AFP News Report: Falun Gong member jailed for downloading and distributing material

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Thursday December 27, 2001: A member of China' banned Falun Gong group has been sentenced to three years in jail for downloading material on the spiritual movement from the Internet and distributing it.

Quan Huicheng committed the offence in October last year while visiting an Internet bar in the city of Dongfang, on the west coast of China' island province of Hainan, the China News Service reported.

He and another Falun Gong follower made 400 copies of the downloaded material on a photocopier installed in the Internet bar, and started distributing them to people in the building where the bar was located.

Passers-by alerted police to what was going on, but officers did not arrive until Quan had handed out all but four copies, according to the report. He was sentenced "recently" at the Dongfang City People' Court, while the others involved were dealt with in separate cases, the report said.

China outlawed the Falun Gong in July 1999, branding the group, which promotes healthy living through [Mr. Li'] teachings, a "[Jiang Zemin government' slanderous term omitted]."

The ban led to daily protests by group members on Beijing' centrally located Tiananmen Square as scores of adherents, largely elderly women, braved continued police round ups. Since the [suppression] some 10,000 followers of the group have been jailed in prisons or Chinese labour camps.

At least 186 followers have died due to beatings or mistreatment while in police custody, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

Falun Gong' overseas organizations have recorded the deaths of 334 members in police custody.


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