Today's Story Line

China's officials are publicly crushing the Falun Gong video tapes with steamrollers. But crushing what underlies the rise of this religious sect will be much harder.

Quote of note: "My father's generation was educated to believe in Marxism ... We don't believe in anything except money and materialism. More people are practicing Falun Gong because their spirits are empty." - a Falun Gong adherent.

It only seems as if it takes a degree in African calculus to understand the complex Congo war. Indeed, there are many factions and factors. But think diamonds, and you'll get some clarity.

Why or Wye not? A basic primer (for new editors and puzzled readers) on the role of the Wye accord in the Mideast peace process.

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB

*NEGOTIATING CONGO: When reporter Lara Santoro arrived at the airport in Kisangani, Congo, there were no customs officials waiting nor anyone to stamp her passport. She finally found a lone policeman. He searched Lara's bag and delved into every corner. "When he got to my laptop, he said he was no fool, he had seen a satellite-phone before and it was going to cost me $300 in duties to bring it into Congo." Sat-phones and computers look similar, but Lara refused to pay. He insisted. She refused again. "Finally, he asked me how much I was willing to pay. I said, '$10.' He said, '$20.' I gave him $15."

*AN ACT OF FAITH: The Monitor's Kevin Platt had a hush-hush meeting at a Beijing restaurant with a Communist Party member who had just quit the Falun Gong. His hands were fidgeting. "You don't have a tape recorder? You won't use my name?" No, Kevin reassured him. Pressured by party superiors, he quit Falun Gong. After about an hour he began to relax. But he became visibly anxious when Kevin asked him about his faith in communism. "I don't want to talk politics. I only agreed to talk about Falun Gong."

CULTURAL SNAPSHOT

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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