Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—They had just arrived in the United States a little more than a week ago, but they were ready to tell the world about what they endured.

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, two sisters from China joined a group of about 80 meditating protesters outside the U.N. building. Rui and Xing are practitioners of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that the Chinese regime has heavily persecuted since 1999. They asked to use pseudonyms for fear of repercussions for their parents living in China, who also practice Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong).

Rui and Xing were just 11 and 8 years old when their father was arrested and sentenced to prison for 14 and a half years for his faith in the ancient Buddhist discipline. Feeling threatened by Falun Dafa’s growing popularity in China—reaching 100 million practitioners at its peak, according to Falun Gong sources, or 70 million according to a survey by the state, the Communist authorities launched a systematic campaign in 1999 to eradicate the practice.

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

In their home in Gansu, a central region of China, Rui and Xing recall the local police barging in and keeping them under house surveillance, keeping watch 24/7 for weeks on end. Six years later, their mother was also arrested and sentenced to prison. This time, the police also enlisted Rui’s school administrators and teachers to spy on her. 17 and 14 years old, they were left to fend for themselves, with the help of some Falun Dafa practitioners who lived nearby. Rui and Xing were told they could not apply for college student loans.

“We want to tell China’s delegates to stop the persecution, so that the practitioners in China can believe freely. They are people we know, people who are still suffering,” Rui said in Chinese.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Despite the heavy winds on Tuesday, the Falun Dafa practitioners outside the U.N. arrived early in the morning to begin their silent protest. Most were either performing the exercises or holding tightly to their unfurled banners that threatened to collapse against the wind, with printed messages like “the world needs truth, compassion, tolerance”—the faith’s three central tenets—and “bring Jiang Zemin to justice” in English and Chinese. Jiang was the leader of China who initiated the persecution.

Wang Luorui, a practitioner who had been arrested 11 times in China, said she hopes American president Donald Trump will put pressure on China to bring Jiang to justice. “It will allow Falun Gong to bring the universal values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to the Chinese people,” she said.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Wang Cun Ling, a practitioner from Shanghai, said her faith helped her to become a responsible and caring teacher who mentored many students in China who successfully applied to top colleges. With the influence that the U.N. has over the world, she hopes to convey the message to all people that Falun Dafa is good. “We want to tell people the truth [about Falun Gong] in a peaceful, compassionate way,” she said.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

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Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
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Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. Taiwanese Americans, Chinese dissidents, and international supporters of Taiwan joined force with activists and politicians from Taiwan to push for Taiwan’s international participation as U.N. General Assembly started its new session.

China’s role in excluding Taiwan from the international community of nations was highlighted as activists kicked off their march to the UN Headquarters from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen. In support of the rally prominent Chinese dissidents Yang Jianli and Teng Biao gave speeches in front of the consulate.

“China’s relentless and increasingly oppressive tactics to exclude Taiwan from the global community have only harmful consequences for mankind,” said Yang Jianli, who was jailed by the Chinese government from 2002 to 2006 for his pro-democracy activism. “Surely Taiwan has much to contribute to the world, and the UN should open its doors to the vibrant democracy of 23 million people.”

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of China's Consulate General Office in New York City to protest China's blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organization. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York City to protest China’s blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

The “Keep Taiwan Free” rally was organized by the New York-based Committee for Admission of Taiwan to the UN and was held to coincide with the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, which convened on Sept. 12 and runs through Sept. 25. Among those attending was a delegation from the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA)—a Taiwanese NGO that for 14 years has organized an annual trip to the United States to work for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

A crowd of 600 participated in the event, according to organizers. Starting at 4 pm, the marchers walked across Manhattan and eventually reached the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the UN Headquarters at around 5pm. The march was peaceful and caught the attention of many New Yorkers who were strolling through midtown on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Hell's Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan's exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Ting, a Taiwanese student studying in America, said that she participated in the rally because she wants her country to be recognized by other people, and she feels strongly about Taiwan having such an identity. An estimated 57,000 Taiwanese students are studying internationally around the world, most of them are in countries that don’t recognize Taiwan’s statehood diplomatically, including the United States, where 21,000 Taiwanese students are believed to be studying.

TAIUNA President Michael Tsai, who is also a former Minister of Defense of Taiwan, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. Tsai argued that even Palestine, held to be a “non-state entity” by many, was able to join the U.N. as an observer two years ago. So, “why can’t Taiwan?”

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan's former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan’s former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hsu Yung-ming, a Taiwanese legislator from the New Power Party flew from Taiwan and joined the rally. “Many people say the push for UN membership is impossible for Taiwan, but they fail to see what’s at stake here,” said Hsu. “Taiwan needs to make its voice heard by the international community. We need to make this an issue, and for the world to see there are 23 million people currently being excluded from the UN.”

Chang Hung-lu and Yu Wan-ju, two other legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party—the current ruling party of Taiwan—also joined the rally. “The fact that China has the power to exclude others from the United Nations is a violation of its founding philosophy, which is supposed to include everyone,” said Yu.

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese Americans during the Sept. 16 'Keep Taiwan Free' march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters, activist students took turns giving speeches supporting Taiwan’s return to the UN. June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans, said that the recent trial of Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese citizen imprisoned by China, is the latest example why Taiwan needs to make its voice heard on the international stage.

Taiwan under the name “Republic of China” was kicked out of the UN by the 1971 General Assembly Resolution 2758 to make way for the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has tried without success to reenter the U.N. since 1993.

 

 

 

 

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Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution, now entering its 18th year, began on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters, hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. The persecution, now entering its 18th year, began on July 20, 1999. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—On July 16, hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners from the greater New York area gathered near the Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil to mark 18 years since the Chinese regime launched a brutal persecution campaign against their spiritual community.

The rally featured Falun Gong spokespeople, practitioners who had endured severe persecution in China, members of human rights NGOs, and seven Chinese citizens who had just quit the Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated organizations.

A mother and daughter join Falun Gong practitioners for a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

A mother and daughter join Falun Gong practitioners for a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

“We are here gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York to call on the international community to help end this persecution and expose this crime against humanity that’s been going on for 18 years,” said Erping Zhang, a Falun Gong spokesperson, in an interview.

Over the past 18 years, numerous Falun Gong practitioners have lost their homes, jobs, even their lives,” Zhang continued. “Worse still, there is the horrific crime of organ harvesting against these prisoners of conscience.” Principal researchers of forced organ harvesting in China estimate that the Chinese communist regime has killed large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs from 2000 to 2015 to fuel a lucrative transplant industry, according to a 2016 report.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, was first introduced to the Chinese public in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi. Inspired and uplifted by the practice’s moral principles and tranquil exercises, 70 to 100 million people in China had taken up the practice by 1999, according to state and practitioner estimates.

Among them was Li Dianqin, a native of Liaoning Province in northeastern China. Li was practically on her deathbed when she first learned of Falun Gong in 1995—she had a massive liver tumor and intestinal adhesions that caused constant, excruciating pain in her abdomen.  

Li Dianqin with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Li Dianqin with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

After practicing Falun Gong, however, Li slowly overcame not only her illness, which doctors deemed incurable, but also gained the mental strength to weather the Chinese regime’s persecution.

In March 2000, Li was detained at a brainwashing center in a Shenyang City mental hospital where she was bombarded day and night with hate propaganda against Falun Gong.

Three months later, Li was thrown into Masanjia Forced Labor Camp, a detention facility notorious for its horrific treatment of female Falun Gong practitioners. Masanjia guards were known for shocking women practitioners’ genitalia with electric batons, as well as for stripping practitioners naked and locking them up in the cells of male prisoners to be gang raped.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Li, now 66, came to the United States last July. At the rally in New York, however, Li and other Falun Gong practitioners continue to be targeted by the Chinese regime.

Around 50 Chinese people dressed in red shirts with pro-communist slogans and hats had gathered on the opposite side of the street from the Falun Gong rally. They shouted anti-Falun Gong slogans into loudspeakers and waved the Chinese regime’s red flags.

Collin Ding, a 17-year-old high schooler, said he attended the event to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs.

Collin Ding, with Falun Gong practitioners for a rally and a candlelight vigil n front of Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Ding said he was there to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Collin Ding, with Falun Gong practitioners for a rally and a candlelight vigil n front of Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Ding said he was there to peacefully protest the continued persecution of his beliefs. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

“As Falun Dafa practitioners, we cultivate ourselves based on the standard of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance,” Ding said.

Ding said that Falun Gong’s principles help him to self-reflect and improve himself when faced with adversity rather than harbor resentment towards others.

“There will always be some people around you who are nice to you and some who are mean to you,” he said. “But even if people are mean to you, you should be genuine towards them.”

Cristina Oz, 32, learned of Falun Gong in late May of this year after coming across practitioners doing the slow-moving exercises in Madison Square Park in downtown Manhattan.

“It was like finally coming home after a long journey,” Oz said. “I’d been looking for this all my life.”

Cristina Oz with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Cristina Oz with Falun Gong practitioners in front of Chinese Consulate in New York for a rally and candlelight vigil calling for an end to the persecution on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

And coming from Romania, formerly part of the Soviet Union, Oz was familiar with how communist regimes trample spiritual practices. “A lot of people were killed, a lot of people were persecuted” by the former communist regime in Romania, she said.

“That’s why I relate so much to China because I feel and understand it very well,” Oz said. “Communism destroys people’s origins, people’s values.”

The Chinese people must learn the truth of the Chinese regime and see through the communist propaganda, said Falun Gong practitioner Li Dianqin.

“It requires our realization” of the Chinese regime’s repressive tendencies, Li said. And when the world’s people come to the same realization, the “Chinese regime will thoroughly disintegrate,” she added.

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners pass out pamphlets to passerby near the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017, about the practice and the persecution that is still happening inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners and supporters hold a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in New York on July 16, 2017. Launched on July 20, 1999, the persecution is now entering its 18th year inside China. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Woman perform a song and dance at a rally in front of Chinese Consulate in New York calling for an end to the Falun Gong persecution inside China in New York on July 16, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

 

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Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, attends the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, on May 14, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, attends the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, on May 14, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Wearing their trademark yellow T-shirts or blue jackets, practitioners of Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline, could be spotted over the extended weekend of May 11-13 at various New York City landmarks doing slow exercises and handing out pamphlets. In the climax of the events in New York’s public spaces, on Friday passersby along 42nd Street were treated to a lively parade.

On May 14, the more than 10,000 practitioners from 58 countries and regions swapped their iconic apparel for business wear, and headed indoors to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a conference where individuals spoke about their experiences of self-improvement, and related how they have helped expose a brutal persecution in China.

The highlight of the full-day conference was an appearance by Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa.

Mr. Li first publicly taught the traditional Chinese spiritual discipline Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, in China almost exactly a quarter of a century ago, on May 13, 1992. Falun Dafa practitioners celebrate this date as World Falun Dafa Day.

Adherents of Falun Dafa practice five sets of exercises, and live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Because Falun Dafa brought improved health and moral uplift to many Chinese, the practice spread quickly through word of mouth. By 1999, there were 70 million to 100 million practitioners, according to Chinese state and practitioner estimates respectively.

Falun Dafa’s popularity was viewed by former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin as a challenge to the atheist Chinese regime. On July 20, 1999, Jiang launched a campaign to eradicate the practice, which included a massive propaganda effort. Practitioners inside and outside China have since been striving to clarify to people what Falun Dafa is and why the Chinese regime has resorted to a persecution that includes atrocities like forced organ harvesting.

At the New York conference, Mr. Li spoke in the early afternoon for about two hours. He encouraged practitioners to focus on their self-cultivation, and to continue to tell people about the persecution in China. Mr. Li also took questions from practitioners, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers after he finished lecturing.

Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, attends the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, on May 14, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, attends the 2017 New York Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conference at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, on May 14, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

A short video documentary about the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa was aired after a one-hour lunch break.

The rest of the conference featured individual practitioners reflecting on their journey of self-cultivation—Falun Dafa practitioners refer to their work at physical, moral, and spiritual improvement as cultivation—and how they have persisted in raising awareness about the persecution.

Ding Yating, a former athlete in China who later migrated to Germany, had started practicing Falun Dafa in 2011 after she stumbled upon Falun Dafa literature while browsing the web.

Ding recounted being unable to do the meditation exercise because her limbs were stiff from multiple injuries suffered during years of athletic training, but after putting her mind to it was gradually able to sit in full lotus position, which requires sitting with each leg folded on top of the other. She also recalled an episode where she peacefully dissuaded likely Chinese agents from the local Chinese consulate from harassing a Falun Dafa information booth she had set up at the airport.

Ye Xiaomeng, a 13-year-old student from the United States, talked about how being mindful of Falun Dafa’s teachings helped her overcome a severe videogame addiction, as well as feelings of jealousy when her peers out performed her in school.

“You feel this sincere wish by everyone to become a better person,” said Vadim Berestetsky, a practitioner from Russia, when asked about what he felt about the practitioners’ talks.

Vadim Berestetsky. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

Vadim Berestetsky. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

Berestetsky, a graphic designer who found Falun Dafa online in 1998, thinks the conference is a good opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. “I think it’s great and it’s always very encouraging,” he said.

Svetlana Polunina, another Russia practitioner, said that the sharing of a lady practitioner who explained the persecution to Chinese people via instant messaging impressed upon her the urgency of needing to stop the persecution of Falun Dafa in China.

Svetlana Polunina. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

Svetlana Polunina. (Petr Svab/The Epoch Times)

“I really want to help stop this persecution,” said Polunina, an advertising agency owner from Moscow. In Russia, Polunina has sought out Russian government officials, the police, doctors, and others to clarify the facts about the Chinese regime’s persecution.

Manu Huwyler, a 62-year-old teacher from Switzerland who first learned about Falun Dafa in a magazine 20 years ago, was particularly impressed by the talk by He Mai, a practitioner from Missouri who found balance among his busy medical practice and research, caring for his family, and cultivating in Falun Dafa while doing a good job with his activism telling people about Falun Dafa and the persecution.  

Manu Huwyler. (Emel Akan/The Epoch Times)

Manu Huwyler. (Emel Akan/The Epoch Times)

Huwyler is familiar with juggling multiple commitments. She herself had to care for her husband and children, used to work for a big company in Switzerland, and acted to raise awareness about the persecution.  

Emel Akan, Irene Luo, and Petr Svab contributed to this article.

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NEW YORK—Over 10,000 Falun Dafa practitioners from 57 countries and regions assembled in Manhattan on May 12 for a grand parade, the centerpiece event of World Falun Dafa Day activities in New York.

Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, is a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline that involves slow exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.

Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, gave his first lecture 25 years ago on May 13 in his native city of Changchun, northeast China. Today, Falun Dafa is practiced by tens of millions in over 70 countries.

About 6,500 of those practitioners from around the world gathered at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in the early morning of a sunny Friday for the start of the grand parade.

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Many practitioners were dressed in yellow T-shirts or sweaters emblazoned with the words “Falun Dafa is Good” in Chinese and English.

One contingent was made up entirely of practitioners in national or ethnic dress: Korean ladies wore hanbok dresses; Austrian and German men wore traditional hats and lederhosen, or sharp trachten jackets; and Polish practitioners wore kontusz, an elegantly embroidered outer garment traditionally worn by Polish nobility.

A short rally featuring speakers from Falun Dafa associations or nongovernmental organizations was held at around 9 o’clock. Anastasia Lin, the reigning Miss World Canada and a Falun Dafa practitioner, also addressed the parade participants.

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners from around the world march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Larry Dye/The Epoch Times)

The parade began immediately after the half hour rally.

Leading the parade was one of three Tianguo Marching Bands, followed by a dragon dance team comprising New York-based practitioners. Following them were practitioners carrying colorful banners, motorized floats where practitioners demonstrated the exercises, and golden costume-clad practitioners beating traditional tunes on red waist drums.

The parade’s end point was the Chinese consulate in New York, where local practitioners have long protested the Chinese regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Thousands of Falun Gong practitioners march in a parade along 42nd Street in New York for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Irene Luo and Leo Timm contributed to this article.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, a Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, participate in the 2017 Flushing Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 4, 2017. Note: This photo has been edited to remove the hate speech written on the banners. (Epoch Times)Members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, a Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, participate in the 2017 Flushing Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 4, 2017. Note: This photo has been edited to remove the hate speech written on the banners. (Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—During the fifteen-day period of Chinese New Year festivities, Chinese people greet each other with warm sayings and wishes of good fortune and health for the year head.

A Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, however, decided to eschew traditional Chinese courtesy during recent new year celebrations in Flushing.

At a Chinese New Year parade organized by a local Chinese business association on Feb. 4, members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance rode in motorized floats decorated with propaganda slogans and blood red Communist Party flags.

They were set up specifically to oppose a large, colorful contingent comprising a full marching band, a waist drum troupe, a dragon and lion dance crew, and young ladies clad in Han costumes and hairdo. Keeping in the spirit of the new year, the musical groups played upbeat tunes, while the golden dragon thrilled the crowd along the streets with energetic movements.

Members of the colorful contingent are practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that the Chinese regime has targeted in a brutal persecution campaign that is approaching its 18th year. Several of the practitioners are recent refugees to the United States from mainland China.

“Our groups were very warmly welcomed by the Flushing community that watched the parade,” said Yi Rong, a coordinator of the New York Falun Dafa Association. “We are sorry that one group used on their Chinese New Year banner the very same hate mongering slogans used by the Chinese Communist regime in China to incite and instigate the illegal persecution and torture of Falun Gong believers across China. This group, the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance seem far more interested in their anti-Falun Gong tactics than in celebrating the Chinese New Year.”

In China, practitioners can be arrested for handing out so much as a leaflet explaining Falun Gong and debunking the Chinese regime’s propaganda. They are locked up in detention centers, and are subjected to brainwashing and severe torture.

Over 4,000 have been killed by abuse, according to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for firsthand information about the persecution. Owing to the difficulty of getting information out of China, Minghui believes that the actual death figures are substantially higher.

The outside of the Masanjia Labor Camp. The facility is notorious for the brutal manner in which it persecutes its detainees, primarily Falun Gong practitioners. (Minghui.net)

The outside of the Masanjia Labor Camp. The facility is notorious for the brutal manner in which it persecutes its detainees, primarily Falun Gong practitioners. (Minghui.net)

Researchers say that Falun Gong practitioners form the bulk of prisoners of conscience being killed for their organs by the Chinese state apparatus. Tens of thousands of transplantations have been done each year since 2000, and in most cases researchers believe one transplantation involves one person killed, due to the inefficiency of the Chinese transplantation system.

The Chinese regime resorts to front groups like the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance to export the persecution abroad. These groups seek out and harass Falun Gong practitioners at tourist sites and Chinese enclaves, where practitioners have set up temporary booths to explain the regime’s persecution and encourage mainland tourists to quit the Communist Party.

The Alliance, associated with the regime-run Chinese Anti-Cult Association in China, first appeared in New York in 2008. The group has since undertaken a campaign of hatred, intimidation, and violence against Falun Gong practitioners in the streets of Flushing and Manhattan.

In spite of a lawsuit filed against them for their deprivation of Falun Gong believers’ right to intrastate travel and other civil rights violations, their participation in the recent Flushing Chinese New Year Parade suggests that they are still out and about.

A fracas during the Alliance post-parade party at a local restaurant confirmed the group’s tendencies toward physical confrontation.

Peter Li, a reporter with the New York-based Chinese language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), was held against his will by Alliance leader Li Huahong for at least 10 minutes in Junhao Restaurant. Li had visited the restaurant to film footage of the Alliance event to use for a later news broadcast. NTD, a member of the Epoch Media Group, is independent of the Chinese regime. The company is known for its critical commentary on the Chinese Communist Party, and for covering the Party’s persecution of Falun Gong in China and overseas and other human rights issues.

In video footage provided by Richard Hu, a Falun Gong practitioner who was on hand, Li Huahong is seen accosting Peter Li as he tried to leave. She grabs his leg as he tries to wriggle free, and barks that he has hit her (which, Peter Li says, did not happen, and does not appear in any video of the incident.)

One bystander tried to get her to let him go, but she declined, maintaining her fierce grip. Finally, an elderly lady prised her hand off, which allowed Peter Li to struggle free, but resulted in the bystander receiving a bite on the hand.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

Members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, a Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, participate in the 2017 Flushing Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 4, 2017. Note: This photo has been edited to remove the hate speech written on the banners. (Epoch Times)Members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, a Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, participate in the 2017 Flushing Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 4, 2017. Note: This photo has been edited to remove the hate speech written on the banners. (Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—During the fifteen-day period of Chinese New Year festivities, Chinese people greet each other with warm sayings and wishes of good fortune and health for the year head.

A Chinese Communist Party front group in New York, however, decided to eschew traditional Chinese courtesy during recent new year celebrations in Flushing.

At a Chinese New Year parade organized by a local Chinese business association on Feb. 4, members of the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance rode in motorized floats decorated with propaganda slogans and blood red Communist Party flags.

They were set up specifically to oppose a large, colorful contingent comprising a full marching band, a waist drum troupe, a dragon and lion dance crew, and young ladies clad in Han costumes and hairdo. Keeping in the spirit of the new year, the musical groups played upbeat tunes, while the golden dragon thrilled the crowd along the streets with energetic movements.

Members of the colorful contingent are practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual group that the Chinese regime has targeted in a brutal persecution campaign that is approaching its 18th year. Several of the practitioners are recent refugees to the United States from mainland China.

“Our groups were very warmly welcomed by the Flushing community that watched the parade,” said Yi Rong, a coordinator of the New York Falun Dafa Association. “We are sorry that one group used on their Chinese New Year banner the very same hate mongering slogans used by the Chinese Communist regime in China to incite and instigate the illegal persecution and torture of Falun Gong believers across China. This group, the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance seem far more interested in their anti-Falun Gong tactics than in celebrating the Chinese New Year.”

In China, practitioners can be arrested for handing out so much as a leaflet explaining Falun Gong and debunking the Chinese regime’s propaganda. They are locked up in detention centers, and are subjected to brainwashing and severe torture.

Over 4,000 have been killed by abuse, according to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for firsthand information about the persecution. Owing to the difficulty of getting information out of China, Minghui believes that the actual death figures are substantially higher.

Researchers say that Falun Gong practitioners form the bulk of prisoners of conscience being killed for their organs by the Chinese state apparatus. Tens of thousands of transplantations have been done each year since 2000, and in most cases researchers believe one transplantation involves one person killed, due to the inefficiency of the Chinese transplantation system.

The Chinese regime resorts to front groups like the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance to export the persecution abroad. These groups seek out and harass Falun Gong practitioners at tourist sites and Chinese enclaves, where practitioners have set up temporary booths to explain the regime’s persecution and encourage mainland tourists to quit the Communist Party.

The Alliance, associated with the regime-run Chinese Anti-Cult Association in China, first appeared in New York in 2008. The group has since undertaken a campaign of hatred, intimidation, and violence against Falun Gong practitioners in the streets of Flushing and Manhattan.

In spite of a lawsuit filed against them for their deprivation of Falun Gong believers’ right to intrastate travel and other civil rights violations, their participation in the recent Flushing Chinese New Year Parade suggests that they are still out and about.

A fracas during the Alliance post-parade party at a local restaurant confirmed the group’s tendencies toward physical confrontation.

Peter Li, a reporter with the New York-based Chinese language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD), was held against his will by Alliance leader Li Huahong for at least 10 minutes in Junhao Restaurant. Li had visited the restaurant to film footage of the Alliance event to use for a later news broadcast. NTD, a member of the Epoch Media Group, is independent of the Chinese regime. The company is known for its critical commentary on the Chinese Communist Party, and for covering the Party’s persecution of Falun Gong in China and overseas and other human rights issues.

According to video footage provided by Richard Hu, a Falun Gong practitioner who was on hand, Li Huahong is seen accosting Peter Li as he tried to leave. She grabs his leg as he tries to wriggle free, and barks that he has hit her (which, Peter Li says, did not happen, and does not appear in any video of the incident.)

One bystander tried to get her to let him go, but she declined, maintaining her fierce grip. Finally, an elderly lady prised her hand off, which allowed Peter Li to struggle free, but resulted in the bystander receiving a bite on the hand.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

NEW YORK—It was a bright and frigid early afternoon in the middle of Columbia University’s campus on April 5 when three Chinese women happened to stroll by. Around them echoed the chimes and strings of Chinese meditation music, while poster boards and volunteers stood ready to talk about one of China’s most censored, and sensitive, topics: the persecution of Falun Gong.
The three Chinese women just happened to fall into the major archetypes of public opinion held by Chinese on the topic: there was one antagonist, one supporter, and one who just didn’t want trouble.
“It’s not a problem if they just go home and practice their meditation,” said Ms. Gao, a middle-aged Chinese tourist in a orange jacket. “But they oppose the government.”
Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese discipline of self-improvement and meditation, has been persecuted in China since 1999, after nearly a decade of tacit endorsement by the state. The anti-Falun Gong campaign, which targeted an estimated 70-100 million Chinese, swept the nation into a frenzy of denunciation and hatred, and the propaganda and vituperation directed against Falun Gong still resonates in the minds of many Chinese today.
Ms. Gao seemed to stand as a stubborn testament to this, outright dismissing the demonstrators and their message using tropes found in official propaganda.
“She’s a Communist Party member, you know,” Ms. Wang, a younger woman in a black coat and wearing sunglasses, said. “She’s received political education.”
Ms. Wang is a classic case of a Chinese who is not afraid to buck the trend.
“At first I didn’t believe the allegations that Falun Gong practitioners’ organs were being harvested,” Wang said. “but I have seen a lot of videos and read many articles about it.”
Wang has lived and worked in the United States for four years. While in China, she often used a VPN (a virtual private network) to circumvent Internet censorship by the authorities in order to access information about human rights issues.
Wang was entertaining her two friends who were visiting from China, and that day they had decided to come down to the university and snap selfies in front of the statue of Athena that stands before the Low Library. It was then that they came across the demonstration—hard to miss—organized and co-sponsored by the school’s Falun Gong and Amnesty International student clubs. 
Near a large, transparent yellow Falun Gong banner on the small square were several adherents of the practice doing meditation exercises, while others passed out flyers about Falun Gong and the regime’s repression.
Practitioners of Falun Gong demonstrating the exercises on campus at Columbia University. (via NTD Television)
As the joint interview with Wang and Gao went on, they began bickering.
“See? She won’t even let me talk,” Wang said at one point, after being interrupted. “I tell you, we even had an argument over Falun Gong on the bus a while ago. I mentioned all sorts of problems about the Communist Party, but she avoided them all.”
“Don’t tell them it’s me, don’t mention me, don’t judge me,” Gao shot back.
“We’re in the United States now, where there’s freedom of speech,” Wang enjoined. “But she won’t let me speak.”
Li, their friend and the third member of the party, didn’t need to be told not to speak. Standing between the two as the conversation progressed, she refrained from offering an opinion, and at several points nudged at Gao that they should be getting along.
When she finally spoke, she mentioned the need for stability and order as the reason for her support for the Communist Party. “We don’t want chaos or war,” she said, without elaborating.
The poster demonstration has been held on campus annually for years now, said Jean Guo, a graduate student who is part of the Falun Gong student club. The posters are meant to do what Falun Gong practitioners call “clarifying the truth.” They tell people what Falun Gong is, dispel misconceptions about it, and bring to light the crimes committed against adherents in China, especially widespread torture and organ harvesting.
Chinese students stop to look at the placards showing information about Falun Gong on April 5 at Columbia University. (via NTD Television)
Researchers have presented evidence that they say indicates that hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed for a lucrative organ transplantation industry, presided over by the Communist Party’s military hospitals.
Organ harvesting from Falun Gong has been the subject of multiple independent investigations and award-winning documentaries, as well as resolutions by the U.S. Congress, European Parliament, and other international bodies.
According to the Guo, the volunteer from the Falun Gong club, many Chinese students are surprised to learn that the university even allows a Falun Gong club, let alone a demonstration in such a prominent place on campus, given how the practice has been slandered in China.
“We let them see that there are also people practicing Falun Gong at Columbia,” Guo said.
A quiet female student from eastern China said that the demonstration was eye-opening. After seeing the Falun Gong posters on campus, she began to question the negative impression she had received of the spiritual practice as a child from state media and in official school textbooks.
“I don’t know if it is because some of the information in China has been distorted,” she offered. “But I think it is pretty good to see a different voice here.”
Juliet Song contributed to this report.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/leo-timm/" rel="author">Leo Timm</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

NEW YORK—In 2008, Alex Zhang was being held in solitary confinement in a small concrete cell at Wuling Prison in Hunan Province because the faith he practiced had been targeted for elimination by the Chinese Communist Party. His daily food rations consisted of a steamed bun and a bowl of cold cabbage soup, slid through a flap on the door. His bed was two hard, wooden boards atop a concrete block.
For years, the authorities had been attempting to coercively re-educate—commonly known as brainwash—Zhang into believing that his spiritual practice was dangerous. The last thing he expected to be shown was a video taken in the streets of New York.
But again and again he was forced to watch scenes from Flushing, a Chinese enclave in the farthest reaches of Queens, where Chinese living in New York unleash their fury against practitioners of Falun Gong, a meditation practice to which Zhang adheres. Video shows them berating, abusing, and shoving Falun Gong protesters.
“They’re the degenerates of our race,” shouts one woman. “We represent the voice of the people … They represent the scum of humanity,” says a man, loudly, as he pumps his fist in the air. “We came to oppose these Falun Gong mongrels,” adds a young man, using a term that is particularly vitriolic in Chinese. The atmosphere is angry and excited.
This incident, and a string of incidents like it—bilious political spite, often violent, loosed against a group of peaceful religious practitioners—is at the heart of a recent civil lawsuit that a magistrate in the Eastern District of New York has recommended proceed to trial in a decision on March 28.
The complaint, filed in March 2015, describes these acts as an extension in the United States of the campaign of “douzheng” waged against Falun Gong by communist authorities in China. The complaint translates the Chinese term “douzheng,” which traces back to the Party’s history of violent class struggle during the Cultural Revolution, as “violent suppression.” For what it says is the campaign of hate directed at the plaintiffs’ beliefs, the suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The organization identified as attacking Falun Gong in Flushing is the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance (CACWA), a suspected affiliate of the China Anti-Cult Association established as part of a “comprehensive suppression overseas,” according to the magistrate’s summary of the plaintiff’s brief.
The China Anti-Cult Association was one of the organizations set up at the behest of Party leader Jiang Zemin, who initiated the suppression of Falun Gong, in order to defame the practice and incite hatred toward it among the public. Before it was marked for elimination in 1999, Falun Gong, which consists of slow meditative exercises and the adherence to moral principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, was practiced widely and enjoyed official support. The case deals with the attempt to export this suppression to the United States.
“Plaintiffs were all subjected to assaults, battery, death threats, mob violence, and/or other abuses,” says the complaint, “either directly committed by Defendants” or via conspiracy committed by them.
Michael Chu of CACWA, for instance, hands out materials almost daily calling Falun Gong a “deviated religion,” court files say. The literature “bears a skull and cross bones insignia, and urges Party loyalists to ‘beat’ Falun Gong practitioners,” the files say.
The complaint documents dozens of incidents in which practitioners of Falun Gong are subject to “douzheng”—violent political struggle—on the streets of Flushing.
A typical incident is that recounted by Hu Yang, a plaintiff, who was “aggressively shoved and kicked” by one of the defendants, Wan Hongjuan, who sought to snatch his cellphone. Days later, Wan yelled: “You are even worse than dogs. I’m going to round you all up and exterminate all of you within three months. I’ll strangle all of you to death,” the complaint says.
Other remarks by Wan include: “I’ll finish you; I’ll dig out your hearts, livers, and lungs,” and, “Don’t take a picture of me. If you continue to do this, I want to tell you how you will die. I won’t kill you, but someone else will.”
Punching, kicking, pinching, shoving, assault with a Bible, attempted theft, destruction of property, flipping over tables of Falun Gong materials, are all alleged in the complaint.
Alex Zhang is a party to the case because in 2014, after he left China and came to Flushing to provide information about the persecution to overseas Chinese, he was chanced upon by Ms. Wan.
In January of that year, when he was in Flushing, she was walking past and said: “Your display board is blocking my path. I’m going to take it away.” It was taped together with a number of other boards showing pictures of persecution from China, against the wall.
“It’s not in your path,” Zhang responded. But by then she had begun ripping it up and stomping on the pieces. Zhang’s attempt to pick up one of the pieces led her to wrench his arm away and hurl the board onto the road, while yelling anti-Falun Gong slogans in his face.
“It’s pitiful that she’s being used to do these acts here,” Zhang said in a telephone interview. He said he was very encouraged that the case has been permitted to move to trial, despite what his attorney Terri Marsh described as delay tactics employed by the defendants.
Michael Chu, one of the main defendants, said, “I won’t comment until the case finishes,” in a brief telephone call. His lawyer, Edward Wong, did not return telephone calls on March 28 or 29.
Sinovision, the pro-Beijing broadcaster based in New York that conducted the interviews with Chinese in Flushing, in which they declared that Falun Gong practitioners are “degenerates of our race,” did not respond to questions for comment.
“I understand your question,” a woman who answered the telephone at Sinovision said, when asked whether the station could explain why its videos were used as part of the forced brainwashing of Alex Zhang when he was in captivity. “I can’t answer your question.”
Zhang said that when he was shown the video in prison, he thought it was a typical depiction of the kind

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NEW YORK—Every year a wide variety of community groups come together to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Flushing. A colorful procession of floats and performers—drummers, lion dancers, celestial maidens—move through the streets. But for the last few years, a group focused only on inciting hatred has also made its presence known—and according to secretly-recorded footage, they get paid for it.
“We’re the Huasheng Marching Band,” says a man in a secretly recorded audio last week. “We get paid $100 up front when we arrive to take part, and then another $10 for food. We get paid every year. If we didn’t get paid, are we going to come out? We come and play a bit for money, then go home.”
The band accompanied the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, which dressed in red and focused on harassing practitioners of Falun Gong, during the New Year parade on Feb. 13. Falun Gong is a traditional spiritual practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999. CACWA is widely suspected of having close ties with the Chinese consulate in New York, part of whose mission it is to suppress the voice of groups that are deemed dissident by the Chinese authorities.
Falun Gong practitioners, who raise awareness about the abuse, torture, and organ harvesting against them in China, are one of the major targets for China’s diplomatic outposts. The practice itself involves performing five exercises and adhering to the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It is believed to have become a target by the Chinese state in the late 1990s because of the number of people practicing it, and their independence from the regime’s control.
Falun Gong practitioners take part in the Chinese Lunar New Year parade in Flushing, Queens, N.Y., on Feb. 13, 2016. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
The use of astroturfing techniques—deploying groups that appear to have no relation to the government, but which are in fact supported by the Party, and push a Party-line—is a well-known modus operandi of the Chinese Communist Party. Such techniques have been used expertly by the Party since the Civil War years in the 1930s and 1940s in China. In 2008 the Chinese consular general, Peng Keyu, was caught in a secretly-recorded telephone call boasting about how he had organized angry mobs to besiege Falun Gong on the streets of Flushing.
New Tang Dynasty Television, an independent Chinese-language broadcaster based in New York City, made the secret recording of the Huasheng band member this year. Huasheng is one of China’s official bands based in the United States, according to another secretly recorded interview by NTD last year.
The NTD reporter even followed the band members, and the CACWA group, as they bundled out of the cold and into a large Chinatown restaurant for their lunch banquet.
“Is everyone here? Once everyone is here I will pass out the tickets. Those who are with us, find your own seats. Then tell me the number of people at your table, and I will pass out the tickets,” said Li Huahong, the organizer of the group, in undercover footage recorded on Feb. 13. It was not made explicit in her public statements, but it seemed that the tickets were exchangeable for either cash or the meal.
A still from the New Tang Dynasty Television report showing Li Huahong and members of her group at a restaurant in Flushing, Chinatown. Li is heard calling out instructions for participants to receive their “tickets.” (NTD)
Li has gained a reputation for her virulent propaganda against Falun Gong, which largely copies the official anti-Falun Gong propaganda spread in China by the Communist Party. One of the Party’s most well-known lines is to compare practitioners of Falun Gong to vermin, or a threat to public security who must be struggled against and eliminated.
In March 2013, 13 New Yorkers filed a lawsuit accusing members and supporters of CACA of violating the freedom of belief of those who practice Falun Gong (11 of the plaintiffs are adherents of the discipline). Days before the parade in Flushing this year, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York released a 28-page decision rejecting the motion, filed by counsel for Li Huahong, to dismiss the case.
“I have always said that what the Chinese Communist Party has committed against Falun Gong is genocide,” said Ye Ning, a human rights lawyer in the United States, in an interview with NTD.  “The so-called Anti-Cult Alliance is purely an expansion of the Party’s genocide overseas.”

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For most of Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, the headquarters of the Epoch Media Group in New York City were hit by crippling cyberattacks.
Since December last year, Chinese language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD) has been under cyberattacks that its technicians said bore the hallmarks of an operation conducted by the Chinese regime. The shortest attack lasted for a few hours, the longest over ten.
The cyberattacks failed in attempting to interfere with the business of Epoch Times.— Stephen Gregory, Epoch Times English-language edition editor-in-chief

And the latest attack, which started on Jan. 23, lasted for more than 50 hours, a record, according to Mark Li, a software technician at NTD.
“The hackers kept changing their attack methods: controlling personal computers, TV boxes, and public servers infected with viruses,” Li said. “We did a trace, and based on the methods used and scale of the attack, this was not the work of a single individual.”
The cyberattack was aimed at stealing source code and other sensitive information while interfering with the NTD’s news production, Li said. He added that it failed to achieve either objective.
“The cyberattacks failed in attempting to interfere with the business of Epoch Times,” said Stephen Gregory, editor-in-chief of the English-language edition of Epoch Times. “We will continue to offer readers the best reporting on developments in China.”
The Chinese language edition of Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang, chief executive officer of Epoch Media Group. The paper has as its mission the providing of uncensored news about China. Epoch Times English edition was launched online in 2003, followed by its first print edition in 2004.
Established in 2001, NTD has correspondents around the world. The broadcaster covers topics that are censored by the Chinese regime, such as humans rights and the persecution of Falun Gong. In addition to providing unfiltered China news, the company has as its mission promoting traditional Chinese culture.
This cyberattack is a continuation of the Chinese regime’s suppression.— Samuel Zhou, Executive vice president of NTD

NTD and the Chinese language edition of Epoch Times currently are among the more popular and influential diaspora Chinese media channels; their websites rank 2074 and 1869 among the most visited pages globally, according to analytics firm Alexa.
Significantly, in the context of the cyber attack, both are media outlets entirely independent of the influence of Chinese propaganda authorities. Party propagandists and the regime’s united front apparatus is notorious for exerting influence over overseas Chinese communities, including media companies, to ensure that the regime’s narratives remain dominant. NTD and Epoch Times, however, actively resist these measures and report independently on Chinese affairs.
The history of Chinese official pressure and interference toward NTD and Epoch Times is extensive, and includes threatening advertisers or potential advertises, disrupting public events, and putting pressure on other governments to limit the space within which the media can operate.
“This cyberattack is a continuation of the Chinese regime’s suppression,” said Samuel Zhou, NTD’s executive vice president. “It’s because NTD is an independent media established by overseas Chinese, and it’s always freely reported truthful news to Chinese people around the world.”
He highlighted how the channel has been consistent in reporting on corruption and human rights abuses in China over the last decade, and added that “we won’t change our principles because of this cyber-attack.”

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/frank-fang/" rel="author">Frank Fang</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

NEW YORK—At first, they seemed out of place in a parade showing appreciation for America’s veterans: a contingent, over 300-strong, of mainly Chinese faces marching down Fifth Avenue as part of the annual Veterans Day Parade. But practitioners of Falun Gong had a message that resonated with the crowd: freedom is not free, and Americans should treasure it.
Leading the Falun Gong contingent was a marching band in white uniform with blue trimmings. About a dozen ladies carrying paper lanterns, dressed in pastel-colored traditional Chinese clothing, followed behind. Floats in the shape of lotus flowers accompanied them. Bringing up the rear was a waist drum group in golden costumes, beating their red waist drums.
“It’s very beautiful,” said Hermin Eusbeio, a New Yorker watching the parade. “The combination of the music and color is very nice.”
In the middle of the Falun Gong contingent, a solemn message: banners calling on the Chinese Communist Party to stop abusing and killing practitioners in China, and to prosecute Jiang Zemin, the former Party leader and chief perpetrator of the persecution.
Maybe the situation might not be as severe as before, but practitioners continue to be arrested.— Zhu Honda, Falun Gong practitioner

On July 20, 1999, the Chinese regime launched a sweeping suppression of Falun Gong, a traditional Chinese spiritual discipline whose adherents perform slow exercises and abide by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. According to Minghui.org, a clearinghouse for information on the persecution, over 3,900 practitioners were killed, and hundreds of thousands have been incarcerated. Researchers say the regime is harvesting the organs of live Falun Gong practitioners, killing them while making a profit.
Han Yizhe, a supporter of the participants, was sent to a labor camp in her native Guangzhou in southern China in 2001 for petitioning authorities in Beijing to end the persecution of Falun Gong. There, she was subjected to brainwashing and put to forced labor for two years.
Practitioners who tried to do Falun Gong exercises in the labor camp were handcuffed to windows all day, with their feet barely touching ground, Han said. They were then handcuffed to their beds for days.
“For practitioners who refused to abandon their beliefs, guards bound our legs, and stuck posters that denounced Dafa and our Master on our clothes. It was very painful. It was very cruel,” Han said. “Dafa” is a short form of the other name of Falun Gong, Falun Dafa.
Han Yizhe (L), a Falun Gong practitioner from Guangzhou and her daughter Karina Li at the Veterans Day Memorial parade in New York on Nov. 11, 2015. (Frank Fang/Epoch TImes)
Today, Han Yizhe is a school teacher in New Jersey. Karina Li, her 16-year-old daughter, is in high school and plays the clarinet in Falun Gong’s marching band.
Sixteen years later, the persecution has abated little.
“Maybe the situation might not be as severe as before, but practitioners continue to be arrested,” said Zhu Hongda, a practitioner from Shandong Province and a first time participant.
Zhu Hongda, a Falun Gong practitioner from Shandong at the Veterans Day Memorial parade in New York on Nov. 11, 2015. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch TImes)
Zhu had participated in a Falun Gong parade in Flushing shortly after arriving in New York in April, and was nearly moved to tears after seeing the police keep the peace—quite unlike the case in China, where police are the instruments of state repression.
America is “such a free society,” Zhu said. “You can freely talk to others and tell the truth to people about Falun Gong.”
Telling the truth about Falun Gong to Chinese tourists in America requires more effort than in China, he said, because they “blindly love China” and cannot “tell the difference between the Party and China.”
Jerry Lam, a marching band member, was so impressed by the band that he signed up in 2006.
“I love the music played by the marching band,” said Lam, a resident of Staten Island. “And the marching band has been well-received.”
Rebecca Mandel was passing by when the Falun Gong marching band caught her attention. Mandel, who works at Samsung, said she had heard about Falun Gong before, and was “sad to hear that the persecution is still going on.”
Falun Gong practitioners in New York have participated in the Veterans Day Parade since 2004. The late Patrick Gualtieri, a Vietnam War veteran who helped the annual event gain prominence after he got involved in 2000, had told Falun Gong to “come stand with us” after learning of the persecution.
Samira Bouaou contributed to this article.

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  • Author: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/frank-fang/" rel="author">Frank Fang</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a> and <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/larry-ong/" rel="author">Larry Ong</a>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</a>
  • Category: General

NEW YORK—With China’s economy slowing and its stock market behaving like a roller coaster, more Chinese investors are looking into safe investments, like the U.S. real estate market.
New York in particular has become a favorite place for Chinese investors to stash their cash.
“We are at the beginning of a very exciting period in our relationship between Chinese buyers, real estate agents, and developers in New York City,” said Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, Manhattan’s leading real estate broker. 
Chinese homebuyers in the past had chosen urban West Coast areas, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, because of a strong Hong Kong ex-pat population. Now they are moving to the East Coast and Texas, according to the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).
“There has been a long romance between New York real estate and Asian buyers, particularly Chinese,” said Louise Phillips Forbes, broker at Halstead Property.
“New York is a safe haven. There is an opportunity to expand your wealth here. You can look at all the trends historically from September 11 to the financial recession. Investors know, over time, we have sustained their assets and the values have continued to expand,” said Forbes at a Nov.2 AREAA conference.
In Manhattan, the median price for houses rose 6.3 percent from last year to $982,958 in September 2015, according to StreetEasy. And in Brooklyn the median price for houses climbed 9 percent from last year to $545,139.
“The numbers are staggering,” said Nikki Field, broker and global adviser at Sotheby’s. “New York is a luxury brand. People started hearing and learning that there were great opportunities here, particularly for wealth preservation. You sell your property when you want and at the price you want.”
Chinese investors bought $28.6 billion in American residences last year, according to National Association of Realtors (NAR). They are No. 1, accounting for 28 percent of all foreign purchases.
The homes they acquired tended to be on the luxury side; the average house in the United States sold for $255,600, but Chinese buyers spent on average $831,800 for their American homes.
Although Chinese enjoy high returns in the New York real estate market, they are long-term buyers and prefer to keep their properties, said Field.
Most Asian buyers choose new developments, especially condominiums in New York City. “They tend to gravitate toward buildings that have a proper amount of light and air,” said Gordon Hoppe, executive vice president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

A view of the NYU campus on the southeast side of Washington Square Park at the Henry Kaufman Management Center building. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

More Reasons to Escape
So far, the top properties for Chinese investors in the United States have been hotels and office spaces, as well as luxury residential.
There are multiple reasons for Chinese nationals to move to the United States. Some want to get their money out of China because of increasing anti-corruption probes. Five years ago the main motive was fear of the future.  
“There was the fear of the unknown in China. They wanted to get out for security and safety,” said Michael Kercheval, president and CEO emeritus of International Council of Shopping Centers.
Today, said Kercheval, more are “also looking for quality of life, quality of air, as well as diversification of investments.”
To expand its political and economic influence abroad, China relaxed guidelines on outbound investment for institutional investors. Many affluent Chinese have taken advantage of this and diverted their wealth away from China to politically stable countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.
With the stock market crash in China that began in June 2015, Chinese investments in the U.S. residential real estate market have soared. And New York has gained the lion’s share in recent months.
Higher education is the main driver for Chinese investment in New York real estate, according to Diane Ramirez, CEO of Halstead Property. Many parents buy properties around universities for their children.
In addition to housing, Chinese investors are also looking for commercial estate in areas that are attractive to Chinese immigrants. So they chase properties like shopping centers and golf courses in the areas where other Asian immigrants live, said Ramirez.
‘Flushing Is Booming’
Flushing, the commercial center of Queens in New York City and the most popular destination for Asian immigrants, has become very popular for both residential and commercial real estate buyers.
“Although prices in Flushing are lower than Manhattan and Brooklyn, they are still expensive by historical standards,” according to Michael Meyer, president of F&T Group.
Meyer’s company is working on a billion dollar project in Flushing with Rockefeller Group. The project includes luxury residential and office condominiums. “The trend is all of Flushing will start to come up. I think there will be more developments for residential as well as hotels because of that,” said Meyer.
Challenges for Property Buyers
For the near future, experts do not foresee a significant price drop in the New York real estate market. Especially for the lower end properties, the scarce inventory will continue to drive up the prices.
One of the challenges that all buyers face in New York City is the scarcity of inventory. Around 62 percent of the market is rental and the majority of the properties for sale is co-op. “There are very few condos available for sale in New York City, so one needs to make a quick decision when buying a property,” said Shaun Osher.
New York City is the top residential market in the world and many international buyers are competing for the limited supply, said Osher.
Another challenge for property buyers is a shortage of good schools in the city. “We do not have enough great schools,” said Forbes.
So there is a development opportunity for that. Developers are buying air rights of pre-existing schools and building brand new schools. “That is a big trend happening in New York City and we will see that for the next decade,” said Forbes.

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NEW YORK—A weaker and more volatile Chinese economy has triggered high levels of capital outflow from the country, and so far, the United States has been the prime beneficiary. 
The Chinese overseas investment spree started in 2010, motivated by the shift in the Chinese regime’s policy to promote outbound investments. Since then, a total of $50 billion has been invested by Chinese companies across a wide range of U.S. industries, with real estate attracting $10 billion.
With the stock market crash in China that began in June 2015, Chinese are investing even more in U.S. real estate, which is considered a safe haven by investors. 
“Money coming in from China is as strong as it has been. We feel very optimistic that the trend will continue,” said Kathyrn A. Korte, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty.
Chinese investors have been riding the U.S. commercial and residential real estate waves in recent years. Real estate represented nearly 25 percent of all cross border capital investment in the United States in 2014, according to Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) that hosted the “East Meets West—Manhattan Luxury Real Estate Connect” conference on Nov. 2.
Sun Yun, head of network research at Financial Times, said during a panel discussion at the conference that over the past 30 years, Chinese people have accumulated a huge amount of wealth and the majority of that wealth was invested domestically in fund management firms, mines, and properties.
Now the tide has turned.
“The sharp decline in returns at home lead institutional investors and individuals to diversify their investments and look for safe havens. This is very good news for the New York real estate market,” said Yun.
The most attractive real estate destinations for Chinese investors are New York, London, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and Tokyo according to Christine Zhang from Bank of China. New York and London have replaced Shanghai and Hong Kong, which used to be top destinations for mainland Chinese investors. And in recent months, Houston real estate has become highly attractive as well.
David Friedman, President of Wealth-X called Houston, Texas the new emerging market due to its high appeal to Chinese investors.  
So far, the top properties for Chinese investors in the United States have been high-end trophy properties, office spaces, and hotels. Wealthy Chinese were also the largest group of foreign investors in U.S. homes and condominiums in 2014, according to the U.S. National Homebuyers Association.
Chinese investors have started to look for opportunities across a wider range of geographies and a greater variety of asset types with a growing number of Chinese middle class now becoming investors. 
The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline at sunset on Dec. 18, 2011. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Rise of Chinese Middle Class
Growth of the Chinese middle class is also expected to drive outbound investment over the next few years. According to Yun, half of families in Shanghai own more than one house.
Real estate reform in 1998 allowed Chinese residents to purchase houses at very low prices, leading many to purchase multiple homes.
“There is a huge population of homeowners in the big cities where the prices have gone up. And the average value of apartments is $500,000,” said Yu.
This high level of home ownership has meant Chinese can now sell off their second or third house and transfer the released funds to overseas. In addition, overseas education is gaining momentum with more middle class willing to send their kids abroad. This trend will provide a support to the U.S. real estate in the next few year, said Yu. 
The average home purchase price by Chinese in the United States was around $830,000 as of March 2015, according to National Association of Realtors (NAR). 
However, recently there has been an increase in lower price transactions, which is seen as a sign that more middle class Chinese are investing in the U.S. market. 
“We see a lot more investors buying in lower price ranges at $2,000-$3,000 per square foot versus the very high-end trophy properties,” said Korte.
Policy Liberation Fuels Investments
Another factor driving growth is the new policy implemented by Beijing that abolished regulatory approvals for most outbound investments, the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme. The scheme currently allows investors to invest in foreign securities markets via fund management institutions.
China is expected to launch a new pilot scheme called QDII2 allowing individuals to invest directly overseas. It will initially be launched in six key cities: Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenzhen, and Wenzhou. Individuals with at least 1 million yuan ($160,000) in financial assets will be allowed to participate.
“If this scheme is launched you will see more investors coming to United States and spending more money on real estate,” said Savio Chan, CEO of US China Partners.
The Chinese regime has been promoting outbound investments to expand its political and economic influence abroad, according to Yu.

Tip of the Iceberg
Another significant segment of investors in the U.S. real estate market are Chinese students.
“China had one child policy for 30 years. One child has a lot of power. They travel and study abroad. And they buy everything to enhance their face” said Chan, who is also the co-author of the book “China’s Super Consumers.”
There are more than 250,000 Chinese university students studying in the United States. International students make up 7 percent of the foreign investment in the U.S. real estate market, according to Chan.
“We only see the tip of the iceberg,” said Henry Tang, Managing Director of Clarett International. In addition to the big potential he sees from Chinese students, he expects more developers from China to invest in U.S. real estate in the future.
According to a study by Cornell University, the Manhattan real estate market tops the list of Asian Capital investment in the United States. Manhattan attracted more than $10 billion Asian investment between 2013 and 2015, followed by Hawaii ($4 billion), Los Angeles ($4 billion), and San Francisco ($1.3 billion)
Creative Financing Through EB-5
Yet another source of growth for the U.S. real estate market are the funds coming though the EB-5 program. Since access to bank loans is getting harder, developers are using the EB-5 money more as a new source of financing.
EB-5 program enables foreign nationals to obtain U.S. permanent-resident status by investing in a U.S. business that creates jobs.
“It is

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Practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong call for an end to the persecution of the practice in China, in front of the Waldorf Astoria in New York where Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is staying, on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)Practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong call for an end to the persecution of the practice in China, in front of the Waldorf Astoria in New York where Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is staying, on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Banners and protesters were never too far from Chinese leader Xi Jinping while he was in Seattle and Washington, D.C., the first two stops of his formal state visit to the United States. Now in New York, where Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the 70th anniversary session of the United Nations on Sept. 28, similar banners are being displayed outside the U.N. headquarters, the Chinese regime’s consulate and permanent mission to the U.N., and near the historic Waldorf Astoria, where Xi is staying.

Among the most prominent and difficult to avoid, are the banners calling for Xi to prosecute his predecessor, the former head of the Communist Party Jiang Zemin. Jiang launched a massive persecution against a popular spiritual practice, Falun Gong, in 1999, and the campaign has hung like a dead weight over Chinese politics ever since.

Over 100 protesters held up these signs on Sept. 26 near the Waldorf Astoria.

Some of the protesters performed the slow moving Falun Gong exercises to music set just loud enough to be heard through the din of traffic. Others handed out pamphlets at street corners for a couple of blocks leading to and from the Waldorf Astoria hotel, the traditional accommodations of choice for overnight stays of dignitaries in New York.

Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese spiritual discipline, became a target for Jiang Zemin when he became frightened by how popular and independent it was. He saw a massive political campaign against the group as a way to amass power in the Party. But the practice was not eradicated, as he hoped, and instead, 16 years later, those who were tortured and put to forced labor are now calling for him to be brought to justice.

Since the end of May, over 180,000 Falun Gong adherents have filed criminal complaints against Jiang for crimes against humanity with China’s highest legal bodies, an act made possible after a change in China’s legal regulations on May 1. Previously, practitioners who tried to lodge complaints against the country’s leader would be thrown in detention, where they faced torture and death.

The evil done by the Communist Party is unrivaled from ancient times to present.

— Yang Jianguo, Falun Gong practitioner

Falun Gong practitioners are calling for Xi Jinping to serve justice to his predecessor because “Jiang Zemin is the one responsible for tens of thousands of practitioners to be abused and tortured, and even killed and have their organs harvested,” said Yi Rong, a Falun Gong spokeswoman in New York and coordinator of the protests during Xi’s stay in the city.

“We want Xi Jinping to stop the persecution, allow practitioners to practice freely throughout China, prosecute Jiang Zemin for the crimes he committed as leader, and get rid of the CCP, and replace it with democracy,” said Alan Adler, the executive director of Friends of Falun Gong, an American nonprofit that advocates for freedom of the practice in China. Adler’s group on Sept. 28 published an open letter in The New York Times appealing to Xi to stop the persecution of the practice.

Alan Adler, the executive director of Friends of Falun Gong, stands in front of a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to end the persecution of Falun Gong in China, in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Edward Dye/Epoch Times)

Alan Adler, the executive director of Friends of Falun Gong, in front of a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to end the persecution of Falun Gong in China, in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Edward Dye/Epoch Times)

Xi should “just do it already,” Adler continues, because he “has the power and the support of the Chinese people behind him. … The whole world would be grateful.”

Yi Rong hopes that the Chinese leader “releases all Falun Gong practitioners, and allows a peaceful environment for them to freely meditate and believe in truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.”

Yang Jianguo and Jiang Li are two Falun Gong practitioners who recently moved to New York due to the persecution, which is ongoing.

Both of them formed part of a contingent at a designated protest area at Hammarskjold Plaza near the U.N. headquarters. Positioned besides the silent, solemn Falun Gong practitioners were citizens from Thailand and Cambodia, who protested their respective governments by shouting slogans and singing songs.

The slightly chaotic atmosphere did not perturb Yang Jianguo, who said he’s happy to be in a country where people have freedom of expression.

Yang Jianguo joins a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Yang Jianguo at a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

“The evil done by the Communist Party is unrivaled from ancient times to present,” Yang announced.

Yang, who arrived from China in August, said his wife was arrested and placed in a labor camp for three years. Yang and other practitioners from the Chinese coastal city of Tianjin submitted a joint criminal complaint against Jiang Zemin while he was still in China in May.

Jiang Li, who once lived in Shanghai and came to the United States in July, also recently filed a complaint against Jiang Zemin (no relation) for the persecution of her mother, father, and five siblings.

Jiang Li joins a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Jiang Li at a protest calling on Chinese leader Xi Jinping to bring an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China, at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Jiang went directly to Beijing to submit her petition on June 26, but was turned down by the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate. She later successfully mailed her petitions.

Jiang and her brothers and sisters all faced workplace discrimination or were threatened with losing their jobs if they didn’t give up Falun Gong. Jiang was fired from her job after she tried to seek redress for her father, who was killed due to persecution in 2009. A mid-ranking official at the Chongqing procuratorate later accidentally revealed to Jiang and her siblings that her father’s organs had been harvested “for scientific specimens.” And this year, Jiang’s mother was hounded by local security forces to the point that she had to go underground.

Not only protest banners were present during the visit of China’s leader. Pro-Communist Party activists also took to the streets with giant red flags; and at the intersection of Lexington and 48th Street, they assaulted protesters. The protesters, who said their homes in China were confiscated without compensation, were carrying signs calling on Xi Jinping to return their homes and consider human rights. At one point, several members of the pro-Communist group surrounded the protesters, including a 7-year-old girl and her aunt. They also attempted to wrap the protesters in their large red flags, as the latter shouted out for help, until the police intervened.

Fu Yuxia (C), and her 7-year-old niece Fu Yuxing, are surrounded by supporters of the Chinese regime after they held up signs opposing the Chinese Communist Party in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Fu Yuxia (C), and her 7-year-old niece Fu Yuxing, are surrounded by supporters of the Chinese regime after they held up signs opposing the Chinese Communist Party in New York on Sept. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated, due to a translation error, what a mid-ranking Chinese official told Jiang Li about her father’s organs. Epoch Times regrets the error.

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