The Tragedy of Falun Gong Practitioners
Falun Gong Crackdown Urged

After viewing TV footage of Falun Gong practitioners committing suicide by setting themselves on fire at Beijing's Tian'anmen Square on January 23, many people across the country support harder measures against the Falun Gong cult in order to maintain social stability in the country, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Many people interviewed shortly after the incident said the attempted suicide of the seven Falun Gong practitioners further exposed the evil nature of the cult and the fact that Li Hongzhi, the cult's ringleader, does not hesitate in attaining his political goals at the expense of the lives of cult members, Xinhua said.

After the media made the incident public, some governmental bodies and universities held talks on condemning the Falun Gong.

Most people showed their utmost sympathy for a 12-year-old girl and a 19-year-old student at the Central Conservatory of Music, who were seriously burned in the incident.

Liu Xiangyan, headmaster of the primary school at the conservatory, said that Chen Guo had started her music education at the age of 11.

The teen-ager from Kaifeng, Henan Province, was chosen from hundreds of applicants across the country. Chen entered the conservatory two years ago and specialized in the pipa, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, said the headmaster.

Falun Gong leader Li "bewitched Chen and made her step into hell," Liu said.

Zhang Xiaosong, another teacher at the conservatory, said Li deluded his disciples to believe in him and even kill themselves, but he and his families fled to the United States and are enjoying a good life.

People in Henan Province, where all the seven people involved in the incident come from, expressed their indignation after learning about it, Xinhua said.

"The Falun Gong cult not only runs against traditional Chinese ethics, but also results in mishaps for its practitioners and their families," Zhang Yong, a provincial legislator, said.

Gao Lingzhi, a delegate to the People's Congress in Zhoukou, said, "The Falun Gong will not safeguard human rights and freedom."

"Why does Li Hongzhi ask his members to burn themselves?" said Gao, adding that Li is "clever enough not to burn himself."

Yang Kexing in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region said he was very sad after watching the 12-year-old girl burn herself.

"The Falun Gong cult cheated its members; therefore, the government must root it out," said Yang.

Wu Xiuying, who lives in the Shuangqiao neighborhood in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, cried after seeing the seriously burned Chen Guo.

(EASTDAY.COM 02/02/2001)