A bipartisan panel in the United States is advocating for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the violent incidents that targeted Chinese human rights advocates.
These advocates were protesting against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader’s attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last November.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, have highlighted the seriousness of these attacks in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, dated December 15.
Evidence of State-Backed Violence
The panel presented video and anecdotal evidence suggesting that state-backed Chinese assailants assaulted peaceful protesters in San Francisco. These protesters were demonstrating against the CCP’s human rights abuses.
The DOJ, already focused on countering the CCP’s transnational repression operations in the U.S., is now being asked to determine if these acts violated the civil rights of pro-democracy activists and to identify measures to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Seeking Answers and Accountability
The lawmakers have requested a detailed briefing from the DOJ about the attacks.
They are inquiring about the department’s prior knowledge of potential violence, the steps taken to prevent such incidents, actions following the attacks, and any links of the assaults to official Chinese channels.
“The compelling testimonies provided by the victims—coupled with what we know about the Chinese Communist Party and how they work—paint a pretty clear picture of coordinated attempts to silence protesters in San Francisco and shield [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping from even seeing protestors,” Mr. Smith told The Epoch Times.
Violent Clashes and Calls for Action
Violence erupted as CCP supporters, armed with metal rods, flagpoles, and pepper spray, attacked Chinese activists.
These clashes resulted in injuries to over ten individuals. Anna Kwok, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, during a congressional hearing on December 13, urged the DOJ to take action, highlighting the brazen nature of these attacks on American soil.
Intimidation Tactics and Connections to Beijing
After the protest, observers noted individuals with military-style haircuts and earpieces, seemingly monitoring activists, sending a clear message of intimidation.
The media has reported on the ties of some pro-Beijing supporters to Chinese consulates, further solidifying suspicions of state involvement.
Chinese Embassy’s Defense Amid Allegations
The Chinese Embassy, defending itself, claimed that the Chinese community in San Francisco had traveled there voluntarily but faced provocations and violent attacks.
However, they did not respond to requests for comments on the allegations of assault against dissident groups.
Victims Speak Out
Assault victim Zhang Kaiyu, a recent immigrant to the U.S. fleeing China’s oppressive regime, recounted his harrowing experience.
He and other protesters were ambushed by individuals wearing red headscarves or ribbons, speaking Cantonese, and displaying aggressive behavior. After identifying himself as anti-CCP, Zhang was brutally attacked, resulting in serious injuries and a hospital stay.
His account, along with others, points a finger at the CCP, with Zhang expressing hope for a thorough investigation by U.S. authorities.
The Need for Transparency and Justice
In conclusion, this incident not only raises concerns about the reach of foreign state-backed violence on U.S. soil but also highlights the ongoing struggle for human rights and freedom of speech.
The DOJ’s response and investigation into these allegations will be a crucial step in ensuring accountability and upholding the rights of those advocating for democracy and human rights against authoritarian regimes.