C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
August 18, 1999
Trial of Key Falungong Members to Start Next Month[CND, 08/17/99] The Chinese government will start the trial of key members of the outlawed Falungong at the end of next month, just before the nations 50th anniversary celebration, the Hong Kong Standard reported on Monday.
The family members of detained Falungong leaders are prohibited from visiting them. The phone lines of their homes are also disconnected to prevent family members from contacting foreign media.
In recent meeting at Beidaihe, China's senior leaders has made a decision on initiating a second round of ideological campaign to condemn the sect. The first round of the campaign was to persuade participants of the Falungong to cut off ties with the sect. The party's propaganda machine is required to prepare to influence the public opinion during the trials of the key members of the sect.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, LI Peng, in his role as the parliamentary speaker, declared that the campaign against the sect was "a serious ideological political struggle. The appearance of the Falungong problem is not accidental," he said. "We must draw a lesson from this and really strengthen the education of officials and the masses in the ideals and beliefs of socialism and communism." JIANG Zemin, the Secretary General of the party, also stated that the crackdown of the sect was necessary for national stability. (Xiao PING, WU Yiyi)
Xiang Gong Activities Watched by Police[CND, 08/17/99] In the wake of the Falungong movement, the Chinese police has begun to keep an eye on another Qigong organization, Xiang Gong, which boasts about having 30 million members, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China, AFP reported on Saturday.
"Because Xiang Gong has many practitioners who are also Communist Party officials and like [Falungong] has an organizational structure, Xiang Gong could also become a serious target of Chinese President JIANG Zemin," the center explained.
Founded by TIAN Ruisheng in 1988, Xiang Gong now has more than 1,200 practice centers in the nation. Most of the participants are elderly people. (Joyce ZHOU, YIN De An)