In order for the Chinese regime's anti-Falun Gong propaganda to saturate society, the Party has sought to silence alternative views. This effort has been carried out through both explicit and implicit censorship.
- Explicit censorship has meant banning all books, articles, audiotapes, videos, flyers, and items that cast Falun Gong in a positive light.
- Implicit censorship refers to journalists and editors within Chinese media organisations exercising a high degree of self-censorship because they are under the watchful eye of the Party.
In the first three months after the campaign against Falun Gong was launched in July 1999, over 21 million Falun Gong related books were confiscated. In large-scale citywide destruction activities, piles of books were burned on the streets in many cities.
Police and neighbourhood committee members’ (community spies) ransacking of homes has resulted in the confiscation of an additional 10 million Falun Gong books since 1999.
All Falun Gong websites, including those based overseas, have been blocked since the campaign's onslaught. A mere visit to one can land a person in jail. Even mainstream foreign media websites have been blocked whenever they carried items about the persecution of Falun Gong. According to CNN, as many as 100,000 Internet police are in place to monitor online activity.
As a result of the censorship policies, for nearly a decade it has been impossible to find any public expression in defence of Falun Gong – be it in government, media, or academic discourse.
Those who have spoken out in disagreement have done so at great risk and often paid a high price. Merely posting a notice can land a person in jail – new laws brand such acts “subversive”. Individuals have been sentenced to years in prison just for visiting banned Falun Gong websites and printing their content. In December 2004, a round of arrests landed 11 more people in jail for posting evidence of torture online (See Reporters Without Borders press release).
What has been left for Chinese people is an underground discourse in which information about the most sensitive topics like Falun Gong is obtained through illicit leaflets, private conversations, and, for those with the technical ability, forbidden websites.