The Metabunk blog has published its research results into a video shared by US President Trump titled “Man in America.” According to the report the video, based on election conspiracy theories aimed at China, was produced by an individual who is a member of the Falun Gong, a Chinese “new religious movement” with a history of supporting Trump:
A slickly produced video titled “The Plot to Steal America”, which regurgitated many election conspiracy theories and pointed the finger at China, was shared in a tweet by Donald Trump on December 23, 2020. The video is narrated and ostensibly created by Seth Holehouse and his web site “Man in America.” Holehouse is a member of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa), a “new religious movement” that many people have described as being a cult. Several people have noted this connection and suggested that the video is simply disinformation, propaganda from Falun Gong. Falun Gong has a long history of attacking the communist government of China, and more recently of strongly supporting Trump. It appears that attempts have been made by Falun Gong to hide Holehouse’s connection. Several google searches lead to mentions of Holehouse’s membership, but upon clicking on the article his existence has been edited out. However, the original is still available on Google’s cache.
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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 Metabunk report noted further that Holehouse has been associated since 2008 with The Epoch Times as a writer, creative director, and photographer. The New York Times has published a comprehensive report on the Epoch Times, the pro-Trump media operation associated with the Falun Gong movement. The article, titled “How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine” begins:
Published Oct. 24, 2020 Updated Nov. 12, 2020 For years, The Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers. The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation. First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago and has persecuted its members ever since. Its relatively staid coverage of U. S. politics became more partisan, with more articles explicitly supporting Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents. Around the same time, The Epoch Times bet big on another powerful American institution: Facebook. The publication and its affiliates employed a novel strategy that involved creating dozens of Facebook pages, filling them with feel-good videos and viral clickbait, and using them to sell subscriptions and drive traffic back to its partisan news coverage.
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The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported in October that Facebook had removed a huge network of real and fake accounts associated with the Falun Gong movement over violations of ts foreign interference policy.