In the past year, as many as 8,000 practitioners have been detained, according to experts on human rights, and at least 100 have died in custody. …In recent months, scores of practitioners have been given long prison terms, including Zhang Xingwu, a retired physics professor from Shandong Province who last week was sentenced to seven years after the police found Falun Gong literature in his apartment….
The continued crackdown highlights the difficulty of eradicating a movement whose adherents stubbornly cling to their beliefs, but it also provides a window into the psyche of an authoritarian government that, despite its far-reaching power, remains deeply insecure.
“The excesses and the savagery have really lowered the quality of the government and harmed [China’s] reputation abroad,” said Jerome Cohen, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Chinese law. “They’re paying a high price for the cruelty to these people.”
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