Within a day of being abducted by police for practicing Falun Gong, a 53-year-old man in northeast China's Jilin province recently died in custody. The authorities notified his family members, who are attempting to investigate the circumstances of his sudden death.
Scores of police officers stormed through downtown Jilin City on the evening of May 29, abducting as many as 20 Falun Gong practitioners from their homes and confiscating their personal belongings.
Mr. Yu Xuezhong (于学忠) was visiting the home of another Falun Gong practitioner when police burst in and abducted the pair. Yu was taken to Gaoxin police station, interrogated, and beaten.
The following day, he was pronounced dead.
“Few details are known about Yu’s death,” says Levi Browde, Executive Director of the Falun Dafa Information Center, “But the fact that he died after only one day in custody underscores how rampant—and deadly—the persecution of Falun Gong remains.”
According to at least one source, police were preparing to take Yu to a brainwashing center (a makeshift detention facility where Falun Gong practitioners are forced to renounce their beliefs). After his death, the authorities reportedly tried to pressure his employer, a manager at Darenfa supermarket, to say that Yu was suffering from mental problems in order to deflect the blame for his death. The manager refused, responding that Yu was a good, honest worker.
The violent round-up in which Yu was abducted was purportedly in preparation for the 18th National Congress later this year. Yu had previously been arrested numerous times since 1999, serving at least one year in the Yinmahe Forced Labor Camp in Jiutai City in 2004, where he was tortured.
In recent years, the Falun Dafa Information Center has recorded the deaths of approximately 100 Falun Gong practitioners per year due to abuse in police custody, and a total of over 3,500 such cases since 1999, though the actual death toll is believed to be many times higher. While most practitioners died following long periods of unlawful incarceration, there continue to be cases of people, like Yu, who are killed within weeks, days, or even hours of being taken into custody.
* Gaoxin Police Station: +86-432-64678595
* Yu’s home address: Room 301, 7th Building Huatianjiayuan, Jilin City, Jilin Province