Falun Gong followers demonstrate against planned anti-subversion law

Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated Saturday against a planned anti-subversion law that they said aims to ban the meditation group from Hong Kong.

Close to 100 Falun Gong followers sat in meditation poses outside the Legislative Council displaying banners that said, "Uphold human rights," and "No draconian law in Hong Kong."

"We don't want such a law," said Falun Gong spokesman Kan Hung-cheung. "It would be like giving a remote control to Beijing and allowing it to dispel any groups it dislikes."

Ever since the former British colony was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong has been constitutionally required to outlaw subversion, sedition, treason, secession and other crimes against the state.

Opponents worry that Hong Kong could be heading toward a Beijing-style crackdown on dissent, with some saying the Falun Gong could be targeted.

The meditation group is outlawed in mainland China, where the government is trying to eradicate it, but it is thus far free to practice, and protest, in Hong Kong.

Officials insist the bill does not threaten local freedoms of the press, speech and assembly and are pushing ahead with the legislation. The bill is expected to be passed soon by the Legislative Council, which is dominated by pro-Beijing and big business interests.