Six jailed for Falun Gong Internet info


HONG KONG, Dec. 23 -- China jailed six scholars for retrieving information about the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement on the Internet and sending it to others, according to a Hong Kong-based human rights group.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in China said Sunday a Beijing court sentenced six Falun Gong followers, four them of graduate students, from the Tsinghua University.


The rights group said the scholars were sentenced to between three and 12 years. It said the six were detained between January to April of this year. It said nine others are still to appear in court.

The information center said two of those jailed were a married couple, Liu Wenyu and Yao Yue, scientists at Tsinghua University. It was not clear if all six were acting individually or as a group.

Last week the rights group said a Falun Gong member died while in police custody after being beaten. It said Zhang Min was forced to swallow salt water by police and was the 186th Falun Gong member to have died at the hands of Chinese authorities since the movement was banned.

The information center said Zhang was arrested after handing out Falun Gong leaflets. She died Dec. 5 in the Number two Detention Center in Yilan in Heilongjiang province, more than 700 miles northeast of Beijing, said the center.


Falun Gong says it is a spiritual movement that promotes peace and good health and is non-violent. China first banned the group and then outlawed it in 1999 calling it an "evil cult."

Beijing launched a countrywide crackdown on the semi-religious group and unleashed a fervent propaganda campaign against it. State-run media ran accounts of former Falun Gong practitioners who denounced the group and said it was harmful.

The Falun Gong says that more than 230 of its members have perished while in police custody but Beijing maintains that Falun Gong practitioners have killed themselves either by following the teachings of leader Li Hongzhi and discarding prescription medicine or through suicide.

Days before the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported, "a murder recently uncovered by police has revealed more irrefutable evidence about the inhumanity of the notorious Falun Gong cult, headed by Li Hongzhi."

It said, "On November 25, 2001, a Falun Gong practitioner ruthlessly killed his father and wife, and badly injured his mother at his parents' home in Xicheng District of Beijing." Content: 01019000 02003000 02004000 02005000 02006000 11006000 11007000 11010000 12001000 12002000 14010000 16003000 16010000

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