Increase in Reported Deaths of Falun Gong Practitioners Puts Human Rights in China in the Spotlight Again
(Clearwisdom.net) Since the United Nations Commission on Human Rights 60th session opened on March 15, human rights abuses in China have received much attention. Confirmation of the deaths of 83 other practitioners have come from sources in China between the time practitioner Liu Chengjun was tortured to death on December 26, 2003 and April 5, 2004. There was a death case reported almost every day. Twenty-six of the deaths occurred this year, while others had occurred earlier, and only now was news of them able to reach the outside world.
Death cases expose the severity, breadth, and cruelty of the persecution in China.
The death cases reported in this period spanned twenty provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, ranging from Canton and Fujian in the south to Heilongjiang and Jilin in the north, and included coastal cities like Shanghai and Shandong as well as inland provinces like Gansu and Inner Mongolia. The highest death rates were reported in Heilongjiang (16 cases), Jilin (11 cases), Shandong (9 cases), Liaoning (8 cases) and Sichuan (7 cases).
Of the practitioners killed, ages ranged from twenty (practitioner Chang Baoli from Henan) to 78, with four percent being over 50 years old. Their professions covered a full spectrum, including laborers, farmers, military officials, engineers, business owners, factory managers, National People's Congress committee members, retirees, etc. According to Clearwisdom.net, since practicing Falun Gong, these people showed improved health and disposition. They were recognized as honorable citizens, model workers, graduates with Master degrees, excellent teachers, etc.
Almost all of the 83 deaths reported in the last three months involved serious torture, including severe beating, electric shocks, force-feeding, Tiger Bench (1) (Jilin practitioner Xu Shuxiang underwent this torture for 48 hours), being confined in a solitary compartment (2), "killer rope," dead person's bed (3), and poison injections. Psychological torture included brainwashing, forced treatment at mental hospitals, and forced injection of nerve-damaging drugs.
(1). Tiger Bench: Practitioners are forced to sit on a small iron bench that is approximately 20 cm (6 inches) tall with their knees tied together. With their hands tied behind their backs or sometimes placed on their knees, they are forced to sit straight up and look straight ahead. They are not allowed to turn their heads, close their eyes, talk to anyone or move at all. Several inmates are assigned to watch over the practitioners and force them to remain motionless while sitting on the bench. Usually some hard objects are inserted underneath the practitioners' lower legs or ankles to make it harder for them to tolerate this abuse (see illustration on http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2001/11/24/16156.html)
(2). "Being confined in a solitary compartment" refers to locking up a single detainee in a solitary cell, which contains a basin and a pair of handcuffs. The basin is used both for face washing and relieving the urine and bowels. One end of the handcuffs fastens the wrist and the other end attaches to the door railing. The handcuffs can be fastened onto the door railing at three different heights. In the highest position, the detainee has to extend his/her arm upward. The middle position is at waist level. In the lowest position, the detainee can sit on the ground.
(3). Dead person's bed: The four limbs of the practitioner are stretched out and tied to the four corners of an icy-cold metal bed. The practitioner cannot move at all. Neither is he allowed to get up to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. This treatment would last from several hours up to more than a dozen days. This type of cruel torture causes severe damage to the practitioner both mentally and physically.