China sentences 32 Falun members to jail -report

Reuters, Feb 1, 2000

HONG KONG, Feb 1 (Reuters) - A Chinese court has sentenced 32 followers of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement to between four months and seven years in jail, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said on Tuesday.

The Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said the sentencing was made in secret on January 28 in a Beijing court.

The 32, including two leaders of the Falun Gong sect, were accused of taking part in a protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square over China banning the movement, it said.

The leaders Li Xiaobing and Li Xiaomei were jailed for six and seven years respectively, the Information Centre said.

Beijing banned the Falun Gong movement, which combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism and meditation, in July last year after members demanded official recognition for their faith in a series of bold protests, including a gathering of 10,000 people at the central leadership compound in Beijing last April.

The Information Centre has said Chinese authorities had sent more than 5,000 Falun Gong members to labour camps without trial and sentenced another 300 to jail since September.


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