Radio Free Europe’s Western Press Review: China

Prague, 27 April 2000 (RFE/RL)

DAILY TELEGRAPH: The Chinese state belongs in the dock

The Daily Telegraph's editorial on China is entitled "Paranoia in Beijing." The paper writes: "Falun Gong members -- practitioners of the [..] discipline 'qigong' -- have proved remarkably persistent in the face of savage persecution. Last July the [group] was banned […]. Hundreds [..] have been imprisoned. Thousands more have been sent to labour camps without trial."

Such repression, the paper adds, "has severely damaged Falun Gong's organization, but has increased foreign sympathy for its plight." The editorial goes on: "At a time when slowing economic growth is undermining the Communists' sole claim to legitimacy -- and when half a century of dialectical materialism has left a huge spiritual vacuum -- the appeal of a [group] like Falun Gong is obvious."

The paper then asks: "Is it a portent of the kind of 'people power' that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986? The odds are against it. But that is no reason for not saluting the bravery of those who continue to defy an unjust ban. It is the Chinese state, not the [group], that belongs in the [judicial] dock."

(Anthony Georgieff in Copenhagen contributed to this report.)

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