Thursday, June 13, 7:41 PM ET
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Iceland sent police officers to Boston and three European cities on Thursday to help prevent Falun Gong [practitioners] from flying here on its airline while China's president is visiting.
The Falun Gong movement is outlawed in China, and Iceland banned visits by the group's members from June 7 to June 18, in an effort to prevent what it said were fears of large demonstrations against Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Jiang arrived here Thursday.
On Wednesday, some media reported that the government had lifted the ban, but they had misinterpreted a statement saying that more than 65 suspected Falun Gong members who had been detained at Iceland's Keflavik airport were being released from police custody.
Those detained were aged between 25 and 60 and included Americans, Canadians, Chinese, Australians, Germans and Danes.
On Thursday, the government said it was sending three police officers to unidentified European cities and one to Boston in the United States to help Icelandair, Iceland's state-owned airline, prevent more Falun Gong [practitioners] from slipping through the ban and boarding flights.
In Boston, Jose Juves, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan Airport, said there are no Icelandic law enforcement officials at the airport.
In Baltimore, 19-year-old Evan Mantyk, a Falun Gong [practitioner], was prevented on Tuesday from getting on a flight to Iceland at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
The University of Michigan student from Lathrup Village, Mich., said Icelandair officials checked a list and told him he couldn't board.
"I never heard any explanation whatsoever," said Mantyk. "Just that we were on a list and they had orders to not let anyone on who was on the list." Icelandair employees refused to allow eight [practitioners] onto the Icelandair flight Tuesday and six people on Wednesday at the Baltimore-Washington airport, the airline said.
In London and Washington, D.C., officials at Icelandic embassies said that the ban remained in effect and would be enforced.
Chinese officials have long been sensitive to Falun Gong protests in other countries. [...]
Falun Gong [practitioners] say it is a peaceful meditation movement that builds health. They say hundreds of [practitioners] have died as a result of police abuse and torture during the Chinese [suppression].
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