AFP: Falun Gong Members Return to France After Release by China

LYON, Sep 11, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Three French-based Chinese members of the Falun Gong movement who were detained by authorities in China returned to France Monday following their release.

The three, a couple and their teenage daughter, were seized in a security raid on August 7 while visiting relatives in north China's inner Mongolia region.

Visibly moved but smiling, Jian Chi, 46, his wife Fenglong Sun and their 15-year-old daughter Yifan Chi, were greeted at Lyon airport by around 20 friends and supporters.

"I'm fine, I'm very happy to be back in France, thank you for the warm welcome," said Jian, who is a researcher at Pierre Mendes university in the southeastern French city of Grenoble.

However, he refused to give immediate answers to questions from journalists about their experiences in China.

"We will speak of it later," he repeated several times, admitting however that the experience had been "difficult but not too trying".

"I was not really imprisoned; I slept in a house in the evenings, but it was not possible to make any phone calls -- everything was controlled.

"I thought that my liberation might take a lot longer," he said, adding that he was lucky to have the help of friends.

A support group announced in France last week that Chinese authorities were allowing the three -- Chinese nationals but resident in France -- to return to home.

Jian and his family are to hold a press conference in Grenoble on Tuesday.[…]

The Chinese government has a previous record of detaining overseas nationals or residents when they go to China to visit relatives, the Falun Gong information center said.

Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of Falun Gong followers have been sentenced to jail terms and tens of thousands sent to labor camps, while more than 100 are reported to have died in police custody.§ion=default

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