US attacks latest steps against Falun Gong

South China Morning Post, October 27, 1999

The United States criticised China on Tuesday for its latest measures against the Falun Gong spiritual movement and the China Democracy Party. A State Department official said the detention of more Falun Gong demonstrators on Monday appeared to be a clear violation of their rights of assembly and expression.

The trial of four China Democracy Party leaders on Monday was also a matter for concern, the official added.

''According to reports, their trial fell far short of international standards and we will continue to raise our deep concerns about the Chinese government's crackdown on both the Falun Gong and the China Democracy Party as well as the egregious lack of due process in political trials,'' he said.

Chinese police arrested Falun Gong protesters in central Beijing on Monday and Tuesday as China's parliament reviewed a bill curbing religious cults. At least 13 Falun Gong leaders have been accused of stealing and leaking state secrets.

A court in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Monday tried four China Democracy Party members charged with subverting state power, but the results have not been announced. They could be jailed for more than 10 years.

The State Department official said: ''No one should be persecuted for peaceful assembly, association or expression of their views or beliefs. ''We have urged China to exercise restraint, lift the ban on the Falun Gong and release all of those who have been detained for peacefully exercising their rights.''

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