(Clearwisdom.net) Shortly before 10:00p.m. on June 23, 2003, an incident in which Falun Gong practitioners were maliciously assaulted occurred outside Yidong Restaurant (88 Palace) in New York City's Chinatown. A group of people led by chairman Liang Guanjun of Chinese Associations General in New York City assaulted several Falun Gong practitioners. The practitioners later filed police reports at the local precinct. Before the incident, it was reported that the Chinese Consulate in New York City loudly demanded pro-Communist Chinese Associations to not let Falun Gong practitioners participate in the July 4th US National Independence Day Parade in Chinatown, causing a big dispute in the Chinese community in New York City. This incident of assault in Chinatown left people with the strong impression that the incident was a hate crime.

A group of people led by Liang Guanjun assault several Falun Gong practitioners

Hua Junxiong is cursing Assailants shove Falun Gong practitioners

It was reported that the Chinese Consulate in New York City put pressure on local pro-Communist Chinese Association leaders to bar Falun Gong practitioners from participating in Chinatown's July 4th US National Independence Day Parade. The demand was rejected by the Chinese community in New York. A Chinese person from the Taiwan Chinese Association said, "The Chinese Consulate put heavy pressure on the Chinese community in New York, demanding us to obstruct Falun Gong practitioners' activities. Some pro-Communist associations who have long been receiving favors from the local Chinese officials, but could not meet their demands, were likely to handle the matter improperly."

It was reported that when Falun Gong practitioners participated in the US National Independence Day Parade held in Washington DC last year, the Chinese Embassy in the US exerted pressure on the American government numerous times to reject Falun Gong practitioners' participation in the parade, but their requests were denied. The Ambassador therefore received disciplinary punishment inside the Party, and several diplomats were recalled home due to "Inefficient work performance" by the Beijing Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The assault incident against Falun Gong practitioners occurred on the evening of June 23, in New York City's Chinatown. According to Zhou Shiyu, a volunteer spokesperson of the Falun Dafa Information Center, on the evening of Monday, June 23, 2003, some Falun Gong practitioners in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area arrived at Yidong Restaurant in New York City's Chinatown after work to distribute Falun Gong truth-clarifying literature and materials to passersby. At the time, Chinese diplomats were holding some function at the restaurant there. A group of people led by Liang Guanjun, who is the head of the local Chinese Associations, continuously harassed, cursed and shoved Falun Gong practitioners at the site.

As Zhou Shiyu described, shortly before 10:00 p.m. on June 23, a woman exited the restaurant followed by many attendees. Observing the Falun Gong practitioners outside, the woman said something to the people gathered around her and then climbed into a black Mercedes-Benz with the license plate 001CY and drove away. Liang Guanjun then confronted the Falun Gong practitioners, cursed at them and threatened to "beat [them] to death" for supporting Falun Gong. They then proceeded to surround and beat practitioner Mr. Li Jun, causing him to have his clothes torn, sustain injuries to his face, hands, and abdomen and bleed from his nose, with the blood spraying onlookers. Another practitioner, Mr. Zhu Weiyong, tried to stop the beating and said, "Don't beat people!" One of the assailants said, "We beat whoever is a Falun Gong practitioner." Immediately they surrounded and beat Mr. Zhu, causing him to sustain injuries to his face and abdomen.

Willem, a Western Falun Gong practitioner, was shoved by assailants Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Li Li was assaulted by assailants

Mr. Zhou Shiyu said that several more Falun Gong practitioners present at the site were harassed and assaulted to different degrees by the gang led by Liang Guanjun. One of the assailants forcefully took a photo display board carried by practitioner Mr. Xu Kangang and tore it up. When Mr. Xu's wife, Ms. Li Li, was picking up the torn photos, Liang Guanjun stepped on the photos and verbally assaulted her. Another assailant even physically assaulted Ms. Li Li. When practitioner Ms. Yen Kaishin tried to report this to the police, one assailant tried to grab the photos from her hands, causing her mobile phone to fall to the ground. Assailants also shoved another Western practitioner named Willem. Mr. Zhou said, "Although being assaulted by the gang led by Liang Guanjun outside Yidong Restaurant, Falun Gong practitioners present followed the principle of 'Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance' and they didn't retaliate against the gang by cursing back or fighting back."

Mr. Zhou emphasized that since the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China began in 1999, under the order of Jiang's regime, people like Liang Guanjun have been continuously harassing Falun Gong practitioners overseas and making trouble, instigating the overseas Chinese's hatred toward Falun Gong. The gang's bold assault yesterday is just a glimpse of the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Their methods are completely despicable and violent.

Mr. Zhou also emphasized, "This is New York City's Chinatown, not Beijing's Tiananmen Square. We have reported the incident to the local police department, and will take necessary legal actions against these people and those instigators behind them. "

One of the victims, Mr. Zhu Weiyong, said that he was very startled that on US soil, these people dared to threaten to "beat Falun Gong to death." Mr. Zhu expressed that assailants heavily punched his head and abdomen, and he still felt quite uncomfortable.

One year ago in early September 2001, there was also a case of violence against Falun Gong practitioners. The case caused a sensation in Chicago and many Chinese and Western media covered the incident. According to victims Falun Gong practitioners Fang Lin and Lu Feng, Chicago Falun Gong practitioners were holding hunger strikes in front of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago to protest the escalated killing of female Falun Gong practitioners by Jiang's regime. They were beaten and threatened by two Chinese. On June 23, 2002, Chicago police arrested the assailants, Zheng Jiming and others, and the court took the case. The defendants pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. The court found them guilty.

On November 6, 2002, the Mayor of the City of Chicago and the City Council unanimously passed a resolution strongly condemning the persecution of Falun Gong. The resolution Resolved that the United States Government should investigate allegations of illegal activities in the United States of the Government of the People's Republic of China and its representatives and agents, including allegations of unlawful harassment of United States citizens and residents who practice Falun gong and of officials of State and local governments in the Unites States who support Falun gong, and should take appropriate action, including but not limited to enforcement of the immigration laws, against any such representatives or agents who engage in such illegal activities. Because the victims belong to one group, Falun Gong practitioner Fang Lin reported to the police department that it was a "hate crime" The friend of one of the assailants said, the assailant was the vice president of local Chinese association and obtained his permanent residency through "political asylum." The assailant reportedly has close ties with New York and maintains close communication with the Chinese Consulate. When Chinese dictator Jiang visited Chicago, the two assailants were among the selected people in the welcoming group and his association was granted an interview with Jiang. Someone requested that they assault Falun Gong practitioners. The incident caused a sensation in the Chinese community in Chinatown.