C h i n a N e w s D i g e s t
December 27, 2000

International Falungong Members Demonstrate Against Beijing

[CND, 12/26/00] About 3,000 Falungong followers from 20 countries gathered in Taipei to demonstrate in support of their mainland counterparts, AFP reported on Monday. The Falungong practitioners marched through the bustling part of the city, some of them held up pictures of Chinese followers who were arrested, tortured, and standing trial. "We want to tell the world how Falungong practitioners are being persecuted in the mainland," said CHANG Ching-hsi, the organizer of the rally.

Aside from the local demonstrators, there are followers from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Denmark, and other countries. The founder of Falungong, LI Hongzhi, chose not to attend the event for fear it could be seen as politically motivated by Beijing, the report said. (Mei HUI, YIN De An)

Anti-Cult Association Seminar Discusses Human Rights in China

[CND, 12/26/00] The China Anti-Cult Association, an unofficial organization established last month to support the government's anti-cult policies and measures, held its first seminar during last weekend to discuss human rights issues on the government's crackdown of spiritual sect, such as Falungong, AFP reported Sunday, citing People's Daily and other state press.

The seminar, which consisted of some 100 Chinese politicians, legal experts, scientists, and religious leaders, concluded that the measures the Chinese government took over last 17 months in condemning the Falungong sect were necessary to protect human rights for majority of Chinese people. The crackdown has drawn a great attention and has been criticized by many human rights groups around world, the newspaper said.

"The banning of the 'Falungong' religious cult by our nation's government is completely aimed at safeguarding and maintaining human rights," the seminar delegates were quoted by the newspaper as saying. The seminar also believes that fighting against religious cults to protect human rights should become the common task of every government and people around the world.

Falungong, a spiritual group established by the exile LI Hongzhi, believes in Confucian and Buddhist moral values through exercising breathing and meditation, was first endorsed and then banned later by the government. Beijing had discovered that the group recruited a tremendous number of followers, many of them government officials. The Falungong was investigated, then labeled a so-called cult by the Chinese leaders, said other news agencies.

According to the London-based Amnesty International earlier this month, at least 77 jailed followers died in government custody or after they were released. The number is increasing. Amnesty International believes that the Chinese government is guilty of violating human rights by continuously cracking down on the Falungong, while at the same time promising to protect human rights in China.

In addition, the association also opened its website <www.anticult.org>, which provides official information pertaining to cracking down on outlawed spiritual groups. However, no information of detained followers is available on the site. (SUN Xiaoan, YIN De An)

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