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Avella condemns Flushing attacks against Falun Gong

City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced last Thursday his plans to introduce a City Council resolution condemning assaults against Falun Gong members demonstrating in Flushing.

Falun Gong members claim the Chinese Consul General, Keyu Peng, has been organizing and promoting attacks on them during the last few weeks in Flushing. Police said Chinese nationalists have been sporadically engaging Falun Gong members in Flushing since May 17, resulting in several arrests.

"It is extremely disturbing that a group of individuals are resorting to violent attacks against a religious group for peacefully demonstrating in a public space," Avella said.

Avella is calling on the Queens County District Attorney's Office to take these allegations seriously and launch an investigation to determine if legal action should be taken against the accused.

Avella's resolution will ask the district attorney to order the accused consulate personnel to leave the country and charge the accused in accordance with the Hate Crimes Act of 2000, if the allegations of wrongdoing are substantiated.

"Many of us came to this country to live our lives in a free and democratic society, but now it feels like the Chinese regime has followed us here and is trying to implement its repressive agenda in our backyards," said Jianfen Zhou, a Falun Gong volunteer community organizer.

"The councilman's actions send a clear message that the Chinese regime's thuggish behavior has no place in our city or country," said Levi Browde, the Falun Dafa Information Center executive director.

Falun Gong is a spiritual practice introduced in China in the early 1990s by Li Hongzhi.

China's ruling Communist Party formally banned Falun Gong's practice in 1999. It has a strong presence in the largely Asian community of Flushing.

Calls to the consulate general seeking comment were not returned.

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