NEW YORK—Flying in the face of American values, organizers of the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, in Manhattan, are now excluding past parade participants for their religious beliefs.
The Chinese meditation group Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) was barred from joining this year’s parade with claims from the organizer of “potential security issues and disruption.”
When the local Falun Dafa Association attempted to register, the organizer, Steven Tin, replied with an e-mail stating “I'm sorry to inform, we'll not able to accommodate.”
His reason was “due to the unsettled conflict your organization has with numerous community groups and individuals that can create potential security issues and disruption.”
Spokesperson for the New York City Falun Dafa Association Levi Browde said Tin may be “alluding to the fact that maybe some of those groups that participate in this parade are those tied directly to the consulate.”
Browde added, “We’re a very peaceful member and a peaceful part of that community. There is no conflict, other than groups that are influenced by the Chinese consulate trying to bring the repression of the Chinese communist regime into this country."
The “security issues” Tin referred to likely relate to the 2008 attacks against Falun Dafa practitioners in Flushing, Queens. It was later discovered, via an investigative phone call, that New York Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu was meeting with and encouraging those involved in the attacks.
Further investigation revealed that New York City’s current comptroller, John Liu, was also meeting with and encouraging individuals behind the attacks; and that Chinese community associations with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were involved.
One of the main groups was the Fukien American Association, which has also organized events in cooperation with the Better Chinatown Society—including their 2009, 2008, and 2007 New Year's Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival.
According to Ko-lin Chin, a leading expert on Chinese gangs, the Fukien American Association has close ties to the CCP. “Once that organization, the Fukien American Association, became one of the leading [China]-supported organizations, they became the host of almost all these Chinese officials who are visiting New York,” Chin said in an earlier interview with The Epoch Times.
Peng Keyu also has a history of targeting Falun Dafa. He was the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco before he took up the same position in New York.
In 2004, the San Francisco Chinese Consulate tried to stop a showing of a movie depicting the torture and abuse of Falun Dafa practitioners in China by pressuring the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). However, the CVB refused to give in and the film played as scheduled.
In January 2006, a resolution condemning the persecution of Falun Gong in China was issued by the San Francisco City Development and Community Service Committee. Peng Keyu then issued a public statement threatening that supporting Falun Dafa could “harm the Sino-U.S. relationship” and warned them “not to make decisions which may interfere with the friendly exchange between the city of San Francisco and China.” Peng’s statement was published in Chinese media including the “World Journal” and “Sing Tao Daily.”
Although just a community parade through Chinatown on Feb. 6, the issue ties into a long-running trend of overseas manipulation by the CCP.
“One of our concerns, in a nutshell, is the impact on the community and what the Chinese Consulate has done in that regard,” said Browde.
Much of the CCP’s control of overseas Chinese communities was revealed by Chen Yonglin, the former consul for political affairs of the Chinese consulate general of Sydney, who defected from the CCP.
He testified before Congress on July 21, 2005, calling the persecution Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party a “systematic campaign.”
Next: Must be at least one Chinese official in charge of the Falun Gong affairs