Editor's note: (1) Media reports re-posted on Minghui may not always represent the opinion of Minghui's or Falun Dafa practitioners'. (2) A closer term for Falun Gong is "spiritual practice", not "religion" or "sect" .
Members of Banned Sect Die
Friday June 16, 2000 3:50 pm
BEIJING (AP) - Two members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement have died in police custody in China's capital, possibly due to ill-treatment, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said Friday.
The two were from different parts of China and, like thousands of Falun Gong followers, were detained in Beijing for protesting the communist government's ban on their group.
Wang Xiuying, from the northeastern city of Harbin, was in the ninth day of a hunger strike when detention center medics forcibly administered an intravenous drip on May 22, the Information Center of Human Rights and Democracy reported.
A day later, Wang lost consciousness and was sent to a nearby hospital, where she died, the Information Center said, citing sources at the detention center.
The second Falun Gong member, Tian Shiqiang, of Suining city in southwestern Sichuan province, died suddenly after he was detained by police on June 6, the Information Center said. It added that family members suspected he had been beaten because his body was cremated before they could see it.
Since Chinese leaders outlawed Falun Gong as a public menace in July, thousands of followers have been arrested and an unknown number sent to labor camps. Unconfirmed reports by human rights groups and Falun Gong organizers say at least 20 members have died in police custody.
The government has denied the allegations of mistreatment and in certain cases has attributed the deaths to suicide or ill health. Falun Gong members say they are opposed to suicide.
Despite the ban, an 11-month media smear campaign and wide-scale arrests, Falun Gong members continue to come to Beijing to petition Chinese leaders.
The Information Center said that 20 among 70 Falun Gong members being held at the Beijing Prison in Tuanhe had refused food for five days. Some of those imprisoned were arrested Monday when 110 followers tried to visit the prison to see fellow members.
Falun Gong has attracted millions of followers. It combines traditional meditation exercises with Buddhist, Taoist and the often unorthodox ideas of its founder, a former government grain clerk. Believers say it promotes health and moral living.