Yuan Zhongyu, of Anshan City, Liaoning Province, died in the basement of the Anshan Public Security Bureau from injuries sustained during police torture, on or around August 16. Yuan had apparently angered authorities by publishing a detailed report on a Falun Gong website describing human rights abuses committed against Falun Gong practitioners in Anshan City. Verification of Yuan's death was made impossible until now, due to a strict information blockade implemented by Anshan's police department. Yuan is the 29th Falun Gong practitioner from Liaoning province to die as a result of police torture. Of these 29, all but three occurred in the first half of this year.
In a separate case, Gu Yalou, 31, died in the City Public Security Bureau of Beihan Town, Renqiu City, in Hebei Province. Gu had been arrested by Beihan police for distributing Falun Gong materials on the evening of August 11, and was transferred to the Public Security Bureau on the morning of the 12th. Family members attempting to visit him were turned away. They were told that Gu would be released if they would pay a fine of 10,000 RMB (about 2 ½ years salary for an average Chinese worker).
But when Gu's family returned after collecting the money, they were told that Gu had committed suicide by jumping out of a building. Police allowed family members only 15 minutes to dress the body, then immediately cremated the remains. Witnesses claim that Gu's body had markings of severe torture. Bruises covered his body and both his legs were swollen. Thus, none of his family members believe the suicide story.
They have good reason to be suspicious. Since the persecution of Falun Gong began in 1999, police have routinely attributed every death to either "natural causes" or "suicide". In almost 20% of the cases, police claimed the victim "jumped" out of a building, moving train or other vehicle.
In its recent report, "Torture - A Growing Scourge in China," Amnesty International documents a clear, systematic effort to deny and hide such instances of extreme police brutality. "Reports continue of deaths of detained practitioners following torture and extreme ill-treatment," the report states, continuing, "in all cases where the victims were Falun Gong practitioners, the government has denied any wrongdoing, even in the face of multiple eye witness testimonials."
Amnesty's report goes on to state "Blanket denials of wrongdoing, with no indication that allegations have been thoroughly investigated, are unconvincing, particularly when practitioners who have sought to publicize cases of torture have suffered severe reprisals, including detention for 're-education through labour'"
Gu is the twenty-fifth known Falun Gong practitioner from Hebei Province to die in police custody. The total number of documented deaths from the two-year-plus persecution of Falun Gong in China has now reached 288, although government sources inside China disclose that the actual number exceeds 1,000.
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