- BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese
have detained 35,792 followers of the outlawed Falungong spiritual
group in the four months since the group was banned, a Hong Kong-based
rights group said Monday.
- New statistics on the nationwide crackdown were reported
by Politburo Standing Committee member Li Lanqing at a meeting held in
the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing on Friday, the Information
Center for Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.
- The meeting was
attended by more than 3,000 officials
from the propaganda bureau, the
official worker's union, the military,
the Beijing party committee, the
armed police and other party organs, it
- Most of the police action took
place between July 20
and 22, when more than 26,000 followers of the
banned group were rounded
up around Tiananmen Square in
- They had come to Beijing to lodge official complaints
pending ban, the center said.
- The Falungong group, which practices group morning
and meditation exercises and advocates clean living, was
banned as a threat
to Communist Party power on July 23.
- More than 2,500
followers were rounded up in the weeks
following the ban, while 4,230
people were detained in the last week of
October as group members
attempted to lodge official complaints over being
sect" by the state-controlled press.
- Since the end of October, the
government has been holding
a series of trials against the leaders of
the group who have been charged
with using sects or "evil
religion" to violate the law. Sentences
have been as long as 12
- The government has maintained they will only prosecute
the leaders of the group which boasts tens of millions of followers, while
ordinary followers will be released after undergoing "education"
- Most of the detainees are believed to have been
although many have been sentenced to the administrative
punishment of "education
- "Since July 20, not a day
has gone by that has been
peaceful, not a day has gone by where
Falungong members hoping to lodge
complaints have not been
detained," Li reportedly said at the meeting.
- "The struggle against
Falungong is a long-term arduous
and complicated struggle as many
Falungong members are universally headstrong
and determined," he
to 60 Falungong members were detained daily during
the visit of UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan to China earlier this month,
student from the prestigious Qinghua University was grabbed before
unfurling a Falungong banner during October 1 National Day festivities,
- No mention of Friday's meeting was made in the official
although Xinhua news agency and the People's Daily on Saturday continued
to editorialize the importance to the future of the Communist Party to
completely eradicate the group.