By Ben Kaminsky, Katy Mantyk, and Evan Mantyk, Epoch Times Staff, May 21, 2008-
FLUSHING, N.Y.— With supporters of the Chinese regime spitting, throwing eggs, beating people, and shouting propaganda, the scene this week in New York City’s Flushing Chinatown looked like something from China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, according to Edmund Erh, a Queens resident who has faced the brunt of the attacks.
“After I took their picture, they asked why I took their picture. They wanted to take my camera, so I protected my camera and they started attacking me. Five or four of them surrounded me and wanted to take my camera,” said Erh, a computer engineer.
(photo at right: Flushing resident Edmond Erh ( tan jacket, dark collar) was assaulted in New York City on Tuesday. Erh was supporting a booth for quitting the Chinese Communist Party/ Dayin Chen/The Epoch Times)
Erh was part of a group of Falun Gong practitioners who for the past three years have set up a booth on the sidewalk outside the Flushing Library and organized peaceful rallies to encourage Chinese people to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that has ruled China for the past 60 years. Falun Gong is a spiritual practice that was banned in China in 1999.
Erh’s peaceful “quit the CCP” group was the target of the aggressive protest.
Groups of hundreds of Chinese people have gathered each day ( started from may 17th to 20th) across from Erh and dozens of others who have stayed their ground despite ridicule and assault.
These protests are believed by Erh and his colleagues to be paid for by the Chinese regime. When the protests began on Saturday, a Chinese man was heard to yell into his cell phone “Hurry! Bring more people over here. Each person will be paid 90 dollars.”
(photos below: Chinese mobs attack Quit CCP site)
In the background of the protests is the Sichuan earthquake, the powerful feelings it has aroused in Chinese, and the way in which the Chinese regime has tried to manipulate those feelings.
Simon Chiu says that he is an artist. Asked why he is taking part in the protests, he said, “These people
are against the Chinese government and against the Chinese, you know. So we are here supporting Chinese government, supporting Chinese people. That’s why we’re here.”
Chinese-language media known to be owned or influenced by the Chinese regime have covered these protests heavily.
Those media have carried stories whose themes are that the Falun Gong practitioners at the Quit the CCP Service Center “do not care about the victims of the Sichuan earthquake” and “do not love China.”
Asked about the members of the Quit the CCP group who were attacked, Chiu responded, “They should have been killed, you know. Yeah, that’s good, they should be killed.”
“The way it is happening right now, it’s a very hostile situation,” said New York Police Department Detective Kisso Kim of Community Affairs. “We are requesting more officers for the location, the crowds are growing larger.”
Two of the violent protesters were arrested on Tuesday, according to the NYPD.
Non-Chinese Flushing resident Eric Adrianzen said that he didn’t like the rowdy protests.
“I don’t like it, it feels like China’s controlling my country over here,” said Adrianzen. “Everybody’s got the right to say what they have to say.”
Adrianzen pointed out how ironic it was that the protests were going on outside of the Flushing Library, where there is an exhibit of the Flushing Remonstrance—often considered a precursor to the Bill of Rights’ provision on religious freedom.
“It’s a document put out by the early settlers here because they were being persecuted for their religion, so it’s ironic because these people [Falun Gong] are being persecuted for what they want to say,” said Adrianzen.
The protests in Flushing are part of a pattern of counter-protests, sometimes violent, organized by the CCP as the Olympics became a lightning rod for protests against it.
When the Olympic torch relay began encountering protests from Tibetans and others, the CCP prepared large counter-protests, sometimes busing Chinese students hundreds of miles to take part in an attempt to disrupt the protests.
In Flushing’s Chinatown, Chinese official Zhou Yongkang is believed to have been the mastermind behind the overseas counter-protests.
Zhou, head of the Central Political and Legislative Committee of the CCP, has been sued several times outside China for crimes against humanity and torture in connection with the leading role he has played in persecuting Falun Gong.
In the recent string of counter-protests, Zhou has been accused of using Chinese spies, the Chinese Student and Scholar Organizations, Chinese community organizations, and thugs to disrupt activities that all bring attention to the Chinese regime’s human rights record.
- Original from the Epochtimes: Chinese Regime Tries to Quash Dissent in New York’s Chinatown, Say Activists