BBC, Aug. 22, 2002
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The group had been convicted of causing an obstruction during a protest, but they said their convictions were unfair and are insisting they will still appeal against them.
Hong Kong’s government had already begun preparing warrants for the arrests of the 16 Falun Gong practitioners when the anonymous donor stepped in.
The benefactor, whose identity is not even known to the Falun Gong members themselves, paid $4,000 worth of fines that had been imposed on them last week.
A spokeswoman from the Hong Kong judiciary, Jaime Or, could only say that an unidentified woman had stepped forward with the cash.
“It could probably be a Falun Gong follower or a sympathiser who hoped to save the convicted followers from further suppression,” Falun Gong spokesman Kan Hung-cheung said.
Mr Kan said Falun Gong appreciated the gesture but were still planning to appeal against the convictions.
The Falun Gong members say the trial and sentences were politically motivated and legally flawed.
They have accused Hong Kong’s government of caving in to pressure from Beijing and deliberately targeting their group.
The BBC’s Hong Kong correspondent Damian Grammaticas says there have been around 10,000 public protests in Hong Kong since it was returned to Chinese sovereignty.
But that Falun Gong is one a tiny number of groups that have had charges brought against them for staging demonstrations.