Queens Tribune (United States): Two Chinese Factions Clash In Flushing

5/29/2008

Supporters of the Chinese government have continued their assault against a group of Falun Gong practitioners who regularly man a "Quit Chinese Communist Party" booth outside of the Flushing Library.

The violence commenced on May 17 with 200 to 300 Chinese people protesting a "Quit Chinese Communist Party" rally, intended to commemorate the 36 million people who have withdrawn from the party. Protestors hurled bottles and eggs and issued death threats to the Falun Gong attending the rally.

Falun Gong, a spiritual practice, has been outlawed since 1999 in China, where its practitioners are regularly persecuted. Although tensions between Falun Gong and government loyalists have existed for years, sources said the earthquake may have caused the surge of violence. Supporters of the Chinese government are accusing the Falun Gong of turning their backs on the earthquake's victims who depend on government aid.

"Each week we're seeing acts of increasing belligerence like this, and Falun Gong has become a principal target," Falun Dafa Information Center representative Erping Zhang said. "It is simply preposterous to see American Citizens - and specifically, Americans who are trying to uphold the very values like liberty that are dear to our country - get threatened, berated, and assaulted in their own backyards by mobs who answer to a foreign dictatorship."

Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D-Flushing) lives across the street from the conflict.

"Some people were just there to make noise not to make their noise heard," Young said. "We all love America because we can all enjoy democracy and freedom of speech. But you have to abide by the law. You can't make your own rules."

As of Tuesday, the New York City Police Department arrested six members of the pro-Communist mob.

"A lot of people from our side think [the mob] is an extension of the Chinese Communist party overseas," Elmhurst resident Jianfen Zhou said.

The Falun Dafa Information Center suspects the Chinese Consul General is organizing the hate crimes.

As of press time, the violence was ongoing in Flushing. Similar incidents have occurred over the same period of time in Japan, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Manhattan's Chinatown.

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