Failure admitted in crackdown on sect

South China Morning Post, April 22, 2000

By Willy Wo-Lap Lam

Beijing has conceded it is unable to stamp out the banned Falun Gong religious sect, which is expected to continue to cause embarrassment to the leadership.

A security source in Beijing said despite President Jiang Zemin's repeated orders to devote "whatever resources are needed" to crush the Falun Gong movement, the police were unable to prevent frequent demonstrations in Beijing and other cities.

"Departments such as the Ministries of Public Security and State Security have boosted staff to handle the Falun Gong," the source said.

"Yet there are limits as to what the police can do. For example, they can spot - and later stop - a large number of affiliates coming from the provinces to Beijing to stage protests. But if the numbers involved are just 800 people or so, the latter can often slip through."

The source said the police could spot a big group of Falun Gong practitioners as they were about to congregate. But often, small groups of 70 or 80 could escape detection and stage protests.

National papers yesterday carried a Xinhua report acknowledging that the protests had been frequent and sometimes large.

"Since July 22, 1999, Falun Gong members have been causing trouble on and around Tiananmen Square nearly every day," Xinhua said.

Political sources said the Jiang leadership was trying to prevent detainees suiciding and becoming martyrs.


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