In San Francisco’s Chinatown Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected for several months to a series of violent attacks the practitioners say are hate crimes, with little media coverage of their ordeal. On June 10, a Chinese-language newspaper based in Chinatown showed up to report on an unprovoked attack on Falun Gong practitioners—and made it seem as though the practitioners were doing the fighting.
The incident took place near the corner of Grant and Washington Streets. A group of Falun Gong practitioners were holding signs and passing out materials describing the Chinese regime’s torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is a traditional Chinese spiritual practice that involves five simple, meditative exercises, and teachings based in 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 are members of the Chinese Communist Party.
In the police report on the incident, the officer, David M., states that when he arrived on the scene he was met by Mr. Derek Yu Feng Wang and Ms. Yifei Wang who said they were punched by an elderly man, Mr. Yongyao Wu.
“Wang played an iPhone video for me that showed Yongyao punched Yu once on the right side of his lower jaw.” Yifei Wang was punched in the right cheek. The officer notes he “observed redness” in the areas where they said they were punched.
After accepting the Citizen Arrest forms from both of them, the officer placed Yongyao under arrest for battery. “As I issued Yongyao a Notice to Appear citation, he closed his eyes and became unresponsive.” The officer called an ambulance, and a woman claiming to be his daughter appeared on the scene and signed the citation on his behalf.
No physical injuries were recorded for Yongyao, although the report noted that he became unresponsive.
The officer states he took photos of Yu and Yifei’s injuries, which will be used as evidence, and noted the iPhone video will also be obtained as evidence.
The video, which can be viewed online, shows the man chasing and punching a Falun Gong practitioner.
A second man, who was arrested for attacking Falun Gong practitioners on June 16, can be heard on the video telling Yongyao to lie on the ground when police arrive. After checking to see if Yongyao had actually fainted, one of the police officers on the scene stated, “he’s awake.”
A Skewed Report
The article by Sing Tao had its own take on the incident, however. Derek Wang, one of the victims, said a Sing Tao reporter showed up when Yongyao was laying on the ground after the officer gave him the notice to appear in court.
The reporter spoke to the officer, interviewed both people who were attacked, and was shown the video of the incident.
“We told him the whole story—how we were beaten and attacked suddenly by Yongyao while holding the posters and tried to tell the Chinese residents there about the persecution against Falun Gong in China,” Derek Wang said.
The Sing Tao report, however, described the incident as a “physical fight,” although—according to the police report—nobody who was attacked by Yongyao fought back, as the video clearly shows.
“We all know that a physical fight has to involve both sides. But as we told him clearly, we did not physically attack Yongyao. He attacked us,” Derek Wang said.
The Sing Tao report also did not quote anything the practitioners involved in the incident said. It did quote an unnamed witness who claimed Yongyao was beaten.
“The reporter neglected everything we told him in his report. We were very shocked when we read the story,” Derek Wang said.
The article closed with a quote from an unnamed Vietnamese-Chinese who criticizes Falun Gong’s presence in Chinatown.
According to Sherry Zhang, the spokesperson for Falun Gong practitioners in the San Francisco area, the Sing Tao article also used photos to give an inaccurate depiction of what happened.
The Sing Tao report had two photographs. One showed the man who attacked practitioners lying on the ground. The other showed the police speaking with the practitioners.
“They tried to picture us as if we were fighting each other, which was not true. It was simply one person beating up the other two. It’s very easy to tell who is right and wrong,” Zhang said.
Zhang said there have been nine similar attacks against Falun Gong practitioners over the past eight months in San Francisco, noting “They’re not random attacks. They’re very selective, and they’re only targeting practitioners of Falun Gong.”
“We’re asking the District Attorney in San Francisco to seriously investigate these crimes. They are not random attacks. They are organized and they show a pattern,” Zhang said.
Sing Tao has a history of reporting that favors the CCP’s take on things in relation to Falun Gong and other groups persecuted by the Chinese regime.
According to Lucy Zhou, the spokesperson for Falun Gong in Canada, Sing Tao had 18 editions in 2001 that published Chinese Communist Party propaganda about Falun Gong verbatim.
According to an April 2004 article in Canada’s National Post, “A week had hardly passed after Sept. 11, 2001, when Canada’s Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily … printed an inflammatory article entitled “Radical Religions Advocate Destroying the World,” which parroted Beijing’s equating of Falun Gong with the Branch Davidians, the American group that David Koresh indoctrinated in Waco, Tex., until his clash with police in February, 1993, led to the death of 86 people, 17 of whom were children.”
In 2007, in connection with a controversy over whether Falun Gong practitioners in Vancouver, Canada, would be allowed to continue protesting opposite the Chinese Consulate, the lawyer Clive Ainsley complained a Sing Tao report on the issue was “pure fiction from top to bottom.”
A review by The Epoch Times of reporting on Tibet by Sing Tao found a consistent pattern of reporting that parroted the CCP’s line on events unfolding in Tibet.
Sing Tao’s pattern of reporting reflects the paper’s ownership.
The journal China Brief in a 2001 report, “How China’s Government Is Attempting to Control Chinese Media in America,” states that Sing Tao Daily is one of a group of Chinese-language papers “either directly or indirectly controlled by the government of Mainland China.”
In the late 1980s, Sing Tao newsgroup’s owner, Sally Aw Sian ran into financial troubles, “and found a financial solution in the form of aid from the Chinese government,” according to China Brief.
The past decade or so has seen the transformation of Sing Tao Daily into a pro-communist newspaper.
“The past decade or so has seen the transformation of Sing Tao Daily into a pro-communist newspaper,” China Brief states. “Sally Aw Sian has since become a member of China’s National Political Consultative Conference.”
In January 2001, the paper’s controlling shares were bought by Ho Tsu-Kwok, a member of China’s National Political Consultative Conference who helped establish Xinhua Online in 2001. Xinhua news agency is the Chinese regime’s official mouthpiece.
Larry Lee (Li Ge), formerly Sing Tao’s chief editor for the United States, who was based in San Francisco, was an editor of China’s People’s Daily, an official CCP newspaper.
Sing Tao’s San Francisco office was called asking for a response to this article, but the person answering the phone refused to comment.
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