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The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Beijing
"Miss Zhao's family say her injuries were sustained during a severe beating"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 12:31 GMT
Falun Gong member dies after beating
Falun Gong member being arrested
Followers are arrested for practising the movement's exercises
A Chinese college professor who belonged to the banned Falun Gong movement has died from severe injuries received while in police custody, her family say.

Falun Gong crackdown
89 members have died in police custody
450 members jailed, some for up to 18 years
600 sent to mental hospitals
10,000 placed in labour camps
20,000 in temporary detention centres
(Information from a Hong Kong human rights group)
Zhao Xin died at her campus dormitory on Monday, six months after a beating by police left her partially paralysed with three crushed neck vertebrae, according to family and friends.

During her time in custody, the 32-year-old assistant professor at Beijing's Industry and Commerce University had also suffered bruised and swollen eyes, minor injuries to her head and difficulty with breathing, they said.

She was transferred from a Beijing detention centre to hospital in critical condition on June 22, four days after she was arrested.

The Falun Dafa online information centre says 89 members have died in police custody since the Chinese government outlawed the group in July last year. Most of them were tortured or beaten to death.

'Self-inflicted' injuries

The BBC's Beijing correspondent says Ms Zhao was arrested in a Beijing park in June for practising the slow meditative exercises that are promoted by the group, but banned by the government.

Falun Gong member
The sect believes in meditation
According to the Falun Gong's headquarters in New York, the police said Ms Zhao's injuries were self-inflicted, and that she had banged her head against a wall.

Ms Zhao's parents have tried to file a complaint with the Beijing procurator's office, but the office refused to accept their petition.

A lecturer at the college since 1992, Ms Zhao began practising Falun Gong in 1998.

She was arrested many times for appealing to the government to lift the ban and for practising the movement's exercises in public places.

US resident jailed

Her death follows the jailing of a United States resident for exposing the detention of Falun Gong members in mental hospitals.

Falun Gong
Thousands of Falun Gong members have been arrested
Teng Chunyan, 37, who is married to a US citizen and lives in New York, was jailed for three years on spying charges.

The 37-year-old female acupuncturist was the first overseas Falun Gong member to be tried in China, and only the second US green card holder.

Hong Kong human rights groups said she was accused of stealing, prying into, buying and illegally supplying state intelligence.

In Washington, the US Government said it was "deeply disturbed" by the jailing.

Human rights groups believe the government may be trying to make an example of Ms Teng to deter other foreign Falun Gong practitioners and activists from coming to China.

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See also:

21 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
UN-China rift on human rights
27 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
New Falun Gong protest broken up
05 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong arrests in Tiananmen Square
27 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
US warns China over Falun Gong trials
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