AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Swiss Foreign Ministry Receives Falun Gong Followers

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE: Swiss Foreign Ministry Receives Falun Gong Followers

GENEVA, Aug 24, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The Swiss government voiced concern Thursday over Chinese repression of the Falun Gong movement, as the foreign
ministry welcomed a Swiss delegation of the spiritual group's followers.

Six Swiss members … were received by representatives from the Swiss foreign ministry.

"Switzerland has urged China to respect the freedom of worship, freedom of opinion and the individual rights of citizens and Chinese citizens," said the foreign ministry in a statement issued at the meeting's close.

The statement also spoke of the Swiss government's intention to continue its commitment to ensure that fundamental rights of Falun Gong followers are respected in China, especially in cases whereby they are detained by Chinese authorities.

A foreign ministry delegation will travel to China later this year to meet with Chinese authorities to discuss religious freedom, along with punishment and torture, which human rights groups assert that Chinese authorities have been inflicted on Falun Gong followers.

[The practice] combines a Buddhist-based philosophy and slow-motion meditation exercises, while advocating clean living.

Human rights groups estimate that a Chinese crackdown waged against the quasi-Buddhist movement has led to the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of followers, while tens of thousands have been sent to labor camps.

More than 100 are reported to have died from brutality in police detention.

Posting date: 09/08/2001
Category: Media reports

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