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By September 2001, the Falungong movement in China, with rare exceptions, had been forced underground. Protests in Beijing had all but ceased after the self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square in January, 2001. The few practitioners who dared demonstrate on the second anniversary of the April 25, 1999 gathering outside Zhongnanhai were immediately and roughly apprehended by security officials.

What news of the government's crackdown surfaced came through Falungong spokespersons in New York in the form of new issues of the China Crisis News Bulletin, press releases, and handouts.74 Many of the releases highlighted the alleged beatings, torture, and deaths of practitioners in custody and reported on followers who could not be located.75

At the same time, the publicity releases drew attention to Falungong members' activities in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao aimed at keeping the movement alive. Several followers undertook a walk across the U.S.76 Others, in Taiwan, initiated a letter writing campaign to human rights organizations to draw attention to the repression in the mainland. Members individually and in concert with others staged hunger strikes on behalf of groups of prisoners or specific individuals.77 Practitioners in Macao and Hong Kong were detained, albeit briefly, for demonstrating outside designated areas.78 The Falun Dafa Information Center, announcing a campaign to prosecute Chinese officials who had taken part in the repression, asked for corroborating accounts, publicrecords, data on foreign assets, and the plans and itineraries of officials expected to travel abroad.79 In advance of President Bush's October 2001 trip to China, the organization launched a campaign to free U.S. permanent resident Teng Chunyan, sentenced to a three-year term in December 2000.80 Falungong spokespersons arranged for journalists to interview former prisoners or members of prisoners' families.

Although by April it already appeared as if Falungong no longer represented the political threat that the Chinese government once insisted it had, Chinese pressure was relentless, with reports indicating that, if anything, the systematic physical and psychological abuse of practitioners had become worse.81 In addition, Chinese authorities continued to confiscate Falungong materials, netting over 770,000 publications in a three-month sweep.82 Chinese media continued to feature stories of recantations, alleged suicides of practitioners, the benign treatment afforded followers in "bright, cheerful" reeducation camps, and the support the eradication campaign garnered from a variety of Chinese constituencies.83

The internal propaganda campaign notwithstanding, Chinese officials continued to violate rights to freedom of association, assembly, expression, and belief; freedom from torture, ill-treatment, and arbitrary detention; and the right to due process and a fair trial.

74 See for example, "China Crisis News Bulletin #93," September 6, 2001. Featured articles included: "French Family Out Of Chinese Labor Camp, But Free?"; "Reported Falun Gong Sentences `Disturbing' to U.S."; "Recent Arrests in Hong Kong and Macau." See also "Forbearance, A Reader on Falun Gong and the Crisis in China," Summer-Fall 2001, four-page newspaper-style handout distributed in Chinese communities in New York. The front page featured "Walking to Rescue Lives," "China's Darkest Hour," and "Falun Dafa, the Wisdom of Ancient China: Health Benefits, Anti-Aging Effects, and More." 75 "Five Female Falun Gong Practitioners Murdered in Custody," press release, Falun Dafa Information Center, August 30, 2001; "2 Falun Gong Members Die in Custody," Associated Press, August 31, 2001. 76 "Handful of Falun Gong followers walk across U.S.," Reuters, September 7, 2001. 77 "Two U. Texas students fast in support of Chinese protestors," Daily Texan, August 30, 2001; "Falun Gong Hunger Strike Enters Eleventh Day," Media Advisory, Falun Dafa Information Center, August 28, 2001. 78 Harald Bruning, "Four Practitioners held over Macau protests," South China Morning Post, September 3, 2001; "Pushing limits of the law," South China Morning Post, September 1, 2001. 79 "Falun Gong to Seek Legal Retribution for Chinese Persecution," press release, Falun Dafa Information Center, September 4, 2001. The Center, located in New York, is an arm of Falungong responsible for spreading word of the continuing crackdown in China and Falungong's efforts to combat it. 80 "Falun Gong asks Bush to plead follower's case," Reuters, September 8, 2001; "Falun Gong calls for release of U.S.-based doctor," Reuters, August 14, 2001. 81 John Pomfret and Philip Pan, "Torture Is Breaking Falun Gong, China Systematically Eradicating Group," Washington Post, August 5, 2001. 82 "What's News," South China Morning Post,, April 17, 2001, from the Guangming Daily. 83 "Another Falun Gong Practitioner Commits Suicide," People's Daily,, September, 5, 2001; "China Rejects Report of Hunger Strike by Jailed Falun Gong Members," Agence France-Presse, August 30, 2001; "Renmin Ribao Commentator: `Falungong' Heretical Teaching is Harmful to Health and Life," Xinhua, April 26, 2001, in FBIS, "Chinese Falungong is Harmful to People's Health and Life," April 27, 2001; "People's Daily Commentary of Falun Gong," 8-67941.html, April 19, 2001; "32 Detained in Falun Gong Protests," Associated Press, April 25, 2001; "Falun Gong Scourges Mind, Body," People's Daily Online,, April 27, 2001; "China Police Official Confirms 2 Falungong Members Jump to Deaths in Raid," FBIS, April 30, 2001, source Agence France-Presse, April 27, 2001; "China Sentences Two Sect Members," Associated Press, April 30, 2001; "Sichuan Commends Advanced Collectives, Individuals in Struggle Against `Falungong' Cult," Sichuan Ribao (Internet Version-WWW), March 29, 2001, in FBIS, "Sichuan Commends Groups in Struggle AgainstFalungong," April 16, 2001; "First Phase of In-Depth Education Study Class, Run by Central Government Organs, Ends; 25 `Falungong' Practitioners Who Have Been Reformed Through Persuasion Will Return to Society," Xinhua, April 25, 2001, in FBIS, "25 Former Falungong To Return to Society After Education," April 27, 2001.

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