Feds lower boom on Hu’s Falun Gong heckler

U.S. authorities are taking a hard line against the New York doctor who heckled President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao – hitting her with a federal charge that carries six months in prison.

Wenyi Wang, 47, a devotee of the Falun Gong movement, was originally booked on a disorderly conduct charge after she crashed Thursday’s White House ceremony.

But the U.S. attorney’s office later decided to charge her with harassing, intimidating and threatening a foreign official for yelling at Hu that his “days are numbered.”

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At a court hearing in Washington, defense lawyer David Bos said she shouldn’t face any criminal charges because she was exercising her free-speech rights. “It’s making the First Amendment rights of all Americans just evaporate,” he said.

America vs. Human Rights

“The United States has long regarded itself as a beacon of human rights, as evidenced by an enlightened constitution, judicial independence, and a civil society grounded in strong traditions of free speech and press freedom. But the reality is more complex; for decades, civil rights and civil liberties groups have exposed constitutional violations and challenged abusive policies and practices. In recent years, as well, international human rights monitors have documented serious gaps in U.S. protections of the human rights of vulnerable groups. Both federal and state governments have nonetheless resisted applying to the U.S. the standards that, rightly, the U.S. applies elsewhere.”
Human Rights Watch

Prosecutor Angela George argued that because Wang’s tirade was personally directed at Hu, it wasn’t protected speech.

Wang, who used a temporary press pass from a Falun Gong newspaper to get into the ceremony, was released without bail.

Shortly after her release, Wang read a statement to reporters, saying her protest was “not a crime, but an act of civil disobedience.”

She later told CNN she wanted Bush to know the extent of human rights violations in China. “I don’t think he knows the most severe, unspeakable crime going on in China,” she said.

Falun Gong, a spiritual movement, is banned by China, and its leaders claim Hu’s government has persecuted and harvested the organs of followers.

Protests followed Hu to Yale University, the last stop on his U.S. tour. A CNN reporter was ejected from a ceremony at the school after shouting out a question to Hu.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
New York Daily News, USA
Apr. 22, 2006
Tracy Connor
www.nydailynews.com

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