong’s human rights cam­paign as a “clever mar­ket­ing mech­a­nism.” “It is a way of gain­ing access to get peo­ple to join the cause,” he said.

“I con­sid­er myself a vic­tim of the Falun Gong because my par­ents were hurt by it, and the har­mo­ny of our fam­i­ly has been seri­ous­ly dam­aged,” a Chi­nese mas­sage ther­a­pist who prac­tices tui na, told the Chron­i­cle in Decem­ber.

An anti-Falun Gong Web site has been launched to expose “the false and con­tra­dic­to­ry claims of Li Hongzhi.”

For exam­ple, regard­ing health Hongzhi teach­es “the root cause is karma…That’s the root cause of people’s health prob­lems, it’s the chief source of them. Of course, there are two oth­er forms. One of them is real­ly, real­ly small, high-den­si­ty tiny beings. They’re some­thing like a clus­ter of kar­ma.” . . . .

. . . . Such beliefs have alleged­ly led some Falun Gong devo­tees to neglect their health by not prop­er­ly con­sult­ing doc­tors in a time­ly man­ner and/or seek­ing med­ical treat­ment and instead rely­ing upon Hongzhi’s sup­posed pow­ers and reli­gious prac­tices.

Li like­wise seems to den­i­grate hos­pi­tals. He says that their “treat­ment meth­ods are at ordi­nary people’s lev­el while ill­ness is beyond the ordi­nary,” He claims, “It’ll be years before today’s West­ern med­i­cine catch­es up” with him and what he knows.

Chi­nese author­i­ties have report­ed that hun­dreds of Li Hongzhi’s fol­low­ers have died in Main­land Chi­na due to med­ical neglect.

So besides racism, homo­pho­bia and often-bizarre super­nat­ur­al mum­bo-jum­bo it seems Falun Gong can become a health haz­ard.

It’s no won­der why the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment sees Hongzhi as “evil” and Chi­nese Amer­i­cans have become increas­ing­ly wary of his dis­ci­ples par­tic­i­pat­ing in their com­mu­ni­ty events.

5c. The “Falun’ (“law wheel”) in the Falun Gong lex­i­con refers to the swasti­ka. An ancient Bud­dhist and Hind­hu sym­bol unre­lat­ed to Nazi racism and ide­ol­o­gy, it has nonethe­less been used by fas­cist cults in the post-World War II world to evoke the Third Reich.

Falun Gong believes that an actu­al, phys­i­cal swasti­ka (“falun”) is installed by mas­ter Li Hongzhi in the abdomens of Falun Gong mem­bers.

“The Gong Show” by Emi­ly Yoffe; Slate; 8/9/2001.

. . . . New self-improve­ment cours­es, or cults, or religions—take your pick—tend to be com­posed of a mix­ture of com­mon sense, moral guid­ance, and luna­cy. But Falun Gong, Li’s intro­duc­to­ry text, is pre­dom­i­nate­ly luna­cy. You know you’re in trou­ble by Page 4 when Li explains that qigong—the cul­ti­va­tion of qi—is not exclu­sive to the Chi­nese; there are West­ern­ers who are experts, too. One is the magi­cian David Cop­per­field, “a mas­ter of super­nor­mal abil­i­ties who once per­formed the feat of walk­ing through the Great Wall of Chi­na.”

But in Li’s uni­verse, the Falun is no mere sym­bol. At his lec­tures, Li “places” a Falun in the abdomen of each attendee. Accord­ing to Li, “Falun is an intel­li­gent rotat­ing enti­ty com­posed of high-ener­gy mat­ter. The Falun that I plant in a practitioner’s low­er abdomen rotates con­stant­ly, twen­ty-four hours a day.” Though this sounds like what hap­pens after eat­ing a bad oys­ter, Li says it is a great inno­va­tion. The Falun allows fol­low­ers to hold down jobs and go about their lives, while at the same time cul­ti­vat­ing their super­nat­ur­al abil­i­ties. Alter­nate sources of Faluns include read­ing Li’s books, watch­ing his video­tapes, or study­ing with oth­er practitioners—who are only allowed to repeat the words of the Mas­ter. They may not sud­den­ly dis­cov­er their own secrets of the cos­mos. . . . .

6. Falun Gong–largely through its Epoch Times newspaper–has estab­lished a major social media pres­ence and is a key ally of Pres­i­dent Trump’s re-elec­tion effort: “. . . . In April, at the height of its ad spend­ing, videos from the Epoch Media Group, which includes The Epoch Times and dig­i­tal video out­let New Tang Dynasty, or NTD, com­bined for around 3 bil­lion views on Face­book, YouTube and Twit­ter, rank­ing 11th among all video cre­ators across plat­forms and out­rank­ing every oth­er tra­di­tion­al news pub­lish­er, accord­ing to data from the social media ana­lyt­ics com­pa­ny Tubu­lar. That engage­ment has made The Epoch Times a favorite of the Trump fam­i­ly and a key com­po­nent of the president’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. . . . .”

“Trump, QAnon and an impend­ing judg­ment day: Behind the Face­book-fueled rise of The Epoch Times” by Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, NBC News, 08/20/2019

Start­ed almost two decades ago with a stat­ed mis­sion to “pro­vide infor­ma­tion to Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties to help immi­grants assim­i­late into Amer­i­can soci­ety,” The Epoch Times now wields one of the biggest social media fol­low­ings of any news out­let.

By the num­bers, there is no big­ger advo­cate of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Face­book than The Epoch Times.

The small New York-based non­prof­it news out­let has spent more than $1.5 mil­lion on about 11,000 pro-Trump adver­tise­ments in the last six months, accord­ing to data from Facebook’s adver­tis­ing archive — more than any orga­ni­za­tion out­side of the Trump cam­paign itself, and more than most Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have spent on their own cam­paigns.

Those video ads — in which uniden­ti­fied spokes­peo­ple thumb through a news­pa­per to praise Trump, ped­dle con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about the “Deep State,” and crit­i­cize “fake news” media — strike a famil­iar tone in the online con­ser­v­a­tive news ecosys­tem. The Epoch Times looks like many of the con­ser­v­a­tive out­lets that have gained fol­low­ings in recent years.

But it isn’t.

Behind the scenes, the media outlet’s own­er­ship and oper­a­tion is close­ly tied to Falun Gong, a Chi­nese spir­i­tu­al com­mu­ni­ty with the stat­ed goal of tak­ing down China’s gov­ern­ment.

It’s that moti­va­tion that helped dri­ve the orga­ni­za­tion toward Trump, accord­ing to inter­views with for­mer Epoch Times staffers, a move that has been both lucra­tive and ben­e­fi­cial for its mes­sage.

For­mer prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun Gong told NBC News that believ­ers think the world is head­ed toward a judg­ment day, where those labeled “com­mu­nists” will be sent to a kind of hell, and those sym­pa­thet­ic to the spir­i­tu­al com­mu­ni­ty will be spared. Trump is viewed as a key ally in the anti-com­mu­nist fight, for­mer Epoch Times employ­ees said.

In part because of that unusu­al back­ground, The Epoch Times has had trou­ble find­ing a foothold in the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

“It seems like an inter­lop­er — not well inte­grat­ed social­ly with­in the move­ment net­work, and not ter­ri­bly well-cir­cu­lat­ing among right-wingers,” said A.J. Bauer, a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor of media, cul­ture and com­mu­ni­ca­tion at New York Uni­ver­si­ty, who is part of an ongo­ing study in which he and his col­leagues inter­view con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ists.

“Even when dis­cussing more fringe‑y sites, con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ists tend to ref­er­ence Gate­way Pun­dit or Infowars,” Bauer said. “The Epoch Times doesn’t tend to come up.”

That seems to be chang­ing.

Before 2016, The Epoch Times gen­er­al­ly stayed out of U.S. pol­i­tics, unless they dove­tailed with Chi­nese inter­ests. The publication’s recent ad strat­e­gy, cou­pled with a broad­er cam­paign to embrace social media and con­ser­v­a­tive U.S. pol­i­tics — Trump in par­tic­u­lar — has dou­bled The Epoch Times’ rev­enue, accord­ing to the organization’s tax fil­ings, and pushed it to greater promi­nence in the broad­er con­ser­v­a­tive media world.

Start­ed almost two decades ago as a free news­pa­per and web­site with a stat­ed mis­sion to “pro­vide infor­ma­tion to Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties to help immi­grants assim­i­late into Amer­i­can soci­ety,” The Epoch Times now wields one of the biggest social media fol­low­ings of any news out­let.

In April, at the height of its ad spend­ing, videos from the Epoch Media Group, which includes The Epoch Times and dig­i­tal video out­let New Tang Dynasty, or NTD, com­bined for around 3 bil­lion views on Face­book, YouTube and Twit­ter, rank­ing 11th among all video cre­ators across plat­forms and out­rank­ing every oth­er tra­di­tion­al news pub­lish­er, accord­ing to data from the social media ana­lyt­ics com­pa­ny Tubu­lar.

That engage­ment has made The Epoch Times a favorite of the Trump fam­i­ly and a key com­po­nent of the president’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. The president’s Face­book page has post­ed Epoch Times con­tent at least half a dozen times this year— with sev­er­al arti­cles writ­ten by mem­bers of the Trump cam­paign. Don­ald Trump Jr. has tweet­ed sev­er­al of their sto­ries, too.

In May, Lara Trump, the president’s daugh­ter-in-law, sat down for a 40-minute inter­view in Trump Tow­er with the paper’s senior edi­tor. And for the first time, The Epoch Times was a main play­er at the con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence CPAC this year, where it secured inter­views with mem­bers of Con­gress, Trump Cab­i­net mem­bers and right-wing celebri­ties.

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.

Despite its grow­ing reach and pow­er, lit­tle is pub­licly known about the pre­cise own­er­ship, ori­gins or influ­ences of The Epoch Times.

The outlet’s opac­i­ty makes it dif­fi­cult to deter­mine an over­all struc­ture, but it is loose­ly orga­nized into sev­er­al region­al tax-free non­prof­its. The Epoch Times oper­ates along­side the video pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, NTD, under the umbrel­la of The Epoch Media Group, a pri­vate news and enter­tain­ment com­pa­ny whose own­er exec­u­tives have declined to name, cit­ing con­cerns of “pres­sure” that could fol­low.

The Epoch Media Group, along with Shen Yun, a dance troupe known for its ubiq­ui­tous adver­tis­ing and unset­tling per­for­mances, make up the out­reach effort of Falun Gong, a rel­a­tive­ly new spir­i­tu­al prac­tice that com­bines ancient Chi­nese med­i­ta­tive exer­cis­es, mys­ti­cism and often ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive cul­tur­al world­views. Falun Gong’s founder has referred to Epoch Media Group as “our media,” and the group’s prac­tice heav­i­ly informs The Epoch Times’ cov­er­age, accord­ing to for­mer employ­ees who spoke with NBC News.

Exec­u­tives at The Epoch Times declined to be inter­viewed for this arti­cle, but the pub­lish­er, Stephen Gre­go­ry, wrote an edi­to­r­i­al in response to a list of emailed ques­tions from NBC News, call­ing it “high­ly inap­pro­pri­ate” and part of an effort to “dis­cred­it” the pub­li­ca­tion to ask about the company’s affil­i­a­tion with Falun Gong and its stance on the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

Inter­views with for­mer employ­ees, pub­lic finan­cial records and social media data illus­trate how a secre­tive news­pa­per has been able to lever­age the devot­ed fol­low­ers of a reclu­sive spir­i­tu­al leader, polit­i­cal vit­ri­ol, online con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and the rise of Trump to become a dig­i­tal media pow­er­house that now attracts bil­lions of views each month, all while pub­licly deny­ing or down­play­ing its asso­ci­a­tion with Falun Gong.

Behind the times

In 2009, the founder and leader of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi, came to speak at The Epoch Times’ offices in Man­hat­tan. Li came with a clear direc­tive for the Falun Gong vol­un­teers who com­prised the company’s staff: “Become reg­u­lar media.”

The pub­li­ca­tion had been found­ed nine years ear­li­er in Geor­gia by John Tang, a Chi­nese Amer­i­can prac­ti­tion­er of Falun Gong and cur­rent pres­i­dent of New Tang Dynasty. But it was falling short of Li’s ambi­tions as stat­ed to his fol­low­ers: to expose the evil of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and “save all sen­tient beings” in a forth­com­ing divine bat­tle against com­mu­nism.

Rough­ly trans­lat­ed by the group as “law wheel exer­cise,” Falun Gong was start­ed by Li in 1992. The prac­tice, which com­bines bits of Bud­dhism and Tao­ism, involves med­i­ta­tion and gen­tle exer­cis­es and espous­es Li’s con­tro­ver­sial teach­ings.

“Li Hongzhi sim­pli­fied med­i­ta­tion and prac­tices that tra­di­tion­al­ly have many steps and are very con­fus­ing,” said Ming Xia, a pro­fes­sor at the Grad­u­ate Cen­ter of the City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York who has stud­ied Falun Gong. “Basi­cal­ly it’s like fast food, a quick­ie.”

Li’s teach­ings quick­ly built a sig­nif­i­cant fol­low­ing — and ran into ten­sion with China’s lead­ers, who viewed his pop­u­lar­i­ty as a threat to the com­mu­nist government’s hold on pow­er.

In 1999, after thou­sands of Li’s fol­low­ers gath­ered in front of Pres­i­dent Jiang Zemin’s com­pound to qui­et­ly protest the arrest of sev­er­al Falun Gong mem­bers, author­i­ties in Chi­na banned Falun Gong, clos­ing teach­ing cen­ters and arrest­ing Falun Gong orga­niz­ers and prac­ti­tion­ers who refused to give up the prac­tice. Human rights groups have report­ed some adher­ents being tor­tured and killed while in cus­tody.

The crack­down elicit­ed con­dem­na­tion from West­ern coun­tries, and attract­ed a new pool of fol­low­ers in the Unit­ed States, for whom Chi­na and com­mu­nism were com­mon adver­saries.

“The per­se­cu­tion itself ele­vat­ed Li’s sta­tus and brought tremen­dous media atten­tion,” Ming said.

It has also invit­ed scruti­ny of the spir­i­tu­al leader’s more uncon­ven­tion­al ideas. Among them, Li has railed against what he called the wicked­ness of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, fem­i­nism and pop­u­lar music while hold­ing that he is a god-like fig­ure who can lev­i­tate and walk through walls.

Li has also taught that sick­ness is a symp­tom of evil that can only be tru­ly cured with med­i­ta­tion and devo­tion, and that aliens from undis­cov­ered dimen­sions have invad­ed the minds and bod­ies of humans, bring­ing cor­rup­tion and inven­tions such as com­put­ers and air­planes. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has used these con­tro­ver­sial teach­ings to label Falun Gong a cult. Falun Gong has denied the government’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion.

The Epoch Times pro­vid­ed Li with an Eng­lish-lan­guage way to push back against Chi­na — a posi­tion that would even­tu­al­ly dove­tail with Trump’s elec­tion.

In 2005, The Epoch Times released its great­est sal­vo, pub­lish­ing the ”Nine Com­men­taries,” a wide­ly dis­trib­uted book-length series of anony­mous edi­to­ri­als that it claimed exposed the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s “mas­sive crimes” and “attempts to erad­i­cate all tra­di­tion­al moral­i­ty and reli­gious belief.”

The next year, an Epoch Times reporter was removed from a White House event for Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao after inter­rupt­ing the cer­e­mo­ny by shout­ing for sev­er­al min­utes that then-Pres­i­dent George W. Bush must stop the leader from “per­se­cut­ing Falun Gong.”

But despite its small army of devot­ed vol­un­teers, The Epoch Times was still oper­at­ing as a fledg­ling start­up.

Ben Hur­ley is a for­mer Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­er who helped cre­ate Australia’s Eng­lish ver­sion of The Epoch Times out of a liv­ing room in Syd­ney in 2005. He has writ­ten about his expe­ri­ence with the paper and described the ear­ly years as “a giant PR cam­paign” to evan­ge­lize about Falun Gong’s belief in an upcom­ing apoc­a­lypse in which those who think bad­ly of the prac­tice, or well of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty, will be destroyed.

Hur­ley, who wrote for The Epoch Times until he left in 2013, said he saw prac­ti­tion­ers in lead­er­ship posi­tions begin draw­ing hard­er and hard­er lines about accept­able polit­i­cal posi­tions.

“Their views were always anti-abor­tion and homo­pho­bic, but there was more room for dis­agree­ments in the ear­ly days,” he said.

Hur­ley said Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers saw com­mu­nism every­where: for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton, movie star Jack­ie Chan and for­mer Unit­ed Nations Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Kofi Annan were all con­sid­ered to have sold them­selves out to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, Hur­ley said.

This kind of cov­er­age fore­shad­owed the news organization’s embrace of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like QAnon, the over­ar­ch­ing the­o­ry that there is an evil cabal of “deep state” oper­a­tors and child preda­tors out to take down the pres­i­dent.

“It is so rabid­ly pro-Trump,” Hur­ley said, refer­ring to The Epoch Times. Devout prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun Gong “believe that Trump was sent by heav­en to destroy the Com­mu­nist Par­ty.”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Li declined an inter­view request. Li lives among hun­dreds of his fol­low­ers near Drag­on Springs, a 400-acre com­pound in upstate New York that hous­es tem­ples, pri­vate schools and quar­ters where per­form­ers for the organization’s dance troupe, Shen Yun, live and rehearse, accord­ing to four for­mer com­pound res­i­dents and for­mer Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers who spoke to NBC News.

They said that life in Drag­on Springs is tight­ly con­trolled by Li, that inter­net access is restrict­ed, the use of med­i­cines is dis­cour­aged, and arranged rela­tion­ships are com­mon. Two for­mer res­i­dents on visas said they were offered to be set up with U.S. res­i­dents at the com­pound.

Tiger Huang, a for­mer Drag­on Springs res­i­dent who was on a U.S. stu­dent visa from Tai­wan, said she was set up on three dates on the com­pound, and she believed her abil­i­ty to stay in the U.S. was tied to the arrange­ment.

“The pur­pose of set­ting up the dates was obvi­ous,” Huang said. Her now-hus­band, a for­mer Drag­on Springs res­i­dent, con­firmed the account.

Huang said she was told by Drag­on Springs offi­cials her visa had expired and was told to go back to Tai­wan after months of dat­ing a non­prac­ti­tion­er in the com­pound. She lat­er learned that her visa had not expired when she was told to leave the coun­try.

Cam­paign sea­son

By 2016, The Epoch Times Group appeared to have heed­ed the call from Li to run its oper­a­tion more like a typ­i­cal news orga­ni­za­tion, start­ing with The Epoch Times’ web­site. In March, the com­pa­ny placed job ads on the site Indeed.com and assem­bled a team of sev­en young reporters oth­er­wise uncon­nect­ed to Falun Gong. The aver­age salary for the new recruits was $35,000 a year, paid month­ly, accord­ing to for­mer employ­ees.

Things seemed “strange,” even from the first day, accord­ing to five for­mer reporters who spoke with NBC News — four of whom asked for anonymi­ty over con­cerns that speak­ing neg­a­tive­ly about their expe­ri­ence would affect their rela­tion­ship with cur­rent and future employ­ers.

As part of their ori­en­ta­tion, the new reporters watched a video that laid out the Chi­nese per­se­cu­tion of Falun Gong fol­low­ers. The pub­lish­er, Stephen Gre­go­ry, also spoke to the reporters about his vision for the new dig­i­tal ini­tia­tive. The for­mer employ­ees said Gregory’s talk framed The Epoch Times as an answer to the lib­er­al main­stream media.

Their con­tent was to be crit­i­cal of com­mu­nist Chi­na, clear-eyed about the threat of Islam­ic ter­ror­ism, focused on ille­gal immi­gra­tion and at all times root­ed in “tra­di­tion­al” val­ues, they said. This meant no con­tent about drugs, gay peo­ple or pop­u­lar music.

The reporters said they worked from desks arranged in a U‑shape in a sin­gle-room office that was sep­a­rat­ed by a locked door from the oth­er staff mem­bers who worked on the paper, dozens of Falun Gong vol­un­teers and interns. The new recruits wrote up to five news sto­ries a day in an effort to meet a quo­ta of 100,000 page views, and sub­mit­ted their work to a hand­ful of edi­tors — a team of two Falun Gong-prac­tic­ing mar­ried cou­ples.

“Slave labor may not be the right word, but that’s a lot of arti­cles to write in one day,” one for­mer employ­ee said.

It wasn’t just the amount of writ­ing but also the con­ser­v­a­tive edi­to­r­i­al restric­tions that began to con­cern some of the employ­ees.

“It’s like we were sup­posed to be fight­ing so-called lib­er­al pro­pa­gan­da by mak­ing our own,” said Steve Klett, who cov­ered the Trump cam­paign for The Epoch Times as his first job in jour­nal­ism. Klett likened The Epoch Times to a Russ­ian troll farm and said his arti­cles were edit­ed to remove out­side crit­i­cism of Trump.

“The worst was the Pulse shoot­ing,” Klett said, refer­ring to the 2016 mass shoot­ing in which 50 peo­ple includ­ing the gun­man were killed at a gay night­club in Orlan­do, Flori­da. “We weren’t allowed to cov­er sto­ries involv­ing homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, but that bumps up against them want­i­ng to cov­er Islam­ic ter­ror­ism. So I wrote four arti­cles with­out using the word gay.”

Klett said that the pub­li­ca­tion also began to skew in favor of Trump, who had tar­get­ed Chi­na on the cam­paign trail with talk of a trade war.

“I knew I had to for­get about all the worst parts of Trump,” Klett said.

Klett, how­ev­er, would not end up hav­ing to cov­er the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Eight days before the elec­tion, the team was called togeth­er and fired as a group.

“I guess the exper­i­ment was over,” a for­mer employ­ee said.

The con­tent

The Epoch Times, dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny NTD and the heav­i­ly adver­tised dance troupe Shen Yun make up the non­prof­it net­work that Li calls “our media.” Finan­cial doc­u­ments paint a com­pli­cat­ed pic­ture of more than a dozen tech­ni­cal­ly sep­a­rate orga­ni­za­tions that appear to share mis­sions, mon­ey and exec­u­tives. Though the source of their rev­enue is unclear, the most recent finan­cial records from each orga­ni­za­tion paint a pic­ture of an over­all busi­ness thriv­ing in the Trump era.

The Epoch Times brought in $8.1 mil­lion in rev­enue in 2017 — dou­ble what it had the pre­vi­ous year — and report­ed spend­ing $7.2 mil­lion on “print­ing news­pa­per and cre­at­ing web and media pro­grams.” Most of its rev­enue comes from adver­tis­ing and “web and media income,” accord­ing to the group’s annu­al tax fil­ings, while indi­vid­ual dona­tions and sub­scrip­tions to the paper make up less than 10 per­cent of its rev­enue.

New Tang Dynasty’s 2017 rev­enue, accord­ing to IRS records, was $18 mil­lion, a 150 per­cent increase over the year before. It spent $16.2 mil­lion.

That expo­nen­tial growth came around the same time The Epoch Times expand­ed its online pres­ence and increased its ad spend­ing, hon­ing its mes­sage on two basic themes: enthu­si­as­tic sup­port for Trump’s agen­da, and the expo­sure of what the pub­li­ca­tion claims is a labyrinthi­an, glob­al con­spir­a­cy led by Clin­ton and for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma to tear down Trump. One such con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, loose­ly called “Spy­gate,” has become a com­mon talk­ing point for Fox News host Sean Han­ni­ty and con­ser­v­a­tive news web­sites like Bre­it­bart.

The paper’s “Spy­gate Spe­cial Cov­er­age” sec­tion, which fre­quent­ly sits atop its web­site, the­o­rizes about a grand, years­long plot in which for­mer Oba­ma and Clin­ton staffers, a hand­ful of mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers, pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tors and gov­ern­ment bureau­crats plan to take down the Trump pres­i­den­cy.

In his pub­lished response, pub­lish­er Gre­go­ry said the media outlet’s ads “have no polit­i­cal agen­da.”

While The Epoch Times usu­al­ly strad­dles the line between an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive news out­let and a con­spir­a­cy ware­house, some pop­u­lar online shows cre­at­ed by Epoch Times employ­ees and pro­duced by NTD cross the line com­plete­ly, and spread far and wide.

One such show is “Edge of Won­der,” a ver­i­fied YouTube chan­nel that releas­es new NTD-pro­duced videos twice every week and now has more than 33 mil­lion views. In addi­tion to claims that alien abduc­tions are real and the drug epi­dem­ic was engi­neered by the “deep state,” the chan­nel push­es the QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, which false­ly posits that the same “Spy­gate” cabal is a front for a glob­al pedophile ring being tak­en down by Trump.

One QAnon video, titled “#QANON – 7 facts the MEDIA (MSM) Won’t Admit” has almost 1 mil­lion views on YouTube. Oth­er videos in the channel’s QAnon playlist, which include videos about 9/11 con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and one titled “13 BLOODLINES & their Dia­bol­i­cal End Game,” gained hun­dreds of thou­sands of views each.

Travis View, a researcher and pod­cast­er who stud­ies the QAnon move­ment, said The Epoch Times has san­i­tized the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry by push­ing Spy­gate, which drops the wildest and more pruri­ent details of QAnon while retain­ing its con­spir­a­to­r­i­al ele­ments.

“QAnon is high­ly stig­ma­tized among peo­ple try­ing to push the Spy­gate mes­sage. They know how tox­ic QAnon is,” View said. “Spy­gate leaves out the spir­i­tu­al ele­ments, the child sex traf­fick­ing, but it’s cer­tain­ly inte­gral to the QAnon nar­ra­tive.”

Gre­go­ry denied any con­nec­tion with “Edge of Won­der,” writ­ing in a state­ment that his orga­ni­za­tion was “aware of the enter­tain­ment show,” but “is in no way con­nect­ed with it.”

But The Epoch Times has itself pub­lished sev­er­al cred­u­lous reports on QAnon and for years, the web­series hosts Rob Counts and Ben­jamin Chas­teen were employed as the company’s cre­ative direc­tor and chief pho­to edi­tor, respec­tive­ly. In August 2018, six months after the cre­ation of “Edge of Won­der,” Counts tweet­ed that he still worked for Epoch Times. Counts and Chas­teen did not respond to an email seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on their roles.

 

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One comment for “FTR #1089 Fascism: 2019 World Tour, Part 4 (Goose Hopping in Hong Kong with Pepe the Frog)”

  1. My wife is from Hong Kong. She reg­u­lar­ly gets text with video from her friends still there. What they’re describ­ing is iden­ti­cal to what’s hap­pen­ing in Amer­i­ca. CNN will report the author­i­ties are the vil­lains to the HK peo­ple and the pro­test­ers the white hats. The chil­dren in HK are being indoc­tri­nat­ed by teach­ers to hate Com­mu­nism, the pro­test­ers reg­u­lar­ly attack ordi­nary peo­ple on the street. The MSM are hat­ed in HK for lying about every­thing the same way as Amer­i­ca. Soros is seen as being behind the protests,the pro­test­ers were train­ing for this the last three years. Maybe my wife’s friends are lying, there’s a lan­guage bar­ri­er, that’s just what she’s telling me.

    Posted by Chris Hoff | September 29, 2019, 9:23 pm

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