Falun Gong marks

Associated Press, May 13, 2003

HONG KONG (AP) — Falun Gong followers marked the 11th anniversary of the meditation sect’s founding Tuesday with peaceful protests in Hong Kong against mainland China’s efforts to stamp out the group.

About 200 Falun Gong followers wearing trademark yellow T-shirts gathered in a downtown park and formed the Chinese characters for the group’s slogan, “Truth, compassion and forbearance,” said local Falun Gong spokesman Kan Hung-cheung.

About 40 Falun Gong practitioners protested later outside the mainland Chinese government’s liaison office. They meditated peacefully behind the building, well away from a spot directly in front where others were previously arrested and convicted of obstruction.

The group said in a statement that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin “committed a heinous crime” by ordering a crackdown that Falun Gong alleges has led to the deaths of almost 700 followers in the mainland.

Falun Gong remains legal in this former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and still enjoys Western-style civil liberties, and the group frequently demonstrates here.

The group says the date marks the birthday of Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi and the day he began the group in 1992. Chinese officials say records show that Li was actually born on July 7, 1952.

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