UPDATE 6/20/12 9:34 p.m. EDT with San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee’s remark.
SAN FRANCISCO—A man was charged with misdemeanor battery in San Francisco’s Chinatown on June 16 after he attempted to physically prevent two women from sharing information with passersby about the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice in China, in the course of which he struck them with cardboard and his hands.
Jing Jun Chin, the alleged assailant, was released at the scene. A hearing on the case will be held at the Superior Court of San Francisco at a date that has yet to be determined, according to Albie Esparza, public information officer at San Francisco Police Station, who was reached by telephone.
The incident took place after a number of Falun Gong practitioners arrived at the corner of Grant Avenue and Washington Street in Chinatown. They carried posters with information about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice to which they adhere.
Chin attempted to block the practitioners and hit them and their posters with a stiff piece of cardboard he was carrying. The hands of the women were hurt in the attack, they said; the spectacles of one were knocked to the ground. In a video that was uploaded to the Internet, the man can be seen striking a male practitioner in the face with his fist.
They contacted the police, who apprehended Jing Jun Chin.
Born in 1939 in Taiwan, Chin came to the U.S. in 1964 to study at University of Utah. He later resided in Los Angeles and Sausalito, California, before moving to Berkeley in 1972.
Over the last two decades Chin is known to have periodically harassed individuals and groups not favored by the CCP in Chinatowns in Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to Sherry Zhang, a Falun Gong spokesperson in San Francisco.
“On June 10, Chin assisted a man named Wu to get away from police after Wu punched Falun Gong practitioners,” Zhang said. She indicated that he has a history of engaging in the activities for which he was recently cited by police.
Zhang said that Chin should be punished according to the law, and said she understood his actions within the broader context of the campaign of persecution against Falun Gong by the CCP.
According to Zhang, the most recent attack marks the eighth attack against Falun Gong practitioners in the Bay Area in the past eight months.
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that involves the performance of five meditative exercises and the observance of the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It became popular in China throughout the 1990s, gaining around 70 million adherents. In 1999 the then-head of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, launched a campaign to “eradicate” the practice, fearing its broad base of popularity implicitly undermined the legitimacy of the communist regime.
UPDATE: After a public event at the San Francisco Public Utility Commission on June 20, Mayor of San Francisco Edwin M. Lee was asked by an Epoch Times reporter about his reaction and view of the incident. He said “I’m just trying to get information about it. I’ll be meeting with the police chief and he’ll give me the details this afternoon.”
Correction: A reference to the court where the case will be held was incorrect. The case will be held at the Superior Court of San Francisco.
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