Human Rights Lawyer: Go Directly to the Person Pulling the Strings
(Clearwisdom.net) On May 31, David Matas, a famous Canadian human rights lawyer, said during an interview with NTDTV that the Chinese consulate in New York, in particular the Chinese consul, Peng Keyu, orchestrated the harassment against Falun Gong in Flushing, and that it is inappropriate behavior for a consul. Mr. Matas suggested the American government expel Peng, since it would send a powerful message and "would have a deterrent effect more generally."
Recently, there have been repeated attacks against Falun Gong in Flushing. On May 22, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong published the record of a phone call conversation in which Chinese consul Peng Keyu admitted that the Chinese consulate directs the harassing activities.
Mr. Matas said: "It seems pretty clear that the harassment that the demonstrators are getting is being orchestrated by the Chinese consulate in New York and, mind you, this is inappropriate consular behavior, I mean it is so inappropriate that I view it a violation of the Vienna convention on consular relations, which prohibits embassies and consulates from getting involved in the internal affairs of the country in which they are hosted. I think that Condoleza Rice, the US Secretary of State, should expel this consular official who has been orchestrating these events as a persona non grata.
"From what I can tell they are not just counter-demonstrations. There is actual physical assault. And what is happening is that the right of free expression is being jeopardized in the United States, which prizes very highly freedom of speech, and this is being done by a tyrannical foreign government that does not practice freedom of expression at home. So what we are seeing is a projection abroad of its repression at home of contrary views. The United States, in my view, should simply not tolerate that."
Mr. Matas said there is evidence of inciting hatred. "From the media reports I would say that the behavior is wildly inappropriate, and, frankly, for the purposes of expulsion, that is all that is necessary. You do not have to establish a criminal offense for the purpose of expelling a consular official as persona non grata. In fact, consular officials are not like diplomats; they have a lesser immunity than diplomats, and they can be prosecuted for violations of criminal law." Mr. Matas suggested a criminal investigation. He also said: "Criminal or not, it is inappropriate. It is a violation of consular standards. It is repression of freedom of expression, and that should be enough to justify expulsion."
When asked "Other then the consular general, what can be done to those who assault and attack Falun Gong practitioners?" Mr. Matas said, "They certainly can be prosecuted of a criminal offense, and I am not saying that there was no criminal offense. I would say that there has to be an investigation to determine if there was. And if there was, then people should be prosecuted. But I also think that there should be police protection. I mean, I go to a lot of public events where there is a potential for interference, and the police step in, they escort people way, they insist that they behave, and that is what the police should be doing in Flushing."
When asked what can be done to stop the assaults, Mr. Matas said, "Since, as far as I can tell, it comes from the consulate, if the consul was expelled, that would stop it. Not only would it sort of undercut or remove the basis of the infrastructure, it would send a powerful message. I think it is that sort of action that would have a deterrent effect more generally If you just pick up one of the demonstrators, the puppeteer would just move on and get others, but if you go directly to the person who is pulling the strings, I think that is going to have the most impact.
"The people who are doing that, I would say, should stop doing that, that they should know better, that they should behave more responsibly, that they have become complicit in the human rights violations in China when they try to silence protests about those violations in the United States. I mean, they are violating American standards. American welcome them, but they are violating international standards, and when you stand shoulder to shoulder with criminals against humanity, you become complicit in those crimes yourself.
"They are potentially subject to criminal investigation and prosecution, depending on what the authorities find out, and that is certainly a risk. I mean, you just cannot beat up people on the street at random or willy nilly or because you disagree with them and expect to get away with it. So if that is really what it amounts to, then there is that risk of prosecution. If they get convicted, then they could potentially go to jail. If they don't have status in the United States or if they have temporary status or are not citizens, if they just have a green card--on the basis of that conviction they could lose their status and face expulsion from the United States."