Chinese businessman helps immolation victims undergo surgeries in NY

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-8 14:20:31

Two former Falun Gong practitioners who suffered horrific burns after setting themselves on fire in Beijing in 2001 will undergo surgery at a hospital in New York, Chinese businessman and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao said Tuesday.

Chen said he was paying personally for a series of medical procedures the two women will receive. The total amount is expected to exceed $2 million, including traveling, lodging and some other expenses.

"I'm very happy to help Hao Huijun and Chen Guo receive the best medical attention possible," Chen told a press conference.

"They have suffered tremendously and we are all hopeful that these surgeries will allow them to regain some sense of normalcy in their lives," he added.

The mother and daughter, Hao and Chen Guo, will each undergo approximately six to eight surgeries during the course of at least six months.

Doctors will use tissues from other parts of their bodies to reconstruct the damaged body parts.

Though it is impossible to repair all the damages due to the graveness of the burns, the surgery will significantly improve their appearances, according to the doctors.

"Falun Gong is a cult. It destroyed my whole life, and took away my precious youth," said Chen Guo, who set herself ablaze when she was a 19-year-old girl.

"Li Hongzhi is a big liar and he deceived us," she told the press conference, expressing her thanks for the efforts Chen has made to help them recover.

"Falun Gong is a cult, and Li Hongzhi is not God," Hao said, urging other Falun Gong followers not to believe what Li has said.

They also denied that they were government plants, saying the self-immolation was their own fault.

Chen Guo, 32, was a former student at China's Central Conservatory of Music specializing in Pipa (Chinese lute). Both Chen Guo and her mother, a former middle school teacher, were Falun Gong practitioners.

On January 23, 2001, Chen Guo and several other Falun Gong practitioners were duped into committing self-immolations at the Tian'anmen Square, leaving two dead and three seriously injured, including the mother and daughter.

Due to serious injuries and complications, Hao and her daughter had received nine-month-long treatment at the Jishuitan Hospital in Beijing before being transferred to hospitals in the central Henan province, their hometown, to receive further recovery care.

The Falun Gong cult was established in China by Li Hongzhi in 1992, and was banned by the government in 1999.

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