News accounts of a demonstration on 20 July 1999 outside the Beijing Public Petition Centre protesting the rumoured imminent ban of the Falun Gong movement [CHN43074.E]

News reports that specifically refer to a demonstration outside the Beijing Public Petition Centre on 20 July 1999 protesting the rumoured imminent ban of the Falun Gong movement could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, the following information may be of interest. According to Agence France Presse (AFP), by late Tuesday, 20 July 1999, after followers learned that several Falun Gong leaders had been detained in a "nationwide crackdown" by the government, protests had begun around government offices in Dalian (300 kilometres east of Beijing) and Falun Gong members had reportedly "headed for the city's petition bureau" (AFP 20 July 1999; see also BBC 21 July 1999).

In central Beijing, AFP reported the presence of between 100 and 150 police around Zhongnanhai, the compound that contains offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and other high-level government bodies (BBC 21 July 1999; Globalsecurity.org n.d.), late on 20 July 1999 along with the arrests of at least 15 individuals (20 July 1999). A 6 August 1999 article in the New York Times noted that hundreds of Falun Gong followers had been detained after holding a protest outside Zhongnanhai on 20 July 1999. According to two Falun Gong followers who spoke to Falun Dafa Clearwisdom about the 25 April 1999 mass demonstration in Beijing, there is an "Appeals Office" located "close to Zhongnanhai" (Clearwisdom.net 11 May 2004). Further reference to an "Appeals Office" near Zhongnanhai in Beijing could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

One Falun Gong spokeswoman told AFP that local security officials had contacted leaders of the movement on 20 July 1999 to inform them of the imminent official ban (AFP 20 July 1999). Falun Gong supporters converged on Zhongnanhai on Wednesday, 21 July 1999 (BBC 21 July 1999) and again on the following day (BBC

22 July 1999). BBC News reported on 22 July 1999 that the official government ban of the Falun Gong movement in China was announced after three consecutive days of protests by thousands of followers in about 30 cities across the country (22 July 1999; see also SCMP 23 July 1999).

For more information on the 25 April 1999 protest in Beijing and the countrywide crackdown on the Falun Gong movement in July 1999, please see CHN33180.EX of 26 November 1999.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Agence France Presse [Hong Kong]. 20 July 1999. "Thousand (sic) Protest Detention of Falungong Leaders." (FBIS-CHI-1999-0720 21 July 1999/WNC)

BBC. 22 July 1999. "China Bans Sect." http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/400772.stm [Accessed 14 Oct. 2004]

_____. 21 July 1999. "Cult Defies Chinese Leadership." http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/399807.stm [Accessed 14 Oct. 2004]

Clearwisdom.net. 11 May 2004. "Chen Gang's Family Recalls the April 25th Appeal on Its Fifth Anniversary." http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2004/5/12/47971p.html [Accessed 12 Oct. 2004]

Globalsecurity.org. n.d. "Zhongnanhai." http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/zhongnanhai.htm [Accessed 19 Oct. 2004]

New York Times. 6 August 1999. Seth Faison. "An Air of Reluctance in China's Crackdown on Falun Gong." http://www.rickross.com/reference/fa_lun_gong/falun76.html [Accessed 19 Oct. 2004]

South China Morning Post (SCMP). 23 July 1999. Mark O'Neill and Willy Wo-Lap Lam. "Mainland Outlaws Falun Gong." (Dialog)

Additional Sources Consulted


Internet sites, including: Amnesty International, Clear Harmony Europe, Falun Dafa Clearwisdom, Falun Dafa Information Centre, Falundafa.org, Human Rights Watch.