Accusations of Foreign Involvement in NY’s Chinese New Year Parade

The Falun Dafa dragon team in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Feb. 17, despite being denied participation by parade organizers. (Photo by Samira Bouaou via The Epoch Times.)

The Chinese New Year parade in Manhattan last Sunday exposed a transnational rift involving the spiritual group Falun Dafa, which is prosecuted by the Chinese government and has been denied from participating in the parade since 2008, the Epoch Times reports.

According to an article by Ivan Pentchoukov, nearly 100 Falun Dafa members infiltrated the parade organized by the Better Chinatown Society.

Unable to join the official parade, the group mingled with the people on the sidewalks on Mott Street for an impromptu celebration of their own.

The group made its way to a nearby park, and spectators followed to take in performances by the dragon and lion dancers, who drew an ovation. Meanwhile over a hundred others lined up to demonstrate Falun Dafa’s exercises.

According to the article, Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong, “is a traditional Chinese meditation practice in which practitioners follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in daily life.” In 1999, the Communist government initiated a brutal nationwide persecution campaign against its more than 70 million practitioners in China.

Manhattan’s Chinese New Year Parade is one of many examples of Communist Party influence on U.S. soil.

“The parade is organized by people who have direct and indirect ties to a foreign communist government, and that relationship is dictating the tenor of the parade,” said Levi Browde, executive director of the Falun Dafa Information Center.

Steven Tin, the parade organizer and president of the Better Chinatown Society, said Falun Dafa practitioners can “never get in” to the annual parades, according to Wenyi Wang, member of the Falun Dafa parade organizing committee.

Tin has used various reasons to deny practitioners entry throughout the years including “potential security issues and disruption.” Falun Dafa practitioners participated in a Chinese New Year parade in Flushing one day prior to the Manhattan event, to much fanfare and with no disruptions.

Wang also accuses the Better Chinatown Society of being closely connected to the Chinese Consulate, and says Tin’s son has business ties with mainland China.

The article goes on to say that the influence of Chinese consulates on local Chinese communities has been well-documented since the defection in 2005 of Chen Yonglin, a diplomat in Sydney who said that each Chinese mission overseas is deeply involved in Falun Gong affairs.

In New York, these “affairs” included the 2008 attacks on Falun Dafa practitioners in Flushing, Queens. An investigation revealed that both New York Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu and current New York City Comptroller John Liu were actively meeting with and instructing the instigators.

According to the article, the organization intends to file a complaint against the parade organizers with federal, state, and city authorities.

“It’s a parade that the city condones and protects and supports, and yet the parade excludes Falun Gong at the behest of the forces that are ultimately tied to the Chinese government,” Browde said.

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