FDI: Man Detained for Exposing Persecution of Falun Gong on Chinese State-Run T.V. Dies in Police Custody -- U.S. Citizen Accused of Similar "Crime" Remains in Custody
On March 5th, 2002, Mr. Hou participated in tapping into a cable T.V. signal in China's northeastern city of Changchun to broadcast programs exposing the persecution against Falun Gong in China (press statement).
The programs provided information from human rights organizations, world media and other news sources that are readily available to those living outside China. Inside China, however, what people see, read and hear about Falun Gong is strictly controlled by the state-run media. Thus, these programs are often the first glimpse Chinese people have of the persecution of Falun Gong in their own country.
Inside sources report that the March 5th broadcasts in Changchun infuriated then-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who then ordered a series of executions targeting all persons involved in the broadcast and other practitioners of Falun Gong throughout China.
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 [...] police 'stop-and-search' checkpoints have reportedly been established across the city and dozens of alleged Falun Gong practitioners have been detained."
The Changchun City local 610 Office (about) issued a warrant for Mr. Hou's arrest and promised a 50,000-Yuan reward plus a promotion to whoever caught him.
Mr. Hou was detained by Chinese police on August 21st 2002 for his involvement in the broadcast. Two days later, police secretly cremated his body. Specific details of how Mr. Hou died have not been confirmed as information surrounding his death is closely guarded by Chinese authorities.
Dr. Charles Li, a U.S. citizen, was recently sentenced to 3 years in prison in China for "suspicion of planning" a similar TV broadcast interruption (story).
Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman Levi Browde says the story of Mr. Hou's death accentuates "grave concerns" regarding Dr. Li's case.
"The persecution of Falun Gong in China has largely been sustained through an anti-Falun Gong propaganda campaign built on lies and deception," Mr. Browde says. "Jiang Zemin's paramount fear is that this will be exposed, so those who make an attempt to expose it receive a swift and often brutal response. Mr. Hou's death in custody and the regime's apparent iron resolve to hold Dr. Li in custody in the face of international outcry clearly exhibits this fear."
# # #
NEWS - May 15, 2003 Falun Dafa Information Center, www.faluninfo.net
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa (about), is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance." It is a practice that was taught in private for thousands of years before being made public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture, but it is distinct and separate from other practices such as the religions of Buddhism and Taoism. Since its introduction in 1992, it quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China, and is now practiced in over 50 countries.
With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's President Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report), fearful of anything touching the hearts and minds of more citizens than the Communist Party. Unable to crush the spirit of millions who had experienced improved health and positive life changes from Falun Gong, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while quietly imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it.
The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 698 deaths (reports / sources) 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, while expert sources estimate that figure to be much higher. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, with more than 100,000 being sentenced to forced labor camps, typically without trial.