On the heels of a unique protest movement using banknotes in Iran several months ago, French media outlet The Observers is reporting that a similar movement has found roots in China.
The movement sees grassroots protesters writing messages criticizing their government on banknotes to spread their message in an underground and widespread manner.
The Chinese banknote protests target the government, criticizing their harassment of the spiritual Falun Gong sect, whose followers must be actively sought out by police. The messages on the banknotes- typically written by Falun Gong supporters and followers – are what The Observers call “innovative ways to communicate their message without giving themselves away.”
Pictures on The Observers website show several photos of marked bills with message like “Falun Gong is good, the world knows it, the world condemns the [Communist Party of China]” and “Believe that freedom is not a crime, Falun Gong makes people better.”
Labeled “The Green Movement” in Iran because the messages were written in predominately green ink, the subtle protests there opposed the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what many deemed a “rigged election” at the hands of the government.
As a way to combat this movement, the Iranian government deemed any graffitied banknote invalid and ordered citizens to exchange their “green” banknotes for “clean notes” by the beginning of 2010.
So far, the Communist Party of China (CCP) has issued no response to the pro-Falun Gong movement on banknotes though their history with the movement in the past has not been passive.
As a relatively new spiritual movement in China (emerging in 1992) the Chinese Communist Party banned Falun Gong in 1999 and deemed it an “evil cult” because its followers largely focused on meditative practices in public and opposed traditional Chinese spirituality.
The Observers: “The Banknote Revolt Hits China”
Global Paper Security: “Iranian’s Shift Protest Movement To Banknotes”
Global Paper Security: “Iran Deems ‘Green’ Banknotes Invalid”