Another self-immolation incident: How Liu Baode loses his fingers

17 Apr


Falun Gong addict Liu Baode’s crippled hands resulted from self-burning (Photo)

During a get-together with several friends from Panshi City, Jilin Province, I heard of a tragic story: a veteran Falun Gong practitioner named Liu Baode, spell-bound by the cult, ridiculously thought he had become “an immortal”, and one day he crawled into the kitchen range in hope of ascending to heavens, got burnt in the fire, and lost seven fingers, leaving regret for life. The story aroused our interest, and we decided to call on him.

According to Xie Yongkui, head of the village, Liu Baode was born on July 21, 1964, and was a villager of Shili Village, Hongqiling Town, Panshi City. He had a son and a daughter who were now studying respectively in universities of Changchun City and Baishan City. Liu, together with his wife, made a living as farmer who owed a few hectares of farmland. Xie grew up with Liu Baode in the same village since they were children.

Following Xie Yongkui, we got to Baode’s home, which was a thatch hut surrounded by cornfield, standing alone at the southern end of the village. Unless you were led by someone familiar, you could hardly find it. Unfortunately nobody was home and we waited there for more than half an hour before a passerby told us that Liu Baode and his wife had gone uphill to harvest corns and they might come back home very late. Then we went back and came back again in the afternoon, unluckily still finding nobody at home. The village head said in a zealous manner that he knew Baode well enough to tell us his stories. So I began to chat with him over the stories about Liu Baode.

Xie told me that although most villagers here were Korean minority nationality, Liu Baode was among the few Han villagers, he got along well with his neighbors. In April 1998, illness-stricken Liu Baode was enticed into practicing Falun Gong in the hope of restoring his physical fitness, and soon became obsessed with the cult. Liu Baode indulged himself in Falun Gong practice, totally neglecting farming and disregarding school performance of his son and daughter. Just three months later Liu Baode was spell-bound, going off into flights of fancy that he had become an immortal, and began to find a way to “ascend into heavens”.

While we were chatting, Liu Baode’s wife Liang Shufen came back. On hearing why we came here, Liang was just filled with anger and annoyance: had Liu not been addicted to Falun Gong, he wouldn’t have been crippled; had he not been addicted to Falun Gong, the family wouldn’t have been in such a misery. It was Li Hongzhi who nearly ruined the whole family. Liang also recalled her husband’s experience: he started the practice in April 1998, and became more and more obsessed with the cult till he got spell-bound and mentally derailed.

On the evening of July 9, when Liu Baode was making a fire for cooking, he suddenly gave way to foolish fancies that he had exercised good enough to be an immortal, and that he could ascend to heavens by burning himself. So Liu Baode quickly stuck his hands and head into the kitchen range while his wife wand children were not taking notice of him, trying to kill himself in the fire and “ascend to heavens”. Having heard a strange noise and smelt an offensive odor, the two kids and Liang found Baode crawling into the fire. They immediately dragged him out, quenched the fire, and cried out in tears for help. By the time they took him out, Liu was already disfigured beyond recognition. With the help of our neighbors, Liang sent him for therapy to Dermatological Department for the Burnt at the Jiangbei Chemical Hospital in Jilin City.

Though he was burned beyond recognition, Liu Baode rejected any treatment until the best chance went by. In spite of strong objection from family members and doctors, Liu went back home and continued exercising Falun Gong. As a result his burned fingers were further infected. Later on, family members took him respectively to the No.222 Military Hospital in Jilin City and Burnt Therapy Hospital in Huadian City, but Liu stubbornly refused cooperation with doctors. Finally his burned fingers deteriorated into osteomyelitis and had to be amputated with only two thumbs and one index finger being left. The man was deprived of his basic working capability ever since.

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