Hu wanted Bush to label
Falun Gong an 'evil cult'

Special to World
Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dr. Wenyi Wang, center, and others who preferred not to be identified, talk to the media in Arlington, Va., on April 26, about her disruption of Chinese President Hu's visit to the White House. AP/Mannie Garcia
Chinese President Hu Jintao sought to convince President Bush during their meetings to publicly declare the Falun Gong religious group an “evil cult” that should be banned, U.S. officials said.

But Bush did not agree to do so and there were no public announcements to that effect.

Falun Gong, founded by a former People’s Liberation Army colonel, has changed its posture in recent years from that of a strictly Buddhist-based religious group to a political movement that targets the Chinese Communist Party.

Dennis Wilder, a National Security Council specialist on Asia, told reporters after the Bush-Hu meeting that the president raised the issue of freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to worship.

“We continue to believe that China has some way to go on this area, that a modern society that has moved as far as the Chinese have economically must begin to provide these kinds of freedom to their people,” Wilder said.

Copyright © 2006 East West Services, Inc.

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