Friday, June 7, 2002; 4:11 PM
REYKAJVIK, Iceland ---- The government on Friday barred all Falun Gong members from entering Iceland in a bid to prevent a large demonstration against Chinese President Jiang Zemin when he visits the country next week.
The government said it is the first time the country has banned members of any movement or international organization from visiting Iceland.
The move was taken in an effort to avoid the kind of protest that occurred the last time a top Chinese officials visited the country.
In September 2000, a demonstration against China's human rights record was held when Li Peng, then premier, visited Iceland, prompting him to cancel a stop at parliament, and scuffles broke out between police and protesters when they marched to Li's hotel.
Jiang is to arrive in Iceland next Wednesday for a visit that runs through June 16.
Chinese officials have long been sensitive to Falun Gong protests in other countries. [...]
Falun Gong followers say it is a peaceful meditation movement that builds health. They say hundreds of followers have died as a result of police abuse and torture during the Chinese crackdown.