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Falun Gong: Masanjia Hunger Striker Near Death

Chinese officials continue torture, refuse to release her

October 23, 2001 | 04:34 pm

NEW YORK, October 23, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – After forty five days on hunger strike to protest the illegal detainment of fellow practitioners of Falun Gong, a woman lies “on the brink of death” in a labor camp hospital in Northeast China.

On October 29, 1999, Ms. Zhenrong Qi, 41 years old, from Hengren County (Benxi City), Liaoning Province was sent to a labor camp for a three-year term. She has been held at the notorious Masanjia Labor Camp ever since. In mid-September, she joined a group of Falun Gong practitioners who were conducting a hunger strike to protest the illegal extension of their original terms.

Ms. Qi’s term had not yet ended at the time she joined the hunger strike in mid-September.

After being on hunger strike for forty days, she was sent to the woman’s medical clinic at Masanjia Labor Camp. According to clinic personnel, she has been force fed through the nose during her stay at the clinic, a brutal and sometimes fatal procedure that involves forcing a tube through the patient’s nose, down the throat and into the stomach. Numerous cases have been reported of people dying from injuries sustained during this type of force-feeding procedure at various labor camps throughout China.

When questioned by reporters about the appropriateness of “force feeding” and other questionable methods, one clinic worker said “We are just a service organization… our words don’t count. You can contact the Labor Management Department [if you have such questions].”

According to one source familiar with Ms. Qi’s case, Ms. Qi’s family was required to pay 5,000 Yuan to cover her medical expenses (the average monthly income in China ranges from 300 Yuan in the rural areas to 500 Yuan in the urban areas).

One source who was able to speak with Ms. Qi described her condition as being “on the brink of death.” When speaking with this source, Ms. Qi had given her reason for carrying out the hunger strike: “I firmly demand the release of detained Falun Gong practitioners and the guarantee of their right to live, and I demand the release of myself who was illegally detained for doing nothing wrong.”

Speaking about Mr. Qi’s case, Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Ms. Feng Yuan said, “Ms. Qi, like tens of thousands of other peaceful Chinese citizens, has been detained and suffered severe torture merely for seeking to practice Falun Gong. Her situation is critical…she is dying. We demand that the Chinese government release her immediately before it is too late.”

At the end of July, 2001, 130 Falun Gong practitioners being held in the Masanjia Labor Camp began a hunger strike to protest being detained at the labor camp beyond their original terms. This event triggered hunger strikes and candlelight vigils by practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong in over twenty cities around the world, and was widely reported in the media.

It is unclear how long and how many practitioners continued the hunger strike in Masanjia beyond early August. Since that time, no further information has been made available.

“I think Ms. Qi’s story really tells a lot about Falun Gong practitioners,” Ms. Yuan added. “The persecution Falun Gong practitioners are facing in China is almost unimaginable, and yet despite the severity, practitioners continue to peacefully demand their basic human rights, willingly putting themselves in harms way if it could mean making their city, their country or their world a more tolerant and compassionate place.”