Background: Chinese authorities have alleged that “the practice of Falun Gong has led to more than 1,400 deaths” of followers. Although Falun Gong was widely practiced in China throughout the 1990’s, this claim was first made only in July of 1999, after the regime had commenced the persecution of Falun Gong. The claim has been repeated by Communist Party publications and spokespersons since. It is meant to undermine support for Falun Gong practitioners, who are regularly victims of severe rights violations in China, including unlawful detention, deprivation of constitutional rights, forced labor, and torture. The latter have resulted in more than 3,400 documented deaths.
The Problem: While the burden of proof lay squarely on Chinese Communist Party authorities, evidence was never furnished. More importantly, no independent investigation was ever allowed. Where journalists and researchers have managed to investigate, cases of alleged Falun Gong-induced “deaths” have repeatedly been found to be fabricated. In some instances, the victim was found to have never existed. Nor have such “deaths” ever occurred outside of China, in the over 100 countries where Falun Gong is practiced freely. The claim is also staked on a distortion of Falun Gong's teachings on health and medicine, often depicting the Falun Gong practice as dangerous or encouraging unhealthy actions like prolonged fasting, which the teachings explicitly state are not part of the discipline.
Why it Matters: Falun Gong adherents in China continue to be subjected to a litany of documented human rights abuses. Various misrepresentations of Falun Gong and its members, spawned by Chinese Communist Party officials and publications, seek to discredit the group (portraying it as dangerous, misguided, or nefarious) and undermine support in the free world. Inside China, in particular, propaganda surrounding the “1,400 deaths” has played a central role in fostering disgust and animosity toward Falun Gong among a large segment of the population. Historical parallels from as recently as the 20th century Nazi Germany suggest that such misrepresentations, as used against Jews, can have devastating consequences.
ILLUSTRATIVE CASES: Fabrications and Frame-ups to Pin Deaths on Falun Gong
The Victim Who Never Quite Existed
Zhang Zhiwen killed her child, then herself, so claimed a Party-controlled newspaper. The only problem is, independent investigators found that Zhang never existed.
A "Victim's" Daughter Speaks Out
Ma Jinxiu hardly died on account of refusing medical intervention when ill, her daughter reveals. In fact, she died in the arms of the physicians who treated her.
Li Youlin: A "Practitioner" Who Never Practiced
Li Youlin's suicide could hardly be attributed to Falun Gong says a close neighbor: he never practiced it in the first place.
A Mother Sets the Record Straight
The mother of a suicide victim speaks the truth about her son's death and the coercion faced by widowed daughter..
AU CONTRAIRE: Reports of Falun Gong's Health, Well-Being Benefits Abound
Wellness Up Close: Personal Accounts
How has Falun Gong benefited the health and lives of individuals? A range of personal accounts provide a fascinating glimpse.
Heightened Health and Wellness
Research conducted at the University of South Australia finds that Falun Gong adherents have "very healthy lifestyle habits" and experience "better health-wellness" than others.
Abundant Health in Dalian, China
A 1998 study found that residents of Dalian, China, reported vastly better health after taking up Falun Gong.
Falun Gong at the Cellular Level
Research published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine finds that Falun Gong practice may positively regulate immunity at the genomic level.
WHO IS KILLING WHOM?
3,400 Deaths at the Party's Hand
Over 3,400 Falun Gong adherents have been killed by Chinese authorities since 1999. These are real people, known to us from eyewitness accounts and families of the victims. Unlike the CCP, we welcome investigation into each and every case.
Amnesty International on Torture in China
One leading human rights organization finds official Chinese claims of no wrongdoing bogus. To the contrary, it's the Party behind it all.
United States Congress Concurs
With the passage of House Resolution 605 in March 2010, the United States Congress called on Chinese officials to bring “an immediate end to the campaign to persecute, intimidate, imprison, and torture Falun Gong practitioners.”Seven members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, made speeches on the House floor supporting Falun Gong practitioners and condemning the persecution.
A Chinese Attorney's Account
In wrenching detail, one of China 's leading rights attorneys, Gao Zhisheng, documents the torture Chinese authorities have perpetrated against Falun Gong practitioners.