BEIJING (AP)--A foreign supporter of the Falun Gong spiritual movement protested against China's ban on the group on Tiananmen Square in central Beijing Wednesday, and was quickly taken away by security agents.
The woman, who is Caucasian and appears to be in her 40s, wore a sash that read: "Falun Gong" and "SOS."
Standing in the centre of the huge square while curious Chinese tourists watched, she sang and held out her arms before a uniformed officer and others in civilian clothes loaded her into a police van and drove her away.
The protest lasted only a few minutes.
Most protests against China's ban on Falun Gong have been made by Chinese members of the [group]. Police have detained thousands of Chinese followers, often beating and kicking them, on Tiananmen Square since the government outlawed Falun Gong in July 1999 as a threat to society and the Communist Party's grip on power.
But in recent months, there have been scattered protests by foreign supporters of Falun Gong.
In November, the government expelled a group of 35 Westerners who protested on the square, China's symbolic heart, against Beijing's treatment of Falun Gong followers. It was the first Falun Gong demonstration on Tiananmen Square exclusively involving Westerners.
Falun Gong accuses Chinese authorities of torturing and mistreating detainees. It says 350 have been killed, 500 sentenced to prison, more than 1,000 sent to mental hospitals and 20,000 detained in labour camps.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires 01-23-02 0438EST (AP-DJ)--01-23-02 0438EST
You are welcome to print and circulate all articles published on Clearharmony and their content, but please quote the source.