Chen Guo, a former practitioner of Falun Gong who
was terribly injured when she set herself on fire in an
attempt at self-immolation more than a year ago at Tiananmen
Square, tells her story to Chinese and foreign reporters at
a hospital in Henan Province.
Her face scarred
with massive skin grafts and her hands missing, Chen Guo
recalls the events which led her to set herself on fire in
Beijing's Tiananmen Square more than a year ago.
"Falun Gong is indeed an evil cult and it
led me to this," said Chen Guo, showing her horrific
injuries to Chinese and foreign reporters at a hospital in
Henan province, central China.
A former Falun
Gong believer, Chen joined her mother Hao Huijun in setting
herself alight. They were both severely burned, but their
lives were saved after an all-out effort by medical staff.
Another mother, Liu Chunling, and her
12-year-old daughter, Liu Siying, died.
"I remember Li Hongzhi (the leader of
Falun Gong) published a lecture entitled 'Beyond Tolerance'
and after reading it, we decided not to wait any
longer," Chen said.
"We felt we must
strengthen the force of Falun Gong in a special way and at
that time we thought of self-immolation," she said.
"Some overseas Falun Gong organizations
claim that you self-immolation people are not Falun Gong
followers. What is your response?" a reporter from
Reuters asked Hao.
"I began to practice
Falun Gong in 1996," Hao said, "I was then a music
teacher at a middle school in Kaifeng, my colleagues and
friends will testify that I am a Falun Gong follower."
Reporters from the United States, Britain,
Japan, Hong Kong, and China also visited the Wang Jindong,
Xue Hongjun, and Liu Yunfang, who were jailed for organizing
"We went to Tiananmen
square on January 23, 2001. I was one of the main organizers
and I burned myself first," Wang told reporters.
"We went there just wanting to attain
'all-round fulfillment' claimed by Li Hongzhi," he
Despite medical operations, his face and
hands were covered with black scars left by the fire.
Falun Gong organizations abroad say Wang is
not a believer and his wife and he are not really married,
but are hired to act as such by Chinese government.
"It's ridiculous," he said, showing
old pictures to reporters. "These photos were taken in
the early 1980s when we got married and our daughter was
"Li Hongzhi started to spread
Falun Gong in 1992 and it would be very strange for the
government to hire me as early as the 1980s," Wang
Apart from physical burns, the victims
suffered deep mental anguish after the self-immolation.
"The memory of the past is painful. I had
devoted myself to Falun Gong and Li Hongzhi, but in the end
I just found I trusted the wrong person," said Wang,
who once ran an artware store and had a close family life,
but now is serving a 15-year term in prison.
"Li Hongzhi is the biggest liar in the
world," he said.
Xue Hongjun, another
plotter of the incident, told the Press that Wang and he had
been good friends since they were in their twenties. He
admitted introducing Wang to Falun Gong by giving him Li
"I am very sorry for
Wang's wife and daughter," he said.
However another of the self-immolation
survivors, Liu Yunfang, 59, is still a believer. "Falun
Gong is good," he told reporters.
"Are you treated in an equal way with
Wang and Xue," a CNN reporter asked him.
"They have quit Falun Gong. I haven't,
but we are treated equally here," Liu answered.
"Falun Gong material usually accuses
prisons of abuse, but I haven't found any such thing
here," said Xue.
Wang now studies
philosophy, Chinese and writing in prison.
Many Falun Gong practitioners throughout the
country have killed other people or committed suicide in
attempts to "ascend to Heaven" or "attain
all-round fulfillment" in line with Li's teaching of
"neglecting life and death".
date, up to 1,660 practitioners and innocent people have
died in such incidents. The Chinese government outlawed
Falun Gong in 1999 and has since made great efforts to help
followers escape spiritual entrapment. So far, almost all
former believers have returned to normal life.