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The BBC's Damian Grammaticas
"The movement says the two men who attempted to bring the case, have now been detained"
 real 28k

Monday, 9 October, 2000, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Falun Gong sues Chinese leader
Beijing protest
Followers have staged repeated protests in Beijing
Two followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have attempted to file a law suit against China's President Jiang Zemin, claiming his government's crackdown on the group is illegal.

Hong KOng practitioner
The movement is still legal in Hong Kong
Chu O-ming, 43, and Wang Jie, 37, say President Jiang and two other senior figures are personally responsible for the ban on the meditation sect.

Mr Chu, a Hong Kong businessman, and Mr Wang, a Beijing editor, have reportedly been detained by the Chinese authorities.

Their law suit alleges that President Jiang has damaged China's national image.

It also demands all Falun Gong followers who have been detained, jailed, or sent to labour camps be released, and that Mr Jiang apologise and compensate them.

Arrested

Falun Gong representatives in Hong Kong gave details of the law suit at a press conference on Monday.

Police drag away a Falun Gong protester
China's authorities want to stifle the movement
They said Mr Chu and Mr Wang were the first Falun Gong members to take legal action against the Chinese Government's suppression of the group.

Kan Hung-cheung, a Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesman, said the two men sent their lawsuit to the Chinese court on 29 August and were arrested in Beijing on 7 September.

Our correspondent says the challenge is unlikely to get far in the courts but is almost certain to antagonise China's leaders even further.

Ban

US-based Falun Gong groups say thousands have been detained since the Chinese Government outlawed the movement in July 1999.

China says it has jailed about 150 Falun Gong leaders.

Falun Gong combines meditation and exercise with teachings loosely rooted in Buddhism and Taoism.

Although the sect is banned in mainland China, it is still legal in Hong Kong.

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See also:

01 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Hundreds of Falun Gong arrests
04 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Leadership wrangles hit Falun Gong
29 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong launching own radio station
22 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
The complex Web of Falun Gong
26 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong: Living in fear
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