- BEIJING (Agence France Presse)
- Members of the banned Falungong sect have obtained and leaked state secrets,
including top secret documents, China's official Xinhua news agency said
- Police had evidence Falungong members possessed 59 "classified"
state documents, 20 of which were graded "top-secret," it said
in a report hours after police rounded up members of the group in Beijing
who had gathered to protest a new anti-cult law.
- The group had "political motives" and "used
the Internet to spread rumors based on information in their ill-gotten
state documents, which has created disturbances for the government and
disrupted social stability," Xinhua said.
- The report cited police as saying Li Tianming, head of
the Falungong's Weifang instruction center in eastern China's Shandong
province, collected documents issued by the General Office of the Shandong
Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
- He allegedly copied the documents and distributed them,
as well as drafting a "so-called open letter addressing the state
- "Police said the illegal Falungong organization
has provided at least ten classified state documents to overseas individuals
or organizations," Xinhua said.
- Earlier Monday, police rounded up dozens of Falungong
followers who gathered on and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square Monday
to protest new anti-cult legislation.
- As they were driven away, the bus-load of protesters
loudly chanted "Falun Dafa is good, Falun Dafa is good," using
the Chinese term for the Buddhist-style teachings of the spiritual group.
- The bus, with at least one policeman on board, had a
heavy escort of police vehicles, a witness said.
- Before leaving the area it was driven onto a sidewalk
and stopped in front of the Great Hall of the People, where legislators
were discussing a further crackdown on Falungong activities. Police closed
the bus windows to prevent tourists hearing the chanting, the witness said.
- Legislators were reviewing a draft law aimed at stamping
out "heretic cults such as the now banned Falungong sect," Xinhua
said in an earlier report.
- The draft legislation urges law-enforcement agencies
across China to be on the alert for possible cult activities.
- "Heretic cults" such as the Falungong "have
seriously undermined social stability, endangered economic growth, the
safety of people's lives and property, and must be effectively curbed,"
Xinhua said, quoting a senior legislator at the National People's Congress
- The legislation would also tell local governments to
distinguish between the hard-core leadership of the Falungong and their
"deceived" followers, who would be re-educated rather than treated
- Falungong members in various cities in China have reportedly
held ongoing demonstrations since the group -- which practises Buddhist-style
meditation and traditional Chinese philosophy -- was banned on July 22
after a mass demonstration outside government headquarters here.
- Authorities have described it as the biggest threat to
the regime since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square,
which ended in bloodshed when tanks were ordered in.
- Human-rights groups say people refusing to give up their
beliefs have been arrested, beaten and tortured in police custody and sent
to labor "re-education" camp in a nationwide effort to make Falungong
followers give up their allegiance to the group and its US-based leader
Li Hongzhi. (c) 1999 Agence France Presse.