NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center) - A 58 year old woman and Falun Gong practitioner was killed in the custody of Beijing police last Tuesday. Ms. Li Xifang's death occurred in a Beijing police station as officials were en route with members of her family to escort her back to her hometown in Jilin Province.
Keeping true to its form in handling such cases, the Ministry of Public Security immediately claimed that her death was a result of suicide. When pressed, however, police at the Tuanjie Police Station gave a conflicting account, saying that she had died of "natural causes."
Li was arrested in Tiananmen Square in mid-September, after travelling to the nation's capital to make a peaceful appeal on behalf of the many Falun Gong practitioners suffering in China's Laogai, or "reeducation through labour" camps. Over 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally arrested and detained since Jiang Zemin banned the peaceful spiritual practice in July, 1999; of these, over 20,000 remain imprisoned in forced labour camps throughout China.
Ms. Li Xifang's death brings the number of documented deaths to 282, with government sources inside China disclosing that the actual number exceeds 1,000. Li lived in the Tuanjie Association in Tonghua city, Jilin Province. Tunajie means "solidarity" in Chinese.
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