Aug 8, 2015

Beijing irked by Thailand's decision on Falun Gong

August 7, 2015

Group 'is an evil cult that disturbesocal order,' says embassy official

CHINA strongly opposes Thailand's decision to allow registration of a Falun Gong association and has already protested to the Thai government, a Chinese Embassy official said yesterday.

"Falun Gong is an evil cult that disturbs social order and basic human rights in China and elsewhere," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Falun Gong is outlawed and its teachings are considered a social threat in China, the embassy official said.

"In many cases, they are also against Buddhism," he said.

Beijing and the Chinese Embassy here have communicated with the Thai government about its concern over the ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court that they say in effect may legalise the Falun Gong cult in Thailand, the Chinese official said.

The Supreme Administrative Court has allowed registration of a Falun Gong association in Thailand, reversing a ruling by the lower administrative court that rejected a petition by three practitioners of the Chinese spiritual cult that is outlawed in China.

The court, in its verdict issued on June 2, said the petitioners have the legal right to set up the Falun Gong Study Association in Thailand.

The three petitioners - Paitoon Suriyawongpaisan, Panida Wayumhasuwan and Chatchalai Sutthakanat - complained to the Administrative Court after their application to register the non-profit association was rejected in 2005 by the Bangkok Metropolitan's association registrar, which cited possible souring of ties with China.

Before going to court, the petitioners appealed to the interior minister, who reaffirmed the decision by the registrar.

The authorities were concerned that the Chinese authorities might interpret registration of the association as Thailand's recognition of it.

In 2006, the Administrative Court rejected the complaint filed by the three petitioners against the Bangkok registrar and interior minister, prompting them to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.

The court said the concern that registration of the foundation might affect Thai-Chinese ties was premature, as the acts of concern were not committed by those involved with the Thai foundation.

The court said the registrar could revoke the registration of the foundation in the future if it was found to have broken the law or regulations.

In its ruling obtained by The Nation on Wednesday night, the Supreme Administrative Court also cited the Chinese constitution, which guarantees the religious freedom and right of assembly of its citizens.

The court overturned the lower court's ruling and ordered the revocation of the Bangkok registrar's decision not to register the foundation and the interior minister's decision to dismiss the petitioners' appeal.

Falun Gong is also known as Falun Dafa, which means "dharma wheel practice". There are an estimated tens of millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China and hundreds of thousands in more than 70 countries outside China.

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