Falun Gong Practitioner Beaten to Death Within Days of Detention in China
[xtypo_dropcap]C[/xtypo_dropcap]hinese security agents in Hunan Province beat a local businessman to death within six days of taking him into custody for practicing Falun Gong, the Falun Dafa Information Center (FDIC) reported on its website.
On August 19, 2010, agents of the Domestic Security Division in Shaodong County of Hunan Province detained 57-year-old Mr. Zeng Huaguo, a local appliance salesman. Within six days of Zeng’s detention—on August 25—he was dead, apparently beaten to death. Zeng’s son was able to view his body and saw a large cut on his back that had been sutured with 13 stitches.
Zeng’s detention on August 19 occurred when he visited the Domestic Security Division’s offices to request the return of his books on Falun Gong teachings that authorities had confiscated at his home in June after a plainclothes police officer had abducted Zeng off the street. Zeng had spoken to the man about Falun Gong and encouraged him not to believe the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda about the group, thinking the man was an ordinary passerby. Zeng was released ten days later, after his son-in-law agreed to sign a statement in his name condemning Falun Gong and promising he would stop practicing.
According to sources inside China, upon being injured during his second detention, Zeng was taken to a local hospital but died shortly after arrival. Police failed to notify Zeng’s family of his death until 24 hours later, although they did reportedly inform the local neighborhood committee to take measures to restrict the news of Zeng's sudden death in custody from circulating. They apparently feared a public outcry as Zeng was fairly well-known in his community.
Police told Zeng’s son he had died from “jumping off a building at the hospital.” When the son asked to see footage from the hospital’s security camera confirming the officials' account, they became flustered and claimed that the camera had not yet been setup. Instead, they reportedly threatened hospital staff and Zeng’s family not to spread information about his death, including offering the family 260,000 yuan ($38,000) for their silence.
“The speed with which Falun Gong practitioners like Mr. Zeng are taken into custody and beaten to death is a horrifying testament to the danger facing each of the tens of millions of people who continue to practice Falun Gong in China,” said FDIC executive director Levi Browde. “Not only has an innocent, honest man died, but … the authorities are already taking measures to cover up their crimes.”
Since the start of the persecution in China in 1999, an estimated 100,000 Falun Gong adherents are believed to be imprisoned in reeducation-through-labor camps at any given time. During the same time 87,000 reports of torture against Falun Gong adherents have emerged from China as well as over 3,400 confirmed death reports as a result of abuse in police custody or other forms of persecution. Tens of thousands more unconfirmed deaths are believed to have occurred, many for a gruesome trade in human organs.
With reporting by Falun Dafa Information Center.