Police in Qingdao, Shandong Province, on Monday announced the arrests of 16 Falun Gong practitioners who allegedly staged pictures depicting scenes of torture.
Acting on tip-offs, police raided a residence in a village on May 2, where they found those practitioners led by suspect Lu Xueqin acting out torture scenes.
Some suspects were found on the ground with red-colored fluids on their bodies, pretending they had been tortured. Some were acting as the ones torturing others, holding batons in the air, while some others pretended to help them by pinning down the "victims."
Pictures show a uniformed man pulling the hair of a shirtless man, whose "blood-stained" fingers are being pulled by one man while another man simultaneously pushes a toothbrush into the webbing between his fingers. Another picture showed the same shirtless man sitting on the ground, with his body tightly bound with ropes and "blood" smeared on his back, fingers and toes.
Yuan Shaohua, one of the suspects, said the blood was a mixture of cola and tomato paste, adding that while he carried out the fake beating, his fellow practitioners took pictures. He was told that the pictures would be uploaded to the Internet, but it was not clear why.
The fabricated torture pictures are very similar to those accusing China of persecuting Falun Gong practitioners on websites, according to police, adding that the practitioners, led by Lu Xueqin, attempted to fake photos of practitioners being cruelly tortured in prison.
A list of 25 torture techniques on two pages of paper was found. The acts that were already photographed have been marked. The case is under investigation.
The Chinese government banned the cult in 1999, accusing the group of using religion as a means of brainwashing practitioners, coaxing money from them and even encouraging self-immolations in order to reach spiritual fulfillment.