Flashpoint for US-China Relations in Flushing Showdown
"Maybe China will send that 'Goon Squad' that surrounded the Olympic Torch to Grab Them !"
Recent events in Flushing New York, unnoticed by most Americans except for ethnic Chinese, may dramatically alter US-Chinese relations.
For three years the Falun Gong, a religious group banned and persecuted by the Chinese government, has met outside the Flushing public library to encourage Chinese Communist Party members to turn in their Party membership. The activity attracted little attention until the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province and staggering loss of life put a spotlight on the Chinese government’s response.
Since then, Falun Gong’s ‘Epoch Times’ newspaper and its website have relentlessly attacked the government’s failure before and after the earthquake to protect its citizens. It charges that seismologists issued warnings well before the quake but that the government withheld the information from the general public even as selected insiders and their families were notified and able to move to safety. Epoch also lays the blame squarely on government graft and corrupt practices for the more than 10,000 children who perished in school classrooms because of shoddy construction. Photos of grieving parents have filled the newspaper daily since the quake occurred along with reports of parents taking to the streets and government buildings to demonstrate.
In Flushing, however, many Chinese were incensed by what Falun Gong says is a scurrilous charge- that it discouraged people from donating to Chinese quake victims. To the contrary, the group says it encourages donations but only though independent organizations not under the control of the Chinese government. It believes that the money channeled though the government will not get to those in need. Still, hundreds of Chinese demonstrators who depend on Chinese language satellite broadcasts and other media tied to the China government for information have descended on the Flushing library since May 17 to threaten and attack Falun Gong members. The violence has resulted in arrests by the New York police.
Epoch Times says Chinese government agents orchestrated the Flushing attacks and observers liken the scene on Flushing streets to that witnessed during the turmoil of China’s Cultural Revolution in the late 1960’s.