Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Text of Chinese parliament resolution banning "heretic cults"
The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress - or parliament - on Saturday passed a legislative resolution banning what it described as "heretic cult organizations".
Without referring to the banned Falun Gong movement by name, the resolution ordered "severe" measures against the "handful of criminals" who organized the "cults", while exempting the majority of "deceived" members from prosecution.
The law called for improved legal education for the whole public and said that the drive against "cults" went hand in hand with the protection of what it called "normal religious activities".
The following is the text of the resolution, as published by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua : To maintain social stability, protect the interests of the people, safeguard reform and opening up and the construction of a modern socialist country, it is necessary to ban heretic cult organizations and prevent and punish cult activities.
Based on the constitution and other related laws, the following decision is hereby made: 1.
Heretic cult organizations shall be resolutely banned according to law and all of their criminal activities shall be dealt with severely.
Heretic cults, operating under the guise of religion, Qigong or other illicit forms, which disturb social order and jeopardize people's life and property, must be banned according to law and punished resolutely.
People's courts, people's procuratorates, public security, national security and judicial administrative agencies shall fulfil their duties in carrying out these tasks.
To be severely dealt with according to law are those who manipulate members of cult organizations to violate national laws and administrative regulations, organize mass gatherings to disrupt social order and fool others, cause deaths, rape women, swindle people out their money and property or commit other crimes with superstition and heresy. 2.
The principle of combining education with punishment should be followed in order to unify and instruct the majority of the deceived public and to mete out severe punishment to the handful of criminals.
During the course of handling cult groups according to law, people who joined cult organizations but were unaware of the lies being spread by the group shall be differentiated from criminal elements who organize and take advantage of cult groups for illegal activities and/or to intentionally destroy social stability.
The majority of the deceived members shall not be prosecuted, while those organizers, leaders and core members who committed crimes shall be investigated for criminal conduct ; those who surrender to the authorities or contribute to the investigations shall be given lesser punishments in accordance with the law or be exempt from punishment. 3.
Long-term, comprehensive instruction on the constitution and the law should be carried out among all citizens, knowledge of science and technology should be popularized and the national literacy level raised.
Banning cult organizations and punishing cult activities according to law goes hand in hand with protecting normal religious activities and people's freedom of religious belief.
The public should be exposed to the inhumane and anti-social nature of heretic cults, so they can knowingly resist influences of cult organizations, enhance their awareness of the law and abide by it. 4.
All corners of society shall be mobilized in preventing and fighting against cult activities, and a comprehensive management system should be put in place.
People's governments and judicial bodies at all levels should be held responsible for guarding against the creation and spread of cult organizations and combating cult activities.
This is an important, long-term task that will ensure social stability.
Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 30 Oct 99
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