Zhang Hongbao in Blast Furnace
A Documentary on How the Outstanding Spiritual Leader
Transformed to a Political Leader
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Government is Fearing that Zhang Hongbao’s Enormous Political Influence
[CNN]: Chinese sect
leader waits for word on asylum in U.S. (Excerpt)
From Hong Kong Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy August 25, 2000
Web posted at: 6:28 a.m. HKT (2228 GMT)
While the Chinese government extended its crackdown on religion to Protestant churches, the leader of a banned meditation group waited in Guam for a ruling on his request for political asylum in the United States.
Zhang Hongbao, the 46-year-old founder of Zhong Gong, has been held at a U.S. immigration detention center in Guam since February, when he arrived after fleeing a massive police hunt for him in China.
The Chinese government, claiming Zhang is a criminal who engaged in illicit sex with his followers, wants him back to stand trial. But Zhang, whose group ran a network of schools and healing centers while claiming millions of devotees, denies all the charges.
"The Chinese government is trying to destroy me, not because our group commits any illegal acts, but because we are a political threat," he said, adding that the government "fears our large numbers."
"The government is worried that if we form a political party, it will be the largest opposition party in China ... because my beliefs are diametrically opposed to Marxism-Leninism."
"He would most likely be executed because of his enormous political influence," said Frank Lu of the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong. "I think it is 100 percent certain he would be executed."
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong rights group reported that Chinese President Jiang Zemin has called for tougher action against the Zhong Gong sect to prevent its emergence as a mass organization outside the Chinese Community Party's control.
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