Amnesty International: 2002 Annual Report (excerpts)

Repression of spiritual and religious groups

The campaign against groups branded as ”heretical organizations” continued. There was mounting evidence that the authorities were permitting the use of violence against Falun Gong practitioners as one of the means to eradicate the group. Reports of torture and deaths in custody increased. Around 200 Falun Gong practitioners allegedly died in custody as a result of torture. Hasty cremations of the victims hampered investigations into such cases. Others continued to suffer arbitrary detention, unfair trials and imprisonment. Some were held in unregistered detention places, officially described as ”study classes”, and subjected to coercion to renounce their beliefs. Members of Christian groups were also arrested and some sentenced to long prison terms.

  • Zhang Min, a Falun Gong practitioner from Yilan county, Heilongjiang province, was reportedly arrested on 5 December for handing out Falun Gong leaflets. She died six days later, after police reportedly tortured her. Officials reportedly told her family that she had died of a heart attack, although she had no previous history of heart disease. 

Administrative detention and unfair trials

According to official sources, some 260,000 people were administratively detained in ”re-education through labour” camps in early 2001, a substantial increase on the number officially reported in 1998. The use of this form of arbitrary detention increased particularly against Falun Gong practitioners and during the ”strike hard” campaign against crime.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Members of the Falun Gong, a registered society in Hong Kong despite being banned in China, were arrested at peaceful demonstrations and alleged that they were victims of police violence.

For the full text of the report see: