Xinhua News Agency, China's leading news service, Tuesday published a feature story detailing the suicide attempts of seven Falun Gong practitioners at Tian’anmen Square on January 23.
The tragedy once again demonstrated the evil nature of Falun Gong and sounded an alarm to those obsessed with the cult.
Five Falun Gong practitioners, including a 12-year-old girl, soaked themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire at around 2:40 PM on the eve of China's Lunar New Year. One died on the spot and the four others injured in the suicide attempts. The police on duty rushed to their rescue and immediately sent the injured to local hospital.
Hoodwinked by the malicious fallacies of Li Hongzhi, founder of the Falun Gong cult, seven practitioners plotted the appalling suicidal blaze at Tian'anmen Square in central Beijing. Two were found and stopped from the suicide attempts.
At 2:41 PM, a man in his forties sitting cross-legged at Tian’anmen Square was found pouring liquid over his body from a green bottle. All of a sudden, his body burst into flames and was covered with thick smoke. "Falun Dafa is compulsory to all," the man was screaming.
A few minutes later, four women who were not far from the man set themselves on fire. Blown by the cold winter wind, the flames immediately spread, turning the women into scurrying fireballs in horrible screams.
"Uncle, help!" cried a short, slim girl on fire when police rushed towards them.
Almost simultaneously, on the northeastern side of the square, a woman took out a plastic Sprite bottle, drank a few mouthfuls of the liquid, and then poured it on herself. Police on duty, who were alert at the strong smell of gasoline, were quick to seize her lighter and stopped her from burning herself.
The woman kept yelling "let me go heaven."
On the western side of the square, a man, looking agitated and with the buttons of his overcoat unfastened, was discovered with two full bottles of gasoline tied to his body. Police also prevented him from setting himself ablaze.
It took one minute and a half for police to put out the fire on the four women. However, one woman died and the other three were seriously burnt.
Three emergency ambulances of the Beijing First-aid Center arrived at the site less than seven minutes later and rushed the injured to the prestigious Beijing Jishuitan Hospital.
A rescue team was formed, comprising well-known doctors. Special wards were prepared for around-the-clock monitoring. Doctors and nurses on holiday returned to work immediately. Nearly 10,000 milliliters of plasma and several thousand milliliters of blood were sent to the operation rooms.
Due to the efforts of the doctors, all the injured passed the shock stage.
Police investigation showed that the seven people who attempted suicide were from Kaifeng City in central China's Henan Province. They were all avid Falun Gong practitioners.
The dead woman, Liu Chunling, had been obsessed with Falun Gong herself and persuaded and influenced her 12-year-old daughter Liu Siying to pursue the cult.
Wang Jindong, the organizer, started practicing Falun Gong in 1996. Wang and his wife and kid came to Tian’anmen Square on December 19, 2000 to propagate Falun Gong with banners.
Hao Huijun, a music teacher with a middle school in Kaifeng, has become silent and absent-minded since 1997 when she started practicing Falun Gong.
Influenced by Hao, her 19-year-old daughter Chen Guo who studied Pipa in Beijing also practiced Falun Gong and was obsessed with the cult. The mother and daughter participated in illegal gatherings on Tian’anmen Square.
Liu Baorong, a textile factory worker who left her post due to an industrial injury in 1984, began practicing Falun Gong in 1995.
"Everyone of us knew what we were going to do in Beijing before we left Kaifeng," Liu confirmed, "We were prepared to set ourselves on fire and going up to heaven."
"Li Hongzhi often mentioned in his 'scripture' and speeches that there were still some people not 'standing out'. If I did not 'stand out', I would not realize 'nirvana'," said Liu, who believed that to obtain "nirvana" was to go to the heaven.
"It was a good thing to go to the heaven," she said, "It took a mere moment and one would not feel pain."
For this purpose, Liu drank gasoline at Tian’anmen Square.
Liu Yunfang, 57, was a part-time worker at a paint shop in Kaifeng. He said that he planned to set himself on fire to cultivate his physical and mental capabilities according to Falun Gong rules.
Liu explained that he was not able to burn himself because he has not reached a certain level.
Wang Jindong, Hao Huijun, Liu Yunfang, Liu Baorong, Liu Chunling and her 12-year-old daughter Liu Siying took the train to Beijing on January 16, making an appointment with a Falun Gong practitioner who saw them off at the railway station to meet again in heaven.
Chen Guo met the six at Beijing Western Railway Station the next morning. They stayed with another Falun Gong practitioner and seldom left the premises except to buy food at a nearby supermarket.
Even their neighbors did not notice they had stayed for about one week. "I thought it was empty, no one was there," said one neighbor.
During the week, the seven people imagined how wonderful it would be to enter heaven. When Chen Guo was worried about the pain, Wang Jindong told her that unlike average people, Falun Gong practitioners would not feel pain when they were on fire. They will go up to heaven in a second.
Liu Yunfang created stories about "paradise" for Liu Siying: you would become a "religious king" once you enter "paradise". You would have many servants if you became king.
Wang Jindong, 50, once a driver, came up with the idea of using gasoline to set themselves on fire. They first tried plastic bags but failed to contain the gasoline safely. Then Liu Baorong suggested they should use plastic Sprite bottles because the color of gasoline looks similar to Sprite and would not be identified easily.
They discussed when and where the event was to take place. Everyone had two lighters in case one failed to work on the spot.
With bottles of gasoline, blades and lighters, the seven arrived at the Square by taxi. Out of their expectation, the Square was temporarily closed in the morning for activities. They had to stroll nearby and agreed to light themselves at different locations at 2:30 PM.
"Thanks to the police. It was them who saved me," recalled Liu Baorong. She said that she took the bottle out of her bag. Her watch was not working properly at the moment they were expected to light themselves.
Liu Yunfang was discovered and stopped by the police before she lit herself. But the other five members did not escape the "fire".
Chen Guo's relatives and teachers felt very regretful when they heard about the tragedy. She was an excellent student at school and performed in Singapore when she was only 12.
She began practicing Falun Gong in 1996 and became even more silent when her father passed away in 1998. She wrote a letter to her teachers when they tried to help her, saying that Falun Dafa was "The most mysterious science in the world" , and "My life was created by Dafa."
Liu Baorong said that they chose Tian’anmen Square because there was a rumor that an old woman practitioner in northeast China saw in her dream the words "registration for Dafa followers" written on the Tian’anmen Rostrum.
She explained that they were driven to burn themselves by what Li Hongzhi said in the "scripture", such as "forget death and life ", and "seeking for nirvana".
"These are absolute lies," said Liu, "Life is precious indeed. We should never give it up easily. It was not worth trying at all since Li Hongzhi is enjoying life while we are suffering."
"Falun Gong has brought misfortune to the country and the people," she said, "Other practitioners should sober up when they learn the truth behind the fire."
"My mom cheated me," said Liu Siying lying in a hospital bed, bandaged. The little girl has not yet been informed of her mother's death in the suicide attempts.
The 12-year-old girl suffered severe burns to her face, head, and hands. Though in pain and blinded, she described the beauty of "paradise" to the nurses: the whole "world" was made of gold -- the roads, the birds and even the people.
Lying in the same ward, 19-year-old Chen Guo was unable to mobilize her imagination in the same way. Having incurred burns all over her body, Chen Guo suffered from burn shock when she was rushed to the Beijing Jishuitan Hospital.
"I regret very much," Chen managed to say, "I want to play Pipa in the future."
Doctors said that Chen, a music student in Beijing, can no longer play Pipa, an ancient flat stringed instrument, because her fingers were too damaged by the fire.
Li Chi, a chief doctor at the hospital, said that it was still too early to say that all the injured were out of danger. They will undergo further operations. The fire caused all of them to become physically disabled. Some of them will not be able to live on their own in the future.