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Editorial: Importing Intolerance

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It is the ultimate irony that the organizers of the multicultural Lunar New Year celebration in Flushing are considering banning members of the Chinese Falun Gong movement from marching in their parade.

Perhaps the organizers are not aware that Flushing is the birthplace of religious tolerance in America. It was here that Quakers found a safe haven when other towns in what is now New York City made it clear they would not be welcome.

Or perhaps the organizers are afraid of offending the aging bureaucrats in Beijing who still cling to the corrupt and dying communist system. The Chinese government may have paid for ads in the city’s Chinese newspapers denouncing the movement.

The Falun Gong, a popular religious movement, has been banned and persecuted in China, just like the Jesuits and Maryknoll fathers. The group has applied to march in this year's ceremonies that bring in the year 4701 on the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Ram.

Allowing them to march should be a no-brainer, but not for Linna Yu, a member of the parade organizing committee. She told our reporter, “We don’t want people to do political or religious things.”

Baloney.

The Lunar New Year celebration cannot be extricated from the spiritual traditions of the Asian continent. This parade is an important annual event that celebrates the vitality of the Asian-American community in Queens. It should not be tainted by a cowering curtsy to China's dictators.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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