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Falun Gong-Tied News Outlet Supporting Trump

October 14th, 2020 06:13

US media is report­ing on the Epoch Times a pro-Trump news out­let said to be closely tied to the Chi­nese oppo­si­tion spir­i­tu­al move­ment known as the Falun Gong. Accord­ing to an NBC news report:

August 20 2020 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.  Read the rest here:

The Oxford Research Ency­clo­pe­dia explains the Falun Gong as fol­lows:  

Falun Gong (FLG) is a Qi Gong group that entered into con­flict with the Chi­nese state around the turn of the 21st cen­tu­ry, and grad­u­al­ly trans­formed into a polit­i­cal move­ment. Qi Gong, in turn, is an ancient sys­tem of exer­cis­es that has been com­pared to yoga. Falun Gong was found­ed in the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na (PRC) by Li Hongzhi (LHZ) in 1992, in the lat­ter part of what has been termed the Qi Gong “boom.” As the lead­er­ship of the PRC became increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal of the tra­di­tion­al folk reli­gion and super­sti­tion that was emerg­ing with­in some of the Qi Gong groups, Li Hongzhi and his fam­i­ly emi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States. From the safe­ty of his new coun­try of res­i­dence, LHZ direct­ed his Chi­nese fol­low­ers to become increas­ing­ly con­fronta­tion­al, even­tu­al­ly stag­ing a mass demon­stra­tion in front of gov­ern­ment offices in Bei­jing on April 25, 1999. The move­ment was sub­se­quent­ly banned.

The GIOR also report­ed today that  Face­book has removed a huge net­work of real and fake accounts asso­ci­at­ed with the Falun Gong move­ment over vio­la­tions against its for­eign inter­fer­ence policy.

The New York Times describes the Epoch Times as follows:

The Epoch Times is one of the most mys­te­ri­ous fix­tures of the pro-Trump media uni­verse. It was start­ed 20 years ago as a print news­pa­per by prac­ti­tion­ers of Falun Gong, the per­se­cut­ed Chi­nese spir­i­tu­al prac­tice. In recent years, the paper has made inroads into top Repub­li­can cir­cles. Mr. Trump and his advis­ers have shared Epoch Times arti­cles on their social media accounts, and last year, Lara Trump, the president’s daugh­ter-in-law, sat for an inter­view with an Epoch Times edi­tor. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, a Repub­li­can from Ari­zona, called it “our favorite paper.”