Reuters: China accuses Falun Gong of breaching human rights
Abstract：On January 23, 2001, under the undue influence of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi’s new scripture Beyond the Limits of Forbearance, seven Falun Gong addicts staged a self-immolation protest in Tiananmen Square, but under the pressure of international criticism, Falun Gong organization disavowed that none of them were Falun Gong members. On February 16, another tragedy was followed swiftly. Tan Yihui, a 25-year-old Falun Gong cult addict from Changde city, Hunan province, staged a self-immolation protest on the roadside of Jinjia village, Haidian District of Beijing city. In his six-page suicide note, Mr. Tan said that he could not bear the situation (that Falun Gong was a cult and banned by government) any more, and he must bravely stand out and be a fighter for Falun Gong. Woefully, Falun Gong organization denied that Mr. Tan was its member once more. On February 17, CNN, which had a crew witness on site and gave a first news report on January’s event, published Reuters’news release on its website, and analyzed response of China government and main media. The report quoted The People Daily that "Self-immolation by burning oneself is one of the most notorious characteristics of the evil cults."
Key words：Falun Gong, self-immolation, CNN, Li Hongzhi, Reuters
BEIJING, China -- China has said a public suicide by a purported Falun Gong adherent shows the movement is breaching human rights.
State media said a member of the spiritual movement set himself ablaze on Friday in a Beijing neighborhood that is home to several Communist Party leaders.
Friday's incident comes three weeks after five people set themselves alight in Tiananmen Square. The Chinese media says they were Falun Gong followers, but spokespeople from the group insists they were not.
The suicide showed Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi's alleged exhortation to followers "not to be afraid of dying in order to achieve 'nirvana' is absolute heresy that violates human rights," the People's Daily said.
"Cherish your life and don't be victims of Falun Gong any longer," the Communist Party newspaper said in a commentary.
"He burst into flames"
An eyewitness told Chinese television how he suddenly saw a man pour gasoline over himself, flick on a lighter, then burst into flames.
Police say they rushed to put out the fire, but that 25-year-old Tan Yihui was already dead.
State television showed police lifting Tan's charred body, adding that a six-page suicide note linked the man to Falun Gong.
Falun Gong said in a statement it could not verify if the man was a member. "We are extremely sad and shocked to hear (of) the death of a Chinese citizen who was said to have set fire to himself in Beijing. So far, we have no way to verify this person's background," the group said.
Group against suicide
It restated its tenet that it is against Falun Gong teachings to take human life, and that includes suicide.
The movement reacted similarly to the first self-immolation, by five purported Falun Gong adherents who included a 12-year-old girl, in Tiananmen Square last month. One woman, the girl's mother, died.
The Chinese leadership banned Falun Gong as an "evil cult" in 1999 and has launched a major campaign to denigrate it across the country.
It compares the Falun Gong to Japan's Aum Shinri Kyo, or Supreme Truth, accused of deadly gas attacks on a Tokyo subway, and the U.S. Branch Davidian sect whose stand-off with authorities ended in a deadly blaze in Waco, Texas.
"Self-immolation by burning oneself is one of the most notorious characteristics of the evil cults," the People's Daily said.
Reuters contributed to this report.