Falun Gong sues China minister

Four members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have filed a lawsuit in Paris against visiting Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng.

The members said Mr Sun was responsible for “crimes of torture” against the group, which is banned in China.

Mr Sun is accompanying President Hu Jintao on a state visit to France.

The plaintiffs called for him to be detained before he leaves on Thursday, saying he was guilty of “incitement to massacre and persecution”.

The four, three women and a man, said they had suffered detentions and torture in connection with their practice of Falun Gong. Three of the group are Chinese, and one of them – a woman – is French.

They said Mr Sun had called through the media for the “elimination” of Falun Gong practitioners, and demanded that he be taken in for questioning.

Protests

Hundreds of followers of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in China, protested outside the Chinese consulate on Tuesday as President Hu addressed the French parliament.

Dozens of French MPs boycotted the speech in protest against China’s human rights record.

Falun Gong has been banned in China since 1999 after thousands of members demonstrated in about 30 Chinese cities against the arrest of group leaders.

Their beliefs blend the ideas of the founder, Li Hongzhi, with traditional Chinese exercises and the Taoist and Buddhist faiths.

Li Hongzhi is wanted by the Chinese authorities, but is currently living in the United States.

Falun Gong has said that more than 840 followers have been tortured to death in China.

The movement has previously filed lawsuits outside China against former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who it accuses of orchestrating the persecution of Falun Gong members in China.

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