On January 23, 2001...
Five people set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square, China. One woman died in the flames. Reports in China’s state-run press claimed the victims were followers of Falun Gong, a persecuted religious and meditation practice.
Sympathy and support for Falun Gong quickly evaporated, and the Chinese public came to believe that the group was a menace and a threat to social order. In the months that followed, tens of thousands of Falun Gong aderents were arrested, and many were tortured and killed in custody.
Yet skeptical observers noted troubling incongruities in the official version of events, suggesting that things were not as they seemed.
Now, years later, you're a journalist tasked with uncovering the truth of what’s come to be known as the “self-immolation incident.”
The following sections paints a picture that was largely absent in the reports from inside and outside of China.