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Reuters: China to jail US-based Falun Gong member-HK group

November 24, 2000 |  

Reuters, November 20, 2000

HONG KONG - China will sentence a U.S.-based Falun Gong member on charges of "spying for a foreign organisation" this week, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said on Monday.

Teng, arrested in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in March, was likely to be jailed for more than 10 years, The Information Centre for Human Rights & Democracy said in a statement.

A court in Beijing would announce the sentencing in a secret trial against Teng Chunyan, who holds a U.S. "green card," on November 23, it said.

It said if China sentenced the 37-year-old Teng, it would be the first time that Beijing had jailed a U.S.-based Falun Gong member practitioner.

In the past, China usually detained U.S.-based Falun Gong practitioners for several days before releasing them. It is likely that Teng's sentencing would be to send a warning signal to overseas-based Falun Gong members, the rights group said.

The Information Centre said Teng was gathering information on China's persecution of the members of the banned spiritual movement. The Chinese authorities still had not notified Teng's American husband and the U.S. embassy, it said.

Falun Gong combines meditation and exercise with a doctrine loosely rooted in Buddhist and Taoist teachings. It first rattled Beijing with a 10,000-strong protest in April in 1999. Later that year, the ruling Communist Party banned it.