FLUSHING, New York City—It may have been 40 years ago that restaurants in the Southern United States were segregated between blacks and whites, but it was just on Sunday that a restaurant in the Flushing neighborhood of New York City refused to serve Falun Gong practitioners because of their faith.
The Chinese restaurant, Lucky Joy Restaurant, clearly refused to serve practitioners of the peaceful spiritual group Sunday and Saturday based solely on their faith.
"There was nobody there, no customers at all, but there was food on display, so we were just looking at the food to see what we wanted to order," said Ms. Zhenyu Sun, a biologist from Connecticut who was visiting Flushing on Sunday. Ms. Sun, who was wearing a Falun Gong t-shirt, was accompanied by her friend and her friend's eight-year-old daughter.
"Then two servers came over and they said 'Oh, you are Falun Gong—we don't want to sell anything to Falun Gong," she said.
When Ms. Sun asked why, the servers said it was their boss's policy and refused to discuss it further or contact their boss. The servers eventually opened the restaurant's front door and made the three practitioners leave.
When asked for a direct comment, the servers declined.
A similar incident occurred the day before when Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Amy Xue and two other practitioners were at Lucky Joy Restaurant. They had just sat down and begun to look at the menu when they were asked if they were Falun Gong practitioners.
"We said 'what does Falun Gong have to do with you, we just sat down to eat,'" recalled Ms. Xue, a legal assistant from Washington, D.C. "They said 'You have to leave, we don't want any money from you.'"
Unlike Ms. Sun, no one in Ms. Xue's group was wearing a Falun Gong t-shirt or had any other visible sign that they were Falun Gong practitioners. It is unclear how the distinction was made.
Ms. Sun's and Ms. Xue's groups were some of the hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners who have been visiting Flushing recently to peacefully rally after Chinese Consul General Keyu Peng of New York encouraged and thanked mobs to verbally and physically attack local Falun Gong practitioners.
The encouragement, admitted to in publicly available recordings, played on the strong nationalist sentiment triggered in the Flushing Chinese community by the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan that killed at least 65,000 people.
Falun Gong was banned by the Chinese communist regime in 1999 because the regime saw the practice as an ideological threat.
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