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Falun Gong's complaint not been upheld

2015-04-07 Source:Newswire.co.nz Author:By Finn Rainger

  POLICE and advertising complaints have been laid in a dispute between a Wellington Chinese newspaper and Falun Gong practitioners.

  Falun Gong protesters outside a Newtown shop have prompted the owner Kevin Zeng to lay a police complaint against the group.

  The group want a public apology from Mr Zheng for an open letter published earlier this year which they claim printed incorrect and discriminating information.

Falun Gong members made complaints to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority, however the authority announced last week the complaint had not been upheld.

  The protesters say they will appeal the decision.

Followers of Falun Gong, a worldwide spiritual practice, have been protesting the letter for more than a month outside Rainbow Bridge, a convenience goods store in Newtown and also the listed address for Home Voice newspaper.

  Newtown community constable Brittany Allan says police have received a complaint from the owner of the store.

  Mr Zeng, who is also deputy chair of the Wellington Association for Promoting Peaceful Reunification of China, published the letter addressed to the Chinese community of Wellington on April 4 on behalf of the association.   

  Mr Zeng says the association is an independent organisation that advocates for the reunification of China and Taiwan and aims to promote change by influencing the Chinese community in Wellington.

  The letter accuses Falun Gong, and the closely related Shen Yun performing arts show of “deception” and “lies”.

  It was released four days prior to the Shen Yun performing arts show held in Wellington at the St James Theatre and urged the public not to attend.

  The letter states: “These so called shows are simply not theatrical performances, but political tools of Falun Gong cult to amass wealth and engage in cult activities and anti China propaganda. It not only taints and distorts Chinese culture but also deceives, fools and poisons the audience.”

  “The purpose of the show is not to display real traditional Chinese culture, but to smear Chinese image and damage China and New Zealand’s relationship.”

  The letter also accuses Falun Gong of cult activities and social disruption.

  Kevin Zeng says he has been on the receiving end of verbal attacks and has been harassed by protestors.

  At this stage he says a public apology will not be made to Falun Gong because he has done nothing wrong and Home Voice newspaper is within its legal rights.

  Dr Michael Radich, a Victoria University lecturer in Art History, Classics and Religious Studies says, the issue echoes Falun Gong’s treatment in China.

  “The criticism was in the form of an open letter from a community organisation, and was not presented as journalistic coverage of the facts of the matter,” Dr Radich says.

  “It could therefore perhaps be argued that the newspaper was merely providing a space for the voicing of a legitimate private opinion, as part of open public debate.”

(Newswire.co.nz, Aug 1st, 2014 )


Oringal Text From:http://www.asa.co.nz/display.php?ascb_number=14301