NEW YORK—It is Chinese New Year, a time for celebrating as a community—but you’re only part of the community in Chinatown if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approves.
That’s what Rutgers University professor Ko-lin Chin says, commenting that he is not surprised the New York Falun Dafa Association has been excluded from participating in the Chinatown parade this weekend.
Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a spiritual practice that has been persecuted by the CCP since 1999. According to reports from Amnesty International and the United Nations, practitioners continue to be imprisoned, tortured, and killed in China.
It seems the organizer has a prejudice. He seems to be affected by the political pressure, so they do not allow Falun Gong to participate, which is very unfortunate.
–Huang Yuzhen, president-elect, Lin Sing Association
“Even if there’s no order from the Chinese Consulate, all these organizations know that if they allow the Falun Gong to be a part of it [the parade], they are going to get into trouble,” said Chin in a phone interview.
Chin is described as “the foremost academic expert in the U.S. on Chinese organized crime,” in a National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. The paper shows that one of the parade organizers, the Fukien American Association, is affiliated with Chinese organized crime.
For example, the Fukien American Association provides the powerful Fuk Ching gang “with a physical place to gather and hang out. They allow the gang to operate on their territory, thus legitimizing them with the community. They also provide criminal opportunities (such as protecting gambling operations), as well as supplying money and guns,” states the report.
The FAA is also closely tied to the Chinese communist regime, says Chin.
“If you are a community leader, if you are the head of these associations, you will definitely want to maintain a good relationship [with the CCP] for many reasons—one is that you might need help from them in the future,” said Chin.
He explained that community leaders in Chinatown do what the Chinese Consulate says to avoid trouble if they go back to China.
The parade is organized by the Better Chinatown Society and the Fukien American Association. Steven Tin, president of the Better Chinatown Society says the only reason the Falun Dafa Association has been excluded is due to “security reasons.” Kenneth Cheng, chairman of the Fukien American Association, said, “We don’t want any political group, because there will be disruption of security.”
The New York Police Department (NYPD) did not make the security call. An NYPD spokesperson said, “We don’t ban anyone from any parades.”Levi Browde of the Falun Dafa Association said there have been no security issues in previous parades, aside from a minor incident at last year’s Flushing New Years parade. A man ran into the procession and tore a Falun Dafa banner.
The Falun Dafa Association participated in the Chinatown parade in 2007 and in previous years. It also hosts parades regularly in the city, such as its annual parade through Chinatown on April 25, which marks the anniversary of a 1999 appeal to the CCP to provide Falun Gong practitioners with a safe and legal environment.
The Falun Dafa Association has also participated in many parades throughout the city, including St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day parades, and has often won awards for the music of its marching band.
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