Rise and fall

South China Morning Post, April 25, 2000

Falun Gong Anniversary

  • 1992:Li Hongzhi, 47, a former security staff member in a grain company in Changchun, northeastern Jilin province, founds the Falun Gong group.
  • April 19, 1999:Physicist He Zuoxiu publishes an article in the port city of Tianjin denouncing Falun Gong as superstitious, sparking off demonstrations.
  • April 20-24:Demonstrations in Tianjin, some leaders arrested.
  • April 25:More than 10,000 adherents rounded up at Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing, the residence of Chinese top leaders.
  • May 3:Li Hongzhi calls on Beijing to start dialogue with the movement.
  • June 6:Police round up busloads of members at a stadium in western Beijing after 100 members stage a protest. .
  • July 22:Beijing outlaws Falun Gong and brands it a cult. Thousands of followers rounded up throughout the country.
  • July 27:US State Department calls on Beijing to exercise restraint.
  • July 29:Beijing issues an arrest warrant for US-based Li Hongzhi, accusing him of seeking to overturn the regime. Interpol refuses to help with the warrant.
  • October 30:Anti-cult law passed, branding Falun Gong as an "evil cult", sparking a week of protests in Tiananmen Square.
  • November 12:First Falun Gong "show trials" end with four followers sentenced to between two and 12 years' prison. Hundreds of others sent to "re-education through labour" camps for three years.
  • December 26:Four senior figures in the group sentenced by a Beijing court to prison terms of seven to 18 years.
  • February 5, 2000:More than 1,000 followers protest in Tiananmen Square during the Lunar New Year.
  • February-March:Deaths in custody of 15 members disclosed. Dozens of detained members stage hunger strike.
  • April 19:Crackdown intensifies, State Council spokesman says a total of 84 Falun Gong supporters have been given jail terms.

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