China and Falun Gong [May 25, 2006]   [open pdf - 68KB]

"In 1999, the 'Falun Gong' movement gave rise to the largest and most protracted public demonstrations in China since the democracy movement of a decade earlier. The People's Republic of China (PRC) government, fearful of a political challenge and the spread of social unrest, outlawed Falun Gong and carried out an intensive, comprehensive, and unforgiving campaign against the movement. Since 2003, Falun Gong has been largely suppressed or pushed deep underground in China while it has thrived in overseas Chinese communities and Hong Kong. The spiritual exercise group has become highly visible in the United States since 1999, staging demonstrations, distributing flyers, and sponsoring cultural events. In addition, Falun Gong followers are affiliated with several mass media outlets. Despite the group's tenacity and political activities overseas, it has not formed the basis of a dissident movement encompassing other social and political groups from China. [...] Since 1999, some Members of the United States Congress have made many public pronouncements and introduced several resolutions in support of Falun Gong and criticizing China's human rights record. In the 109th Congress, H.Res. 608, introduced on December 14, 2005, would condemn the 'escalating levels of religious persecution' in China, including the 'brutal campaign to eradicate Falun Gong.' H.Res. 794, introduced on May 3, 2006, would call upon the PRC to end its most egregious human rights abuses, including the persecution of Falun Gong. In January 2006, U.S. citizen Charles Li was released from a PRC prison after serving a three-year term for 'intending to sabotage' broadcasting equipment in China on behalf of Falun Gong."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33437
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