Workers exhorted to battle cult

South China Morning Post, August 3, 1999
By Michelle Chak

The official media has called for workers to stand at the front of the "fight" against the Falun Gong.

"The class of labourers should stand in the very frontline in this serious ideological and political struggle," a Xinhua commentary said.

The workers formed a strong and centralised force to maintain social stability, the news agency said. It hailed them for being the "vital driving force" behind the establishment and reform of the country.

Xinhua again attacked Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi who, it said, had damaged the stability needed to improve the productivity and living standards of workers.

The commentary said: "Our country is in the critical stage of reform. Major economic developments and the solving of a series of social problems rely on the unity of workers and the stability of society.

"Therefore, getting rid of the sect is in line with the workers' interests."

It urged people to believe in science, and attributed technological advancement and improved health among mainlanders to scientific and medical progress.

The Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily highlighted the Government's pledge to make sure laid-off workers were given welfare payments and the retired received their pensions.

Sources have said that in some provinces, including Liaoning, retired workers who practised Falun Gong have been told to quit the Buddhist qi gong sect or have their pensions stopped.

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