ABC News Online: "China deports Falun Gong supporters"

Wed, Nov 21 2001

Authorities in China have begun deporting dozens of foreign nationals caught protesting against an official ban on the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

The foreigners from nine countries, including Australia, were held overnight.

Officials from the German, French and American embassies in Beijing have confirmed that some of their citizens were involved in a daring mass protest in Tiananmen Square.

In all, an estimated 35 foreigners were rounded up after they unfurled pro-Falun Gong banners, disguising themselves as a tour group to get past guards and onto the square.

The square has since been sealed to all visitors, while the foreign nationals were taken to Beijing's International Airport early today ahead of their deportation.


The Chinese Government outlawed the Falun Gong movement, which revolves around exercises aimed at cultivating the mind and spirit, in 1999.

Aussie's action defended

The fiance of one of the Australians being held detention in Beijing, has defended her actions.

Melbourne's Kate Douglas was one of the protesters at Tiannamen Square.

Her fiance, Simon Vereshaka, is imploring the Chinese Government to release her and all detained practitioners, saying she has done nothing wrong.

"She wanted to raise awareness about the persecution and it is really vicious," Mr Vereshaka said

"They are killing practitioners, they are sending them into mental institutions, heavily overdosing them with drugs, as well they are beating them severely."

Mr Vereshaka and a number of Melbourne Falun Gong practitioners will hold a peaceful appeal outside The Melbourne Chinese Consulate tonight.

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