Falun Dafa Practitioners Around the World Prepare to Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary, as the Persecution in China Leaves 7 More Dead

NEW YORK, May 11th, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Last night on Manhattan’s upper west side, a group of young women put the final touches on their dresses for a dance performance during the upcoming World Falun Dafa Day celebrations. Others finalized the details for the local government leaders who will be coming out to speak during the festivities.

Meanwhile, twelve time zones away, in the Nanhu Farm Labor Camp located in central China’s Hunan Province, the lives of three people who practice Falun Gong hang in the balance as they enter the third week of a hunger strike to protest their illegal detention. A fourth died in police custody just nine days before.

According to a source with China’s Public Security Bureau, 40 people have been killed while in police custody in Heilongjiang province during the month of April.

Such contrasts typify the increasingly divergent attitude towards Falun Gong between China and the rest of the world

Worldwide Preparations for Falun Gong’s Tenth Anniversary

May 13th, 2002, marks the 10th anniversary since Falun Gong was first taught to the public by its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi. Preparations for the event are well underway in Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Toronto, London, Berlin, Moscow and an estimated 20 other cities around the world.

“We will hold these festivities to celebrate the teachings of Falun Gong, and the joy they have brought to people throughout the world,” says Virginia Blanco, a resident of Queens, New York who has been practicing Falun Gong for two years. “At the same time, we seek to honor the courage, compassion and strength that people who practice Falun Gong in China have displayed over the past nearly three years in the face of Jiang Zemin’s vicious persecution.”

In Toronto, a multi-cultural festival is planned outside City Hall, including performances from different community groups, such as African dance, Polish dance, Chinese Zheng performance, Martial arts demonstrations and more. Hong Kong residents will have a parade in the morning, with an outdoor concert scheduled for the afternoon.

Festivities for celebrating the practice and forums for condemning China’s persecution are also planned throughout Europe.

Seven More Deaths in China Reported During the Past Week

Inside China, however, the situation is reversed. Rather than joining with local government officials and community leaders to celebrate the 10-year anniversary, those who practice Falun Gong are routinely tortured and killed by officers from the Public Security Bureau.

Seven more deaths were reported in the last week alone, six of which occurred in April, 2002:

· Li Yuhua, a resident of Beijing was tortured to death in early April in Shenyang City, Shenhe District Daxi Police Substation after being arrested for practicing Falun Gong.
· Li Jian, male, 34, a lawyer in Zhengyang County, Henan Province was tortured to death in Henan Province No.3 Labor Camp On April 25 2002. He was arrested in 2000 and sent to Henan Province No.3 Labor Camp in Xuchang city at the end of April 2001. In the labor camp, he was deprived of sleep, forced to do hard labor and was regularly subjected to torture before his death in April.
· Zou Guirong, female, 36-year old, was an employee at Highway Xinbin County Section in Fushun area. She had been illegally sent to Fushun City Labor Camp for 1 ½ years where she was tortured regularly. In the fall of 2001, she was transferred to Wujiabao Labor Camp in Fushun City, where policemen tortured her to death in April 2002.
· Zhang Yanchao, male, 30-year old, was a Falun Gong practitioner from Hongqi village in Lalin town, Wuchang City, Heilongjiang province. On April 5 2002, the Harbin City police arrested him on Shuangcheng highway. He died in police custody on April 8th. Eyewitnesses say his body was black and blue, almost beyond recognition. His widow is also a Falun Gong practitioner, and is now detained at Wuchang City Nantou Detention Center.
· Sun Guilan, female from Baoji City was killed by police as they inserted a tube into her trachea in order to force feed her at the Baoji City No.60 Hospital.
· He Zhenyue, Male, 35 years old, held a bachelor degree from Sichuan Geology College. He was the electric engineer and captain of Ziyang Well-stablizing Team, Geology Ministry. He was once awarded the honors of “Excellent Cadre, “Excellent Party Member” and “Excellent Worker”. He Zhenyue went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong on May, 2000. As a result he was laid off and fined 7,000 Yuan. In December of the same year he again went to appeal peacefully in Tiananmen Square and was brutally beaten. After several days of hunger strike he was released unconditionally. On February 3, 2002, He Zhenyue was arrested along with four other practitioners. At 3 pm, April 10, Chengdu Detention Center informed the National Security Team, Ziyang Public Security Bureau, saying that he died in the Center.

Persecution Failing to “Eradicate Falun Gong”

Still, it has become clear by the continued efforts of the Chinese people to appeal for their right to practice the meditation and exercise system that Jiang Zemin’s persecution has failed to “eradicate Falun Gong.” In fact, practitioners of Falun Gong continue to find more effective ways to let their story be heard, ranging from grassroots distribution of flyers and hand-outs, to tapping into state-run television networks.

Two days ago, the Associated Press interviewed a woman in Harbin, stating “handwritten posters saying ‘Falun Gong is a healthy meditation’ still appear on walls near residents’ mailboxes. ‘Every time officials take one away, another poster will be put up in the next day or two,’ the woman said.”

“There is an ancient Chinese saying that teaches, ‘Good will be rewarded with good and evil rewarded with evil.’ Or as my mother used to say, ‘what goes around comes around.,” commented Adam Montanaro, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center. “I believe this is true, and so what’s important is that we continue to cultivate virtues in ourselves and try to be kind to others under all circumstances. As history has shown, the efforts of evil tyrants always end in failure and so will Jiang Zemin’s persecution of Falun Gong. We will simply continue to tell people the truth about what is happening, and the truth will prevail.”

Background

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance.” It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices in China, such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China’s President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang’s regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.

The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of over 407 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. Government officials inside China, however, report that the actual death toll is well over 1,600. Over 100,000 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.