In March of this year, before the "Two Conferences" came to an end, Jiang covered up information about the SARS epidemic to protect his position as the Central Military Commission Chairman. The information was kept from the citizens of China, as well as the rest of the world, for several months, which delayed efforts to contain the outbreak. If it were not for the intervention of international society, even more people would have died from SARS. However, while the SARS epidemic raged, the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China never let up.

In May, when people were panicking about the spread of the SARS virus, a piece of news, "High-fever Patient Escapes From the Hospital", shook Jinan City.á

On May 5, the central Public Security Branch issued an urgent notice, stating, "At 10:20 pm of May 4, the Command Center of the Public Security Bureau was informed that Zhang Mengcheng, (a Falun Gong practitioner, who lives in 3-402, Building No. 100, Kuangshan Residential District), a patient from the Provincial Respiratory Hospital, escaped." The notice also included Zhang Mengcheng's photo. It required all departments to take action right away, searching throughout the city to detain and report any suspicious people. Thus, the "news" that a Falun Gong practitioner from Jinan infected with SARS had escaped from the hospital was spread to every corner of the city.

Zhang Mengcheng was arrested on May 8 due to policemen's frenzied search and the cooperation of people who were deceived. On May 13 and 14, Qilu Evening News, Jinan Daily, Jinan Times, and Provincial Commercial Paper reported on this issue, saying, "the escaped high-fever patient was captured. Experts concluded that he was not infected with SARS." Except for Qilu Evening Paper, all the reports mistakenly cited May 3 as the date when Zhang Mengcheng was arrested instead of April 27.

Then where and how did Zhang Mengcheng spend the time between April 27, when he was arrested, and May 3? None of the suffering or torture he was subjected to was mentioned in any of the reports. So, the persecution during those seven days and nights was covered up, as well as the real cause of Zhang's high fever. We can see the truth from a notice from the Public Security Department to the Health Department, which indicates, "On April 27, Zhang Mengcheng and his mother were arrested for putting up Falun Gong flyers. They were sent to a detention center, where Zhang started a hunger strike. The detention center force-fed him through nose. Soon, Zhang ran a high fever of 39.7C [equals 103.5 F], and x-rays showed dark spots in his lungs. On May 4, Zhang was sent to the Provincial Respiratory Hospital, where he escaped." On May 14, it was reported in the article "The Provincial Capital Urgently Looks for Escaped High-Fever Patient" in the Qilu Evening Paper that Zhang was arrested on April 27.

I had heard about the brutality of police force-feeding through the nose long ago, and many times Falun Gong practitioners have suffocated due to tubes being inserted into their lungs. What suffering was Zhang Mengcheng subjected to during the seven days and nights? What caused the high fever of 39.7 Celsius [equals 103.5 F] and the shadow in his lungs?

In fact, it is easy to get the answer by thinking it over. Police in Jinan City were making use of the people's fear of SARS to find Zhang Mengcheng . This treacherous means of arousing panic in the populace in order to achieve its own purpose is no different from what Jiang did. If some SARS patients really did escape from the hospital, I am afraid that the public would not have been told. This is because what Jiang and his regime are interested in is not people's safety, but their own power and position.

Hereby, we demand the police in Jinan City to release Falun Dafa practitioner Zhang Mengcheng immediately. We appeal to people all over the world to pay attention to Zhang Mengcheng's case. We, the practitioners in Jinan City, will strive to secure Mengcheng's release as soon as possible.