NEW YORK—The Chinese consul general in New York City incited a mob that violently attacked critics of the Chinese regime in Flushing Chinatown last week, a recorded conversation obtained by The Epoch Times shows.
In the conversation, Consul General Peng Keyu boasts about encouraging violent attacks on volunteers at a booth set up to allow Chinese nationals to quit the communist party.
The booth, in New York's borough of Queens, is staffed predominately by Falun Gong practitioners, and organizers regularly distribute literature detailing abuses carried out by the communist authorities in China.
"They came over after they fought with Falun Gong and I shook hands with them one by one and thanked them," Peng is recorded saying.
The booth has been the target of an angry mob since mid-May. Volunteers had said they believed the consulate was behind the incidents. Volunteers at the booth have not returned the violence and police arrests have been limited to mob members.
On Monday and Tuesday, two volunteers at the booth said they had received death threats. One man was videotaped body checking an elderly female Falun Gong practitioner to the ground, as others in the mob looked on. Media who tried to record the attacks were threatened and one television cameraman's camera was struck. Another woman was struck in the face and spat on.
New York Chinese Consulate General Peng Keyu admits to orchestrating the hate crimes and violent assaults against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing
Download the recorded conversation (Chinese)
See the English translation of the transcript here.
The conversation with the Chinese consul was released Friday by the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG). The call was recorded early Wednesday morning, WOIPFG said.
The WOIPFG investigator, posing as an ally, praised Peng on the "huge scene in fighting Falun Gong" in Flushing and asked how the consulate was involved in the mobilization of a crowd of hundreds in a short period of time.
Due to concerns over retaliation, the investigator remains unnamed, a WOIPFG spokesperson explained.
Calls to the Chinese Consulate in New York asking for comment on this story were not returned.
Consul Says He 'Had to Be Very Careful'
In the conversation, Peng alluded to his influence in the Flushing Chinese community, but added that the Chinese Consulate "had to be very careful with this kind of [event]" to avoid being suspected of involvement. He said he arrived in Flushing during the days of the attack and took part in organizing the protesters.
In the recording, Peng admits concern over being discovered and says he "encouraged secretly" members of the mob.
A few hundred people were ordered to surround the volunteers at the booth for quitting the communist party. They were encouraged to start an argument, said Peng.
"I went there the day before yesterday, and also three days ago," said Peng in a translation of the phone call. "I usually park my car far from the scene because I must avoid being seen."
During the first days of the attacks in Flushing, protesters supporting the communist party surrounded volunteers at the booth. Photos from the events show protesters violently grabbing and verbally assaulting the volunteers.
Police barricades later blocked off both sides. At least six arrests have been made during the week of assaults, according to an official statement from the New York Police Department. Charges for arrests have included assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. None of the arrested are Falun Gong practitioners.
Gordon Chang, China expert and author of "The Coming Collapse of China," says this type of influence and intimidation is a direct attempt to restrict freedom of speech in America.
"It is bad enough that the Communist Party runs an abhorrent political system in China. It is unacceptable that it is interfering in ours."
-Gordon Chang, author
"The Chinese government has been systematically using Chinese nationals present in the United States to influence debate in this country," said Chang. "It is bad enough that the Communist Party runs an abhorrent political system in China. It is unacceptable that it is interfering in ours."
Chinese State Media Urge on Anti-Falun Gong Protests
The incidents in Flushing have also drawn the attention of Chinese state-run media, which have been flooded with reports that portray the mob as defending Chinese interests.
According to Xinhua , the official mouthpiece news agency of the communist regime, Falun Gong practitioners disrupted a donation center for victims of the massive earthquake that struck Sichuan province on May 12.
No evidence is offered to support the claim, and on the contrary, the quitting communist party events in Flushing have included a moment of silence in recognition of victims of the quake. Nonetheless, Chinese media have aired the interference claim widely in an apparent effort to harness sentiments in the wake of the recent tragedy and channel it against the regime's critics.
When interviewed by Chinese media, participants in the anti-Falun Gong mob claimed they were neither paid nor organized. They say they were angered by Falun Gong practitioner's actions, as alleged by the Chinese state media, which have been repeated in pro-communist party media in New York.
In the recorded discussion, Chinese Consul Peng admits guiding Chinese media to report on the events in Flushing.
Additional reporting by Ben Kaminsky, Frank Yu, Genevieve Long, and Sonya Bryskine.