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Deaths of 25 Falun Gong practitioners verified in March
Actual Toll Estimated at Five to Ten Times Higher than Verified Number; Ages Range 20-78
Weighing less than 100 pounds, 34-year-old Li Yuanguang's body photographed shortly after his death.
NEW YORK (FDI) – The deaths of 25 more Falun Gong practitioners in China as a result of state-run persecution were verified in March, according to reliable sources. Among them are details of recent deaths, as well as information about deaths that had been covered up for over four years.
Twenty-year-old Mr. Chang Baoli was arrested while appealing in Beijing in November 1999. He was then transferred to Gongyi City where police beat him to death the next day.
The delay in verifying Mr. Chang’s death reveals the difficulty in getting such information out of the country. For every verified death, an additional five to ten such cases are believed to remain unreported.
The Falun Dafa Information Center receives dozens of reports of practitioners being tortured for every report of a practitioner killed.
One of those killed in March was Daqing City-resident Mr. Li Yuanguang, 34. He died weighing less than one hundred pounds after prolonged torture, leaving behind his wife and a family bankrupted by police extortions.
Mr. Li nearly dropped out of college due to severe kidney problems. After he started practicing Falun Gong his health greatly improved and he continued his studies, earning a master’s degree. Before Falun Gong was banned, Mr. Li received government recognition for contributing to his hometown.
After traveling to Beijing’s Office of Appeals in 1999 Mr. Li was repeatedly harassed by police. Police abducted him from his home on April 24, 2001 and sent him to the Sha District Detention Center. There, officers forced him to sit on a metal chair, thumped his eyes, placed lit cigarettes in his mouth, force-fed him drugs, inserted mustard into his nose, stomped on his body and fingers, and subjected him to other abuses.
To protest the inhumane treatment, Mr. Li went on hunger strike. He was then repeatedly force-fed – a violent procedure that has been the direct cause of death in 10% of all verified killings of Falun Gong practitioners.
In a terrible condition, Mr. Li was released from detention only to pass away at home.
“The frequency and consistency of the torture and murder cases throughout China underscores the fact that this is a premeditated campaign directed by high ranking officials,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Mr. Erping Zhang, “not simply the crimes of a few overzealous prison guards.”
The March reports indicate that many of the guards received bonuses for torturing practitioners. Criminal inmates also tortured practitioners in order to gain an early release.
Torture methods include dousing practitioners with cold water, leaving them outdoors in freezing temperatures, shocking them with electric batons, depriving them of sleep, starving them, and tying them in agonizing positions.
Practitioners also die after being forced to become homeless, as in the case of Ms. Fang Yuqin, 78. Police harassment forced Ms. Fang and her family out into the street and into destitution. She died several months after her daughter and granddaughter were both sent to the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp.
The names of practitioners whose deaths were confirmed in the month of March 2004 are: Liu Jie, Dong Ruilain, Chen Rongyao, Xiao Yali, Zhang Yanju, Di Xishun, Chang Baoli, Liao Furong, Luo Junling, Wang Jihua, Fang Yuqin, Yu Xianjiang, Li Yuanguang, Sun Yuhua, Zhang Yanxun, Xie Caile, Duan Qingfang, Song Yulian, Zhang Guoqing, Chen Dexi, Zhao Fengyun, Gu Xiuxian, Jing Fengyun, Chen Hanchang, and Cao Yali.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." Practiced in over 50 countries world-wide, Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture. With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's Communist leader Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report). Since that time, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it. The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 951 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. In October 2001, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.
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