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Taipei Mayor addresses Falun Gong gathering (photo)
AFAR
12/29/2002



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Thousands of Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners gathered in Taipei on December 29, 2002. Taipei’s Mayor Ma Ying-jeou attended the gathering and also asked the Beijing authorities to respect universal human rights by tolerating the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Stating that practicing Falun Gong is good for one's health, Ma said that he sees no reason why the authorities should deter Falun Gong followers from doing their exercises. Ma also expressed that he was not concerned about offending any regime by supporting Falun Gong. Mr. Xu Ying-shen, Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry, also appeared and addressed the crowd, reaffirming the freedoms in Taiwan. Xu pointed out that there are hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan and regretted that “people in Mainland China are unable to enjoy the pleasure of practicing Falun Gong.”

Beijing once endorsed the Falun Gong spiritual movement for its health benefits until July 1999 when the number of people practicing grew to over 100 million. Human rights groups report that over 100,000 people have been sent to labor camps, mental institutions, and jail for refusing to give up their faith, and that at least 500 have been tortured to death in police custody.

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