South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Dec. 5, 2002
Fifteen Falun Gong followers have died recently either in police custody or shortly after being released from detention centres where they were tortured, the outlawed spiritual group’s New York office said yesterday.
Police at several detention centres where the victims were kept refused to comment.
However, a police officer at the Mishan City Detention Centre in Heilongjiang province confirmed that one of its Falun Gong inmates had died. “She died at a hospital,” the officer said.
Liu Guiying, 43, was detained in March for publicising the persecution of Falun Gong, the group said.
After being detained, police tried to transfer her to the notorious Wanjia Labour Camp, but the camp turned her away because she showed symptoms of hypertension. Liu was instead transported back to a detention centre where she died in police custody on October 24, the group said.
Other cases cited by Falun Gong could not be immediately confirmed.
One of them, Li Hongwei, died on October 7 at a detention centre in northern Liaoning province, and family members said his corpse was covered with injuries from electric shocks, the group said.
Gai Liu, 60, from central Henan province, was arrested in September and two nights later was sent to a hospital and died shortly afterwards, the group said.
Police reports claim that the cause of death was related to disease, but Liu’s relatives found a deep knife wound on her wrist.
Li Fenghua, a 44 year-old Falun Gong practitioner from Heilongjiang province, was taken into custody and sent to a labour camp for one year where she endured severe brainwashing and later fell into a coma. She never awoke and died on November 8, the group said.
Li’s relatives presented her case to a court, but it refused to accept any cases related to Falun Gong.
The group said Kang Ruizhu was detained and taken to a brainwashing class last year where she was handcuffed to a tree for one week. She later managed to escape but was again detained in October and went on a hunger strike to protest at her illegal detention.
On October 27, police and local officials indicated that Kang had died, the group said.
The Buddhist-based Falun Gong has long said its practitioners who are sentenced to labour camps face torture and abuse on a daily basis.
Many practitioners have died in the camps, either from excessive forced labour, torture and abuse, lack of adequate nutrition and medical attention, or a combination of factors, the group said.
China banned Falun Gong as a so-called “evil cult” in 1999 and has since jailed or detained tens of thousands of practitioners.