August 7, 2003

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Hate Incident in Chinatown on June 23, 2003

Dear Mr. President:

It has been brought to my attention that on the evening of June 23, 2003 in New York City Chinatown, several individuals who practice Falun Gong were physically assaulted, harassed, and cursed at-all because they were practitioners of Falun Gong. I understand that these Falun Gong practitioners were there to make a peaceful appeal to the Chinese diplomats attending a function at a local restaurant, for them to stop the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Considering the nature and reason for the attack on June 23rd--the violence was committed against the individuals solely because they practice Falun Gong--I believe it amounted to a hate crime.

I was pleased to learn that you had reached out to Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman in a March 13, 2002 letter, which expressed your administration's commitment to the defense of human rights around the world. We both know that violence against Falun Gong practitioners is straight out wrong.

In this society, no group should be subject to hate and violence because of their beliefs. We both agree that Falun Gong practitioners should be able to exercise their freedom of belief, freedom to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech without fear of their safety. I was appalled by Da Li's heinous crime that night in Chinatown, and I ask that this individual be brought to justice.

I firmly belief that effective actions should be taken immediately to disallow the outrageous hate crimes towards Falun Gong in New Your City and in elsewhere on U.S. soil.

Respectfully yours,

John W. Lavelle
Member of Assembly

Cc: James B. Comey, Jr., U.S. Attorney