ABC News: Falun Gong Practitioners Face Trial

HONG KONG June 17 —

HONG KONG (AP) Prosecutors brought stiffer charges against Falun Gong Practitioners arrested after a demonstration in Hong Kong as the territories first criminal trial against followers of the meditation [group] opened Monday.

Sixteen followers, including four Swiss citizens, are being tried in connection with a sidewalk protest in March outside a government building.

The case has raised concerns that Hong Kong is slowly squeezing freedoms guaranteed to its citizens after its reversion to Chinese sovereignty five years ago. Falun Gong is legal in the former British colony but banned […] in mainland China.


Rights activists have expressed fears that Hong Kong is slowly cracking down on Falun Gong and free expression, even though Western-style liberties were guaranteed for at least 50 years when the territory was returned to China in

Hong Kong officials have denied that they were trying to stifle Falun Gong's message, insisting they were only trying to maintain public order.

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