Young Chinese Mother Dies from Torture in Police Custody

Family and Local Village Under Tight Security to Avoid Leaking News of Death

NEW YORK, January 29th, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Ms. Wu Jingxia, a 29-year-old Falun Gong practitioner from Fangzi District, Weifang City, was tortured to death in police custody nine days ago, leaving her 15 month-old baby without a mother.

Ms. Wu was arrested on January 6, 2002, for distributing fliers that expose the human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners in China. On January 18, Ms. Wu was sent to a brainwashing class, where Falun Gong practitioners are routinely tortured. Just two days later, a notice of her death was sent to her family.

Following the policy of the “610 Office” that all practitioners who are killed by officials or police should be reported as suicide, the authorities claimed that Ms. Wu had hanged herself. When her relatives went to identify her body, however, they witnessed clear indications that she had been severely beaten and tortured. Four or five deep, charred indentations on her chest bore witness to intense electric-shock torture. Her face was so battered and bruised that they could hardly recognize her. Black bruises covered her back and legs. One of her thighbones was broken. After viewing Ms. Wu’s body, her relatives were immediately placed under strict 24-hour surveillance and forbidden any contact with the outside world. Even nearby villages were sealed off and their residents placed under surveillance.

Ms. Wu’s grisly death is the latest in a long line of tragic stories in the city of Weifang, described by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ian Johnson as “an unremarkable Chinese city in every respect but one: Local police regularly torture residents to death.” (Wall Street Journal, Dec 27, 2000)

Adam Montanaro, spokesperson for the Falun Dafa Information Center, observed, “Masquerading Ms. Wu’s death as a suicide and choking off the information supply are typical of Chinese authorities’ attempts to shirk responsibility for their crimes. These crimes are beginning to attract legal attention worldwide. We are committed to revealing the identities of those responsible and are confident that the good people of the world will bring them to justice.”

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 have been detained, with more than 20,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps without trial.