Spies watch, bug Falun Gong: claim

Chinese embassy spies have followed Falun Gong practitioners in Australia, bugged their phones and broken into their homes to sabotage their activities, it was claimed yesterday.

Ana C. Vereshaka, spokeswoman for the Falun Dafa Information Centre in Melbourne, said her house in Balwyn had been broken into and flyers and pamphlets for a Falun Gong event taken.

Ms Vereshaka said practitioners were regularly photographed when they demonstrated outside the Chinese consulate in Melbourne every Sunday. “There is no doubt they have long files on us and we think that every meeting we have is probably bugged,” she said.

Members recently had to change their mobile numbers after they were simultaneously bombarded with a series of text and voice messages vilifying Falun Gong. The interference was reported to the Federal Police and ASIO.

Ms Vereshaka said the constant surveillance was disturbing and vast resources were devoted to it. In one instance, a practitioner visiting China was called before a government security body and had “their every movement” in Melbourne recounted back to them.

A Sydney Falun Gong practitioner, Jane Dai, had had to move after a man was seen standing outside her house at nights, she said.

Ms Dai has filed a number of civil suits against the Chinese Government over the death of her husband in China in 2001. He had spoken out against the persecution of Falun Gong members.

A spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy last night dismissed the practitioners’ claims. “Where is the proof?” she asked.

“Falun Gong is really a cult in China and they do a lot of bad things,” she said. But in Australia it was up to the Government and police to deal with them, not the embassy, she said.

What is Falun Gong?
Falun Gong is a mind and body practice of meditation and exercise. It is not a religion but has a spiritual element that encourages the pursuit of truth, compassion and tolerance in daily living. Falun Dafa, its official name, means great law. The movement was banned by the Chinese Government in 1999.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Age, Australia
June 8, 2005
Andra Jackson

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday June 7, 2005.
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