FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25 March 2002
5,000 Detained, Dozens Dead As Chinese Police Go On Rampage against Falun Gong in Changchun
LONDON, March 25, 2002 (European Falun Gong Information Centre) Over 5,000 people believed to be practitioners of Falun Gong have been detained in a vast and unprecedented police sweep in Changchun, China, according to reliable sources in China. These sources report that dozens or even as many as 100 or more might be dead already as a result of police brutality, though a total media blackout has severely hampered many attempts to contact locals and confirm the individual reports.
The deaths follow reports that on March 5th Chinese President Jiang Zemin ordered Changchun Falun Gong practitioners killed after a group of people tapped into the signal of several major television stations and broadcast footage exposing the governments ongoing persecution campaign against Falun Gong. Two practitioners are being held responsible by police for the broadcast have been given death sentences.
These latest developments arrive days after President Bush wrote in a letter to Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) that there was no justification for [the Chinese Governments] brutal repression of Falun Gong, and that his
administration would do everything possible to advance the cause of human rights in China.
Amnesty International Calls for Urgent Action
On March 15th, Amnesty International headquarters in London issued an Urgent Action statement for Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun. Dozens of suspected members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have reportedly been
detained during a security crackdown in Changchun City, Jilin Province, the Urgent Action stated. Amnesty International believes they are at serious risk of
torture or ill-treatment
Local sources say killings have occurred every day since the broadcast, and police in the Changchun detention and re-education centres have been given orders to cremate all dead bodies immediately. Other reports state that police have been given quotas to round up five Falun Gong practitioners per day and are conducting on-the-spot searches of citizens.
Two Changchun women charged with helping to carrying out the broadcast have been detained by the police, and inside sources report that Jiang Zemin has ordered they be sentenced to death. They are Zhou Runjun (female, 51)
and Li Yanmei (female, 40).
Death Reports Continue to Arrive
Multiple eyewitness accounts have been received stating that Changchun police have forced multiple unidentified people from fifth and sixth storey apartment
windows. The condition of many of the victims remains unknown. Such tactics used by Chinese police are frequently reported, as these types of deaths can easily be reported as suicides. These reports follow last weeks news that two
Changchun men in their 30s were beaten to death by police.
The European Falun Gong Information Centre has verified details of over 382 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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