The driver suddenly pulled his cab over to the kerb and, without a glance, whipped out a well-thumbed book from the dashboard. The familiar face of Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi looked out from the cover, his body wrapped in a yellow robe and his arms folded. 'This is my bible. I study it every day when I have no passengers. It has improved my body and my soul,' said the driver excitedly. I said: 'But this book is illegal - you could be arrested and lose your job.' The driver replied: 'The communists are dictators and have no morality. They have nothing to offer. We have right on our side. I am not afraid. 'Anyway, who will report me? Who supports this crackdown? The public are with us,' the taxi driver argued. Last week, believers held daily protests in Tiananmen Square against the ban on their movement. Like the first Christians, they did not resist arrest. And the Communist Party pulled the noose tighter around their necks. On Saturday, the National People's Congress passed a law outlawing 'cults', as it defines Falun Gong. Courts can now sentence Falun Gong organisers to jail terms of three to seven years and recruiters to at least seven years. Police have said they imposed fines of up to 1,200 yuan (HK$1,047) on landlords who rented space to Falun Gong members who came from outside Beijing to protest. Authorities claim that the protesters demolished 26 of the homes in which they stayed. The nightmare for the Government is that - as in 1989, when the public started to support protests - it will become a mass movement. 'I do not expect that,' said one school teacher. 'In 1989, everyone backed student demands for an end to corruption and a more open government. But those who are not members know little about Falun Gong and do not feel close to it. 'The common feeling is disgust at the extent of the crackdown. People feel it is excessive; out of proportion to the threat. There is sympathy for Falun Gong, but not active support.' One reason for this is a ban on reporting the Tiananmen protests, so that few Beijing people know of them. 'The days of the Communist Party are numbered,' said a retired civil servant. 'The party of today bears no resemblance to the one of the 1950s when it worked for the people. Now it is only about money, privilege, corruption and the abuse of power.' For the more Machiavellian, the full story of Falun Gong remains untold. One theory is that certain leaders knew in advance about the demonstration by 10,000 followers around the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing on April 25. They let it proceed to embarrass their rivals, such as propaganda chief Ding Guanggen or Li Ruihuan, head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, in charge of religion. My cab driver, clutching his 'bible', asked: 'What have the communists done for me? 'They give me no medical insurance and no pension. I work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with nearly all the money going to company managers who sit on their bums doing nothing. Is this the socialism we were promised 50 years ago?'