Irish Examiner: Irishman detained in Falun Gong protest:
By Michael O'Farrell
AN IRISHMAN was part of a group of 35 protesters detained by Chinese police following a demonstration in support of the outlawed Falun Gong movement in Tiananmen Square yesterday. Brian Trought from Blackpool, Cork, a physics student at UCC, had travelled to China to protest at the repressive treatment of Falun Gong followers. A text message sent from his mobile phone to a Dublin friend said:
"Interesting day today, got detained for having a camera on Tiananmen square."
"He wanted to encourage the followers of the movement in China that people in the West care about what is happening there," said Dai Dongxue, a Dublin-based Falun Gong practitioner, who spoke to Mr Trought before he
left for China.
"He went to China because of the persecution of the organisation for the last two and a half years. He has done lots of work to support us, but it doesn't seem to help stop the persecution, so he thought his action in Tiananmen Square would draw more attention from the West."
Mr Trought travelled to China last Sunday from his Blackpool home. His Laois friend Leo Harris said: "Brian and the group were planning a peaceful protest against the Chinese Government. We had confirmation from other contacts that he had been arrested," said Mr Harris, who spoke to his
friend on Monday night around 10.30pm. "He was on his way to Tiananmen Square at that stage." The group, mostly in their 20s and 30s, had positioned themselves in the square sitting down with their eyes closed and their hands together in a protest over the treatment of Falun Gong followers.
Other members are reported to have unfurled banners in support of Falun Gong. Chinese authorities have pursued Falun Gong followers since 1999 when the group was outlawed by the government.
... Falun Gong practitioners ... [say] almost 300 followers have died in custody during the crackdown and that many
more had been tortured and abused. Among the thousands sent to prisons and labour camps is Trinity graduate student Zhao Ming, who has been detained in a labour camp since May 2000.
China's official news agency Xinhua said the government was expected to deport the detained foreign protesters. The Department of Foreign Affairs has made initial contacts with the Irish Embassy in Beijing to investigate the incident.
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