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China Sect Crackdown Hits Web

The Chinese government's crackdown against the 100 million member Falun Gong sect has spread to the Internet.

The sect's Web site has been blocked by Chinese authorities, according to press reports. China's Public Security Bureau issued warnings last week against the dissemination of information regarding the sect by any means.

China.com's free e-mail service was shut down last week. A notice at freemail.china.com read in Chinese, "Due to special reasons, from 16:00 July 22, 1999, China.com freemail boxes will be temporarily shut down for 24 hours. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we ask for your understanding."

However, the site did not come back up until Saturday, July 24.

An inside source told internetnews.com that "all Chinese free e-mail services within China were forced to shut down because of some government crackdown for the next few days."

However, the representative of another free e-mail provider in China said that their own service was not shut down.

Members of the Falun Gong sect were arrested by the Chinese authorities last week.

The sect began publishing reports of specific arrests on its Web site in the same fashion that protesters did during the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.