China Sends Falun Gong Members To Labor Camps 


BEIJING (AP)--China has sent two Falun Gong members to labor camps for reporting that a third member of the banned spiritual movement had been beaten to death in police custody, a human rights group said Wednesday. 

Li Lanying and Chen Shihuan were sentenced recently to three years in a labor camp, the maximum police are allowed to give without trial, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said. 

Two other members of the banned meditation group, Liu Jinling and Chi Yunling, who also reported the death to the Information Center and others overseas, remain in custody and may also face a labor camp sentence, the group said.

Only days after Zhao Jinhua died Oct. 7, her fellow Falun Gong followers reported that police in Zhaoyuan detained her Sept. 27 and repeatedly beat her for refusing to break ties with the group. 

Police in Zhaoyuan, in the eastern province of Shandong, and the State Council, the highest government body in China, denied Zhao was mistreated and said she suffered a heart attack Oct. 7. 

Falun Gong is a mix of concepts from Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, ex-government grain clerk Li Hongzhi, who lives in exile in New York. The government saw the group's ability to organize millions of people as a threat to communist control and banned it in July. 

Since then the group has reported other cases of beatings and mistreatment of members in the government's huge crackdown. Four Falun Gong organizers were tried Sunday and sentenced to prison terms of seven to 18 years. 

The Hong Kong-based Information Center said it would appeal to the U.N. Human Rights Commission to investigate Zhao's death.