Falun Gong Mark 10th Anniversary

The Associated Press/May 13, 2002

Hong Kong -- Falun Gong followers in Hong Kong celebrated the 10th anniversary of their spiritual movement on Monday with marches, meditation and demands that Beijing stop suppressing practitioners in mainland China.

"We cause no harm,'' said Lam Chau-ping, a 35-year-old housewife who joined 200 Falun Gong members in a demonstration near the territory's scenic Victoria Harbor. "Beijing's crackdown is completely unreasonable.''

They used their bodies to form three Chinese characters meaning ``Falun Gong is good.''

Falun Gong was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, a former Chinese government clerk who later moved to New York. It has attracted millions of followers with its blend of slow-motion exercises and philosophy drawn from Taoism, Buddhism and Li's often-unorthodox ideas.

Beijing has outlawed Falun Gong as an "evil cult,'' and Falun Gong says hundreds of followers have died in a brutal police crackdown.

Falun Gong remains legal in Hong Kong, which retains Western-style civil liberties that are a holdover from British colonial days, and its followers frequently protest here.

The Hong Kong government has tolerated most Falun Gong activities but recently arrested 16 people, including four Swiss practitioners, for alleged obstruction when they protested outside the Chinese government's liaison office in Hong Kong in March.

Four Hong Kong Falun Gong followers also face more serious charges, including obstructing the police or assaulting the police.

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