15,000 Sign Petition to Support Falun Gong Practitioners in China
Created: 2012-06-20 18:25 EST
15 thousand people in northeastern China have rallied behind a daughter's petition for her father’s death to be investigated.
23-year-old Qin Rongqian started her appeal to the public after her father died in prison last year. Local authorities refused to investigate when the family questioned the cause of death.
Qin’s father, Qin Yueming, was a Falun Gong practitioner. For nine years he faced repression and was tortured for his beliefs, according to reports from Minghui.org, a website that collects information about Falun Gong's persecution.
In February 2011, ahead of Qin’s release from Jiamusi Prison, prison officials notified Qin’s family that he had died from, quote, “normal causes.” Within a month, another two Falun Gong practitioners in the same prison also died.
A picture of Qin’s body shows it covered in bruises. After the family tried to press for an investigation, Qin Rongqian’s mother and younger sister were detained and sent to a labor camp.
In May this year, Qin appealed to locals to help her family. So far she has collected the signatures and finger prints of 15,000 people to call on Chinese authorities to investigate her father’s death.
This type of collective public support for Falun Gong practitioners has been rare in China up until recent months. Since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party has carried a systematic persecution of Falun Gong, including using propaganda to slander and vilify the practice.
Rights groups report Falun Gong practitioners as being one of the largest groups of prisoners of conscience in the world. More than 3,500 cases of death from torture and abuse have been confirmed.