"Banned China Sect Members Protest"

("Associated Press", November 17, 1999)

BEIJING (AP) -- Several members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement staged a brief protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Wednesday before police forced them into a van and drove them away.
Four women, a man and a young child performed slow meditation exercises on the vast square's pavement in the latest act of defiance against the government's four-month campaign to vanquish the group.
Plainclothes and uniformed police quickly detained them. Chinese media and a human rights group reported, meanwhile, that 16 Falun Gong adherents in various cities across the country had been formally arrested on various charges, including disclosing state secrets, incitement to create disorder, organizing illegal gatherings and sales of illegal publications.
Since banning the popular group in July as a threat to society and the regime, the communist government has ordered millions of believers to renounce their beliefs or face arrest. But followers have converged on the capital to appeal, arguing that Falun Gong is not a threat and improves health and morality.
Five suspected Falun Gong members in the northeastern city of Changchun were arrested in the past two weeks, the state-run newspaper Science and Technology Daily reported Wednesday.
Those arrested included Xu Yanquan, who it said headed the movement in Changchun, the hometown of Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi and a stronghold for the group. Three others -- Zhang Guoliang, Deng Jin and Lu Yuzhong -- were accused of selling Falun Gong publications, the newspaper said.
Falun Gong is an offshoot of traditional schools of slow-motion exercise. It blends ideas from Buddhism and Taoism with those of its founder, Li Hongzhi, who now lives in the United States.
Falun Gong was practiced openly in public parks and parking lots before the ban. Stung by its inability to wipe out Falun Gong, Chinese leaders intensified their crackdown last month -- ordering new arrests, branding the group ``an evil cult'' and having the Communist Party-dominated legislature revise a law on sects to provide for harsher penalties.


"Annan avoids criticizing China over Falun Gong"

("Kyodo News Service", November 16, 1999)

BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Kyodo) - U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Tuesday avoided publicly criticizing China's crackdown on the Falun Gong movement as a handful of members staged a demonstration in Beijing.
At Tiananmen Square police hauled away up to 20 Falun Gong members who began practicing in meditative poses and unfurled a Falun Gong banner.
Soon after, Annan, making a four-day visit to China from Sunday, said he had a ''better understanding of the issues involved'' in China's crackdown, which was intensified last month along with its official labeling of Falun Gong as an ''evil cult.''
''In dealing with this issue, the fundamental rights of citizens will be respected,'' Annan told reporters.
Apparently referring to the Chinese government's orders for the police crackdown on the group, Annan also said, ''The actions they are taking are for the protection of individuals.''
Annan's comments will disappoint Falun Gong believers, a number of whom have written letters to the U.N. chief appealing to him to pressure the Chinese government to stop the crackdown.
Before arriving in China, Annan said during a visit to Japan he was puzzled by China's crackdown on Falun Gong and would raise the issue with Chinese leaders.
Falun Gong practitioners, who claim a global membership of 100 million, share a belief in the beneficial effects of traditional Chinese breathing exercises and their ''Master'' Li Hongzhi's mystical teachings combining Buddhist and Taoist theory.
China began its first known trial of Falun Gong members last Friday, jailing four practitioners for up to 12 years in the southern island province of Hainan.
During the press conference, Annan acknowledged the emergence of tensions in the world from differing opinions over the relative importance of sovereignty and humanitarian intervention in other countries by multistate organizations.
He said he hopes the United Nations will be able to solve these tensions associated with ''how to reconcile the need to protect state sovereignty and individuals within the state.''
China's criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's bombing campaign in Kosovo as violating Yugoslavia's sovereignty soared after its own embassy was bombed.


"Falun Gong protests as Annan visits China"

by Benjamin Kang Lim ("Reuters", November 16, 1999)

BEIJING, Nov 16 (Reuters) - At least 15 defiant members of China's banned Falun Gong spiritual movement staged a bold protest in Tiananmen Square on Tuesday, unfurling a banner during a visit by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to Beijing.
Witnesses said plainclothes police detained the practitioners shortly after they held up a 10-foot (three-metre) red banner reading: ``Falun Dafa'' -- another name for Falun Gong.
A Hong Kong-based human rights watchdog said 30 adherents were rounded up in the morning and two more in the afternoon.
It was a highly unusual display of civil disobedience on the vast square, the political heart of China, although scores of Falun Gong members have protested silently there since the government decreed their movement an ``evil cult'' last month.
Police pulled down the banner and pushed down the arms of practitioners, who were holding them up, apparently trying to practise Falun Gong -- calisthenics designed to harness inner energy and heal, mixed with Buddhist and Taoist beliefs.
Police smacked some of the protesters on the head as they were piled into a police van, which sped off, accidentally hitting a Chinese woman bystander and narrowly missing a Canadian tourist, one witness said.
The Chinese woman appeared shaken but not seriously hurt, the witness said.
It was unclear if she was a Falun Gong member.


Security was tight around the United Nations Development Programme in Beijing, with police standing guard, roads sealed off and the compound ringed by razor wire in an apparent attempt to prevent Falun Gong followers from petitioning Annan.
The Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said practitioners urged Annan in an open letter to pay attention to human rights violations.
The letter, signed by about 3,000 adherents from three cities, detailed about 200 cases of alleged police abuse against Falun Gong followers, the centre said.
Annan said after a two-hour meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan that he had been given a full explanation of how Beijing viewed Falun Gong.
``I think I leave here with a better understanding of some of the issues involved,'' Annan told reporters.
Annan quoted Tang as saying: ``In dealing with this issue, the fundamental rights of citizens will be respected, and some of the actions they are taking are for the protection of individuals.''
Before arriving in Beijing on Sunday, Annan said he was puzzled by China's harsh crackdown on the movement and would raise the issue with Chinese leaders.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi denied the allegations of persecution and told reporters that Annan ``fully understood'' the action China was taking.
Falun Gong members and international human rights groups have accused police of brutality in the crackdown on the movement.
The human rights group alleged at least six Falun Gong members had died in custody. The government has named three, but denies maltreatment.
Last Friday, China jailed four Falun Gong leaders in the southern island province of Hainan for up to 12 years, in the first known trial of members.
They were convicted of organising illegal protests.


More than 100 Falun Gong leaders have been formally arrested in the crackdown and are expected to face trial. Many more members are under various forms of administrative detention, like labour camps, which are not subject to the judicial process.
The government banned Falun Gong in July and has vowed to wipe it out.
U.S.-based Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi has defended his movement, saying it is apolitical and poses no threat to Communist rule. Li preaches salvation from a world corrupted by science, technology and decadence.
China's Communist rulers saw Falun Gong as one of the biggest threats to their grip on power in April after more than 10,000 members staged a surprise, silent protest outside Beijing's Zhongnanhai leadership compound to demand official recognition.
The movement claims 100 million members worldwide. The government says two million is a more accurate figure.
The group has burrowed its way into the ranks of the Communist Party, the government and the military. It has also attracted support from the most vulnerable sections of society, including the unemployed, the elderly and the sick.
The government has blamed Falun Gong for the deaths of about 1,400 practitioners. Falun Gong discourages adherents from seeking medical help.


"Persecution of the Falun Gong"

by E. J. Dionne Jr. ("The Washington Post", November 16, 1999)

American politicians are always being lectured to think about how their actions and statements look to people in other countries. It's a fair thing to worry about, given our power and our claims to moral leadership. But if any group needs a crash course on how to avoid alienating the rest of us, surely it's China's Communist leadership.
They are, as the spinmeisters would say, the most consistently "off message" group of politicians in the entire world. Here is China trying to get into the World Trade Organization. Its political and business allies (aided by highly paid Western "consultants") keep saying that expanded trade and more open markets will inevitably lead China to political freedom and respect for human rights. But President Jiang Zemin can't even stick to the script for public consumption.
The latest outrage committed by his government is the ruthless persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong, which mixes exercises and meditation derived from Buddhism and Taoism with some elements of its own. There is absolutely nothing subtle about this campaign of roundups and arrests.
The People's Daily, the Communist Party's paper, hails a new law against "cults" as "a powerful weapon to smash evil cultist organizations, especially Falun Gong. Evil cults are a cancer in society and an international phenomenon that no responsible government can tolerate." In other words: Religious freedom is a right the Chinese government cannot tolerate. Falun Gong's persecution has rightly engaged the concern of groups that battle on behalf of religious freedom for Christians.
They understand that religious liberty is indivisible.
Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House, says the Chinese government's campaign against Falun Gong is of a piece with its war against all independent religious groups, including Christian churches. "Falun Gong has felt the brunt of it recently because they have been so visible," Shea says. But the government's principle that "there should be no organizations outside their purview and control" applies to every religious and social group.
Shea notes that the Chinese government has studied the role of the churches in bringing down Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe 10 years ago. Still, Jiang's militancy against Falun Gong is mysterious, even to some within his own government.
As John Pomfret reported in The Washington Post from Beijing, the campaign has exposed the Chinese ruling class's "weaknesses, insecurities and internal divisions to audiences at home and abroad." Jiang, Pomfret said, apparently thought Falun Gong would be an "easy target" and was alarmed when he "learned people close to him were followers of the group.
" Many Communists and former Communists, disillusioned because the party now seems to stand for nothing except the retention of power, have reportedly been drawn to Falun Gong. Rabbi David Saperstein, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, says he has received reports that membership in the spiritual group may now outstrip membership in the Communist Party. Its ranks include influential people in the party, the government and the military. China's economic downturn has heightened the government's fears. "There seems to be more restlessness than at any time since Tiananmen Square," Saperstein says. If the cause of religious freedom isn't enough to excite you, what about freedom of the press?
Last Wednesday, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China protested that its members had been "subjected to blatant harassment by police and security agents simply because they had covered the activities of Falun Gong practitioners." Reporters "have been followed, detained, interrogated and threatened.
" With all this talk of "free trade," what about the free exchange of ideas? But it would appear we're not going to let a little religious persecution get in the way of commerce.
President Clinton yesterday proudly announced that the United States and China had reached agreement on terms for China's entry into the World Trade Organization. The agreement, he said, would "advance the rule of law." Which rules and which law were left unclear. But perhaps Falun Gong can now turn its faith into a product and appeal to the WTO in the name of open markets for the right to preach--excuse me, "sell"--its ideas.
At the very least, China's business allies and lobbyists might risk some trade deals and consulting fees to send a modest message to the Chinese leadership: Americans, whether religious or secular, don't like religious persecution and government crackdowns on independent groups. China's lobbyists might usefully tell Jiang that thanks to his government, they're looking increasingly foolish. They keep arguing that trade will improve China's human rights situation, but he keeps making it worse.


"China Defends Ban of Falun Gong"

by Renee Schoof ("Associated Press", November 16, 1999)

BEIJING (AP) - China defended its prohibition of a spiritual movement to visiting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday and authorities hurriedly took away 20 Falun Gong members who unfurled a banner in Tiananmen Square.
Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told Annan its policy on the sect is designed to prevent criminal activity. The government banned the Falun Gong four months ago as a threat to society.
Annan, who earlier expressed concern about the government's campaign, said Tang gave him ``a full explanation as to how the government sees the group'' and that he now has ``a better understanding'' of the issues involved.
``In dealing with this issue, the fundamental rights of citizens will be respected and some of the actions they are taking are for the protection of individuals,'' the secretary-general said.
Falun Gong members have complained of police beatings, illegal detentions and imprisonment in labor camps without trial and have repeatedly appealed for Annan's help.
In briefing reporters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi reiterated that Chinese policy aims to punish ``criminals who mastermind and calculate the criminal activities'' and not ordinary Falun Gong followers. Sun denied any persecution was taking place.
``I think this question has already been fully understood by the majority of people in the world and also Mr. Kofi Annan himself,'' Sun said.
Trying to catch Annan's attention, 20 Falun Gong members unfurled a banner in Tiananmen Square and meditated before Chinese police kicked and pushed them into a van.
The protesters, both young and old, stood on the vast square quietly with feet spread slightly, their arms stretched above their heads in a posture of meditation. Behind them, others held up a red banner reading: ``The Great Way of Falun.''
Paramilitary police ran over and yanked it down. Plainclothes and uniformed officers then swarmed over the protesters.
So hurriedly did the police attempt to end the protest that the van full of detainees drove off and knocked down a woman standing in the surrounding crowd. It was not clear if she and others in front of the van were protesters trying to stop it or onlookers who got in the way.


"Police Detain Falun Gong Sect Members"

("Associated Press", November 16, 1999)

BEIJING (AP) -- Trying to catch visiting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's attention, 20 members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement unfurled a banner in Tiananmen Square today and meditated before Chinese police kicked and pushed them into a van.
Annan was elsewhere, preparing to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan.
On Friday in Tokyo, Annan expressed concern about the crackdown on Falun Gong. He said today that Tang gave him a full explanation of the government's view and that he now better understood ``some of the issues involved.''
Annan said Tang told him the fundamental rights of citizens would be protected.
Since banning the popular group in July as a threat to society and the regime, the communist government has ordered millions of believers to renounce their beliefs or face arrest. But followers have converged on the capital to appeal, arguing that Falun Gong is not a threat and improves health and morality.
Falun Gong members have appealed repeatedly for help from the United Nations.
Today the protesters, both young and old, stood on the vast square quietly with feet spread slightly, their arms stretched above their heads in a posture of meditation. Behind them, others held up a red banner reading: ``The Great Way of Falun.''
Paramilitary police ran over and yanked it down. Plainclothes and uniformed officers swarmed over the protesters, grabbing them, kicking some and putting them into a van.
So hurriedly did the police attempt to end the protest that the van full of detainees drove off and knocked down a woman standing in the surrounding crowd. It was not clear if she and others in front of the van were protesters trying to stop it or onlookers who got in the way.
Another two practitioners were detained this afternoon while doing exercises on the square, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.
Falun Gong is an offshoot of traditional schools of slow-motion exercise. Blending ideas from Buddhism and Taoism with those of its founder, ex-government clerk Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong was practiced openly in public parks and parking lots before the ban.
In one letter addressed to Annan, 305 followers said the government suppressed studies proving Falun Gong's merits. It asked Annan to send an independent panel to determine whether Falun Gong was beneficial or harmful.
Those who signed gave their addresses or work places, including hospitals, companies, scientific research associations and universities.
``Our teacher, Mr. Li Hongzhi, has always taught us to be truthful, virtuous and tolerant,'' said the letter, a copy of which was given to The Associated Press.
Another letter asking Annan to pay attention to violations of Falun Gong members' rights carried 3,000 signatures and included the names of 200 people allegedly beaten in detention by police, the center said.
Three people who organized the signature drive disappeared and may have been detained, the group said.
Scores of believers who refuse to recant have been sent to labor camps without trial. In addition, four leaders of the group were sentenced to two to 12 years in prison in southern Hainan province Friday in the first of what is expected to be a series of trials.


"Falun Gong members write to U.N. on human rights"

("Reuters", November 15, 1999)

HONG KONG, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong has urged U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to investigate human rights violations in China, a human rights group said on Monday.
Falun Gong adherents in Beijing, Shanghai and the provinces of Jilin, Sichuan and Hebei had written five letters to Annan, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human Rights & Democratic Movement in China.
The letters denied China's accusation that Falun Gong is an ``evil cult'' and urged the United Nations to investigate the allegation, the group said.
The letters said the Chinese government had illegally detained and beat Falun Gong members in a crackdown on the banned movement, which teaches a blend of Buddhism, Taoism and callisthenics.
China had arrested scores of Falun Gong followers since banning the movement in July.
Annan, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday and is scheduled to meet Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, said last week he was ``a bit puzzled'' by the government's reaction to the spiritual movement and would raise the issue in Beijing.
The letters also urged the United Nations to send officials to observe forthcoming trials of Falun Gong members to ensure they were conducted fairly, the group said.


"Falun Gong Members Appeal to Annan"

("Associated Press", November 15, 1999)

BEIJING (AP) - Members of the banned Falun Gong sect have appealed to visiting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to organize a U.N. team to make an independent study of the group, a Hong Kong-based human rights monitor said Monday.
Beijing banned Falun Gong in July as a threat to social stability and the political monopoly of the Communist Party. Courts recently have been ordered to prosecute leading members under the nation's law against cults.
Falun Gong members in Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces of Jilin, Sichuan and Hebei have sent letters to Annan seeking an independent study that would give a fair evaluation of whether Falun Gong is a cult, the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China reported.
The letters argue that the rights of Falun Gong members have been violated through illegal detentions and beatings in custody, the Information Center said. They also ask the United Nations to send observers to trials of Falun Gong leaders.
The Hong Kong-based center also said a court in the city of Shijiazhuang in north China's Hebei province has tried Falun Gong member Xu Xingmu on a charge of leaking state secrets for telling other practitioners about a speech by President Jiang Zemin calling for pressure on Falun Gong in June.
The court has not released the verdict but informed Xu's family that the trial took place on Nov. 8, the center said.

Ancient Chinese religion snubs Falun Gong

by Nailene Chou Wiest ("Reuters", November 15, 1999)

GUIXI, China, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The outlawed Falun Gong traces its roots to ancient Taoist doctrines but if you ask the priests at one of the holiest Taoist sites, the spiritual movement has borrowed a bit too loosely.
``Falun Gong purloins some of our terms,'' said Ni Aixin, a young Taoist priest at the Supreme Purity Palace nestled in the hills of central China.
``It has nothing to do with Taoism,'' said the priest, clad in a blue robe as he ambled around the vast temple compound.
Falun Gong has been officially branded an ``evil cult'' and the well-oiled propaganda machine of the ruling Communist Party has been put into high gear to attack the movement.
More than 100 of its leaders have been arrested and four of them have been jailed for up to 12 years.
Falun Gong followers, like Taoists, practice qigong, or the art of breathing and slow motion exercises believed to strengthen and heal.
But Chen Yaoting, a scholar of Taoist canons at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said Falun Gong's vision of a world that would end was fundamentally at odds with Taoism.
``Taoists want to live a happy and healthy life in this world forever,'' he said. ``They seek immortality.''


Meticulously laid out according to the Taoist cosmology and fraught withsymbolism, the vast temple compound was once the ducal palace of the Heavenly Teacher, the ``pope'' of Taoism, who traced his lineage back to the religion's founder Zhang Daoling in the second century A.D.
Since its opening to the public in 1983, a few years after economic reforms began, the temple has received more than three million visitors and attracted generous benefactors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
``Wherever there is a Chinese community, you find Taoism,'' Ni said. ``Taoism is a thoroughly indigenous Chinese religion.''
Taoists follow the Way (Tao), the source of all being, to lead a completely spontaneous life, free of strife.

While philosophical Taoism, traceable to Lao Tzu in the 6th century, B.C., seeks to attain the ideal through simplicity and enlightenment, religious Taoism searches for immortality through divination, breathing exercises, alchemy and other magic.
The Taoist religion has a very loose structure and no reliable estimates of believers can be made, because many Taoists do not go to the temple, and those who do are not all Taoists, according to the Association of Taoists in Beijing.
Unofficial estimates put Taoist believers at 100 million, which Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, claims to be also the size of his following.
The Taoist Heavenly Teacher has no bureaucratic control over the 25,000 registered Taoist priests in China and is not looked upon as an arbiter of morals, an Association official said.


Throughout Chinese history, the Taoist religion has received imperial patronage and the ``Heavenly Teacher'' has had the hereditary title of grand duke since the 13th century.
The 63rd, and the last, Heavenly Teacher died in Taiwan in 1963, and his grandson Zhang Jintao now presides over the sprawling five-hectare (12.35-acre) compound as the unofficial ``pope.''
The Supreme Purity Palace is thickly populated with deities drawn from folk legends, historical personas and figures representing various professions.
A separate hall is dedicated to the god of wealth, whose popularity in the market economy has eclipsed that of the goddess of fertility in a country where one-child policy is the law.
Ni said people came to pray for health and wealth, peace for the family and the country.
``To be a good Taoist, you must be a patriot at heart.''


"Falungong members punished ahead of UN chief's visit to China"

("France Presse", November 14, 1999)

BEIJING, Nov 14 (AFP) - Members of the banned Falungong spiritual group continued to be arrested and sent to labour camps as practitioners on Sunday tried to seek help from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who arrived here on a four-day visit.
In anticipation of Annan's arrival, a Chinese couple who practice Falungong approached a foreign journalist in Beijing Sunday asking how they could voice their grievances to Annan.
"We want to get the real truth about Falungong out. No one here would listen to us. We have no choice but to try and talk to journalists and Mr. Annan," one of them said.
They had heard Annan would be arriving Sunday and sought out journalists to try to contact him.
Annan, who is here on a four-day visit as part of a two-week tour of Japan, China and Turkey, had said in Japan he was puzzled by Chinese authorities' treatment of the spiritual group.
He said he would discuss the Falungong's treatment with the Chinese authorities during his visit and he hoped for "full and frank" talks.
"In the meantime I hope that any action that the government takes will be in conformity with the basic requirements of the universal declaration of human rights and the Chinese constitution," Annan said.
Newspapers read in Beijing Sunday reported continued crackdowns on Falungong practitioners throughout China.
Five people were sentenced to labour camp in the northern Chinese city of Chengde and a 37-year-old doctor was sent to forced labour "reeducation" in the municipality of Chongqing in southwest China, the Hebei Daily and Chongqing Daily reported Sunday.
The doctor, who worked at the Jianglu City People's Hospital and was an organizer of the branch there, was sentenced to 18 months in a labour camp.
He is accused of taking the train with 17 other members to Beijing on September 18 to participate in silent demonstrations against the ban on the group, the Chongqing Daily said.
He is also accused of organizing a silent demonstration on September 26 in Hebei province's Sansha city and was arrested there on charges of seriously damaging social order, the paper said.
In the northwestern city of Urumqi, 20 Falungong practitioners were arrested recently for refusing to give it up, the Xinjiang Dushi Daily said.
And in the southern Chinese city of Xiamen, five others were taken into custody for practicing the meditation exercises in parks and public areas, the Fujian Daily said.
In Liaoning province in northeastern China, six Communist Party members were expelled from the party for participating in Falungong activities, the Liaoning Daily said.
A Hong Kong-based rights group said at least 300 members of the banned Falungong group are awaiting trial in China, while up to 1,000 are expected to be sent without trial for "education through labor" in camps.
On Friday, four Falungong leaders were jailed for between two to 12 years.
The Falungong group practices traditional Chinese meditation and breathing exercises and advocates high moral values.
It greatly rattled China's leaders with a 10,000 strong protest against attacks on the group in front of Communist Party headquarters in Beijing in April.
The government outlawed the sect in July and last month passed regulations which give courts wide-ranging powers to prosecute practitioners.


"Policeman charged under 'evil religion' law"

by Vivien Pik-Kwan Chan ("South China Morning Post", November 6, 1999)

A police officer who convened a secret Falun Gong press conference in Beijing has been arrested and charged with "using an evil religion to violate the law", human rights activists said. Wang Zhiguo, 37, a Communist Party member who practised Falun Gong, went to Beijing from Liaoning province on October 15 to protest against the Government ban on the sect, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.
He was among 30 practitioners who held the briefing on October 28 to air their grievances to foreign media.
Beijing leaders were alarmed by the continuous defiance of Falun Gong members, and especially by the press conference, held amid an intensified crackdown on the sect and tight surveillance in the capital.
Wang, who served for 13 months as a policeman at the Anshan public security bureau following 18 years' army service, is expected to be severely punished for statements condemning the crackdown, given the sensitiveness of his calling.
Journalists attending the press conference quoted Wang as saying he had been pressured to renounce Falun Gong after the ban.
He refused, and said he took his police uniform off for the last time on October 15 to join the hundreds of protesting practitioners converging on Beijing.
The centre revealed that three more principal sect members had been arrested.
It identified the three women as Yong Fang, Wang Wei, and Shang Fengzhi, who were charged with being involved in an "illegal gathering that disrupted social stability" in Beijing and Liaoning, and "using an evil religion to violate the law".
The provinces of Liaoning and Jilin have each established special offices to deal with the Falun Gong sect, headed by the politics and law committees of the provincial Communist Party.

What Is Falun Gong? See "Falun Gong 101", by Massimo Introvigne


CESNUR reproduces or quotes documents from the media and different sources on a number of religious issues. Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions expressed are those of the document's author(s), not of CESNUR or its directors.

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