July 27, 2000

BEIJING (AP) -- Police forcibly fed a hunger striker protesting the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual group, causing the woman to choke to death, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said Thursday.

Gong Baohua died last month, about a week after police broke her nose while arresting her at a demonstration in Beijing, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

Police tried to force the 35-year-old woman to eat by using a nasal feeding tube at a detention center near her home in Pinggu County, outside of Beijing, the group said.

The account could not be immediately confirmed because police at the Pinggu Public Security Bureau declined to discuss the case.

On Wednesday, the group said another woman, 50-year-old school teacher An Xiukun, choked to death last month when police forcibly fed her. At least 26 Falun Gong followers have died in detention in the past year, the rights group said.