BEIJING (AP) - About 1,000 members of a popular exercise and meditation group demonstrated this week in Jiangxi province, protesting against a magazine article published by the provincial government, a human rights group reported Saturday.
The practitioners of Falun Gong gathered Tuesday and Wednesday at provincia government headquarters in Nanchang, complaining that the article in the June issue of "Road of Eternal Peace'' slandered their sect, according to the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.
They dispersed only after officials appeared and vouched that the article did not reflect the opinions of the government or of the magazine, the Hong Kong-based group said.
It said that on the second day of protests, officials began taking down the demonstrators' names and employers and then contacted the work units, many of which sent staff and vehicles to collect the protesters.
Falun Gong members have staged a number of protests in recent months demanding that the government stop suppressing their movement.
Chinese leaders have viewed the group as a potential threat ever since more than 10,000 members surrounded the communist leadership compound in Beijing in a silent protest on April 25. Since then, the government has monitored the group closely and banned it from holding large public gatherings.
The Falun Gong, or Wheel of Law, blends slow-motion martial arts exercises with ideas borrowed from Buddhism and Taoism. It has gained popularity in the seven years since it was founded in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, an ex-soldier who has since left China for the United States. The Chinese government estimates its devotees at 10 million to 70 million.
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