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16 FALUN GONG MEMBERS ARE DETAINED IN BEIJING

Police detained 16 members of a banned meditation sect after they tried to cover the massive portrait of Mao Tse-tung that overlooks Tiananmen Square with a picture of their leader, a rights group said Saturday.

Police detained Tao Hualian, of Macau, at the security checkpoint to the imperial Gate of Heavenly Peace, where Mao's portrait hangs. Fifteen others were detained when they tried to open a portrait of Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi nearby, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China reported.

Tao and three members from Hong Kong were deported to Hong Kong. The 12 others, who were from China, remained in detention, the Information Center said.

Beijing banned Falun Gong in July, calling it a threat to Communist Party control.

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