5,000 Detained, Dozens Dead as Chinese Police Go on Rampage Against Falun Gong in Changchun
- Police Under Orders to Cremate Dead Bodies Immediately
- Quota of 5 Falun Gong Arrests per Officer; All legal Proceedings Bypassed
- Two People Charged With Tapping Into Television Signal May Be Executed
- Report Comes Days After President Bush Calls for an End to Persecution in Letter
- Amnesty International Calls for Urgent Action
NEW YORK, March 25, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Over 5,000 people believed to be practitioners of Falun Gong have been detained in a vast and unprecedented police sweep in Changchun, China, according to reliable sources in China. These sources report that dozens or even as many as 100 or more might be dead already as a result of police brutality, though a total media blackout has severely hampered many attempts to contact locals and confirm the individual reports.
The deaths follow reports that on March 5th Chinese President Jiang Zemin ordered Changchun Falun Gong practitioners killed after a group of people tapped into the signal of several major television stations and broadcast footage exposing the government’s ongoing persecution campaign against Falun Gong. Two practitioners are being held responsible by police for the broadcast have been given death sentences.
These latest developments arrive days after President Bush wrote in a letter to Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) that there was “no justification for [the Chinese Government’s] brutal repression of Falun Gong,” and that his administration would “do everything possible to advance the cause of human rights in China.”
Amnesty International Calls for “Urgent Action”
On March 15th, Amnesty International headquarters in London issued an Urgent Action statement for Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun. “Dozens of suspected members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have reportedly been detained during a security crackdown in Changchun City, Jilin Province,” the Urgent Action stated. “Amnesty International believes they are at serious risk of torture or ill-treatment…”
Local sources say killings have occurred every day since the broadcast, and police in the Changchun detention and “re-education” centers have been given orders to cremate all dead bodies immediately. Other reports state that police have been given quotas to round up five Falun Gong practitioners per day and are conducting on-the-spot searches of citizens.
Two Changchun women charged with helping to carrying out the broadcast have been detained by the police, and inside sources report that Jiang Zemin has ordered they be sentenced to death. They are Zhou Runjun (female, 51) and Li Yanmei (female, 40).
Death Reports Continue to Arrive
Multiple eyewitness accounts have been received by the Falun Dafa Information Center stating that Changchun police have forced multiple unidentified people from fifth and sixth storey apartment windows. The condition of many of the victims remains unknown. Such tactics used by Chinese police are frequently reported, as these types of deaths can easily be reported as suicides. These reports follow last weeks news that two Changchun men in their 30s were beaten to death by police.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices in China, such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang’s regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over 375 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.