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China seeks suppression of 'righteous voices,' Falun Gong leader says

CNN Hong Kong Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy interviewed Hong Kong Falun Gong contact person Kan Hung-cheung about the Chinese government crackdown on the group and the condemnation of its practitioners. Kan was singled out in a commentary of China's official Xinhua Agency on January 4, accusing him of being a "core member of the evil cult," who motivated practitioners to gather in Macau.

Here's the CNN interview with Kan Hung-cheung:

MIKE CHINOY: What is your reaction to the recent criticism of you by the Chinese government?

KAN HUNG-CHEUNG: I think this is one way how Jiang Zimen suppresses Falun Gong. Through the state-controlled media, they attack Falun Gong by inaccurate comments. That includes attacks on me and other practitioners. I'm not surprised. I have to point out: We will tell the world the truth even under strong suppression of the Chinese government. What we do is righteous and peaceful, nothing like what they accused us.

CHINOY: Why did the Xinhua commentary single you out ?

KAN: I don't know the reason. I guess I and some other practitioners have done something in Hong Kong that China doesn't like. What they are doing is partly to threaten us. They hope to stop us from telling the truth and to stop our peaceful strike.

CHINOY: Is the Chinese government's commentary related to the conference on Sunday?

KAN: Perhaps they want to pose a threat to us. But Falun Gong practitioners won't be threatened in such a way. I believe not only the conference won't be affected, but perhaps more people would join the conference after the threat.

CHINOY: Are you afraid of the commentary?

KAN: No, I'm not, because our behaviors are righteous and peaceful.

CHINOY: How are the practitioners on the mainland? Is there more and more pressure?

KAN: I heard from different places that they are beaten, arrested, sent to labor camps or jail. Things like those are ongoing. As far as we know, 111 innocent practitioners died. Tens of thousands are arrested, sent to labor camps or jail. Recently, I learn that in the Guangdong province such as Guangzhou, Zhuhai, many practitioners were arrested just during Jiang Zimen's visit to Macau. We don't know the whereabouts of many arrested.

CHINOY: Do you think China wants Hong Kong to impose pressure on the group like Macau did?

KAN: Jiang Zemin would like to see all righteous voices suppressed. But he definitely won't be fulfilled. In Hong Kong, under the one-country-two-systems principle, the government is more respectful to human rights and legality. We hope the Hong Kong SAR government will continue to protect basic human rights of local Falun Gong practitioners.

CHINOY: Have you had any problems in Hong Kong?

KAN: There is some misunderstanding about us in Hong Kong and because of the pressure from China, we have had a lot of difficulties renting venues. Some practitioners are being followed, being taped. There is also disturbance when we actually carry out our peaceful activities. Although our problems are not as serious as what practitioners come across in China and Macau, there is still pressure.

CHINOY: What's the mission of Sunday's conference?

KAN: The conference will be watched by all practitioners and all the press in the world. We hope to tell more about the truth in the conference and disclose the crime of people such as Jiang Zemin. We also urge people, governments and civilian groups to support us inresolving the problems in a peaceful manner.

CHINOY: Can Hong Kong be the activity base of Falun Gong?

KAN: There's not such an issue actually. In different parts of the world, practitioners fight, petition and tell the truth through various peaceful channels. Hong Kong is one of the places. Perhaps it is especially meaningful because Hong Kong is part of China.

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