Two More Falun Gong Practitioners Killed in Custody, Shandong Death Toll Climbs to 51

NEW YORK, October 3, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – The Information Center has confirmed the deaths of two more Falun Gong practitioners, both from Shandong Province, who died from police abuse. Their deaths are the 50th and 51st in Shandong Province. The Center has also learned more details surrounding the death of Deng Weinan, of Heilongjiang Province, who, according to Police, died on August 3rd, 2001.

Sources have confirmed that Ms. Gao Mei, age 30, of Yishui County, Shandong Province, was murdered in the local County Detention Center for her practice of Falun Gong. Gao refused to renounce her beliefs in custody, and was thus severely beaten by local police. She died from the beatings on August 22, 2001. Her husband is illegally held in custody at this time, and has been subjected to similar abuse. The Information Center is investigating further at this time.

Mr. Wang Yongdong, age 38, also of Yishui County, Shandong Province, was murdered in his home by police on September 21, 2001. County police illegally broke into Wang’s home on the 21st and ransacked the place. Wang, who was home at the time, tried to reason with the police and resist the wrongdoing. Police beat him severely, and then threw Wang off the building (from the fourth floor). To cover up their actions, police reported his death as a “suicide.” Witnesses report, however, that Wang’s body (the neck in particular) bore marks from the beating. Before his death Wang was self-employed and made his living selling vegetables. He was greatly respected by his neighbors, and his death reportedly provoked outrage throughout the village and town.

Wang’s and Gao’s deaths mark the 50th and 51st in Shandong Province, and bring the total number of known deaths from the persecution to 291; government sources inside China put the number above 1,000. More Falun Gong practitioners have been killed in Shandong Province than any other province in China. Ian Johnson of The Wall Street Journal has described Shandong as a province of “killing fields” in the persecution of Falun Gong.

The Information Center has also obtained further information surrounding the death of practitioner Mr. Deng Weinan. Deng, who died at age 26, was from Bayan County, Heilongjiang Province. He was arrested on July 31st by the Harbin City Public Security Bureau. On August 3, 2001, Police told Deng’s father that he died on August 1, 2001, by jumping from a twelve-story building, following a night of being handcuffed to a heater pipe. His family, however, reported seeing only a bruise of 2-3 centimeters and a deep dent in the back of Wang’s skull. Had Deng truly jumped from a twelve-story building, one would expect to find his corpse badly disfigured. Police quickly cremated Deng’s remains and paid his family 5,000 RMB to appease them. After agreeing to allow family members to see the video recording of the scene where Deng Weinan died, officials reversed their decision and did not allow them to see it. Additionally, Public Security officers contacted in Harbin said that the medical examiner’s report was “confidential,” and “cannot be made available to his family members.”

More than 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally arrested and detained since communist chief Jiang Zemin banned the peaceful spiritual practice in July of 1999. At least 20,000 have been sent to labor camps without trial, and thousands more have been illegally confined in mental hospitals where they are tortured and abused.