LOS ANGELES—A group gathered Tuesday at the Chinese Consulate to protest China’s influence on it’s neighboring countries, in this case the detainment and scheduled trial of two Falun Gong human rights advocates in Vietnam. The two were to face trial this week for broadcasting news signals into China regarding the persecution of their fellow practitioners.
Vu Duc Trung, a 30-year-old tech executive and his 35-year-old brother-in-law, Le Van Thanh, were to stand trial on Thursday, Oct. 6, where they face charges for “unauthorized broadcasting.” They are subject to a maximum 3-year jail sentence if found guilty.
Standing across from the consulate, protest representative Ms. Le said to onlookers, “Succumbing to pressure from communist China, the Vietnamese government will prosecute two Falun Gong practitioners for ‘unauthorized radio broadcasts’ into China supporting human rights for their Falun Gong practitioners, who are illegally held in prisons, jails, labor camps, and other detention centers in China for practicing their faith.”
Le referred to a memo dated May 30, 2010, from the Chinese Embassy to the Vietnamese officials insisting that they arrest the broadcasters and stop the broadcasts. Le continued, “After the confiscation of their broadcasting equipment on June 10, 2010, they were arrested on June 11. They have remained in pre-trial detention for the last 15 months.”
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, which also involves qigong exercises and meditation.
The Chinese Communist Party has tried to suppress the Falun Gong practice, and has persecuted its practitioners since July 1999. To date over 3,000 deaths due to persecution have been documented, as well as over 63,000 accounts of torture. An estimate of the real figure puts the actual death toll in the tens of thousands.
Chinese Intimidation at Consulate?
During the event, a Chinese woman was taking photos of protesters’ automobile license plates. When approached she exclaimed, “This is a free country, I can do whatever I want!” She then quickly walked out of sight into a parking garage.
The Chinese Communist Party is known to pay for information regarding Falun Gong practitioners or activities, both in and outside China. Germany and Canada have convicted and deported expatriate Chinese for such foreign “intelligence gathering” activities.