SINGAPORE, Feb 18, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement in Singapore on Sunday called for an independent investigation into the death of a practitioner reported to have set himself on fire in Beijing. Tian Moon Toon, chairman of the Falun Buddha Society in Singapore, accused the Chinese government of fabricating suicides of Falun Gong members to justify its crackdown on the group, outlawed in China as an "evil cult." "We are extremely sad and shocked to hear the death of a Chinese citizen who was said to have set fire to himself in Beijing," Tian said in a statement. He said there was no way to verify the man's background, adding that reports of his death were part of Beijing's attempt to "defame" the movement. "We call for an independent investigation into this self-immolation incident," said the statement, which also called on the international community to help stop the crackdown on Falun Gong. Though banned in China, Falun Gong is registered as a legal organization in Singapore under the name Falun Buddha Society. [...]