"What we are seeing is a hate crime."
-- Erping Zhang, a spokesman for the Falun Dafa Information Center
NEW YORK – The Falun Dafa Information Center has obtained a recorded phone conversation with New York City’s Chinese Consul General, Mr. Peng Keyu, in which he confirms his role in encouraging a mob of several-hundred Chinese immigrants to assail Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York, over the past four days.
The recording was made on Thursday May 22 by an undercover investigator and lasts for 5 minutes and 7 seconds. During the conversation, Peng appears to boast of his involvement, saying "Oh indeed, we have done it."
Consul General Peng continues, offering some details of the event: "I went there [the site in Flushing where the mob was harassing Falun Gong practitioners] the day before yesterday, and also three days ago, because we have to be very careful with this kind of thing!," Peng told the investigator, whom he apparently believed to be an admirer. "Otherwise, people will say the Chinese consulate is behind it, agitating people. Some [Chinese community leaders] were among the crowd and they talked to me afterwards... Because I showed up at the scene, everyone was very excited."
During the four days of harassment and violence, several adherents of Falun Gong, including U.S. and Canadian citizens were physically assaulted by the pro-communist crowds. Others received direct threats on their lives. (news) At least two arrests have been made by Queens police, who also arranged a police van to safely transport Falun Gong adherents from the area on Wednesday for fear they would be followed by members of the mob.
"We were surrounded by hundreds of people yelling and cursing at us, and even threatening to kill us because we ‘are Falun Gong’" said Scott Chinn, a Falun Gong practitioner and New York City resident who witnessed the scene on Tuesday.
Falun Dafa Information Center spokesperson, Ms. Gail Rachlin says the actions of the mob constitute a hate crime. "In this country, when you see a mob like that attacking a group, beating people and saying things like ‘we’ll kill you Falun Gong,’ it’s a hate crime. The fact that it’s occurring openly on the streets of New York City and instigated by a foreign Communist government is outrageous."
During the recorded conversation, Consul General Peng described the Consulate’s influence with Chinese Community leaders and its frequent use of that influence to attack Falun Gong on U.S. soil. "I have done it very frequently…I would say I have kept a very good relationship with them [Chinese community leaders]... I pay them personal visits frequently... For example, they came over after they fought with Falun Gong and I shook hands with them one by one and thanked them."
Since the Chinese Communist regime banned Falun Gong in China and launched a campaign to "eradicate" the traditional Chinese practice in 1999, Falun Gong adherents in the U.S. and other countries have reported dozens of incidents of harassment, intimidation or assault at the hands of Chinese nationals believed to be hired or encouraged by local Chinese consulate officials to attack Falun Gong.
Similar mobs have appeared alongside human rights rallies in the U.S. in recent months.
This most recent violence is part of a larger pattern of violence perpetrated against Falun Gong activists by Chinese agents in the United States.
In February 2006, Mr. Yuan Li, a computer engineer actively involved in Falun Gong human rights advocacy, was assaulted at his suburban Atlanta home. The assailants forced their way into his home, wrapped Li in a blanket, beat him about the head and face, and left him bloody and nearly unconscious in his living room. The assailants took a computer and some files, but no valuables were stolen. (news)
In 2003 the U.S. Congress passed House Congressional Resolution 304, stating, "over the past 5 years China's diplomatic corps has been actively involved in harassing and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners in the United States." In 2002, about 50 Falun Gong followers filed a lawsuit in the D.C. district court against two ministries of the People’s Republic of China government, alleging a systematic campaign of criminal activities designed to intimidate, harass, injure, limit, and terrorize U.S. citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong. (news)
The Falun Dafa Information Center is calling upon federal and local authorities to investigate the roles of the Chinese consulate in instigating the recent violence in New York City and other areas, and to hold all responsible Chinese officials fully accountable for these acts of harassment and violence.
To listen to the recorded conversation with Consul General Peng, click here.
An English translation of the transcript is available here.