Published: 8 Mar 2013 at 15.09
An elderly falun gong practitioner says she was subject to rare harassment while doing her weekly meditation on a street opposite the Chinese embassy on Ratchadapisek Road on Friday morning.
Jariya Ritdechawong, who is in her 70s, said was sitting cross-legged on the pavement in front of the True building opposite the Chinese embassy, as she does almost every week.
“I was meditating, eyes closed, when I sensed someone was trying to slash my falun gong banner. So I stood up and told him not to do it.
“While I was trying to grab back my banners, he pushed me down onto the street,” Ms Jariya said in a telephone interview.
Her hands suffered grazing and bled a little, and were still swollen, as a result of the assault, she said.
The man destroyed her banner, which proclaimed the falun gong motto, before leaving on a motorcycle.
Ms Jariya said nearby hawkers and passers-by helped her up, and someone wrote down the motorbike registration plate number.
An officer at Huai Khwang police station confirmed she had reported the assault.
In 2011 Ms Jariya, a Thai national, was assaulted in a similar manner. She was hit on the right arm and her stomach with an iron pipe by an unknown man.
The police could not find those responsible.
Ms Jariya said she was saddened by the thought some Thai people might have been hired to cause trouble by people who dislike the falun gong movement, which does no harm to anyone in Thailand.
Falun gong is a spiritual discipline that combines meditation and slow-moving exercises with a morality-based philosophy. China banned falun gong in 1999, declaring it a “heretical organisation”. Human rights groups report that practitioners are subjected to a wide range of human rights abuses in China.