NEW YORK, September 20, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center)-The Falun Dafa Information Center has received details of and verified the deaths of five more Falun Gong practitioners in China. All five deaths occurred in police custody and involved physical abuse, including torture. This brings the number of documented deaths to 283, with government sources inside China disclosing that the actual number exceeds 1,000.The deaths are the latest manifestation of heightened measures by communist authorities to "eradicate" Falun Gong in upcoming months. One mid-level government official in China recently interviewed by CNN.com revealed that "The leadership is obsessed with the Falun Gong and have put its eradication as a top priority this year." ("Endgame for the Falun Gong?" 8/21/01) Authorities increasingly appear without restraint as they follow Jiang Zemin's orders to "discredit Falun Gong, cut Falun Gong off financially, and destroy the Falun Gong practitioners physically."It should be noted that each of the victims died for steadfastly defending his right to believe; release from custody and torture is usually granted upon a pledge or statement "renouncing" one's beliefs.The five murder victims are:Mr. Li Zetao, age unknown, of Chongqing City, Sichuan Province.Li was tortured to death on May 31, 2001, while in custody at the Xishanpin Labor Camp of Chongqing. Authorities promptly cremated his body on June 1 without notifying his family or obtaining their consent. One official from the Labor Camp confirmed to a Falun Dafa Information Center reporter that Li died in custody there. When asked the cause of death, the official replied that "this information is classified and cannot be discussed over the phone."Mr. Wang Xin, 28, of Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province.Wang was arrested last year for meeting and conversing with Falun Gong practitioners in a nearby region. He was sentenced to two years at the Nanchang Second Labor Camp. There, in custody, Wang was beaten severely and force-fed multiple times for peacefully protesting by hunger striking. On July 2, 2001, at 3:00 pm Wang's family was contacted and told that he was about to die. His family brought him to the First Affiliated Hospital of Jiangxi Province for emergency rescue but it was too late. The attending physicians told his family that Wang did not have any illness and that they could have saved him had Camp officials sent him for treatment earlier. Medical staff at the Emergency Room confirmed Wang's death with the Falun Dafa Information Center, saying that he "died within one day" of arriving there. However, staff have changed their account recently and claim that Wang died "from fever."Mr. Zhang Zhenzhong, 23, of Xin County, Liaocheng City, Shandong Province.Zhang, a student at Jinan Shangong University, was arrested in May of 2001 while in Tangyin County, Henan Province, for disseminating information to the public about Falun Gong and the persecution. He was returned to Shandong Province after his arrest and detained by the Public Security Bureau. In custody, Zhang went on a hunger strike to protest his illegal detention. Police violently force-fed Zhang as punishment, resulting in excessive internal bleeding. After 10 days of torture and such force-feeding, Zhang died in captivity.Mr. Wang Xinglei, 35, of Junan County, Linyi City, Shandong Province.Wang was forced to flee his home in April of 2001 to escape persecution. In late August he was arrested by police while in Henan Province to meet and talk with other Falun Gong practitioners; he was soon transferred to Shandong Province and detained in Yanggu County. On September 10 the Yanggu County Public Security Bureau contacted Wang's family to ask that they identify his body, stating that he had "died from a hunger strike." Wang's family was not allowed to touch the body, however; they report that Wang's head bore visible marks of internal bleeding. Police quickly removed the body for cremation against the family's will.Mr. Wang Jinlong, 34 years old, from Junan County, Linyi City, Shandong Province.Wang was arrested in August of 2001 for travelling with two Falun Gong practitioners to Yanggu County to reveal the government's rights violations. Police removed him to the Yanggu County Public Security Bureau for detention. Wang protested his unlawful captivity with a hunger strike. For this he was tortured severely and force-fed; half a month later he was dead. Wang's body was immediately sent to the crematorium by authorities to hide any evidence of abuse. Authorities later went so far as to extort money from Wang's family when they went to claim his remains.It has since been learned that following the deaths of Wang Jinlong and Wang Xinlei, the authorities responsible were promptly reassigned. Chief among them was Guo Zhongxi, Supervisor of the Yanggu County Public Security Bureau's security team; Guo was reassigned to work in the Xihu Village Police Station of the same county. A Falun Dafa Information Center reporter called former Supervisor Guo to confirm the two deaths. Guo admitted he was "no longer in that work unit ." When asked what led to Wang Jinlong's death, he replied, "how come you say it's me who killed him?!" When asked who killed Wang Xinlei, he only answered, "I wasn't the one who dealt with him."Falun Gong spokesperson Adam Montanaro commented: "China's leaders have traditionally prepared for large-scale public celebrations, such as China's 'National Day' coming up on October 1st, by rounding up practitioners of Falun Gong who might reveal the persecution campaign. I find these recent deaths terribly alarming because many expect Jiang Zemin will escalate the persecution even more this year believing that the world's attention is too focused on the attacks in the United States to notice that he's detaining, torturing and killing Chinese citizens merely for their beliefs."