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Letter to the Editor: Falun Gong ignores China's laws

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

To the editor:

In response to Caylan Ford's letter, "China's persecution violates own law," I would like to point out that there are major differences of opinion concerning the status of Falun Gong in China. The Chinese government considers this organization to be a religious group, and there are regulations in China regarding all religious groups. Because the Falun Gong does not wish to be considered a religion, it feels the government's religious regulations do not apply to its adherents. I refer specifically to regulations regarding registration of all religious organizations with the government. Falun Gong is not registered with the Chinese government. Therefore, its meetings are considered to be illegal.

The Chinese government requires, among other things, that religious groups have a designated place for meeting, trained and recognized leaders and basic teachings and practices that contribute to the quality of life of the people. In China, Falun Gong groups tend to meet whenever and wherever they please, even in public places, and when 10,000 people appeared for a meeting a few years ago, they were dealt with according to the law because they did not have permission to assemble.

Whether the Falun Gong is a religious group or not can be debated. But if the Chinese government has decided that it is indeed a religious group, then it is subject to the laws of the land. If the rules and regulations are bad or improper, as they sometimes are, then work within the system to change them.

RON WINSTEAD, Jackson