Eight years after the Beijing Olympics and as the world prepares to watch the 2016 Games open today in Brazil, thousands of Falun Gong practitioners and their families in China are living with the aftermath of a Communist Party crackdown ahead of the 2008 sporting event. At least 150 people detained at the time are believed to still be imprisoned, according to a list compiled by the Falun Dafa Information Center.
In the run-up to the World Expo opening in Shanghai this week, the Chinese authorities have engaged in a sweeping crackdown against local residents known to practice Falun Gong.
A Falun Gong practitioner detained on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics died in a prison camp in northeastern China on January 14, 2010, the Falun Dafa Information Center learned this week. Mr. Yu Zhongzhu (于忠柱) from Heilongjiang is already the second Olympic prisoner whose death the Center has reported in 2010. In the run-up to and during the Games, over 8,000 Falun Gong practitioners were detained by the authorities, many of whom have since been sentenced to RTL or prison camps. Yu was 39 years old when he died.
The Communist Party’s campaign against Falun Gong escalated sharply in 2008 as China’s rulers took advantage of the Olympic games to catalyze and justify the large-scale arrest, imprisonment, and monitoring of Chinese citizens known to adhere to the spiritual practice, the Falun Dafa Information Center said in an annual report published on Tuesday.
The widow of a well-known musician and Falun Gong adherent who died from abuse in police custody was sentenced by a Beijing court to three years in prison Tuesday.
The widow of a well-known musician and Falun Gong adherent who died from abuse in police custody is scheduled to be sentenced to a potentially long prison term in a Beijing Court on Tuesday morning Beijing time (Monday evening EST).
An elderly Falun Gong practitioner from Chaoyang district in Beijing, home to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, died from injuries incurred in custody two days before the close of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Falun Dafa Information Center reported on Wednesday.
A painter from Hunan province, arrested in a nationwide pre-Olympic roundup of Falun Gong adherents, died the day before the opening ceremonies from injuries incurred in custody. Detained in March, an emaciated Mr. Hu Heping (胡和平) from Yueyang city died August 7, 2008 according to recent reports received by The Falun Dafa Information Center. He was 55 years old.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has received information that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities have moved genuine Falun Gong adherents out of Beijing-area prisons and labor camps, replacing them with individuals who claim to have renounced Falun Gong. The Center believes the move is meant to mislead foreign media, mirroring similar tactics used in the past.
Based on recent Chinese Communist Party tactics, the Falun Dafa Information Center expressed concern today that the Party may attempt to stage an incident, perhaps even one involving violence, and then label the actors as Falun Gong practitioners. The Center urged media workers in Beijing to question and thoroughly investigate any Chinese Communist Party (CCP) characterizations of Falun Gong, especially in light of these concerns.