EFGIC: Northeastern Province Records China's Highest Death Toll of Falun Gong Practitioners

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53-year-old Woman, 66-year-old Man among Recent Heilongjiang Province Killings

53-year-old Ms. Liu Tongling was tortured to death in Heilongjiang Province’s capital city, Harbin. She is one of 132 Falun Gong practitioners that have been killed in the northeastern province.
LONDON (EFGIC) – 132 deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in Heilongjiang Province have been verified since the spiritual practice was ordered “eradicated” by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in 1999. Of the 824 total verified deaths of Falun Gong practitioners throughout the country, China’s most northeastern province, Heilongjiang, accounts for approximately 16% – the highest of any province.

Hundreds of reports from China over the last four years indicate arbitrary detention, brainwashing and torture are wide-spread in Heilongjiang.

Heilongjiang’s former Communist Party Secretary, Xiu Youfang, and former Governor, Tian Fengshan, are known to have taken a hard-line approach in adopting Jiang’s persecutory policies toward Falun Gong, according to Heilongjiang sources. Both officials have since been removed from their posts on apparently unrelated corruption charges.

The next highest death tolls are found in Heilongjiang’s neighboring provinces of Jilin and Liaoning, each of which account for 11% of the total verified deaths. Shandong Province has also recorded 11% of the total verified deaths, with Hebei Province at 10% and Beijing at 7%.

Approximately 75% of the total verified deaths were caused by torture and/or severe beatings, while 10% were due to forced-feeding. The remaining cases include mysterious circumstances where individuals die in mental hospitals after being injected with unknown drugs or mysteriously “fall” from the upper floors of buildings while in police custody.

Some Chinese Government sources indicate the true death toll could be between 4,000 and 10,000.

Two Recent Deaths in Heilongjiang

53-year-old Ms. Liu Tongling lived in Chengsan Village of Rang District in Daqing City. On September 12, 2003, Liu was detained at the Harbin City Drug Rehabilitation Centre after authorities discovered she practiced Falun Gong. Such “rehabilitation centres” are often, in reality, used to detain, torture, and hold brainwashing “classes” for Falun Gong practitioners.

One month later, on October 12, Liu died in the Rehabilitation Centre.

Sources familiar with this case say Liu was tortured continuously until two days before her death. Liu’s family, who examined her body, said it was covered with bruises and there were electric burn marks on her chest. Electric shock batons, also known as cattle prods are a common torture tool of the Chinese police.

66-year-old Mr. Li Ruqing was a retired worker from the Shangyashan City Mine Bureau of Heilongjiang Province. On October 7, 2002, he was arrested while distributing flyers about Falun Gong. Li was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison and sent to the Mudanjiang Prison. On October 9, 2003, Li was tortured to death in the prison and his body was cremated shortly thereafter.

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Background

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance. It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.

With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, Chinas then-Communist leader, Jiang Zemin, outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999, fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiangs regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it. To that end, Jiang established the 6-10 Office, a Gestapo-like agency spanning from the Central Government to the local governments. The United States Congress has described the 6-10 Office as an agency charged with overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong members through organized brainwashing, torture, and murder.

The European Falun Gong Information Centre has verified details of 824 deaths since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. In October 2001, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labour camps, typically without trial.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE EUROPEAN FALUN GONG INFORMATION CENTRE
Peter Jauhal 44 (0) 7717 508 268 Nicolas Schols 32 (0) 479875734
More contacts: http://www.falungonginfo.net/europe.htm
Email: europe@falungonginfo.net

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