16 Falun Gong practitioners arrested

2013-06-04 00:41:32 GMT2013-06-04 08:41:32(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Police in the eastern Chinese coastal city of Qingdao on Monday announced the arrests of 16 Falun Gong practitioners who allegedly staged pictures depicting scenes of torture.

Acting on tip-offs, border police raided a residence in Dongnugushan Village of Qingdao's Chengyang District on May 2, where they found Falun Gong practitioners led by suspect Lu Xueqin acting out torture scenes.

Some suspects were found on the ground with red-colored fluids on their bodies, pretending they had been tortured. Some were acting as the ones carrying out acts of torture, holding batons and sticks in the air, while others pretended to help them by pinning down the "victims." All of them had their pictures taken by their peers, according to police.

Pictures seized by police show a uniformed man pulling the hair of a shirtless man, whose "blood-stained" fingers are being pulled by one man while another man simultaneously pushes a toothbrush into the webbing between his fingers. Another picture showed the same shirtless man sitting on the ground, with his body tightly bound with ropes and "blood" smeared on his back, fingers and toes.

Yuan Shaohua, one of the suspects, said the blood was a mixture of two bottles of cola, a small bottle of tomato paste and two small bags of tomato paste, which he and his wife purchased on their way to Dongnugushan Village on May 2.

"These materials (the cola and tomato paste) are painted on this guy... Lu Xueqin then asked me to stand up and hit his back with a plank -- a fake hit, of course," Yuan said.

While Yuan carried out the fake beating, his fellow practitioners took pictures, Yuan said.

He also said he was told that the pictures would be uploaded to the Internet, but it was not clear why.

When asked about the purpose of their alleged demonstrations, Yuan said, "That's what it was like in prison."

The fabricated torture pictures are very similar to those accusing China of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners on websites, according to police.

The practitioners, led by Lu Xueqin, attempted to fake photos of Falun Gong practitioners being cruelly tortured in Chinese prison, according to police.

During their raid, police also seized mixtures of red pigments, ketchup and cola, batons, planks, ropes, adhesive tape, toothbrushes, cameras, a computer, Falun Gong propaganda items, as well as books and DVDs on Falun Gong.

A list of 25 brutal torture techniques on two pages of A4 paper was also found. The acts that were already simulated and photographed have been marked, and the others were set to be staged, according to police.

The case is under further investigation.

Falun Gong was established in China by Li Hongzhi in 1992.

The Chinese government banned Falun Gong on July 22, 1999, accusing the group of using religion as a means of brainwashing practitioners, coaxing money from them and even encouraging practitioners to burn themselves in order to reach spiritual fulfillment.

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Editor: Yu Runze
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