Inside the Falun Gong Disinformation Machine

VICE News Reports dives into the cultish movement that’s increasingly weaving its anti-China, pro-Trump propaganda into American politics.
August 7, 2021, 12:31am
Illustration by Arielle Duhaime-Ross

The cultish Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong isn’t just speaking out against the Chinese government; it’s increasingly weaving that narrative into American politics, using it against Democrats and the Biden administration, through a growing media empire that’s pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation. 

On this episode of VICE News Reports, we tell the story of how the little-known movement became one of the most influential digital publishers of anti-China, pro-Trump propaganda. Hear from Falun Gong supporters protesting in Queens, an ex-member of Falun Gong explaining his decision to leave, an expert in digital forensics and reporter Titi Yu about her experience watching The Epoch Times go from a small scrappy community newspaper to something way bigger. 

MORE: 

In Canada, post carriers were suspended for refusing to devlier pro-Trump Epoch Times.

Advertisement

Conspiracy theorists and far-right news outlets spent the month after the election using YouTube's algorithm to massively grow their audiences.

Trump’s new favorite paper is literally spreading lies by the truckload.

 CREDITS: 

Thanks to Titi Yu for reporting this story. Thanks also to Ben Decker for sharing his analysis of The Epoch Times. 

VICE News Reports is produced by Jesse Alejandro Cottrell, Sophie Kazis , Jen Kinney, Janice Llamoca, Julia Nutter, and Sayre Quevedo. Our senior producers are Ashley Cleek and Adizah Eghan. Our associate producers are Sam Egan, and Adreanna Rodriguez. Sound Design and music composition by Steve Bone, Pran Bandi and Kyle Murdock. 

Our executive producer and VP of Vice Audio is Kate Osborn. Janet Lee is Senior Production Manager for VICE Audio. Production coordination by Steph Brown. 

Fact-checking by Nicole Pasulka. 

Our theme music is by Steve Bone.