The Tragedy of Falun Gong Practitioners
Badly-burnt Falun Gong Follower Dead

Liu Siying, the 12-year-old girl who captured worldwide attention as she and several other Falun Gong followers set themselves on fire in Tian'anmen Square on January 23, died Saturday night at a hospital in Beijing.

Doctors at Jishuitan Hospital said Sunday that the girl's condition suddenly deteriorated Saturday afternoon and she died at 19:45 the same day despite all-out efforts by the prestigious hospital to save her.

According to a preliminary conclusion by a group of doctors specialized in burns, internal medicine, and surgery at the hospital, it is highly likely Liu's sudden death was caused by acute myocarditis, a condition which causes inflammation of the heart.

At the invitation of the Legal Medical Appraisal Center under the Beijing Public Security, medical experts from noted medical institutions Sunday conducted a dissection of Liu's body.

Noted cardiac pathological changes were discovered, including cardiac hypertrophy.

Lin Xihou, president of the hospital, said Liu had a medical history of myocarditis, which had not been cured.

Since Liu was hospitalized on January 23, most of her burns had healed as a result of the successful skin-graft operations, but her heart was functioning abnormally, said Lin.

Her heart was beating between 140 to 170 beats per minute, compared with the normal rate for an adult of 60 to 80, the president said.

In the afternoon of January 23, Liu, a fifth-grade pupil of a primary school in central China's Henan Province, was led by her mother, an obsessed Falun Gong follower, to Tian'anmen Square. At the square, they set themselves ablaze.

Liu was rescued by the police and rushed to Jishuitan Hospital, China's leading hospital for treating burn patients.

Liu was diagnosed with burns to 40 percent of her body, heavy inhalation injuries in her trachea and fourth-grade burns to her face.

Li Chi, vice director of the Burn Department of the hospital, said medically speaking, it normally takes two to three months for a patient with burns as serious as Liu to be completely out of danger.

Within two to three months, it is possible the condition may change at any time, Li said.

(People’s Daily 03/19/2001)