BBC: Falun Gong women die in detention

Friday, 31 August, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK

The banned Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong says five more of its followers - all of them women - have died while in custody.

The movement's information centre, based in the United States, says it has witness reports that some were tortured before they died.

The Chinese police have confirmed the deaths of two of the women, but deny that any torture took place.

Human rights groups say more than 200 Falun Gong followers have died in custody since the group was banned in 1999.

More than 50,000 have been arrested and sent to prisons, labour camps and mental hospitals, says Falun Gong.

China has branded the group, which teaches meditation and exercise, as [Jiang Zemin government's slanderous terms omitted]. [...]

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