Monday, July 4, 2016

Born on a Queens Street, a Battle Over Falun Gong Goes to Court - The New York Times

In China, practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have long complained of propaganda campaigns, imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Chinese government.

In Flushing, Queens, which has perhaps the largest Falun Gong following in the United States, members say their adversaries are a handful of spirited Chinese immigrants who tend a small folding table set up every day in front of a Chinese restaurant on a stretch of Main Street that is bustling with Chinese immigrants.

The opposition group distributes materials denouncing Falun Gong as an evil cult, an epithet that the organization incorporates into its name, the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance.

Having staked out their turf in Flushing, the two factions have long waged a bitter ideological battle.
Now, a new battle front has opened — in a Brooklyn courthouse.

Members of the Falun Gong have filed a federal lawsuit against the anti-cult group seeking relief from what they call “an ongoing campaign of violent assaults, threats, intimidation and other abuses.”
Although Falun Gong is known as a system that combines elements of Buddhism, mysticism and traditional exercise regimen, some followers also ascribe to the more unconventional teachings of Mr. Li, including alien visitation, ethnic separation and other beliefs that might clarify “why my clients have the constitutional right to call them a cult,” Mr. Fini said.

Mr. Fini said one plaintiff had already admitted in a deposition to sharing Mr. Li’s ideas about extraterrestrial visitors and the existence of different heavens for different races.

Born on a Queens Street, a Battle Over Falun Gong Goes to Court - The New York Times

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