NEW YORK—During the fifteen-day period of Chinese New Year festivities, Chinese people greet each other with warm sayings and wishes of good fortune and health for the year head.
A Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, however, decided to eschew traditional Chinese courtesy during recent new year celebrations in Flushing.
At a Chinese New Year parade organized by a local Chinese business association on Feb. 4, members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance rode in motorized floats decorated with propaganda slogans and blood red Communist Party flags.
They were set up specifically to oppose a large, colorful contingent comprising a full marching band, a waist drum troupe, a dragon and lion dance crew, and young ladies clad in Han costumes and hairdo. Keeping in the spirit of the new year, the musical groups played upbeat tunes, while the golden dragon thrilled the crowd along the streets with energetic movements.
Members of the colorful contingent are practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that the Chinese regime has targeted in a brutal persecution campaign that is approaching its 18th year. Several of the practitioners are recent refugees to the United States from mainland China.
“Our groups were very warmly welcomed by the Flushing community that watched the parade,” said Yi Rong, a coordinator of the New York Falun Dafa Association. “We are sorry that one group used on their Chinese New Year banner the very same hate mongering slogans used by the Chinese Communist regime in China to incite and instigate the illegal persecution and torture of Falun Gong believers across China. This group, the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance seem far more interested in their anti-Falun Gong tactics than in celebrating the Chinese New Year.”
In China, practitioners can be arrested for handing out so much as a leaflet explaining Falun Gong and debunking the Chinese regime’s propaganda. They are locked up in detention centers, and are subjected to brainwashing and severe torture.
Over 4,000 have been killed by abuse, according to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for firsthand information about the persecution. Owing to the difficulty of getting information out of China, Minghui believes that the actual death figures are substantially higher.
Researchers say that Falun Gong practitioners form the bulk of prisoners of conscience being killed for their organs by the Chinese state apparatus. Tens of thousands of transplantations have been done each year since 2000, and in most cases researchers believe one transplantation involves one person killed, due to the inefficiency of the Chinese transplantation system.
The Chinese regime resorts to front groups like the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance to export the persecution abroad. These groups seek out and harass Falun Gong practitioners at tourist sites and Chinese enclaves, where practitioners have set up temporary booths to explain the regime’s persecution and encourage mainland tourists to quit the Communist Party.
The Alliance, associated with the regime-run Chinese Anti-Cult Association in China, first appeared in New York in 2008. The group has since undertaken a campaign of hatred, intimidation, and violence against Falun Gong practitioners in the streets of Flushing and Manhattan.
In spite of a lawsuit filed against them for their deprivation of Falun Gong believers’ right to intrastate travel and other civil rights violations, their participation in the recent Flushing Chinese New Year Parade suggests that they are still out and about.
A fracas during the Alliance post-parade party at a local restaurant confirmed the group’s tendencies toward physical confrontation.
Peter Li, a reporter with the New York-based Chinese language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), was held against his will by Alliance leader Li Huahong for at least 10 minutes in Junhao Restaurant. Li had visited the restaurant to film footage of the Alliance event to use for a later news broadcast. NTD, a member of the Epoch Media Group, is independent of the Chinese regime. The company is known for its critical commentary on the Chinese Communist Party, and for covering the Party’s persecution of Falun Gong in China and overseas and other human rights issues.
In video footage provided by Richard Hu, a Falun Gong practitioner who was on hand, Li Huahong is seen accosting Peter Li as he tried to leave. She grabs his leg as he tries to wriggle free, and barks that he has hit her (which, Peter Li says, did not happen, and does not appear in any video of the incident.)
One bystander tried to get her to let him go, but she declined, maintaining her fierce grip. Finally, an elderly lady prised her hand off, which allowed Peter Li to struggle free, but resulted in the bystander receiving a bite on the hand.