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The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
"Each protest over in seconds"
 real 28k

Hong Kong correspondent Damian Grammaticas
"Almost daily protests"
 real 28k

Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Falun Gong arrests in China
Policeman/Falun Gong member
A policeman (centre) tries to seize a banner from a Falun Gong member
Police in China have detained at least 50 members of the outlawed Falun Gong religious movement, as they staged a protest in Tiananmen Square.

The protest was part of a series of public events which the movement is staging in several countries around the world to mark its eighth anniversary.

Hundreds of uniformed and plain clothed police are on duty in the square trying to prevent demonstrations and arrest Falun Gong members.

The Chinese Government has banned Falun Gong as an evil cult and accuses it of causing more than 1,500 deaths by urging its followers not to take medicine.

More than 80 members of the movement have been jailed in China

Events to celebrate the anniversary are planned across the world, including Hong Kong - the only part of China where the movement is still legal - and New York where founder Li Hongzhi now lives.

Practitioners will mark the day when Li Hongzhi first began the practice of Falun Dafa in China.

The movement, which draws on Buddhist and Taoist philosophies, now claims to have up to 70 million followers worldwide.

Cat and mouse protests

Police barricades set up in Beijing have failed to stop the Falun Gong members gaining access to Tiananmen Square.

In Tiananmen Square small groups of protesters have been playing a cat and mouse game with police.

The Falun Gong members have staged a series of small demonstrations - such as displaying Falun Gong meditation techniques to unfurling banners - while police try to stop them.

But as soon as one group is arrested and bundled into police vans another group begins demonstrating in a different part of the vast square.

About 200 group members were arrested in Tiananmen Square on Thursday while marking Li Hongzhi's birthday.

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See also:

05 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
China rejects torture allegations
26 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong: Living in fear
13 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong protesters arrested
22 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
The complex Web of Falun Gong
28 Apr 99 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong: A new cult emerges
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