BEIJING (AP) _ A follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group choked to death while in detention after police forcibly fed her to end her hunger strike, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Elementary school teacher An Xiukun, 50, was arrested June 6 while protesting a ban on the group in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

An, who was being held at a detention center hear her home in Hengshui in central China's Hebei province, launched a hunger strike to protest being shackled, the group said.

Six days into the protest, guards forced food down her throat, causing her to choke, the center said.

The account could not be immediately confirmed. No telephone number for the detention center was available, but a man who answered the telephone at Hengshui's jail said no Falun Gong followers had been detained in the area.

An is the 25th Falun Gong follower to die in detention since the government banned the sect a year ago, the center said.

While the government has not responded to each accusation of abuse, it denies mistreating detained Falun Gong followers.

Falun Gong attracted millions of followers during the 1990s with its combination of slow-motion exercises and philosophy drawn from Taoism, Buddhism and the often unorthodox ideas of its founder, ex-government grain clerk Li Hongzhi.

Alarmed over the group's popularity and organization, the Communist Party banned Falun Gong and called it a public menace. It has accused Falun Gong of causing the deaths of 1,500 followers.