A top official from the New York Chinese Consulate admitted in a report on Friday to the consulate's involvement in instigating a series of attacks that started on May 17 in Flushing, New York.
In a recorded conversation between investigators from the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) Chinese Consulate General Peng Keyu admitted to "encouraging" the violent attacks on members of the Service Center for Quitting the CCP. This organization, largely composed of Falun Gong practitioners, regularly mans a booth in Flushing for peacefully promoting the withdrawal of Chinese citizens from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Earlier eyewitness accounts during the attacks raised suspicions of the Chinese consulate's involvement. One witness recalls hearing a man involved in the attacks talking on a cell phone saying, "Bring more people over here. Each person will be paid 90 dollars."
According to a New York City police officer on the scene who did not want to be identified, on Tuesday there were 500 Chinese protesters.
"They were hiding behind the buildings and stores and throwing things at the Falun Gong people," said the police officer.
A WOIPFG investigator called Peng early Wednesday morning commenting on the "huge scene in fighting Falun Gong" in Flushing and asked how the consulate was involved in the mobilization of a crowd of hundreds in a short period of time.
The investigator remains unnamed, and WOIPFG has cited concerns for the investigator's safety in explaining the anonymity.
In the conversation, Peng implied he was well-connected and influential in the Flushing Chinese community. Peng replied that the Chinese consulate "had to be very careful with this kind of [event]" to avoid raising suspicion and stated that he arrived in Flushing during the days of the attack and took part in organizing the protesters.
However, Peng admits apprehension over being discovered so he "encouraged [the protesters] secretly" to avoid raising public suspicion of the consulate's involvement.
A few hundred people were ordered to surround the members of the service center and were encouraged to start an argument, said Peng.
"I went there the day before yesterday, and also three days ago," said Peng. "I usually park my car far from the scene because I must avoid being seen by [Falun Gong practitioners]."
During the first days of the attacks in Flushing, protesters supporting the CCP surrounded members of the service center. Photos from the events show protesters violently grabbing and verbally assaulting members of the service center.
Police barricades later blocked off both sides.
"They [the protesters] came over after they fought with Falun Gong [practitioners] and I shook hands with them one by one and thanked them," says Peng.
The disturbances in Flushing have also drawn the attention of Chinese state-run media who flooded the airwaves with reports and video of the attack. According to Xinhua News , a state-run television station, Falun Gong practitioners allegedly disrupted a donation center for victims of a massive 7.9 earthquake that struck Sichuan province on May 12.
However, still images taken from video in the reports failed to show signs of a donation center but instead revealed members of the Service Center for Quitting the CCP holding banners calling for the end of the ruling Chinese communist regime, a monthly undertaking by New York locals.
When interviewed by the Chinese media, the protesters denied being paid or organized and repeatedly said, "we came here from our heart."
"I came here to support my brothers and sisters, [to] support our country [of China], because I'm not afraid," a Chinese lady shouted to a camera that was pointed at her. "I'm not afraid because I'm Chinese."
Heavily reporting on politically sensitive issues is not uncommon for Chinese state-run media and Peng admits to instructing the Chinese media to report on the events in Flushing.
Calls to the Chinese Consulate in New York asking for comment on this story were not returned.