January 16, 2001

China Punishes 242 Members of Banned Sect


BEIJING, Jan. 15 China said today that it had punished 242 organizers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and sent an undisclosed number of followers to labor camps during an 18-month-old crackdown. The government statement appeared aimed at countering the movement's assertions that thousands of followers are in jails or labor camps. Since outlawing Falun Gong in July 1999, Beijing has only infrequently provided figures on those punished.

The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy says at least 10,000 Falun Gong members are being held in more than 300 labor camps.

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company

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