AP: Foreign Falun Gong Followers Protest


Friday December 21

Canadian Falug Gong follower Zenon Dolnyckyi stands next to a placard with a picture of himself being carried away last month from Tiananmen Square in Beijing by Chinese police as he made a statement after a group of practitioners performed a group meditation session in a Hong Kong Friday, Dec. 21, 2001. Dolnyckyi is one of five Western followers of the spiritual [group] who took their protest to Hong Kong, saying they [were] beaten and bruised by mainland police.

By DIRK BEVERIDGE, Associated Press Writer

HONG KONG (AP) - After being expelled from China for staging a Falun Gong demonstration, five Western followers of the spiritual [group] took their protest Friday to Hong Kong, saying they were beaten and bruised by mainland police.

``When I was sitting in meditation, I was lifted by my hair and pulled by my arms,'' said Lilian Staf, a Swede who works in London. Staf said police dragged her away, gripping her so tightly it felt like her
skin was being penetrated and leaving her in pain ``so intense it made my whole body numb.''

The demonstration by 35 foreign Falun Gong followers last month in Beijing's Tiananmen Square was broken up after just a few minutes. Some of the practitioners said they were surprised at the speed and severity of the response, although police in Beijing are always quick to stop any public Falun Gong activity.

The demonstrators included Australians, Canadians, French, Germans, Irish, Israelis, Swedes, Swiss, Britons and Americans. The U.S. Embassy said six were Americans. The Westerners said they wanted Chinese citizens to see that the group practices freely in more than 40 countries - although it is banned in
mainland China […] and subjected to an often-brutal crackdown that Falun Gong says has left at least 323 people dead.

[…]

Several of the protesters said they were bloodied or had hair pulled out, while watching others kicked in the face or knocked down during interrogations. The police threatened them and tried to get them to sign
statements in Chinese, the Falun Gong followers said.
After practicing their slow-motion meditation exercises in a Hong Kong park early Friday, along with local Falun Gong followers, the five foreigners delivered a letter to the local government.
Falun Gong is legal in Hong Kong.

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