BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ An Alabama microbiologist and his wife, detained in China about six weeks because of their ties to an outlawed sect, are worried about fellow practitioners they left behind.

Friends and government officials in the United States lobbied the Chinese government to release Shean Lin, a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his wife, Xiaohua Du.

Other Falun Gong followers don't have similar support.

``They all depend on themselves,'' said Lin after the couple's arrival Monday night. About 20 friends greeted them upon their return.

Lin, 30, and Du, 28, were detained by Chinese authorities on Sept. 8 after officials found Falun Gong materials in their possession. Falun Gong, a system of meditation and exercise, has been banned in China, where authorities consider it a cult.