SYDNEY - Followers of the Falun Dafa movement, who last week staged the most daring protest in Beijing for 10 years, denied Monday they were a cult.
"Falun Dafa is not a cult and not a religion and not a sect. There is no leader, there is no form of worship or rituals," spokesperson Caroline Lam said Monday in a statement.
"Falun Dafa is not involved with politics or against any government."
Chinese guru Li Hongzhi, founder of the Falun Dafa, whose followers have been warned "strict measures" will be taken against them if there is any repetition, said he did not believe Beijing would ban the movement.
"The Chinese government has never been against Falungong," he told reporters at the end of a two-day Australian conference in Sydney.
"Falun Dafa is high level chi gong practice," Lam added.
"People that practise Falun Dafa are free to come and go as they please, there is no binding membership and they have their own respective careers in society," she said.
"Using such words as cult is inappropriate, irresponsible and has a negative connotation."