23 AGs submit Amikas briefs to SCOTUS to support Falun Gong learners


Twenty-three lawyers across the United States have submitted Amikas Briefs (pdf) Support the petition made by Falun Gong practitioners in the prominent religious freedom proceedings in the Supreme Court.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

According to a press release from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday, the AG has given the Supreme Court a lower court decision “wrong on the issue of national importance at the heart of our constitutional tradition.” I asked to cancel.

The proceedings were to prevent what they described as a six-year campaign against them, by the 13 residents of Flushing in New York, a majority neighborhood in China, by the China Anti-Cult World Alliance (CACWA). Was raised against. Community beatings, harassment, and threats of murder.

Complaints detail about 40 cases of intimidation or physical assault for participating in a parade representing Falun Gong, handing out leaflets about Falun Gong, and managing booths in Falun Gong-related literature. There is. In one July 2011 case, two plaintiffs were attacked by CACWA director Li Huahong. After that, 20 to 30 mobs surrounded two Falun Gong practitioners. One of them was detained there for about 30 minutes until police arrived, and the group shouted, “Kill her” and “beat her.”

“In this case, a religious group born in China, known as Falun Gong, experienced persecution and harassment on American lands,” Paxton said.

“Falun Gong [practitioners] Sued under federal law, they claimed to be victims of intimidation or violence aimed at chilling the right of Article 1 of the Constitutional Amendment to release religious worship. ” Added.

The AG is attended by the Texas-based First Liberty Institute, John D. Inazu, a professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Washington-based non-profit law firm Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. ..

Falun Gong is a spiritual practice consisting of meditative movements and moral teachings centered on the beliefs of honesty, compassion, and tolerance. It became widespread in China in the 1990s. In 1999, the communist government recognized its popularity as a threat and began national persecution of its practices and their supporters.

Since then, millions of practitioners have been detained in detention centers, prisons and labor camps throughout China, where they have been subject to physical torture, forced labor and forced organ removal.

“Problems of national importance”

The AG said in the Amicus Brief that the lower court’s decision dismissing the case was “wrong about the issue of national importance at the heart of our constitutional tradition: religious freedom.” I am.

“America’s commitment to religious freedom is’essential’,” said the AGs. “It constitutes’one of our most important and jealously protected constitutional rights.'”

The Freedom of Access Act is to hurt, intimidate, or interfere with anyone who is legally exercising or attempting to exercise religious freedom “by force or threat of force or physical obstruction.” Makes a federal crime. A place of religious worship. “

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Falun Gong learners will practice at an event celebrating World Falun Dafa Day held in Taipei, Taiwan on May 1, 2021. (SunHsiang-yi / The Epoch Times)

However, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York denied plaintiffs’ protection by narrowly interpreting the term “place of religious worship” as a place dedicated “mainly” to religious worship activities. did.

In doing so, the court “over-narrowed the law intended to ban the worst violence in many sacred places in the United States,” the Attorney General said. Paxton said the inferior court’s ruling was “insufficient protection of Falun Gong’s religious freedom.”

“Petitioners are just worshipers who expect to find security in such laws. They practice Falun Gong, which makes them” suffer from restrictions on religious or religious freedom in the world. “We are in the third largest group of people in the world,” AG said in Amicus Brief, citing the April 2022 report by the United States. Commission on International Freedom of Religion.

According to Minghui.org, a U.S.-based website that recorded the persecution of Falun Gong, there were approximately 6,000 arrests and 10,527 harassment cases of followers of Chinese faith in 2021. there were.

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Falun Gong learners will participate in a parade commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the peaceful appeal of 10,000 Falun Gong learners in Beijing on April 23, 2022 in Flushing, New York. (ChungI Ho / The Epoch Times)

“This group started in China under a communist government that is hostile to religious pluralism,” AGs said. “Thus, many Falun Gong practitioners have fled to the United States, but even after coming here, the petitioners are said to continue to face persecution and abuse from Communist sympathizers. increase.”

“There is no more mistake,” said Erping Zhang, a spokesman for the Falun Dafa Information Center, assuming that the Chinese Communist Party could trample on American religious freedom.

“Freedom of religion is the basis of free America. The Chinese Communist Party assumes that foreign religious persecution campaigns can trample on this sacred right of Americans,” he told the era. .. “But that can’t be more wrong.”

“With the support of 23 Attorney Generals across the United States, we believe that the US legal system will ultimately bring justice and protect the fundamental interests of the United States,” Zhang added.

Gary Bye

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Gary Bai is a reporter for Epoch Times Canada, covering news from China and the United States.

Evafu

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Eva Fu is a New York-based writer of The Epoch Times, focusing on Sino-US relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]

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