NEW YORK - On June 23, 2003, Mr. Jun Li and Ms. Lili Xu stood with other Falun Gong practitioners outside a restaurant in Chinatown holding posters and handing out flyers. They were--as Falun Gong practitioners around New York often are--raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Meanwhile high-level Chinese diplomats dined inside.
|FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE: Attorney Lana Han in front of the courthouse (Lori Har-El/Epoch Times)|
Later that evening, Mr. Guanjun Liang and Mr. Junxiong Hua, leaders of the United Federation of the New York Chinese Associations, led a group of men in an attack on the practitioners.
Now a civil court case against the attackers is going into pretrial.
Falun Gong is a self-cultivation practise for body and mind based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance, according to the Falun Gong Web site. The practise was introduced in 1992 and was widely welcomed in China until the number of practitioners grew to 70 million. It was then banned in 1999 by the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.
On March 21, a preliminary conference of both parties' attorneys and the presiding Judge Solomon met to discuss the trial.
A new attorney representing one of the attackers, Mr. Steven Wong-- who received a guilty by default verdict several weeks ago because he failed to attend--appeared Monday, and Judge Solomon allowed the case to move forward with him reinstated. The schedule for the next deposition was set for April, when both parties will be asked questions by the opposing party's attorneys.
When Mr. Hua was asked about this case, he said that the Falun Gong practitioners were blocking the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
The attorney for the plaintiff's, Ms. Lana Han, said there were only about 20 practitioners walking along the sidewalk that day. In fact, she said, Mr. Hua and Mr. Liang had at one point around 60 to 100 men blocking the sidewalk, which was when the plaintiff Jun Li was severely beaten.
Attacks against Falun Gong on U.S. soil by agents of the Chinese Communist government have caught the attention of Federal law makers, said the Falun Dafa Information Centre in a press release.
On July 23, 2003, the office of U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, initiated a briefing on Capital Hill in reaction to the attack.
In October 2004 the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning China's human rights violations against Falun Gong practitioners in the United States and in China.
The resolution, concurrent with the Senate and numbered 304, states:
"...demonstrations by Falun Gong practitioners in the People's Republic of China and the United States have been peaceful, meditative sessions."
"...the Chinese Government has also attempted to silence the Falun Gong movement and Chinese pro-democracy groups inside the United States."
Ms. Han said that the United States is a democratic society where people have freedom of belief, unlike China where the communist government rules. The Chinese Communist Party controls and dictates what the people should believe.
Han also said that with, or without actual violence being committed, the case will serve as a lesson to anyone who may want to extend the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners into foreign countries.
"You cannot even think about bringing that kind of violence and harassment onto American soil," said Han.
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