By Sun Hua, Epoch Times | August 23, 2014
FLUSHING, New York City—Protesters at a forum held for state senate candidates Tony Avella and John Liu report receiving heavy-handed threats after the event ended on Tuesday night.
When John Liu prepared to speak at the event, held at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing, protesters walked up to the dais and unfurled a banner reading, “Arrest John [sic] Liu to Prevent his further Harm to the U.S.”
One of the protesters then began addressing the crowd in Mandarin about John Liu’s connections to the Chinese Communist Party, and a loud tumult lasted about 10 minutes before the hotel’s security guards quieted the crowd.
According to one of the protesters, Liu Guohua, a group of tattooed men that he said looked like gang members were present at the forum.
“As soon as I unraveled the banner, one of them quickly jumped up and ripped it from my hands. Then, they proceeded to gather around me and forced me to sit down. I felt they were not simple Liu supporters, more like hired thugs,” said Liu.
Another protester, Ms. Fu Yuxia, also noticed this unusual group, “They all wore the same black vests. They were tall, brawny men with tattooed bodies and looked menacing. At first they just sat there, but when John Liu entered the room, one of them immediately stood up and hugged him. That’s when I felt something wasn’t right.”
The protesters eventually left the room and accepted interviews in the hallway. “Some reporters were curious and wanted to find out why we did what we did, so we explained Liu’s betrayal of U.S. interests and his record of dishonesty,” said Liu Guohua.
“Then, as I walked into the parking lot, to my surprise, the same group of men that had forced me to sit down earlier chased after me into the parking lot, and they would not let me leave,” Liu said.
“One of them said, ‘Do not do this anymore, or it will not do you any good.’ As he was saying this, he pointed at me with his left index finger and his right hand hung closely to his side as if he was reaching for a gun.
“I was really frightened because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was intense, as they surrounded me and I was trapped.”
By this time, other protesters had also left the hotel. They saw the men crowding Liu Guohua and sensed something was wrong, so they rushed to the parking lot.
Cheng Changhe said, “When we came out, we saw these vicious looking men standing very close to Liu Guohua, and based on their body language, we knew it wasn’t right. We ran over and I shouted, ‘Come here, quick!’ I didn’t want them to harm Liu Guohua.”
Liu said, “The gang dispersed when they saw people coming, and I was able to join the other protesters.”
“So we walked toward Main Street from the parking lot, and the same group of men suddenly reappeared out of nowhere, about six or seven of them, and they closed in on the three of us.
“The same man that had just threatened me a few minutes earlier grabbed my shoulder and said in a sinister tone, ‘You are not allowed to do this in the future, or bad things will happen to you,’” Liu said.
Liu Guohua said this experience was unnerving for him, calling it “the biggest scare of my life, much worse than the 9/11 terrorist attack, because this was the first time my personal safety came under threat on U.S. soil.”
Liu Guohua works as an independent contractor for Epoch Times distributing the Chinese-language edition of the paper in Flushing. Epoch Times had no prior knowledge of his intention to protest at the candidate forum.
Liu Guohua said, “It has been reported in the New York Times that John Liu is suspected of campaign fraud. Now he is trying to stifle protesters with thugs. If this is not stopped, Liu will hurt a lot of people in the long run. It’s a much bigger issue than me as an individual, he is challenging core American values such as freedom of speech and a vigilant citizenry.”
Liu Guohua said he is willing to provide more information to the media, the U.S. government, and the FBI, or to appear in court as a witness.
After the protesters left, John Liu claimed they were Falun Gong practitioners, which Fu Yuxia said she didn’t know about until she read it in a newspaper the following day. “He knew we were not Falun Gong and yet he said we were, just like he lied during the campaign. How typical of him,” Fu Yuxia said.
Related article: John Liu Accused of Communist Ties at Campaign Forum