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Saturday, 29 January, 2000, 12:58 GMT
Sect members held over Mao protest

China banned Falun Gong last year


Police in China are reportedly holding members of the religious movement Falun Gong for trying to hang a giant portrait of their leader Li Hongzhi over the painting of Mao Tse Tung in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

It is believed that 12 mainland Falun Gong members, together with four followers from Hong Kong and Macao, were involved in the protest.

The 12 mainlanders are still being held, said the Hong Kong-based Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement.


tiananmen Tiananmen Square: Scene of protest
Beijing banned Falun Gong in July last year, calling them a threat to Communist Party control.

Li's blend of exercises, meditation, Buddhist and Taoist concepts and his own theories and rules has attracted millions of followers.

About 300 Falun Gong leaders face trial, while another 5,000 have been sent without trial to labour camps to undergo "re-education", the Hong Kong group said.

Labour camps

Last month, a Beijing court sentenced four Falun Gong leaders, including a former deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security, to up to 18 years in prison on charges ranging from stealing state secrets to causing deaths.

Earlier this month the United States cited crackdowns on Falun Gong in criticism of human rights abuses in China.

Washington said it would sponsor a resolution condemning China's human rights policies when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights met in Geneva in March.

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See also:
14 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
General jailed for Falun Gong links
11 Jan 00 |  Americas
US attacks China rights abuses
28 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong followers released
26 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
US warns China over Falun Gong trials
21 Nov 99 |  From Our Own Correspondent
China's perplexing crackdown
12 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong leader gets 12 years
12 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong urges end to ban
22 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
China bans sect
23 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Li Hongzhi: Cult leader or benign teacher?

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