NEW YORK, July 16, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) - Amidst further efforts by Jiang Zemin's regime to mask the three-year persecution from his own people and the international community, six more reports of Falun Gong practitioners dead in China after police abuse surfaced in the last ten days.
In a move that underscores Beijing's jitters at growing attention to the ongoing human rights atrocities committed against practitioners of Falun Gong in China, the state stopped all broadcasts of the BBC inside the mainland. According to a July 4 AP report, BBC transmissions were suspended shortly after the BBC had covered Falun Gong appeals taking place in Hong Kong during the July 1 festivities.
For many in China, the only source of information is the state-run media, which is now entering the fourth year of a propaganda campaign intent on demonizing Falun Gong and bending public opinion against the practice. Even though BBC broadcasting in China is already limited to viewers in selected hotels and special residential compounds for overseas workers, such foreign sources of information remain one of the only ways for Chinese people to gain access to objective coverage regarding the leading stories of the day.
"What Jiang Zemin fears most is that his own people will find out that Falun Gong is alive and well in China as well as in 50 other countries around the world," notes Falun Dafa Information Center spokeswoman Ms. Feng Yuan. "And that practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong have stood up to his violent oppression using only peaceful means throughout these three years."
Ms. Yuan continued, "The most frightening thing for Jiang right now, however, is the world finding out the true extent of the atrocities he and his regime have committed, and the weight of the inevitable punishment required to balance the scale of justice. The suspension of BBC is just one of many obvious indicators that, for the reasons I just mentioned, Jiang Zemin fears objective coverage of Falun Gong."
Despite the stringent information blockade that Jiang Zemin's regime has assembled to contain and control information about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, reports of deaths in custody are continually exposed by victims' friends and loved ones.
This week the total confirmed number of deaths of Falun Gong practitioners due to police brutality reached 434, though well-placed sources put that number many times higher.
It is important to note that in all the following cases, the victims were arrested not for committing any crime, but merely because they are known to practice Falun Gong.
Recently reported deaths after torture in police custody:
Mr. Zhang Xiaochun Dies in Custody After Repeated Wrongful Arrests (June 29, 2002)
Zhang Xiaochun, a 43 year-old man who worked for Heilongjiang Province's Suihia Railroad, Water and Electricity Section, was arrested and detained by local police on several occasions. On several occasions Mr. Zhang engaged in hunger strikes to protest his illegal imprisonment, some lasting as long as 21 days. On June 29th, 2002, he died after 12 days on hunger strike while imprisoned in a labor camp for refusing to renounce his beliefs. Family and friends of Mr. Zhang say that he died as a result of the violent force-feeding methods commonly applied to Falun Gong practitioners on hunger strike.
Schoolteacher Dies of Careless Torture by Force Feeding
Liu Hong, also called Li Yian, a schoolteacher at Yanji City, Jilin Province, was sent to labor camp the first time in July, 1999, for appealing the ban of Falun Gong. After his release, Mr. Liu continued to raise awareness of the persecution among his countrymen. In November 2001, several policeman seized him. When Mr. Liu refused to take food or water, several policemen attempted to force feed him. Being untrained, they pumped an unknown solution into Mr., Liu's lungs instead of his stomach. Mr. Liu fell immediately into a coma, and was sent to Yanji hospital for emergency care, where he died a short time later.
Ms. Wang Sujun Dies from Abuse While Her Husband Remains in a Labor Camp (June 29, 2002)
48-year old Wang Sujun was detained in Xigemu Labor Camp after appealing in Tiananmen Square on three occasions. Due to the abuse she suffered in the inhumane conditions of the labor camp, she lost eyesight in both of her eyes and experienced symptoms of urine toxicity in February 2001, around the time of year she would normally spend with her family celebrating the Spring Festival. After her release, Ms. Wang was continuously harassed by the Yongan District Police Station and by the local "610 Office" assigned to her work unit. In April 2002, the police station and "610 Office" policemen abducted her husband, who also practices Falun Gong, and sentenced him without trial to a labor camp for 2 years. Ms. Wang's health continued to deteriorate. She could not support herself through daily life, and developed edema all over her body. In June 2002, her relatives traveled to the district's police station and requested the release of Ms. Wang's husband. The policemen replied that even Ms. Wang's dying would not get her husband released. Wang Sujun died in her home, with her husband still in the labor camp, on June 29.
Police Torture Veterinarian to Death, Then Interrogate his Mother to Shift the Blame (June 9, 2002)
Xiao Peng, a 30 year-old veterinarian from Liaoning Province, was sentenced to 3 years of forced labor for practicing Falun Gong on October 30th, 1999. During his detention Xiao Peng was beaten with electric batons, tortured, and forced to do overwhelming amounts of hard labor. Shortly after his early release on May 1, 2002, a police officer came and took Xiao Peng to the Jinzhou City Guta District Police Station, and with the help of other policemen, beat him severely. Xiao Peng's family members then took him home again, but on June 9, he died from injuries sustained from the beatings. The next day, section chief Zhang of the Yi County Police Station abducted Xiao Peng's mother and interrogated her, unsuccessfully trying to find information that could be used as "evidence" to frame Xiao Peng's death as a suicide.
Retired Engineer Mysteriously Dies in Brainwashing Class
Wang Guiju, a 62 year-old retired Beijing engineer had been living on the run from police for six months before being captured by Haidian District Police, and detained all for merely being a Falun Gong practitioner. She was then sent to a "reeducation class." A short time later, the local government called Wang's family and asked them to take care of funeral arrangements. The government officials claimed that Wang Guiju died by jumping from a building, yet at the same time refused to let Wang's family disclose any information about her death. The circumstances of Wang's death remain unclear. Many deaths in police custody after torture are officially labeled "suicide," and family members are seldom allowed to view the victim's body before cremation.
Man Tricked into Going to Police Station Dies Twenty Days Later
Peng Shunnan was cooking a meal for himself in his home on December 12, 2001, when a security agent came to his door and talked him into going to the Erqiao Police Station in Hubei Province. At midnight, Peng called his wife and asked her to bring a quilt and other necessities to the police station, but by the time she arrived, he had already been sent to the Hanyang Labor Camp. On January 1, 2002, the director of the Erqiao Street Committee told Peng's wife that her husband's stomach was not well and that he hadn't been able to sleep for the last few days. A week later, on January 8, Peng's wife was notified that her husband was undergoing emergency medical treatment. By the time she arrived, he was nearly dead, and by the time their son arrived, he had passed away. According to Peng's doctor, he died of pleurisy and gastritis. Yet one month before, prior to being sent to the labor camp, he was in perfect health.