"During the year  over 100 Falun Gong practitioners were reported to have died in detention or shortly after release as a result of torture, denial of food or medical treatment, and other forms of ill-treatment."
-- Amnesty International 2008 Annual Report, May 2008
Eight More Deaths in China Detailed
The Information Center has publicized the details of eight additional deaths of Falun Gong adherents in China, each the result of state persecution. The deaths (or murders), which were documented by Chinese sources in the month of November, bring the known death toll to 3,109, and suggest that officially sanctioned brutality continues, behind closed doors, unabated. The victims span five provinces and range in age from 26 to 70 years. Primary causes of death were torture, force-feeding, and the administration of toxic drugs.
Full story: http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9512
European Parliament Passes Resolution on Beijing Olympics
According to a Dec. 13 Reuters report (link), the European Parliament has unanimously passed a resolution criticizing the European Union for its failure to pressure Chinese authorities for increased rights protection in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Parliament is furthermore taking its concerns directly to the International Olympic Committee, it is said, following China’s failure in “living up to pledges” made in its bid for the Games. Edward McMillan-Scott, a vice-president of the Parliament who has personally investigated Beijing’s persecution of the Falun Gong, declared in a statement that he “deplores China’s continued use of brutal repression of all dissidence.” The Parliament’s resolution calls on Chinese rulers to free jailed dissidents -- among whom the Falun Gong number highest -- and cease all censoring of the Internet, among other measures.
Full story: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL1353209
Amnesty International Accuses China of Reneging on Olympic Promises
In a related sign that pressure is mounting on Beijing, Amnesty International has accused Chinese leaders of violating promises to improve domestic human rights conditions before the arrival of the 2008 Olympics. Corroborating concerns raised here by the Falun Dafa Information Center previously, Amnesty expressed fear of “an increase in harassment, detentions, and… house arrest ahead of the Games,” according to a report in the Khaleej Times (link). The Times report quotes Chinese human rights lawyer Biao Teng, who currently holds a teaching post at Yale University, raising the possibility of “calling for a boycott if necessary.” Biao singles out the case of the Falun Gong’s persecution in conjunction with China’s lack of religious freedom.
Labor Camp Survivor Tells of Ordeal
“There were many times I asked myself, why I hadn’t died yet? Why hadn’t I gone insane?” Such was Jennifer Zeng’s misery while held captive, a prisoner of conscience in a Chinese labor camp, on account of her Falun Gong identity. Zeng recounted her harrowing ordeal last week, speaking with the Australian paper Maitland Mercury (link). “They tortured me very badly... they used electric batons to shock me until I lost consciousness, but the worst thing was sleep deprivation,” Zeng said. “The longest period for me was 15 days and 15 nights without sleep… I witnessed people suddenly become mad ... So many people were tortured to that kind of extent.” Zeng, who has chronicled her journey to freedom in Witnessing History: One Chinese Woman’s Fight for Freedom (Soho Press), was in Maitland as part of a Human Rights Torch Relay event that passed through the city.
Full story: http://maitland.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news-features/tortured-for-her-beliefs/1105127.html
Falun Gong Calligrapher Arrested for “Happiness”
Just how far have Beijing’s rights deprivations of the Falun Gong faithful gone? This week’s telltale sign comes in a bizarre form: punishment for holding a nondescript calligraphy exhibition. The exhibition, set in Qingdao city, Shandong province, took place Nov. 3–8, and featured the calligraphy of Liu Xitong. Thousands reportedly visited the exhibition according to Chinese sources at Clearwisdom.org (link), with one city official heralding the show as the city’s most successful ever. Perhaps it came as embarrassment then, when it was realized Liu practices Falun Gong. Just four days after the show, on Nov. 12, police arrested Liu and his wife, Aifang, and ransacked the couple’s home. Various valuables such as computers were confiscated by police along with works of calligraphy, such as one scroll entitled “Happiness.” Police claimed, ironically, that such works were about Falun Gong.