Young Man Assaults Falun Gong Practitioner in Australia, Found Guilty by Court
30-year-old Kang Zhao was fined $3,000 (US$1,973.59) by the ACT Magistrates Court on March 9, 2023, for attacking Falun Gong practitioner Nancy Dong in Canberra, Australia last October.
Zhao and two accomplices (including Zhao’s wife) were caught vandalizing the signs attached to at least two Falun Gong practitioners’ cars, one of which belonged to Nancy.
The Falun Gong practitioners, some of whom had experienced persecution in China, were collecting signatures at the Floriade flower festival to raise awareness and end the persecution of Falun Gong.
One practitioner filmed the men as they vandalized a sign on one of the cars and tried to stop them. Zhao knocked the phone out of the woman’s hand and continued spray painting the sign.
After being notified by witnesses, Nancy arrived at the parking lot at approximately 4:10pm and also tried to film as Zhao and his accomplices spray painted the sign on her car. Zhao took the victim’s phone from her, which prompted Dong to grab on to the jacket and handbag of Zhao’s wife. During the scuffle, all three fell to the ground, and Nancy Dong’s phone became damaged in the process.
“This young man then grabbed my neck with his elbow, lifted me up, and threw me to the ground. He then started to kick and punch me. I almost fainted from the fall, and I lost the ability to resist his attack,” Dong said. The altercation led to bruising on her arms and injuries to her lower body.
Zhao was arrested by police after trying to leave the country in December 2022. He plead guilty to charges of common assault, property damage, and defacing property.
Court Trial Statements
On March 9, 2023, Nancy Dong and Kang Zhao both gave their testimonies in front of the court. Dong read out the following victim impact statement, detailing how Zhao’s actions had injured her physically and mentally.
The violent attack that happened to me in public in Canberra is a shocking and horrifying experience. Five months have passed, my injured leg has not fully recovered. It still hurts, and I even feel hard to lift my leg.
Back in China, I suffered from brutal persecution for practicing Falun Gong. I was arrested on many occasions, and during the last time, more than a dozen policemen broke into my home at midnight, seized our personal belongings, including cash and took both me and my husband away. Our 9-year-old daughter was left alone at home with no one to take care of her.
Because of not giving up practicing Falun Gong, I was illegally sent to the labour camp for one year and my husband for one and a half years. We were forced to do 12-14 hours of hard labour work every day, making plastic flowers, handmade products, lighters, etc.”
Falun Gong is an ancient Chinese spiritual practice that is currently banned in China, and its practitioners experience ongoing persecution from the Chinese regime. Millions like Nancy Dong have been fired from their jobs, expelled from school, jailed, tortured, or killed simply for practicing Falun Gong.
After her escape from the persecution in China, Dong did not expect to be harassed and assaulted by anyone in Australia. Despite the circumstances, Dong finished her statement by offering forgiveness to her attacker. “However, if you can realize your wrongdoing and sincerely apologize to me, I will forgive you. Because Falun Gong teaches me to practice Truth-Compassion-Tolerance and treat all people with kindness and forgiveness under any circumstances,” she said.
“I hope that you can understand that CCP is not China. Please do not hurt others again in the name of patriotism, and please respect others’ freedom of expression.”
During the trial, Kang Zhao’s lawyer, James Maher, said his client believed the sign was an “affront” to his homeland and that he was acting out of “national pride.” Maher said Zhao was remorseful.
The ACT policing, a community policing arm of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), has also posted a public request for help identifying Kang Zhao’s two accomplices here.
The Canberra Times, ABC News, the Daily Telegraph, and the Epoch Times also reported on this case.