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China Upholds Falun Gong Prison Terms

December 28, 2000|Associated Press

BEIJING — A Chinese court has rejected appeals by four Falun Gong followers, upholding the prison sentences they were handed for spreading information about the banned group, official media reported Wednesday.

Pang You, Mu Chunyan, Chen Suping and Zhang Lixin are among tens of thousands of Falun Gong members who have been detained since China outlawed the group.

Falun Gong adherents insist that their exercises and philosophy--ideas derived from Buddhism, Taoism and founder Li Hongzhi--are not political. But China, fearing Falun Gong's popularity, banned the spiritual group in July 1999.

The four whose appeals were rejected had set up a high-tech printing shop in a village north of Beijing in August, the Beijing Daily and Beijing Television reported. There, the reports said, the four adherents produced tens of thousands of pages and 200 video CDs on Falun Gong.

Pang and Zhang were arrested in late September, and police seized the other two shortly thereafter. Their prison sentences ranged from three to eight years.

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