Two female instructors from the Zuojia Cadre School in Jiutai City, Jilin Province were arrested in February 2002 after a reward was offered by the head of the village of Nanye for the capture of anyone distributing Falun Gong flyers in the area. The two women, one in her 30s and another in her 50s, were sent to Jiutai City Detention Centre where they went on hunger strike in protest of their illegal imprisonment. During their imprisonment, sources say they were brutally force-fed, severely beaten, and tortured. Within two weeks, the younger of the two was dead. The other died two weeks later. The exact identities of the two women were not made known.
Feng Guoguang, 44, was the mayor of Xiling Town, Hebei Province. He was first arrested in October 1999 because he practised Falun Gong and sentenced to three years at Baoding Forced Labour Camp. After more than two years of torture and hard labour, Mr. Feng developed a severe lung ailment in January 2002. Attempting to shirk responsibility for his possible death, officials hastily transferred him to No. 252 Hospital of Baoding Liberation Army, where all visitors were promptly turned away. Mr. Feng died in the hospital on January 14, 2002.
As previously reported by the Falun Dafa Information Centre, Wang Yu, a 49-year-old officer in the Chinese Air Force also recently died in police custody. He had been arrested because of his public appeals for the right to practise Falun Gong.
Regarding these deaths, Falun Dafa Information Centre spokesperson, Adam Montanaro, noted: "Amidst the intensifying campaign against Falun Gong, these four deaths clearly demonstrate precisely what Jiang Zemin's regime endeavors to hide from its own people and the world -- that Falun Gong continues to be widely practised by a broad cross-section of people at all levels of Chinese society, which means the persecution bears down upon that same broad cross-section of people."
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 in China, 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 practised in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practising Falun Gong, China's President 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, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Centre has verified details of over 375 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 labour camps without trial.
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