High-profile Prisoner Named in Amnesty Urgent Action is Tortured to Death the Morning after Christmas
Changchun City Man Broadcast Programs over China’s State-run Television, Exposing Former Chinese Leader’s Systematic Cover-up of Atrocities
NEW YORK (FDI) – After 21 months of torture and abuse, one of the men who broadcast programs over China’s state-run airwaves exposing the systematic cover-up of atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners died Friday morning in police custody.
An April 1, 2002, photo of Mr. Chengjun Liu in police custody. Liu is unable to sit up on his own and there are blood stains on his shirt.
Mr. Chengjun Liu had spent more than two years working to let his fellow countrymen know about the torture and killings of Falun Gong practitioners throughout China – crimes former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin had kept hidden under a veil of misinformation and with full control over the state-run media.
On March 5th, 2002, Liu participated in tapping into a cable T.V. signal in China’s northeastern city of Changchun to broadcast programs exposing the atrocities against Falun Gong practitioners in China and Jiang’s attempts to cover them up.
The March 5th broadcasts in Changchun sent shockwaves throughout China, as hundreds of thousands witnessed for the first time investigative reports about the systematic campaign Jiang was waging to ‘eradicate’ Falun Gong in their own country. The programs utilized information from human rights organizations, world media and other news sources that are readily available to those living outside China. Inside China, however, where the content of what people see, read and hear about Falun Gong is strictly controlled, these programs are often the first real glimpse they have of the atrocities carried out against Falun Gong practitioners in China. (press statement)
Sources in Beijing reported that the broadcasts infuriated then-Chinese leader Jiang, who subsequently ordered a series of executions targeting all persons involved in the broadcast and other practitioners of Falun Gong throughout China. (report)
Over the next few days, more than 5,000 people believed to be practitioners of Falun Gong were detained in a vast and unprecedented police sweep in Changchun, as the city was reduced to near-martial law. (news) Sources in Changchun at the time reported that dozens were killed as a result of police brutality during the round-up, though a total media blackout severely hampered many attempts to contact locals and confirm the individual reports. At least six death cases were later confirmed.
On March 15th, Amnesty International headquarters in London issued an Urgent Action statement for Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun, in which Liu was mentioned by name. “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.” (news)
On March 24, 2002, Liu was arrested for his involvement in the broadcasts. After making the arrest, one police officer drew his gun and shot Liu twice in the legs, reportedly saying “Now how are you going to hide [from us]?”
In September 2002, Liu was sentenced to 19 years in prison, and sent to the Jilin Provincial Forced Labor Camp. (news)
Throughout Liu’s imprisonment, sources say he was subjected to severe torture and abuse. According to eyewitnesses who saw Liu in October 2003, he was incapacitated and “hard to recognize” from the torture. Despite an October 24 diagnosis of “acute kidney failure, cardiac arrhythmia, critical condition,” repeated attempts by Liu’s family to secure his medical parole were denied by Chinese authorities.
At 4 a.m. on December 26, Liu died from his injuries. According to eyewitnesses, there was blood in Liu’s nose, ears, on his legs and other parts of his body.
Liu’s body was cremated seven hours after his death with neither an autopsy performed nor the family’s consent.
The speedy cremation follows of pattern of dozens of reported cases where Falun Gong practitioners have died in police custody, and where then cremated before family members could identify the body. According to informed sources in China, Jiang has issued orders to record all deaths of Falun Gong practitioners in police custody as “suicides” and to “immediately cremate” the bodies, in an apparent attempt to destroy any evidence of torture or other wrong-doing.
Early this morning, Falun Gong practitioners in more than a dozen cities around the world announced plans to hold media events in front of Chinese Embassies to report Liu’s case and hold memorials for his loss.
“This is a man who had the courage to bring transparency to the atrocities carried out against Falun Gong practitioners so Chinese people could see it for themselves, and he had the compassion to strictly adhere to non-violent means to do so regardless of the violence that was brought down upon him,” says Falun Dafa Information Center spokesman, Mr. Erping Zhang. “In most countries, Liu would be applauded as a human rights hero who peacefully defended his faith and unveiled the web of deception spun by Jiang to hide gross crimes against humanity. In China, however, those who carry out Jiang’s orders to ‘eradicate’ Falun Gong branded Liu an outlaw and then tortured him to death.”
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NEWS - Dec. 29, 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." Practiced in over 50 countries world-wide, Falun Gong has roots in traditional Chinese culture. With government estimates of as many as 100 million practicing Falun Gong, China's Communist leader Jiang Zemin outlawed the peaceful practice in July 1999 (report). Since that time, Jiang's regime has intensified its propaganda campaign to turn public opinion against the practice while imprisoning, torturing and even murdering those who practice it. The Falun Dafa Information Center has verified details of 850 deaths (reports / sources) since the persecution of Falun Gong in China began in 1999. In October 2001, however, Government officials inside China reported that the actual death toll was well over 1,600. Expert sources now 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.
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