A congressional commission is urging the San Francisco Police Department to investigate online videos showing violence committed by pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) supporters against human rights activists during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
“The constitutionally-protected right to peacefully protest must be respected, and law enforcement must step in where peaceful protestors are met with violence,” the lawmakers wrote.
“We, the Chairs of the CECC, strongly condemn the reported violence perpetrated against individuals exercising their rights of freedom of expression and assembly in the United States,” the lawmakers added.
“We urge San Francisco County police to review these reports and pursue justice as appropriate.”
In response to an Epoch Times request for comment, Sergeant Kathryn Winters, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), said in an email that the police had “received a number of complaints of violence throughout the [APEC summit] week, and took action to make arrests when we either witnessed attacks or were alerted to attacks in a timely manner.”
“Some of these confrontations occurred outside the view of officers, and officers were not alerted until after the attacks occurred and suspects were no longer present,” she wrote.
‘Transnational Repression’The two lawmakers cited Anna Kwok, executive director of Washington-based advocacy group Hong Kong Democracy Council, as an example of how online intimidation against rights activists started before Xi arrived in San Francisco.
“Our rights to peacefully protest in the United States should not be threatened by pro-Beijing thugs. This is a blatant form of transnational repression that should have no place around the world,” she wrote.
‘Horrendous Human Rights Record’“Crowds of Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other advocacy groups gathered in San Francisco to peacefully demonstrate against Xi’s participation at the APEC summit due to China’s horrendous human rights record,” the lawmakers wrote. “Many reported being attacked by pro-CCP counter-protestors.”
The lawmakers highlighted violence against Tibetans, saying that “a group of Tibetan youth activists claimed they were assaulted and had their banners stolen by pro-CCP demonstrators wearing masks.”
“Tibetan advocate Chemi Lhamo said she was surrounded and harassed for nearly 15 minutes and subjected to hair pulling, physical assault, and the stealing of her cell phone, which was tossed into nearby water, presumably because it contained evidence identifying her assailants,” the lawmakers added.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice consisting of simple, slow-moving meditation exercises and teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It grew in popularity during the 1990s, with 70 million to 100 million adherents in China by the end of the decade, according to official estimates at the time.
CCP SupportCiting international advocacy group Human Rights in China (HRIC), the two lawmakers said the individuals who committed the violence against anti-CCP protesters “may have ties to the Chinese consulate,” which raised concerns about “official Chinese support for these attacks.”
“A student who traveled to San Francisco to welcome Xi Jinping also said the Chinese consulate paid for flight tickets and hotels for pro-CCP supporters to come from New York City,” it added.