In the toughest domestic security measure since 1989, the Chinese Government officially banned the quasi-religious Falun Gong sect yesterday. The announcement was accompanied by a wave of arrests and a massive propaganda offensive against the sect's charismatic founder, Li Hongzhi, who was accused of sinister and disruptive motives. The centerpiece of the case against Li Hongzhi came in a special 70-minute television program that highlighted cases of Falun Gong members who had killed themselves or others or who refused medical treatment. Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa as it is known in the US (where Li Hongzhi currently resides), has been described as holding a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist philosophies and practicing Chinese deep breathing exercises known as Qi Gong. The sect claims to have over 100 million adherents worldwide and is clearly seen by the Communist Party leadership as a potential political threat. These feelings were intensified on April 25, when approximately 10,000 followers of the movement materialized overnight and maintained an eerie silent vigil outside the leadership compound in Beijing, demanding official recognition. More than anything perhaps, this demonstration of the group's ability to organize and mobilize in secrecy convinced the government to move to suppress them. The US and human rights groups have criticized the crackdown, but if past behavior is any indication, the Communist Party leadership will place internal order and political hegemony before any potential diplomatic fallout. The sites listed provide information about this human rights issue.