Beijing Detainee Beaten into Coma;

NEW YORK, NY — The Falun Dafa Information Center has learned that 46-year-old Ms. Zhang Lianying was beaten into a coma on March 20, 2007, while detained at the Beijing Women’s Labor Camp. Zhang required emergency surgery to treat a massive brain hemorrhage and has since regained consciousness, but police have hand-cuffed her to the hospital bed and she remains under threat of further torture and abuse.

According to sources familiar with her case, Zhang was first abducted by Chinese police on June 14, 2005, when she was taken from her home and sent to a forced labor camp for 2 1/2 years simply because she is an adherent of Falun Gong. While imprisoned, Zhang repeatedly suffered beatings that left her unable to walk properly and her face disfigured, according to these sources. In one instance on February 27, 2006, Zhang was beaten so severely she was hospitalized for 50 days. From that point on, authorities cut off all contact between her and her husband, Mr. Niu Jinping.

Niu kept working to free her, however. In May 2006, Vice President of the European Parliament, Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, visited China to investigate human rights abuses. Niu met with McMillan-Scott and briefed him on the plight of his wife and other Falun Gong practitioners that were being held and often tortured in custody throughout China.

Afterward, Chinese authorities did not let up in their treatment of Zhang, and may have intentionally escalated her abuse. While detained at the Beijing Women’s Labor Camp, officials repeatedly instigated inmates to torture Zhang by wrapping a rope around her neck, tightening it until she was nearly unconscious and then proceeding to beat her violently about the face and head. These sources say she was subjected to this torture over a period of several months until, on the morning of March 20, 2007, while being tortured in this manner Zhang collapsed. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, and fell into a coma.

Another Falun Gong practitioner had met with McMillan-Scott last May, and he suffered clear retaliation from Chinese officials for having done so. Along with Niu, Mr. Cao Dong had further briefed McMillan-Scott on the abuses and torture of Falun Gong practitioners, including by providing evidence of how labor camps supply living, healthy Falun Gong practitioners to hospitals where they are killed for their vital organs. (report) According to a written statement from McMillan-Scott, Cao “said he definitely knew of [organ harvesting camps] and knew people who had been sent to these camps. He had seen the cadaver of one of his friends, a Falun Gong practitioner, with holes in his body where the organs had been removed.”

Shortly after leaving the meeting with McMillan-Scott, Cao was abducted by Chinese police, his whereabouts unknown for several months. Cao was later sentenced to 5 years in prison for taking part in the meeting. Cao was officially charged with “disrupting social order” and “propagating Falun Gong.”

“These cases are a horrific reminder that the Chinese Communist authorities have no genuine interest in improving human rights,” stated Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Levi Browde. “Nearly beating one man’s wife to death and throwing the other man in prison for 5 years is not the way you reward your citizenry for identifying injustices.” Browde adds, “We applaud the work of McMillan-Scott and call on the international community to follow his lead by investigating the atrocities against Falun Gong, and maintaining pressure on the Chinese regime to uphold human rights.”