SAN FRANCISCO—Two men of Chinese descent charged with assaulting practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong in San Francisco’s Chinatown were found guilty by a Neighborhood Court on Aug. 13.
The Neighborhood Court issued directives ordering assailants Yongyao Wu and Jingjun Chin to each write a letter of apology to the victims and to stay at least 10 feet away from them. In addition Yongyao Wu is obliged to follow individualized anger management counseling.
Falun Gong practitioners Dafang Wang, Derek Wang, Helena Li, and Christine Yang were assaulted by the men while informing the public in Chinatown about Falun Gong and the persecution of the spiritual practice in China. The incidents occurred on June 10 and June 16.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice that consists of meditative exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. The Chinese regime banned the practice in 1999 after a state poll found that 100 million people were practicing—more than were members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The sight of Falun Gong practitioners handing out flyers and holding up poster-boards informing the public about the atrocities at the hands of the CCP has become a common sight in San Francisco’s Chinatown, as well as in other major cities in the United States and around the world.
Video recordings of the incident on June 10 show how one of the assailants hits Derek Wang twice in the face with his fist. It also shows how assailant Jingjun Chin grabs female Falun Gong practitioner Dafang Wang by her shoulder and arm leaving it bruised. The videos also show that both of the victims refrain from using violence.
On June 16 assailant Jingjun Chin used a wooden board to hit two female Falun Gong practitioners, causing serious arm injuries. One of the victims was hit on the head, causing her eyeglasses to fall on the ground and shatter.
Terri Marsh, executive director of the Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, representing the victims, said this case is about the freedom of conscience.
“The assailants who were charged with injuring the Falun Gong believers in China Town trampled upon these freedoms in China Town, acting as if the United States was not founded on the protection of these fundamental norms,” Marsh said in a statement following the outcome of the Neighborhood Court hearing.
“They behaved as if they were residing in the PRC where such behavior is not only tolerated but incited by the Party, its henchmen, and thugs,” she said.
Incidents involving violence aimed at Falun Gong believers in San Francisco have occurred over the years since the persecution began in 1999. The occurrences started picking up last year and have intensified in the past months, amounting to at least 10 incidents. According to Falun Gong practitioners, the incidents are part of a concentrated effort by the CCP to extend its persecution abroad.
During similar incidents in New York’s Chinatown in Flushing in 2008, mobs of Chinese people attacked Falun Gong practitioners for months. At that time the Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu was caught on a taped phone call boasting about how he had personally encouraged the attacks in Flushing.
San Francisco’s Neighborhood Courts are an initiative by the Office of the District Attorney. Cases are decided by trained residents and focus on restoring the community. If the defendants comply with the court’s directives, the official criminal case will be discharged. If the defendants fail to adhere to the directives they can still face criminal prosecution.
“The United States is a rule of law country and if the Defendants continue to assault, batter and injure Falun Gong believers in San Francisco, they will be held criminally accountable … The DA’s office, the police and many other good people in San Francisco are doing their best to protect the fundamental freedoms of all persons in San Francisco, including Falun Gong believers,” said Marsh in an email.
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