Confirmed Death Count of Falun Gong Practitioners in China Exceeds 1,000
Actual Deaths at 5,000 or Higher
NEW YORK (FDI) – The verified deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in China, which began with 18-year-old Ms. Chen Ying on August 16 1999, surpassed the 1000 mark this past week.
Based on statistics from Chinese Government sources, however, the actual death toll is at least 5,000, or even much higher
On October 14, 2001, the Falun Dafa Information Center’s confirmed death toll was 323. Also in October 2001, Chinese Government sources reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600 – more than five times the verified number. If the actual death toll shows the same increase as the confirmed death toll has, then the true death toll today is over 5,000.
However, this figure also likely understates the true death toll.
Discovering and verifying information in China related to wrongful deaths of Falun Gong practitioners is difficult and dangerous.
The “6-10 Office” – a ministry-level government body created by Jiang Zemin to implement the campaign to “eradicate Falun Gong” – has issued orders that any death of a Falun Gong practitioner should be recorded as a suicide.
According to Amnesty International’s 2000 annual report, of the first 120 documented cases of Falun Gong practitioners’ deaths in custody, 17 were said by Chinese officials to have “jumped” to their deaths while being transported to interrogation, and 15 died from “falling” while in detention.
The 6-10 Office also has issued secret orders that police are required to cremate the bodies of Falun Gong practitioners immediately following their deaths in custody, thereby destroying evidence of torture. Autopsies are either secret or not performed, and in most cases the victim’s family is not allowed to view the body
Information on wrongful deaths is also often classified as “state secrets,” which, if revealed to parties outside China could – and often has – resulted in stiff prison sentences or worse. Scores of Falun Gong practitioners, such as 56-year-old Ms. Zhao Chunying (news), were beaten or tortured to death for their attempts to expose details of the persecution.
Furthermore, as the death toll rises, pressure from foreign governments, human rights organizations, and other institutions outside China has resulted in escalated efforts to hide such wrongful deaths.
According to China experts, the Chinese government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to monitor and control the flow of information over the Internet, phones and other communication mechanisms, and Falun Gong is at the top of the forbidden topic list.