NEW YORK, January 29th, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Continuing an alarming upward trend in the rate of deaths reported to the Falun Dafa Information Center by sources in China, the 5 deaths reported today bring the total since New Year’s to 31. Gail Rachlin, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center explains, "This is clear testimony to Jiang Zemin’s pledge that ‘no means is considered too excessive’ in his brutally repressive campaign to exterminate Falun Gong, once practiced by 100 million Chinese citizens. These people are tortured and killed simply for upholding their belief in Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, the fundamental teachings of Falun Gong."Lady in RedIn poignant contrast to the quiet deportation of a Canadian mother detained on Tiananmen Square last week, a petite young Chinese woman died for her peaceful appeal. Unidentified by police, the young lady stepped onto Tiananmen Square on October 26, 2001 dressed in bright red from head to toe. She made a peaceful public appeal, asking for an end to the regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners. Police quickly arrested her and just one week later, she died a tragic death in a Beijing jail cell. Not much is known of her identity except that she was 22 years old, about 5’ 4" tall and wore her hair cut short. On the day of her capture, she was wearing a red shirt, red pants, and a bright red coat. Her Mandarin Chinese accent was described as "very refined." She would not reveal her name or address to the police, undertaking a hunger strike to protest her illegal detention. A week later, she died in police custody. Sources report that the police at the Dongcheng police station secretly disposed of her body, making no effort to identify and notify her family.Wife and Mother Divorces, Cuts Family Ties to Save Her Family from PersecutionForty-four year-old Ms. Liu Chunshu died at the hands of police in the Southwestern province of Sichuan. Police dragged Ms. Liu from her home early in the morning of January 3, 2002. She was not allowed to wear a coat despite near-freezing temperatures nor was she allowed to eat. With rapidly failing health, she was transferred to a local hospital; however, the police threatened her family should she ever go out to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa again, evidence of their policy of "guilt by association." With the hope of relieving her family from further persecution because they are related to a Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Liu divorced her husband and severed legal ties with the family. Ms. Liu was admitted to a hospital emergency room on the night of January 8th and kept under strict police surveillance. On January 9th, less than a week since her arrest, Ms. Liu passed away.Postal Worker Dies Under Suspicious CircumstancesMr. Zhan Wei was a 31-year-old postal worker in Yingcheng City, Hubei Province. After appealing in Beijing during the National Day holiday last October for the right to practice Falun Gong, he was arrested and transferred to the No. 1 Detention Center of Yingcheng City, notorious for cruel treatment of Falun Dafa practitioners. Mr. Zhan went on a hunger strike and eight days later his family was told to pick him up as authorities could clearly see that he was dying. He passed away three days later, January 23, 2002. Sources reported purple bruising under his fingernails, a suspicious circumstance often indicative of fatal poisoning. Healthy Bank Worker Forced to Undergo "Treatment" in Psychiatric HospitalMs. Chen Biyu, a 51-year-old employee of the Fuzhou Industry and Business Bank, was arrested in her home on September 26, 2001 because she practiced Falun Gong. Police used many brutal means to torture her, including forced "psychiatric treatment" in a mental hospital even though she suffered no illness. A fellow worker has confirmed that Ms. Chen passed away at the end of October, 2001.Small Business Owner Dies After Torture and Beatings in Forced-Labor CampMr. Chai Yong was a 29-year-old small business owner in Changji city, Xingjiang Province. He and his wife appealed for Falun Gong in Beijing in October 1999. They were arrested and Chai was brought back for detention at the local police station. He was severely beaten and went on a hunger strike twice to protest his illegal imprisonment. Finally, he was sentenced to a year in a forced-labor camp. In early 2001, he fell ill and was diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen. Labor camp authorities released him, believing they would thereby avoid any responsibility for his death. He had always been a healthy, happy young man, but his friends could barely recognize him when he was released. The horrors of the camp left him emaciated and sickly, he could barely walk. In August 2001, Chai Yong died on the way to the hospital.The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 358 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 practitioners have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.