Serbian Falun Gong Practitioners Detained Ahead of Xi Jinping’s Visit

Serbian Falun Gong practitioner holds banner in front of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade (, 2019)

Serbian Falun Gong practitioner holds banner in front of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade (, 2019)

NEW YORK—Serbian police detained six Falun Gong practitioners and two relatives ahead of Xi Jinping’s visit to Belgrade on Tuesday, May 7. The practitioners were then released in the evening of May 8 after Xi left Serbia on a plane to Budapest.

“It is shameful to see a country that was once proud of its own history and record of moving away from communist systems to now embrace the CCP by wrongfully detaining Falun Gong practitioners,” said Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson Erping Zhang. “Clearly, this was instigated by the CCP, which has been exporting its domestic repression overseas.”

Sara Marković, daughter of one of the detained, Dejan Marković, told Radio Free Europe, “They took them to the police station without a clear explanation as to why. They were told that they were going to an interview.” The practitioners and their family members were detained at several locations for 24 hours. After Xi’s departure, all six were released.

“They know we are peaceful,” Mr. Markovic told The Epoch Times. A head police officer said to them, “I know that you guys are good people. I will not question you. I don’t need to question you. But the district attorney asked us for 48 hours detention.”

In 2014, eleven Falun Gong practitioners were detained ahead of protests during Li Keqiang’s visit for the Central and Eastern Europe-China Summit.

Alongside Russia’s recent detention of Falun Gong practitioners, this incident illustrates a disturbing trend of some countries folding to CCP pressure to suppress the voices of Falun Gong practitioners.

In 2015, Meng Jianzhu, former member of the CCP Central Committee and head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, boasted about the success of measures to prevent Falun Gong protests and appeals during Xi Jinping’s travels, regarding such detentions as “breakthroughs in overseas struggles.”

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