C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
October 18, 1999
State Council Issues Warnings Against Continued Falun Gong Activities
[CND, 10/17/99] The State Council has issued a statement warning government employees, including workers at state-owned businesses, against participating in the banned Falun Gong movement. The warnings, quoted by Xinhua and carried in the South China Morning Post, said all such workers risk being demoted or fired if found to be involved with Falun Gong or petition the government on its behalf.
It was stressed that those who openly renounce Falun Gong will avoid punishment, but said that "those who have continued to be engaged in illegal gatherings and activities after the Ministry of Public Security banned the organisation on July 22 will be severely penalized." National People's Congress member ZENG Jianhui, on a visit to Washington, added that "nobody in China is persecuted because of their religious belief. But if somebody who is a believer violates criminal law, he would be punished."
In a related story, the China News Service issued a denial of accusations that Falun Gong member ZHAO Jinhua had been tortured to death in Shandong Province. The article dismissed the charges as "sheer fabrication" and claimed that Zhao's body bore no signs of abuse and that she had instead suffered a heart attack after falling in a bathroom.
Zhao was quickly cremated following her death, which authorities claim was done with the permission of her family. However, Falun Gong spokesperson Gail Rachlin claimed that the details of Zhao's death were being covered up. She said, "we have people who went to the hospital, saw the body and talked with Zhao's family. Her family was very scared and they said the police would not let them see her body unless they agreed to cremate her." (Phil Stephens, WU Yiyi)