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2 Sect Members Held by China Reported Dead

November 22, 2000|From Associated Press

BEIJING — Two more members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement have died in Chinese police custody, a human rights group said Tuesday.

Li Wenrui, 37, a government trade official from the northeastern city of Harbin, died Nov. 9, three days after his arrest in Beijing for protesting the government crackdown on Falun Gong, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Police said Li killed himself by jumping out a window, but relatives said they suspect he was beaten to death, the center said.

Yang Guijin, 40, was arrested for distributing pamphlets and died Oct. 15 at a detention center in the eastern province of Shandong after a weeklong hunger strike to protest beatings by guards, the center said.

The deaths bring to 70 the number of adherents who have died in detention since the sect was banned in July 1999, the center said.

The information center has also reported that Teng Chunyan, 37, will go on trial Thursday in Beijing for "gathering intelligence for an overseas organization."

Teng is the first Falun Gong member with U.S. residency to be tried on charges of spying, which could bring a sentence of more than 10 years, the center said. The indictment said Teng broke the law by mailing information about Falun Gong abroad, the center said.

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