Hong Kong -- Mainland Chinese who went online Thursday to read a Hong Kong newspaper were redirected by hackers to a Web site full of Falun Gong messages, a newspaper spokesman said.
Several mainland readers of Ming Pao online complained about being sent to the Web site run by Falun Gong, which is outlawed in mainland China as an " evil cult.''
The newspaper alerted mainland authorities to the hacking, which occurred in local domain servers in China, but the problem was not immediately solved, said Kevin Lau, Mingpao.com's chief operating officer.
Ming Pao, a respected independent daily newspaper, published an online story about the incident and said it suspected Falun Gong was responsible.
"We can't directly do anything about it,'' Lau said.
But a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Falun Gong said the meditation sect was not responsible for the hacking.
"Just because the users are redirected to the Falun Gong Web site doesn't mean Falun Gong did it,'' Kan Hung-cheung said.
"We suspect others are trying to frame Falun Gong with these kinds of tricks. In a free and open society, you don't have to resort to these tactics.''
Beijing is trying to eradicate Falun Gong in the mainland. Authorities recently jailed 15 people convicted of breaking into a cable television system to air Falun Gong videos in two northeastern cities.
However, Falun Gong followers are free to practice in Hong Kong, which enjoys Western-style civil liberties unheard of in the mainland.
Readers of the Ming Pao Web site in Hong Kong and foreign countries were not redirected to the Falun Gong site, Lau said.