August 2, 2009 (CSN) — Leading Chinese dissident Tang Baiqiao doesn’t take misbehavior from the Chinese government sitting down. Recently, violence was directed against him with a suspicious attack in Flushing, New York.
The attack came after threats of violence that Tang received last year while Chinese pro-democracy campaigners were opposing the Beijing Olympics and CCP violence then directed against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York.
Tang was a leader in the student uprising of 1989 that led to the Tiananmen massacre. Tang escaped from China into exile in the 1990s, and now lives in the United States. As a Chinese dissident, his resume is lengthy and distinguished. Previously, he was known for his organizations including the China Peace and Democracy Federation–formerly called ‘China Peace’–and the All China People’s Autonomous Federation.
It is true to note that Tang’s group and the China Support Network have cooperated in the Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice; the Tuidang campaign; the Freedom First Olympics Second Coalition; and the Human Rights Torch Relay. At the beginning of 2008, Tang became an officer and spokesman for the China Interim Government. As previously reported by CSN, Tang explains that–
“The goal of the Chinese Transitional Government is to overthrow the Chinese Communist dictatorship; to establish a democratic society. Because only the overthrow of the Chinese Communist tyranny can solve all the problems in China.”
It was July 6 when Tang was assaulted at the Hollywood Karaoke Bar on College Point Boulevard in Flushing, Queens of New York City. The attack was unprovoked, and caused injuries for which Tang was hospitalized, but the incident did not include robbery. Since nothing was stolen, that reinforces suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.
Last year on May 17, there began to be organized and orchestrated violence directed against Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York. Investigation revealed that “diplomats” at the Chinese Consulate were involved, as the Consul General Peng Keyu was caught on a tape recording, bragging about his leadership to instigate the attacks. (See this link) Multiple Falun Gong practitioners were assaulted, and according to Wenyi Wang of the Tuidang campaign, 22 arrests were made. In June, Falun Gong practitioners living in Ireland reported recieving death threats and physical intimidation.
At roughly the same time, Tang Baiqiao was investigating the CCP violence in Flushing, and working for the China Interim Government, and campaigning against the then-upcoming Beijing Olympics. This is when threats of violence began to be directed against Tang.
The Epoch Times reported in early July (See this link) that Tang and another dissident, Wang Jun, were “the targets of online attacks and threats.” Then in early August (See this link), the Epoch Times reported–
“Tang Baiqiao reported that an agent of the Chinese Communist Party threatened him while he was hosting a press conference in Flushing, New York on July 31.
“According to Mr. Tang, the agent threatened to spend US$300,000 to hire someone to cut off one of his hands.”
The above points strongly suggest that the July 6, 2009 attack on Mr. Tang was an instance of the CCP following through to make good its threats. However, the evidence remains circumstantial, and the precise origin of the attack has yet to be formally established by investigators.
However, Tang has not taken the attack sitting down. He has done much campaigning in the aftermath of the attack.
On July 16, Tang appeared at a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, along with along with Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Gus Bilirakis (FL), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO), Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (TX). It was a previously-scheduled rally to denounce the ten years’ persecution of Falun Gong, but with his hand still wrapped in a cast from his injury, Tang made a dramatic appearance.
As reported by the Epoch Times, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen made note of Tang’s injury:
“The Congresswoman also noted a meeting she had with a man who had been ‘beaten up by Chinese thugs’ in the U.S. [Tang Baiqiao]
“Ros-Lehtinen had a warning for the Chinese embassy and consulates in the U.S.:
“‘Any Chinese diplomat who engages in the coordination of an assault on an American citizen inside this country should be declared ‘persona non-grata’ by the State Department and sent out of the United States.’”
Next, Tang Baiqiao made a campaign out of this incident. He held one press conference in New York on July 21, and another press conference in Washington on July 30. The New York event was part of a series of “Flushing Forums.” As reported by the Epoch Times (See this link),
“The Flushing community began to hold the forums and other activities exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) involvement in a sequence of violent assaults of Falun Gong practitioners by the CCP organized individuals that began on May 17, 2008 on the streets of Flushing.”
The Flushing Forum also heard a speech from Dr. Gao Dawei, reprinted here: at this link
Both the New York and Washington events had representatives from several other pro-democracy groups on hand to denounce the attack against Tang Baiqiao. In Washington, the press conference was held at the Rayburn House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sent a representative. Also, the exiled leader of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, was represented by Alim Seytoff, Vice President of the Uyghur American Association.
As reported by Gary Feurerberg in the Epoch Times,
“The purpose of the press conference was to awaken the public and alert law enforcement in the U.S.—Justice Department, F.B.I., the Congress, Homeland Security—to illegal activities being allegedly conducted by the People’s Republic of China within the shores of the United States, and that the violence towards free expression common in China is being transplanted to America….
“Mr. Tang expressed some frustration in convincing others that the attack on him was planned and executed by Chinese communist agents in the U.S. The police, F.B.I. and Homeland Security still ‘do not believe 100 percent’ that the attack was from the CCP, he said.
“‘I am confident the CCP did this to me,’ Tang said. There was no reason for anyone else to beat him, he explained. ‘We have a lot of evidence on the truth of the CCP, but I don’t want to affect the investigation. I can’t say much more, or give too much detail.’….
“‘Mr. Tang’s activities and close association with the Falun Gong group aroused the attention of the Chinese Communist [regime] and he has been closely followed,’ said Jintao Cao, Chairman of Chinese Coalition for Citizens Rights, at the news conference. ‘He received death threats a number of times and he told me before that the Chinese [regime] has been trying to have one of his arms or legs for tens of thousands of dollars.’”
Tang Baiqiao wants the U.S. justice system, including figures such as Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lean into this case. Leaders of the pro-democracy cause are seeing the Flushing incidents as part and parcel of their struggle for democracy in China. They see linkages between the situation in Flushing and the situation in China, and many dissidents have responded with denunciation for the violence, and by making the incident a jumping off point to underscore what they have been saying about the coming demise of the CCP.
For its part, the China Support Network (CSN) deplores the violence in Flushing, and has no doubt that the attacks are initiated by those who salute the red flag of Communist China. We reiterate our prior denunciation of violence in Flushing, and refer observers to a prior update (See this link), which has a CSN speech that was delivered at a rally in Flushing, run by Falun Gong practitioners on June 14, 2008.
CSN also recommends a change in the China policy of the U.S. executive branch. North Korea and Cuba do not get any rewards for having Communist Party-run governments; the rewards for China’s communists, dictators, tyrants and thugs are obscenities, and place the United States in the morally reprehensible situation of being a financial backer and hence accessory to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Communist Party.
When U.S. China policy more closely resembles its North Korea policy; when we are calling out China as a rogue nation and a failed state; then, justice will be better served and the U.S. will be back to its original values, nature, and character. Until then, “We are off the rails,” in the words of John Kusumi, CSN’s founder and director emeritus.