Falun Gong Man Defies Campaign to Strip Citizens of Their Beliefs

After Three Months of Torture, Pays for Freedom of Belief with His Life

NEW YORK, October 29, 2001 (Falun Dafa Information Center) – Kidnapped by security guards from his former work place and sent to a labor camp, a retiree, who was forcibly “converted” to not practice Falun Gong while in police custody, returned to Tiananmen Square shortly after being released to openly declare to the Chinese government his belief in Falun Gong and appeal for an end to the persecution campaign. He was immediately detained again and suffered severe torture for three months before dying in August of this year.

Mr. Shengli Han, 58 years old, was a retired employee of Liangzhuang Mine, Shandong Xinwen Mining Industrial Corporation. A practitioner of Falun Gong since 1996, security guards from the mine abducted him while he was visiting his hometown of Changqing in late May 2001. He was sent to the labor camp in Wang Village, Zibo City, Shandong province, where he was temporarily “converted” from being a Falun Gong practitioner.

It is common practice to utilize a combination of torture, brainwashing and a high-pressure propaganda campaign to try to break the will of people who practice Falun Gong in an attempt to have them renounce their beliefs or “convert” them. As one Chinese government advisor told the Washington Post in an August 5th article, “each aspect of the campaign is critical. Pure violence doesn’t work. Just studying [“brainwashing” sessions] doesn’t work either. And none of it would be working if the propaganda hadn’t started to change the way the general public thinks. You need all three.”

According to sources inside China, ten days after being released, Mr. Han sought to reaffirm his beliefs, and appeal to the government to end the kind of persecution he had been subjected to during his detention. He went to Tiananmen Square to make a public appeal for Falun Gong, was detained, and then sent to Xintai Detention center. There, sources say, he was financially extorted and physically tortured so severely that he was on the verge of a mental breakdown. For health reasons, he was transferred back to the Labor Camp in Wang Village again, where he died from torture sometime in August 2001.

Personnel from the Liangzhuang Mine of the Shangdong Xinwen Mining Industrial Corporation (Mr. Han’s employer before retirement) confirmed Mr. Han had died in August, but were unwilling to release any further information.

Mr. Han is one of the large number of elderly practitioners who have died in the persecution of Falun Gong. Of those among the hundreds dead whose ages are known, approximately 30% were aged 50 or over, the standard retirement age for industrial employees in China.

Mr. Han’s death brings the confirmed death toll to 304, although government sources acknowledge that more than 1,000 have actually died. More than 40% of the deaths have been reported in the last six months, a sign of the increased intensity of official efforts to eradicate Falun Gong since the ban was announced in July 1999.