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February 14, 2008: Falun Gong News Bulletin

Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China

Nine Falun Gong Adherents Die from Abuse in December and January
Total Deaths from Persecution Climbs to 3,124
The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned the details of nine Falun Gong adherents who died in December and January, either in police custody or shortly after their release. With ages ranging from 30 to 73 years old, they died mostly of injuries incurred from torture, complications stemming from injection of unidentified drugs or diseases contracted in detention (especially tuberculosis). Their deaths spanned five provinces, with four of the nine occurring in Heilongjiang, regularly the deadliest region for adherents. The cases were compiled from a variety of sources, including testimony of relatives or acquaintances of the deceased, photographic evidence, and follow-up phone calls made by researchers to the relevant police or prison authorities.
 
In addition to those who died in the past two months, the Center has recently received reports of eight other individuals who died earlier in 2007 from abuse. The total number of individuals who have reportedly died as a result of the Chinese authorities’ campaign against Falun Gong now stands at 3,124.

Personal Testimony: Adherent Released from Labor Camp in November Tells of Solitary Confinement and Sexual Abuse; Photos Show Missing Teeth and Scars
At the end of December, an adherent named Xu Yushan from Heilongjiang province published a personal testimony online detailing the abuses he had suffered in Suihua Labor Camp prior to his release on November 9, 2007. In 2006, Xu was sentenced to one and a half years of “re-education through labor” after he was found carrying a book and several articles of Falun Gong’s teachings at a train station. In his statement, he describes being beaten, placed in solitary confinement and while tied to a chair, having tobacco powder spread on his genitals:

“About ten minutes later I felt excruciating pain in my genitals and I almost lost consciousness. I spent the whole night in painful spasms. The next day they did the same thing again. Then I saw clearly what they were putting on my genitalia. It was tobacco powder that is used in long-stemmed Chinese pipes.”

His testimony matches accounts that the Center received from other sources during his detention and is accompanied by a photo of him with teeth missing after they were knocked out when guards tied his mouth with a cloth.

Full testimony: http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=9514

Falun Gong Practitioners Gain Political Asylum Status in South Korea for the First Time
In a landmark case, a judge at the Seoul Administrative Court granted two Falun Gong adherents political asylum in Korea on January 16, 2008, finding that their fears of persecution in China well-founded.

According to media reports and the refugees’ lawyer, this was the first time that Falun Gong practitioners have been given political asylum in an East Asian country – a region where the Chinese regime has exerted significant economic and political pressure. In other countries like Japan, adherents have been granted protection or residence permits, but the state has not formally recognized their need to flee for fear of Chinese Communist Party reprisals.

Additional details on the case are available at:http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/s2143694.htm

Soccer Players and Activists Welcome Human Rights Torch to Ghana
On Tuesday, February 5, the Human Rights Torch Relay arrived in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi, its first stop in Africa. The relay is a worldwide effort calling for an end to rights abuses in China before the Beijing Olympics in August. According to an article in the Daily Graphic:

“It highlights the persecution of Falun Gong, the most severely persecuted group in China; the plight of Tibetans, Christians, democracy advocates, outspoken lawyers and reporters and the fuelling of oppression and slaughter in Darfur, Burma, Zimbabwe and North Korea… The torch ambassadors included players and officials of King Faisal Football Club and Kessben Football Club, Hiplife artist Okyeame Kwame and Mr Michael Brigandi, President of Amnesty International, Ghana.”

According to the organizers’ website, the torch is expected to visit over 150 cities in 37 countries and will be arriving in the United States on March 30.

Full story: http://www.modernghana.com/GhanaHome/SportsArchive/sports_details.asp?id=VFZSVk0wMUVVWGc9&menu_id=2⊂_menu_id=0
or http://www.humanrightstorch.org/news/2008/02/09/human-rights-torch-arrives-in-africa/

Thai Authorities Detain 22 Falun Gong Refugees Despite U.N. Status
“A refugee who walked for miles to flee religious persecution in China has spoken of his shock at being arrested and threatened with deportation by Thai police. Zhao Shuqing was denied a passport by the Chinese authorities and was forced to make the journey to Thailand by foot.

After arriving in the country, he was granted U.N. refugee status and settled into life in Bangkok.

However, last Friday, he and 21 other refugees from China were arrested in two swoops directed by Thai Special Branch police and were detained at an immigration detention centre. All of the detainees were Falun Gong practitioners who were involved in publicising human rights abuses against the movement by Chinese authorities… Critics say the arrests were orchestrated by the Thai police under pressure from the Chinese Embassy…”

Full story: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/8-2-12/65857.html