Falun Gong- Mysticism or mayhem?

More than 70 million people in China are followers of Falun Gong. But their beliefs can come at a very high price.

Falun Gong - which originated in China - has no political agenda, no funding and no official status. However, the Chinese government treats the practice of Falun Gong as an imprisonable offence and there are almost daily reports of its followers being subjected to torture.

Seventy million people in China, and some 30 million more globally, follow Falun Gong, a spiritual practice based on a series of breathing exercises and a teaching of Zen, Shan and Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance).

With a growing base of followers in the UK (and frequent demonstrations outside the Chinese consulate in Manchester and embassy in London), Britain looks set to follow Germany, France and the US, which also sport a burgeoning number of devotees.

It is not so easy to follow in the ways of Falun Gong in its homeland, however, as Jane Liang, a 37-year old Falun Gong practitioner in Nottingham, explains: "My sister, Wen Liang, was arrested for the third time in February 2000.