NEW YORK, December 23, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center)—A United States District Court handed down a judgment against a senior official of Hubei Province, China, for his role in instigating and carrying out the persecution of Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) practitioners in China. United States District Court Judge Denise Cote entered a default judgment on December 21, 2001, against the Communist Chinese Head of Public Security for Hubei Province, Mr. Zhao Zhifei. The complaint charged Zhao with wrongful death, torture, crimes against humanity, and other gross violations of international human rights law against Falun Dafa practitioners in his home province of Hubei. Zhao was served with the summons and a copy of the complaint last July in New York City while traveling in the U.S.The day after Zhao Zhifei was served, he boarded a plane for China and did not return to the U.S. According to reliable sources inside China, soon after Zhao’s return to China, a massive hunt for the plaintiff, Mr. Peng Liang, and other Falun Gong practitioners in Hubei Province began, particularly for those believed to have assisted Peng Liang "transmit information over the internet." Many Falun Gong practitioners in Wuchang district whom the police thought to be associated with Peng Liang were arrested and tortured, these sources say.Peng Liang was arrested on August 30th of this year and then disappeared. His whereabouts are still unknown.Peng Liang, had entrusted Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. to sue Zhao Zhifei after both his brother and mother were tortured to death by police. Numerous eyewitnesses confirmed that police beat Peng Liang's younger brother, Peng Min, on January 9 of this year, causing a fracture in his fifth vertebra and a compression bone fracture in his neck vertebra, resulting in complete paralysis. He died on April 6, 2001. Peng Liang's mother Li Yingxiu died in the same hospital on April 29, 2001. Her husband, the senior Peng, discovered numerous injuries on his wife’s head and thickened, dried blood in her mouth while inspecting her body. The police told him the reason for Li Yingxiu's death was that she "talked too much" after her son’s death. In early October during the China-US human rights dialogue in Washington DC, a propaganda campaign initiated by Chinese state-run media attacked the lawsuit claiming that Peng Liang’s brother and mother both died of natural causes.Carey R. D’Avino, attorney for the plaintiff, declared "The default judgment today proves that the barbarous allegations in the complaint are true. The defendant and the Chinese Government do not have the courage to face a fair trial in a free country. The United States Department of State will be notified of the Judge’s decision and we will discuss with them an appropriate diplomatic response."Terri Marsh, a Falun Gong practitioner, and co-counsel for the plaintiff, stated "The defendant’s attempts to circumvent the legal complaint not only by a campaign of propaganda in the Chinese state-controlled media, but by arresting and torturing the plaintiff, is a cowardly and brutally inhuman response to these serious charges. Today, the Chinese Government’s persecution of Falun Dafa in violation of international law has been acknowledged in the United States District Court. The defendant cannot deny this judgment."