China Charges Falungong
With Leaking State Secrets
BEIJING (Agence France Presse) - Members of the banned Falungong sect have obtained and leaked state secrets, including top secret documents, China's official Xinhua news agency said Monday.
Police had evidence Falungong members possessed 59 "classified" state documents, 20 of which were graded "top-secret," it said in a report hours after police rounded up members of the group in Beijing who had gathered to protest a new anti-cult law.
The group had "political motives" and "used the Internet to spread rumors based on information in their ill-gotten state documents, which has created disturbances for the government and disrupted social stability," Xinhua said.
The report cited police as saying Li Tianming, head of the Falungong's Weifang instruction center in eastern China's Shandong province, collected documents issued by the General Office of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
He allegedly copied the documents and distributed them, as well as drafting a "so-called open letter addressing the state leaders."
"Police said the illegal Falungong organization has provided at least ten classified state documents to overseas individuals or organizations," Xinhua said.
Earlier Monday, police rounded up dozens of Falungong followers who gathered on and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square Monday to protest new anti-cult legislation.
As they were driven away, the bus-load of protesters loudly chanted "Falun Dafa is good, Falun Dafa is good," using the Chinese term for the Buddhist-style teachings of the spiritual group.
The bus, with at least one policeman on board, had a heavy escort of police vehicles, a witness said.
Before leaving the area it was driven onto a sidewalk and stopped in front of the Great Hall of the People, where legislators were discussing a further crackdown on Falungong activities. Police closed the bus windows to prevent tourists hearing the chanting, the witness said.
Legislators were reviewing a draft law aimed at stamping out "heretic cults such as the now banned Falungong sect," Xinhua said in an earlier report.
The draft legislation urges law-enforcement agencies across China to be on the alert for possible cult activities.
"Heretic cults" such as the Falungong "have seriously undermined social stability, endangered economic growth, the safety of people's lives and property, and must be effectively curbed," Xinhua said, quoting a senior legislator at the National People's Congress meeting.
The legislation would also tell local governments to distinguish between the hard-core leadership of the Falungong and their "deceived" followers, who would be re-educated rather than treated as criminals.
Falungong members in various cities in China have reportedly held ongoing demonstrations since the group -- which practises Buddhist-style meditation and traditional Chinese philosophy -- was banned on July 22 after a mass demonstration outside government headquarters here.
Authorities have described it as the biggest threat to the regime since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, which ended in bloodshed when tanks were ordered in.
Human-rights groups say people refusing to give up their beliefs have been arrested, beaten and tortured in police custody and sent to labor "re-education" camp in a nationwide effort to make Falungong followers give up their allegiance to the group and its US-based leader Li Hongzhi. (c) 1999 Agence France Presse.