Business Sued for Civil Rights Violations and Conspiracy During Chinese Leader’s Houston Visit
Suit Alleges "Gestapo-like Office 6-10" the True Instigator
HOUSTON (FDI) — Attorneys Richard Ellison and Michael Oeser have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners from across the US. The suit alleges that Falun Gong practitioners were discriminated against by a US business during the visit of Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin in October 2002 (news), and that a “Gestapo-like secret police agency” (in-depth) of the Chinese Government had conspired with the US business.
The named defendant in the case is Homestead Studio Suites, which operates a hotel next door to the hotel where Jiang stayed in Houston. Several dozen plaintiffs who had confirmed reservations to stay in the Homestead during Jiang’s visit found their reservations cancelled with little or no notice. Some had already paid for the rooms.
The plaintiffs are American citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong. Falun Gong includes the practice of gentle exercises, meditation, and belief in the universal principle of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Although Falun Gong is not a religion, it falls under that category for certain legal purposes.
Federal civil rights statutes are the basis for the four claims made in the suit (full text of complaint). The suit states that “their constitutional and statutory rights to free assembly, free speech, and freedom of religion were violated, at the behest of a foreign power, i.e., Office 6-10, an operative of the Chinese Communist Party.” The suit describes the Office 6-10 as “a Gestapo-like secret police agency.”
The suit further alleges that a conspiracy existed between the defendant and agents of the Office 6-10 (in-depth), which resulted in an agreement to cancel the hotel reservations.
The suit says, “The 6-10 Office’s tentacles have reached into the United States of America in its efforts to suppress Falun Gong. This suppression includes interference with the freedoms of assembly, expression and religion, on American soil. This suppression has included having thugs attack peaceful practitioners. The 6-10 Office’s actions in the United States has also interfered with practitioners’ rights to board commercial airplanes and stay in hotels in several US cities.”
In July 2002, Congress unanimously passed a resolution (H. Con. Res. 188) calling on the US government to “investigate allegations of illegal activities in the United States of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and its representatives and agents, including allegations of unlawful harassment of United States citizens and residents who practice Falun Gong.”
“Many nations’ governments and international human rights organizations already acknowledge that the persecution campaign against Falun Gong targets good people in China,” said plaintiff spokesperson John Nania. “This lawsuit illustrates how it also harms Americans on US soil and American institutions, such as businesses. This is part of a large pattern of abuse of rights.”
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