Radio France Internationale: Human Rights Organisations Concerned Over the Death of Jailed Falun Gong practitioner

This article is a summary of Radio France Internationale’s headline news broadcast on December the 30th 2003.

According to Falun Gong and the Hong Kong Human Rights Information Centre, a Falun Gong practitioner was brutally tortured at a prison in Changchun in northeast China. The man died in a hospital soon afterwards. The Chinese authorities have denied the report.

Agence France-Presse quoted a statement made by the Falun Gong Information Centre in New York revealing that this person’s name is Liu Chengjun and he had been sentenced to 19 years in jail because of his involvement in broadcasting Falun Gong videos on cable TV in March 2001. He died in a hospital in Changchun city, China. According to the statement, Liu was brutally beaten and tortured repeatedly in jail. People who saw Liu before his death said that he appeared to be very weak. He could hardly be recognised because of the relentless torture.

AFP made a phone call to Jilin Province government officials, asking for more information. The officials in charge of Jilin Province prison management and executives of the hospital told AFP that they did not know any person named Liu Chengjun, and that they had no prisoner who was tortured to death recently.

However, Lu Siqing, Director of the Information Centre for Hong Kong’s Human Rights and Civil Movement, said he also made phone calls to Chinese government officials. An official who insisted on anonymity confirmed Liu’s death, but was unwilling to reveal any details.

Regarding Liu’s death from beating and torture in the jail, Mr. Zhang Jianping, on behalf of the Falun Dafa Association in France, accepted an interview with Radio Free China. His comments are as follows:

Practitioner: It should help us understand how serious it is if we examine the previous details of the incident. It is because Liu Chengjun, a Falun Gong practitioner, interrupted cable TV programmes to broadcast the truth clarification videos about how Falun Gong is persecuted in China, and how widely Falun Gong has spread worldwide. Why did he do so? Everyone knows that the ongoing persecution against Falun Gong in China is very vicious. Why is it vicious? Not only does the government prohibit the cultivation of truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance, but it also tries to convert those people who are cultivating truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance to the other direction. The Chinese government resorts to lies, pressure and bribery so that all people are deceived and dragged into the persecution.

Reporter: Why did the Chinese authorities decide to persecute Falun Gong so brutally? Can you tell us the reason?

Practitioner: I think the persecution is due to the individual wickedness of Jiang Zemin. We don’t think the persecution against Falun Gong is the will of the Chinese government or the Chinese people. Another measure that Jiang has used to confuse people is to say that “the Communist Party needs to conquer Falun Gong.” He is simply trying to create an illusion.

In fact, Falun Gong does not participate in politics. It has no interest in political power and is not against the government. Take Wen Jiabao’s state visit to USA as an example. Falun Gong practitioners displayed banners which read “Wen Jiabao: Welcome to the USA” and “Punish Jiang Severely”. The only thing that we want to appeal for is an end to the unjust persecution immediately, and to grant us the freedom to practise Falun Gong.

This is why Liu Chengjun has endured cruel persecution and torture for such a long time. From photos officially released by the Xinhua News Agency, Liu was not able to sit. His body was covered in bloodstains, indicating that he had been beaten severely.

Reporter: Do you think that the new government leaders will continue the persecution against Falun Gong?

Practitioner: I think everyone, including some leaders in the Chinese government, know that Falun Gong teaches people to cultivate truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance, and become good people in society. It is beneficial to the society and the country. On the other hand, we also know Jiang Zemin is a dictator. On the surface he has retired, but he still manipulates behind the scenes. Nevertheless, we hope that all of the Chinese leaders and people can understand the facts. Considering the benefits for the people and the nation, they should make a correct choice.

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