AFP: Supporters of Falun Gong Demonstrate in Berlin

AFP: Supporters of Falun Gong Demonstrate in Berlin

BERLIN, Aug 30, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) German and Chinese supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual group which is persecuted and banned in China demonstrated in Berlin Wednesday outside the Chinese embassy and the German foreign ministry.

The demonstrators' action was in particular to support some 130 Falun Gong members on hunger strike for over three weeks in a labor camp in northeast China.

A Falun Gong spokeswoman said these prisoners had already served their sentences but had still not been released.

Some 100 Chinese supporters […] demonstrated peacefully at the Chinese embassy, police said. A Falun Gong spokeswoman said they had wanted to present a petition but that the embassy refused to accept it.

About 50 Germans and Chinese adherents [..] also demonstrated outside the foreign ministry, bearing banners calling on German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to officially condemn the "brutal behavior" of the Chinese authorities.

Some of the demonstrators handed over a letter with their demands to the German government's official in charge of human rights questions.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said the government was following the violation of human rights in China "with great concern".

A number of members of the (group) in Germany too have been on hunger strike for nearly two weeks.

The German foreign ministry spokesman said the government was pressing the Chinese authorities to cease their human rights violations and to release detained members of the (group).

The Falun Gong movement was banned in China in July 1999. According to the(group), which claims to have millions of followers, thousands of its members have been placed in so-called re-education camps and 267 have died as a result of such persecution.

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