Candlelight Vigil for Falun Gong Practitioner Who Died for Her Beliefs

October 12, 1999


Falun Gong practitioners and supporters here in San Francisco plan to hold a candlelight vigil tonight in remembrance of the courage of Zhao Jinhua, a practitioner in China who was beaten to death in a detention center last week because she refused to renounce her belief in the practice.

Ms. Zhao, 42, was a farmer in a small village in Shandong province and had been practicing Falun Gong since 1995.

AP (BEIJING, Oct. 11, 1999) reports that on September 27 police arrested her for being a practitioner of the outlawed spiritual practice, Falun Gong. Ten days later, on October 7th, police notified Ms. Zhao's family that she had died.

Agence France Presse (BEIJING, Oct. 11, 1999) reports that during her detention, Ms. Zhao was beaten and tortured while police repeatedly asked her if she would continue to practice Falun Gong. She always answered 'yes.' She knew that if she were to agree to stop practicing, the torture would cease, but she apparently never wavered.

AFP also reports that when her family went to the police station, they discovered that her body was covered in open wounds and bruises. An autopsy report indicated trauma from a blunt instrument and massive internal bleeding. When asked how this had happened, the police officer reportedly replied: "It's not clear how she died. We didn't arrest her; we just brought her in for education." The family says police officers warned the family to not discuss her death. Authorities had her body cremated the next day.

The vigil tonight is not only for Zhao Jinghua, but for all the practitioners in China who have shown remarkable courage and forbearance in the face of brutal treatment and unrelenting pressure from the Chinese government. As long as the crackdown continues unchecked, more innocent lives may been endangered. It is hoped that the Chinese leadership will soon come to see Falun Gong for what it is -- a peaceful, apolitical, and beneficial practice based on ancient traditions.

We in the United States hope that practitioners in China will continue to find strength and solace in Falun Dafa's principles of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance during these difficult times.

Time:7:30pm 9:30pm, October 12 (Tuesday)
Place:Consulate General of P. R. China in San Francisco
1450 Laguna St., San Francisco, CA 94115 (Laguna & Geary Ave)
Contact:Lisa Wendl 408-921-7830 or Allen Zeng 408-206-3019

Other candlelight vigils are planned in a number of areas around the country including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.