Monitoring News of the Persecution of Falun Gong

FALUN DAFA INFORMATION CENTER - Contacts: Gail Rachlin 212-501-8080, Erping Zhang 917-679-6944, Feng Yuan 917-912-3301, or Levi Browde 914-720-0963. Email: , website:


POLICE OPENLY BEAT DEMONSTRATORS IN TIANANMEN SQUARE; MORE THAN 1,000 DETAINED DURING NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS SO FAR BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Police beat and detained dozens of members of the outlawed Falun Gong sect on Sunday as they staged protests on Beijing's Tiananmen Square in conjunction with annual National Day observances. Chinese authorities, on hand to ward off such demonstrations, detained at least 300 protesters in one hour alone. In all, up to 1,000 people were thought to have been taken into custody... BEIJING (AP) - Followers of the outlawed Falun Gong sect chanted slogans and raised yellow banners on Tiananmen Square on Sunday, in a burst of protest that defied heavy security meant to ensure patriotic celebrations of China's National Day. Uniformed and plainclothes police kicked and pummeled sect members, but as soon as one group was subdued, others would protest. Police closed off parts of Tiananmen, an embarrassing act in China's most public square on a holiday marking 51 years of communist rule.It was one of the largest acts of civil disobedience staged by the group since the first days following the government ban 14 months ago. Officers forced protesters into police minivans, packing them so tightly the doors would not shut. Several large city buses were brought in to take others away. Dozens more sat on the square, surrounded by security awaiting more vans. "Falun Gong is not a crime," one protester shouted running from police. Others raised banners reading "Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" - the group's principles.

One middle-aged woman, blood running from her mouth, escaped a clutch of officers who grabbed her again, slapping her head and pulling her into a van. Another ran from police only to have her legs kicked out from under her. Once on the ground, plainclothes police kicked her... Police searched vehicles and trains entering Beijing, Falun Gong and a human rights group reported. Nearby provinces detained 600 followers over the past two weeks to prevent them from streaming into the capital, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said... More than 100,000 spectators mixed with uniformed police and plainclothes agents Inside the vans, Falun Gong followers held up banners. Others leaned out of windows, holding their hands in gestures of prayer. "Falun Gong is good. Falun Gong is good," protesters, mainly middle-aged women in plain dress, chanted in one bus as police tried to shut the windows.

CHINESE LAWYER DECRIES CHINA'S POLICY AS ILLEGAL; WARNS OF DETENTION CAMPS BEIJING, Oct 1 (AFP) - A 28 year-old Chinese lawyer vowed Sunday to continue to protest the Falungong ban, despite being arrested four times in the last year for his allegiance to the outlawed "evil cult." "I am not afraid. I know that if they arrest me I will spend two or three years in a re-education through labor camp, but it is absolutely necessary to protest to show that we are not bad," the lawyer, who called himself Zak, told AFP. Zak was detained Sunday in Beijing's Tiananmen Square along with some 1,000 members of the Buddhist-inspired group, but escaped when fellow adherents stormed the police van he was in releasing him into the National Day crowds Zak said the government had recently set up two detention camps solely for Falungong followers in northwest and northeast China capable of holding up to 50,000 people each. Many Falungong followers were now incarcerated with ordinary criminals, he said, adding that police routinely beat followers as a method to crack down on the group.Following his first arrest, Zak lost his job as a lawyer and has had to change jobs after each subsequent arrest. Zak works as a consultant in a state-run enterprise in the northeast city of Dalian now, but his boss only agreed to employ him on condition that he remains silent over his spiritual beliefs. "I remain a lawyer in my soul. I know Chinese law and I know that what the government is doing is illegal," he said. "That is why we have come to Tiananmen Square to protest, the world should see how they beat us and how we do not fight back." The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and belief, forcing the government to outlaw the group as an "illegal organization" and an "evil cult," terms that lack legal definition in China Zak said he arrived in Beijing Saturday for the October 1 National Day protests by taking a string of local buses and slowly making his way to the capital. "Planes and trains are being watched closely, so we got here by leap-frogging from bus to bus," he said. He said the protests are expected to continue throughout the seven-day national holiday and until the communist government ends its persecution of the spiritual group. "I hope this will be soon. Everyone sees that the repression is unjust and are turning against the government," he said.

PRC FEARS FALUN GONG WILL INSPIRE OTHER GROUPS TO HOLD "PEACEFUL PROTESTS" BEIJING, Oct.1 (Reuters) Falun Gong has now become a major thorn in Beijing's side, winning sympathy from other religious groups and dissidents and adding fuel to Western criticism of its human rights record, especially on freedom of religion. State media have also voiced alarm at the notion of democracy activists and ethnic separatists in the restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang copying Falun Gong's campaign of peaceful protests. This month, exiled poet Huang Beiling called on China's intellectuals to follow the example of Falun Gong mediators by fighting government oppression with civil disobedience.

CHINESE AIR FORCE COMMANDER DENIED MEDICAL TREATMENT; DIES IN JAIL BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Washington Post Foreign Service) A Chinese intelligence officer who refused to renounce his belief in the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement died last week after he was confined to a cell at a labor camp and denied medical treatment for two months, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said today. Tao Hongsheng, 44, had been serving a three-year term of "thought reform through labor" for unfurling a banner in Tiananmen Square in December protesting the government's continuing crackdown on what it considers a dangerous cult. He died Sept. 20 after suffering extreme diarrhea and edema for weeks, the rights group said. "He couldn't get out of bed for 20 days ... but the officials wouldn't do anything," his wife, Yu Fengyun, said in a telephone interview from their home in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province about 175 miles southwest of Beijing Tao's wife said her husband served 18 years in China's air force and once ranked as a deputy battalion commander at a base outside Shijiazhuang, a garrison area where Falun Gong is believed to have strong support among junior officers and soldiers "He loved his country," she said. "He wasn't against the government. He just wanted tell the leaders that Falun Gong is not a cult, that it's good."...Yu said Tao, the father of two daughters, joined Falun Gong in 1996 because of health problems. When his condition improved, she said, he became a believer.

DEATHS FOLLOWING UNNECESSARY MEDICAL TREATMENT IN MENTAL HOSPITALS BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Kyodo News Service) Others are dying because of "medical treatment" forced on practitioners for incorrectly diagnosed mental illness. Shi Bei, a 49-year-old woman, died Sept. 10 after being injected with drugs in the eastern province of Hangzhou's No. 7 Mental Hospital, the rights group said. The hospital refused to serve regular food, but nonetheless forced "medication" on its reluctant patients. The hospital refused to confirm the death. Shi was hospitalized for mental illness in June 1999 for refusing to abandon Falun Gong. Her son, who lives in Canada, said that his mother had no record of mental disease. He said his father remains in jail for practicing Falun Gong. The rights group said that 52 Falun Gong practitioners have died from maltreatment or torture since July 1999.

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