When Falun Gong practitioners were being physically attacked and insulted by large, organized crowds in Flushing, New York, they did what citizens anywhere would do: They went to meet with their elected officials.
But when they tried on June 30 to meet with the City Councilman for Flushing, John Liu, they were shown the door. Liu had others he preferred meeting with, giving advice to, and supporting—the very individuals who had been attacking the practitioners.
According to Liu, at that meeting he urged individuals to file lawsuits against The Epoch Times for having published their photos—photos of them taking part in the sometimes violent demonstrations targeting Falun Gong practitioners.
During a scheduled press conference in the office of John Liu on June 30, Liu denied knowledge of any violence during the attacks in Flushing. After the press conference, Liu sent the Falun Gong practitioners who had come to present their cases to him out of his office, refusing to hear what they had to say.
Following that meeting, The Epoch Times launched an investigation into John Liu’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The United Front
The first leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Mao Zedong, defined three weapons to be used in communist revolution: the United Front, armed struggle, and party building. Mao stated in the first issue of The Communist, published in 1939 that these are, “the three magic weapons of the Chinese Communist Party to defeat enemies in the Chinese revolution.”
Today, the CCP’s United Front operations focus on espionage, organized crime, the manipulation of politics in other nations in the favor of the CCP, and the suppression of Chinese dissident groups. A specific department was created for the operations of the United Front under the Chinese communist regime: the Department of United Front Work of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
On Dec. 4, 2000, Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the CCP, said at the 19th National Conference on United Front Work, “The fundamental task of the United Front Work is to fight to win people’s hearts and gather the forces.”
The CCP’s tactics of the United Front work by infiltrating foreign politics, establishing Chinese associations and business groups in foreign countries which can act at its orders, and by planting or transforming political and community leaders so as to act in the favor of the CCP.
A document that was sent out by the CCP on July 14, 1990 illustrates its purpose. The document was sent to all levels of United Front personnel throughout China, demanding that they, “vigorously carry out the United Front Work overseas.” and, “to actively strengthen and develop connections with influential representative personnel and groups.”
‘A New Political Star’
From March 29 to April 1 in 2007, New York City Council Member John Liu went on an escorted trip to China along with six leaders of Chinese associations in New York. The trip, which was announced by the Chinese Xinhua news website, was planned by Lu Cheng, the leader of the Shandong Association of Fellow Provincials of New York.
Cheng is also the chairman of the Union of the Chinese Organization Leaders, a group with close ties with the CCP and which often voices the propaganda and ideology of the Party.
Liu’s trip to China was heavily reported on by the CCP’s media both before he arrived and during his stay, which referred to him as being the “new political star.” His trip was also reported on by CCP-controlled media inside the U.S.
Liu toured through China, visiting some of the CCP’s top officials in various cities. On Mar. 30, Liu met with Xu Yousheng, the vice director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, which is one of the three political offices that the CCP’s Department of United Front Work directly gives its orders to. The meeting was reported on by numerous overseas Chinese media outlets, including China Press and the Phoenix T.V. station.
The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, which Yousheng is the vice director of, acts as a medium between the Department of United Front Work and the CCP’s foreign embassies and consulates. When needed, the consulates and embassies will also relay United Front orders to CCP-controlled Chinese associations, student groups, and business groups in other countries.
On Mar. 31, an award was given to Liu by close to ten Chinese media, including Phoenix T.V. Station, World Journal, and China News. The award, “The World is Beautiful Because Of You Award / Award for Chinese Influencing the World,” was presented to Liu at Beijing University.
To ‘Promote Understanding’
The reasoning behind inviting foreign officials to China was explained in the office working plan of the Chinese Affairs Office in Xi’an. The document was released on November 28, 2005, just one year before Liu’s escorted trip. The document speaks of inviting overseas “people to visit China with government funding; promote their understanding and keep expanding the collaboration and exchange between these people and our city.”
What the CCP means by “promote their understanding” is illustrated by a report that was written by a CCP official after he had met with various Chinese community leaders in New York. In an article published on the website of The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office in Beijing, on Sept. 26, 2006, entitled, “My emotional ties to the work of overseas Chinese affairs,” Zhong Guiren, chairman of the Returned Overseas Chinese Federation in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, speaks about his work of meeting with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Tsung Tsin Association, and visiting other Chinese community leaders in New York City.
In his report, Guiren mentions his relaying the CCP’s propaganda to the leaders of the Chinese organizations: “In response to their questions and doubts, I provided truthful information about the ‘June 4’ Incident [i.e., the Tiananmen Square Student Massacre on June 4, 1989], the true face of Falun Gong [words slandering Falun Gong are omitted], and the real objectives of those who advocate ‘Taiwan Independence’ or ‘Tibetan Independence’ and the Chinese government’s policy toward these people,” said Guiren.
Guiren discusses how, after speaking with the New York organizations, they began to open up contact with officials from the Chinese consulates and embassies. He then speaks about how the Chinese embassy made arrangements similar to those that were made for John Liu, for some of the group leaders to go China. Afterwards, he mentions those who came on such visits had changed their interests in the favor of the CCP.
“After 2001, some of the leaders, with arrangements from the officials of the Chinese Embassy in the USA, visited Beijing, Shanghai, and their hometowns in Guangdong Province,” wrote Guiren.
“In the past, the leaders of the Chinese organizations and associations in New York City’s Chinatown were all pro-Taiwan; now they have tilted toward Mainland China, and they have increasingly agreed to a peaceful reunification of China and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Guiren continued.
The statement, “peaceful reunification of China,” refers to objectives of The China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification (China Council), which was formed on Sept. 22, 1988 in Beijing.
The China Council, like the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, is also one of the three offices that are controlled by the CCP’s Department of United Front Work.
According to the website of the China Council, it serves two main purposes in its work outside China. One is to, “blend into local high-level politics,” while the other is to, “influence the mainstream society.”
According to the Xinhua News Agency, known as the “mouthpiece” of the Chinese communist regime, the China Council is composed of overseas Chinese leaders who operate under the CCP. The report states that the heads of the China Council are the leaders of so-called democratic parties who, “have accepted the leadership of the Chinese communist party as a pre-requisite, and have participating Party status.”
A Mayor Like John Liu
John So, the first Chinese mayor of Melbourne, Australia, provides another example of a Western politician who received special treatment in China. John So had gone to China in 2007, through the arrangement of overseas Chinese organizations, just as Liu’s trip had been arranged by the head of an overseas association in New York.
While in Beijing, So received the same award that John Liu did. He was widely reported on by CCP-controlled media, which referred to him as the “best Mayor in the world,” just as the CCP media had referred to John Liu as the “new political star.”
Liu and So have taken similar stances toward Falun Gong practitioners. John Liu had refused to speak out for them or support them during the attacks against them in Flushing, and instead sided with the attackers.
After they had been attacked in his district, Liu was quoted in articles by the China Press and Ming Daily as claiming that Falun Gong practitioners protests against the persecution of their beliefs by the CCP and their parades were, “bothering the citizens” and “disturbing the peace of the neighborhood.”
In 2003, So prohibited Falun Gong practitioners from participating in his city’s annual Moomba parade. His prohibition of the group was given on short notice, with his reasoning being that Falun Gong practitioners were “too political.” The charge of being “political” is a standard feature of CCP propaganda used to support its persecution of the Falun Gong.
On April 7, 2004, John So's governing Council was fined $200,000 for his actions by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and was ordered to make a public apology to the Falun Gong practitioners. Afterwards, So was granted membership to the Council for the Promotion of United Front Work in China.
John Liu’s Relation to the Chinatown Associations
An important part of the CCP’s United Front strategy is to make use of the associations formed by Chinese communities outside China.
An example of how close the CCP keeps to some of the associations: On May 8, 2008, just nine days before the attacks against Falun Gong practitioners began in Flushing, the current Chinese Consul General, Peng Keyu led the Fujian Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association’s new staff in taking their inaugural oaths.
John Liu has deep connections with the Chinese associations in New York.
When John Liu went on an arranged trip to China from March 28 to April 1, in 2007, he was escorted by six leaders of Chinese associations in New York. Among them were the Chairman of the Shandong Township Association, the Chairman of the Beijing Township Association in New York, the Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and the former Chairman of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in New York.
On July 2, less than two months after the attacks against Falun Gong practitioners had begun in Flushing, and around the time when Liu had been reported meeting with those who had attacked the Falun Gong practitioners, the Fujian Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (FCBA) sponsored a fund raising dinner party for Liu.
The World Journal, a Taiwanese-owned, U.S.-based Chinese-language newspaper, reported on the fundraising event. According to the report, the FCBA had raised over $70,000 by July 2, 2008 for Liu’s next election campaign.
During the dinner party, someone asked Liu to run for Mayor of New York City. Liu answered, “I will run for whatever position you guys require of me.”
It was also reported in the World Journal that leaders of the FCBA gave a speech to motivate its members to help Liu reach high positions in the New York City government.
By June 2, 2008, City Council Member John Liu had raised $3 million for his coming election campaign.