Sixty Western Falun Gong Practitioners Encounter Violent Repression From Chinese Police on Tiananmen Square

"I, too, am Falun Gong"

NEW YORK, February 18, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Approximately 60 western practitioners of Falun Gong were violently detained on or near Tiananmen Square as they attempted to undertake a peaceful appeal for Falun Gong this past week.

“I, too, am Falun Gong,” explained Eliana Chinn, a Falun Gong practitioner from New York City. “Falun Gong is practiced freely in over 50 countries throughout the world,” Mrs. Chinn continued, “and so Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is not just a China issue. It is an international issue. Jiang Zemin’s regime has persecuted hundreds of thousands of people over the last two and a half years and torn apart countless families. We will not stop exposing this evil until the killing stops.” Mrs. Chinn was among those deported from China last Friday. Mrs. Chinn’s husband, Scott, also joined her on Tiananmen Square in a peaceful appeal.

Small groups of westerners from countries around the world, including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and Australia, went to Tiananmen Square to appeal for the end of persecution against Falun Gong in China. They held up banners and said aloud the words “Falun Gong is good!” in a form of peaceful appeal directly to the Chinese people.

The subsequent arrests and interrogations were brutal and violent. Several cases of beatings, kicking, black eyes, and choking were reported. One woman, a US citizen of Chinese descent, was beaten severely several times while in police custody.

“They forced me to the ground, kicked me, slapped me, and choked me with a scarf,” recalled Ms. Chun Lee, a US citizen detained near Tiananmen Square yesterday. “I was detained for over 24 hours, during which several male officers beat me and interrogated me, confiscating all of my valuables. I was not allowed to contact the US embassy, nor anyone else.”

Ms. Lee had cuts on her face and bruises throughout her body as she stepped off the plane from Beijing. Mark Gardner, from Los Angeles, had a darkened bruise around his right eye. Other Americans displayed cuts, bruises and tufts of hair ripped from their scalps as they were beaten and dragged by Chinese police.

Some eyewitnesses reported that between 70 and 80 westerners were detained that day, although Chinese officials put the number at 59. A foreign journalist estimated that uniformed and plainclothes police constituted 30% of the people on the Square that day, and commented, “it is the strongest show of force I have seen on the Square in recent memory.”

“The treatment unleashed by Chinese police against the westerners was brutally violent and completely unnecessary,” commented Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Adam Montanaro. “… This violence highlights an important point. That is, if Chinese authorities are willing to beat and kick Americans in broad daylight, it only reinforces the validity of the countless horror stories we have received documenting what they do to Chinese citizens behind closed doors.” Mr. Montanaro concluded, “This persecution of Falun Gong in China is tearing the country apart. For the sake of China and human decency overall, it must end, and it must end soon.”

For interviews or in-depth accounts from those detained in Tiananmen Square, please contact the Falun Dafa Information Center.

About The Journey to Tiananmen — On the sunny afternoon of November 20, 2001, 36 Westerners from 12 countries met at the Tiananmen Square – without knowing each other’s names, they gathered for a group photo and waited for the cue to begin…