Trend: Zero-Out Campaign

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In the spring of 2020, Chinese authorities launched a new security campaign focused on Falun Gong and the effort to reduce the number of practitioners “to zero” in every corner of the country.[1] Dubbed the “Zero-Out” Campaign, the goal was to escalate harassment operations targeting every Falun Gong practitioner on the government’s blacklist. A core aspect of the Zero-Out Campaign is pressuring employers, relatives, and community members to monitor and report on Falun Gong. After implementing Zero-Out, the cases of harassment began rising in March. By November and December 2020, the confirmed cases had increased fivefold and 6.7 fold over 2019 reports.[2]  Local government websites throughout China are replete with references to the campaign and details of particular tactics deployed to implement it. 

 

Yitong County, Jilin Province is one notable example: County officials implemented the Zero-Out Campaign in August 2020, and it is still in effect today.[3] An estimated 200 to 300 practitioners were threatened to sign statements renouncing Falun Gong in this county alone. With the inclusion of the practitioner's families, authorities harassed a thousand people (or 1 percent of the population) in Yitong County within a period of approximately 18 months. In mid-December 2020, the county mobilized 16 vehicles and two dozen officers to harass practitioners in Majiatun Village. Those who refused to sign the statements were taken directly to a brainwashing center.

Anything related to practitioners’ interests could be used as leverage by officials: This includes their jobs, family members’ jobs, education opportunities, pensions, basic living allowances, and rented farmlands. County officials held brainwashing sessions in July 2020 and three more between December 2020 and January 2021. The campaign mobilizes the entire community to pressure practitioners into renouncing their faith. Local authorities threaten their children's jobs in public offices and grandchildren's future education if practitioners do not give up their faith.

The Zero-Out campaign was implemented to this degree across the nation. Zhao Kezhi, the minister of Public Security, openly told Party members and officials to “strike hard” against Falun Gong practitioners in September 2020.[4] Following this directive, multiple regions took the initiative to escalate the persecution against Falun Gong. The acting mayor of Qinzhou City, Guanxi Province, enacted the top-down order of the Zero-Out campaign on April 8, 2021.[5] In Xun County, the regime’s Political and Legal Affairs Commission was commended for its achievement in 2020, as the county was the first in Henan Province to achieve the Zero Out goal after converting 38 practitioners.[6]

 

On June 16, 2021, the Daying County government of Sichuan Province launched a Zero-Out report system to ensure “societal stability” over its half a million citizens before the CCP’s Founding Day Centennial in July.[7] The notice called all Party branches of each village, resident committee, and town department to participate in the “daily patterning, daily summary, daily analysis, and daily report" of Falun Gong practitioners. Elected personnel for every village were expected to give a daily report to the government office on their progress “transforming” Falun Gong adherents in Daying.

 

Since 2020, the Pengzhou City Political and Legal Affairs Committee in Sichuan Province has mobilized local police and residential committees to harass Falun Gong practitioners and their family members to force practitioners to renounce their beliefs. The committee has the power to override the public security and judiciary branches on the subject of Falun Gong. According to available information collected by Minghui.org, in 2021 alone, this extra-judiciary agency harassed 202 Falun Gong practitioners in Pengzhou County into having their fingerprints taken against their will.[8] In addition, there were another 45 practitioners who were arrested, 25 had their homes raided, 9 detained, and 2 sentenced.

This focused pattern of deliberate and forced conversion of citizens was part of a broader “stability maintenance” effort in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the CCP on July 1, 2021, and continued through mid-July, ahead of the July 20th anniversary of the launch of the persecution of Falun Gong.

[1] https://faluninfo.net/zero-out-campaign-intensifies-persecution-of-falun-gong-practitioners-in-yitong-county-jilin-province/

[2] "15,235 Falun Gong Practitioners Targeted for Their Faith in 2020," Minghui, January 18, 2021, https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2021/1/18/189976.html

[3] "“Zero-Out Campaign” Intensifies Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners in Yitong County, Jilin Province," Falun Dafa Information Center, May 12, 2021, https://faluninfo.net/zero-out-campaign-intensifies-persecution-of-falun-gong-practitioners-in-yitong-county-jilin-province/

[4] 中华人民共和国 全国人民伐表大会常务委员会 公报 2020 第四号 [People’s Republic of China Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress 2020 Bulletin No. 4], page 662, http://www.npc.gov.cn/wxzlhgb/gb2020/202009/f6bb03f1fb9d4444a17c6949f4babb7e/files/727c0914d0ed4eac9b56fd3466bdb496.pdf

[5] China Economic Net, “钦州市政府工作报告(2021年4月8日 王雄昌)[Qinzhou City Government Work Report (April 8, 2021 Wang Xiongchang)]”, http://district.ce.cn/newarea/roll/202105/18/t20210518_36568061.shtml

[6] “Sohu, “【政法快讯】关于拟推荐表彰为2020年度全省平安建设先进单位和先进个人的公示  [[Politics and Law News] Announcement on the proposed commendation as advanced units and advanced individuals in the province's safety construction in 2020]”, https://news.sohu.com/a/504266634_121106991

[7] “中共大英县回马镇委员会 大英县回马镇人民政府关于印发《“七一”期间回马镇信访维稳工作方案》的通知” [Notice of the Huima Township Committee of Daying County of the Communist Party of China, Daying County’s Huima Town People’s Government on Printing and Distributing the "Work Plan for Petitions and Stability Maintenance in Huima Town during the "July 1" Period"], https://www.daying.gov.cn/xzwj/-/articles/24191969.shtml

[8]  https://en.minghui.org/html/articles/2022/3/10/199477.html