Radio Free Asia: Falun Gong Practitioners Are Persecuted or even Tortured to Death in China

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In China, Falun Gong is slandered and practitioners are persecuted by the regime; some have even been tortured to death. Three practitioners from Jilin Province, Yu Lixin, Liu Hongwei, and Song Yanqun, went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong many times. Recently, their family members said that they were either sentenced to prison or labour camps. One of them was tortured to death, one was serious ill and another one was forced to stay away from home to avoid persecution. Following is a report from Yan Ming, a correspondent of RFA.

Ms. Yu Lixin was an administrator of the Jilin City General Labour Union, Jilin Province. On Wednesday, her mother-in-law Ms. Liu Suzhen told RFA that Ms. Yu and her husband Mr. Liu Hongwei went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong three times. After they were taken back to their hometown, they were imprisoned many times. In 2000, Mr. Liu was sentenced to labour camp for two years and Ms. Yu was sentenced to prison for four years.

Ms. Liu Suzhen said that Ms. Yu protested torture in prison by holding hunger strikes many times and died in the prison hospital on May 13, 2002 at 37 years of age.

Reporter: Was she tortured in prison?

Ms. Liu: Yes. She was beaten. She became emaciated and weighed around 50 pounds. She went on hunger strike many times. We feel sorrow just mentioning her. The prison guards injected drugs into her and we don't know what they were. She recovered after she was released. She did not stay at home but went out to spread Falun Gong and clarify the truth.

Reporter: Did she practise Falun Gong after she returned home?

Ms. Liu: Yes. She was very diligent. She recovered from more than ten kinds of illnesses.

Ms. Yu's husband Mr. Liu Hongwei was arrested in September 2003 after being released from a labour camp. Several days later, he escaped from jail and now is still forced to stay away from home.

Who should be held responsible for the suffering of the couple?

For this, Ms. Liu said, "Who persecuted her? Jiang Zemin was head of the regime and made the decision."

Reporter: Was Jiang forced to step down?

Ms. Liu: No. He stepped down in name. Actually he still holds the power.

The 610 Office is in charge of Falun Gong-related issues. On Wednesday, this reporter called the Jilin 610 Office to ask about Ms. Yu. The staff said, "If you want to verify it, you can come here. China welcomes any reporter to China for a tour and interview."

In Shulan City, north of Jilin, Falun Gong practitioner Song Yanqun went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong and was sentenced to labour camp for a term of 1 year and 8 months. In 2003, She was sentenced to prison for a term of 12 years. Ms. Song's father, Mr. Song Xichun wrote to the Director of Prison Management Bureau in Jilin Province that Ms. Song had TB and was in critical condition. The conditions in prison were very poor and she was not allowed visits from family members. Mr. Song and other family members were anxious.

On Wednesday, one of Ms. Song's family members said to RFA, "On November 18, we went to the prison to see her. After that we have not been allowed to see her. We were told that we would not see her before she is transformed."

Reporter: Can Ms. Song get treatment?

Ms. Song's relative: Treatment for her is minimal. In other words, some free stuff is given to her. The hospital director said that their budget for each one was 9 or 10 Yuan, far short of what is needed, and that they could not buy other medicines for her."

Reporter: Have you told them that your family would pay for the treatment?

Ms. Song's relative: I did not mention that because she caught the disease in prison. I want her to be taken to a public hospital for treatment.

Ms. Song was an English teacher in Harbin Dade Japanese School. She started practising Falun Gong in 1996. Her sister, Ms. Song Bin, is also a Falun Gong practitioner and was sentenced to prison for a term of 14 years.

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