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Falun Gong practitioners urge Chinese government to release couple


By FINN BULLERS, The Kansas City Star
August 18, 2008

As the gold-medal tally for China soars in Beijing, Linda Wangís heart fills with pain.

"This is not the Olympics of humanity," the somber Kansas City woman said. "This is the Olympics of hypocrisy."

Wang and other Falun Gong practitioners in the region held a news conference Friday at the Johnson County Library to urge the Chinese government to live up to the humanitarian ideal of the Olympics and release the parents of a Missouri college student they said were arrested last month.

Jin Pang, 25, a first-year masterís student at Missouri State University in Springfield, said she has not heard from her parents since they were arrested July 29 in a "Peaceful Olympics" sweep by Communist Party officials.

Earlier in the month, Pang said her parentís apartment in Weifang City in Shandong province was ransacked by police and their valuables and lifesavings were taken as a way to intimidate Falun Gong practitioners and do it under the guise of a pre-Olympic law-and-order sweep.

Her mother, Junping Cao, 51, a retired sales clerk, and her father, Xiaoqiang Pang, 53, a detention center engineer, are being held at the Weifang City Detention Center, she said.

"Itís very ridiculous," Pang said in an interview after the press conference. "They have taken advantage of the Olympics to persecute their foes."

Falun Gong practitioners say they read and exercise to create an inner peace that fosters competence, truthfulness, tolerance and good health.

Wang, who runs a nonprofit organization and is a freelance reporter for a Chinese newspaper, said Fridayís press conference was designed to expose what Falun Gong practitioners say is the Chinese governmentís inhumane and bloody persecution of those who only seek truth and inner peace.

As of Jan. 1, the Falun Dafa Information Center reports that at least 8,037 Falun Gong practitioners from 29 provinces have been arrested.

Scores of human rights organizations, Congress and even the City Council of Kansas City have recognized the movement and condemned the Chinese governmentís crackdown on Falun Gong.

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