A New York Attorney Urges Officials to Bring Hate Crime Charges Against Thugs Who Terrorised Chicago Practitioners

December 2, 2002

To the Cook County State's Attorney

And

The Chairman of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations

Gentlemen:

On many occasions I have had the privilege of staying in Chicago for business and personal reasons. I enjoy Chicago immensely and greatly look forward to travelling to the city at every opportunity. I am disturbed however, upon learning that the unprovoked beating of Chicagoan Bill Lin Fang and the terrorising of practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have been treated as mere misdemeanours and not as genuine hate crimes. Jimin Zheng, one of the perpetrators, has already pleaded guilty and was sentenced to what amounts to a mere conditional discharge without incarceration. Yujun Weng, the other beater, is scheduled to appear in court on December 5, 2002. The purpose of this letter is to advocate for the imposition of a supplemental charge of violation of the hate crime statute against Mr. Weng so that the streets of Chicago can once again warmly embrace peaceful redress of grievances.

Although I am not a practitioner of Falun Gong, my wife is. Through her I have met many wonderful people from all races and many different nationalities who embody the virtues of truthfulness in all dealings, compassion toward people, and tolerance of the viewpoints of others. Falun Gong practitioners practise their beliefs through a combination of exercise, meditation, and scholarship. Having been made public in China in 1992 by Mr. Li Hongzhi, who was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, Falun Gong quickly spread by word of mouth throughout China where it originated, and is now practised in more than 50 countries.

Concerned that the peaceful practise was making significant inroads however, the government of Communist China outlawed Falun Gong in July 1999. The Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs called Falun Gong [Chinese government slander omitted]. Since then, as documented by the U.S. Department of State in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights, and even more extensively in its annual report on International Religious Persecution, as well as by similar monitoring reports issued by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, China has systematically attempted to eradicate the practise and those who follow it by reeducation through forced labour, torture, psychiatric incarceration reminiscent of the discredited practises of the former Soviet Union, and murder.

On July 24, 2002, a milestone was reached in the campaign to end the reign of terror when the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolution 188 by a vote of 420-0. The Resolution, which describes the peaceful nature of Falun Gong and the atrocities committed against practitioners, requests China to "cease its persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and their harassment of citizens of the U.S. who practise it . . . ." See: http://www.faluninfo.net/displayAnArticle.asp?ID=5982. In Illinois, as in almost every state, proclamations honouring Falun Gong have been issued in Urbana, Arlington Heights, Niles, Naperville, Skokie, Lockport, and many other municipalities.

Despite this, henchmen in the employ of the Chinese Consulate still feel unrestrained in their physical abuse and psychological warfare perpetrated against Chicagoans for practising their creed. One way to send a clear signal that such conduct will not be tolerated in a civilised society is to prosecute Mr. Weng for a hate crime for the unprovoked beating of Bill Fang, who was in the midst of a hunger strike outside the consulate. In this fashion, others may be dissuaded from engaging in wanton criminal behaviour allowing practitioners to engage in the free exercise of their Constitutional and God-given rights.

Thank you for your attention to this most important matter.

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