The Tragedy of Falun Gong Practitioners
Cult Suicide Victims Stable in Hospital

The condition of the four Falun Gong suicide survivors is said to be stable, according to medical specialists at the Beijing Jishuitan Hospital yesterday.

However, it is still too early to say whether all of the injured, especially the three women, who are all in critical conditions, are yet out of danger, said Professor Sun Yonghua, who is with the hospital's Burns Department.

Five Falun Gong followers soaked themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire on January 23, the eve of China's Lunar New Year, in Tian'anmen Square. One died on the spot and the four others were seriously injured.

According to Sun, 19-year-old college undergraduate Chen Guo is among the most seriously injured. Chen suffers burns to 80 per cent of her body, of which 50 per cent are third-degree burns, the most serious kind of burn.

Chen's mother, Hao Huijun, suffers 90 per cent burns to her body, of which 50 per cent are serious.

The 12-year-old, Liu Siying, whose mother died from her injuries, suffers 40 per cent burns to her body, mostly on her face, hand, ear and perineum, where it is difficult to operate.

A person's life is considered to be in danger if burns cover more than 50 per cent of the body or third-degree burns reach over 30 per cent, according to Sun.

"We will only be able to say that the patients are safe when two-thirds of their wounds have healed, which may take a month,"Sun said.

To guarantee the four victims receive better medical treatment, the hospital has set up a special panel to treat them.

Li Chi, a chief doctor at the hospital, said the three most seriously injured need at least six or seven operations.

The fire has resulted in all of them becoming physically disabled. Some will not be able to live unaided in the future, Li said.

However, Wang Jindong, the organizer of the suicide attempt, insists that he is not worried about his horrific burns because he is a Falun Gong disciple.

Although the medical treatment may save their lives, the Falun Gong addicts, who are still obsessed with the cult and have illusions about their ringleader Li Hongzhi, will suffer permanent psychological damage, said Lin Xihou, president of the hospital.

(China Daily 02/03/2001)