Skip to content

It’s for the Sake of Humanity, Says Protester at the White House

New York physician and Falun Gong practitioner Wenyi Wang’s protest during the meeting of Chinese leader Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House drew the media spotlight. Dr. Wang explains the background and intent of her actions.

Sporadic, accidental events sometimes can change the course of the history. On April 20, 2006, a petite female journalist shouted out loudly on the White House lawn during Hu Jintao’s speech at the welcoming ceremony. This surprising incident turned the world’s attention from Hu Jintao’s lip-service remarks to the atrocities taking place in China today.

That petite lady was Wenyi Wang, a 47-year-old pathologist based in New York, a Falun Gong practitioner, and a volunteer photographer for The Epoch Times newspaper. On that day at the White House, standing on the reporters’ platform facing the Chinese communist leader, Dr. Wang called out in English, "President Bush, stop him from killing! Stop persecuting the Falun Gong!" Shifting to Chinese, she shouted, "Hu Jintao, your time is limited. No more time for the Chinese Communist Party."

Major television news channels quickly turned their cameras to Dr. Wang. CNN’s live broadcast used split screens to simultaneously show Hu’s speech and Dr. Wang’s protest. For about three minutes, the attention of the world’s people was shifted from the leader of China to a woman crying out for human rights in China.

Unused to facing protesters, Hu paused for a second, and then continued his speech after President Bush murmured to him, "You are OK."

To Hu’s regime, the outcry was not OK. The CNN signal was blacked out in China until Dr. Wang was taken away. The communist regime did not want the Chinese people to see or hear Dr. Wang’s protest—it would be too damaging to the Party’s image.

Still, Hu’s regime could not block CNN outside of China. Dr. Wang’s outburst reminded the American people that Hu represents the largest dictatorship in the world. In a phone call the next day to C-SPAN, an American woman said that she could see the agony in Dr. Wang’s eyes even though she could not hear clearly what Dr. Wang was saying.

Soon after she was released the next day, Dr. Wang had a chance to explain herself on CNN. In that brief interview, Dr. Wang said that, as a physician, her responsibility was to "save people," and she had to do what she did because of the killing going on in China. Dr. Wang said that she did not regret what she did because "humanity surpasses everything." Dr. Wang further explained in a press conference on April 26 what she meant by "humanity surpasses everything." She said, "On March 8, The Epoch Times disclosed the harvesting of organs from live Falun Gong practitioners and the subsequent mass killings in Sujiatun City’s concentration camp. Later it was revealed that such atrocities had been going on in all labor camps in China since the persecution of Falun Gong started in July 1999. Huge numbers of corneas, livers, and kidneys have been removed from live Falun Gong practitioners and sold to transplantation centers."{mospagebreak}

Dr. Wang drew attention to this horrific ongoing atrocity in China. On April 22, 2006, C-SPAN invited a Falun Gong spokesperson to be a guest on its live call-in program to discuss the issues that Dr. Wang wanted to expose. Time magazine published an article on April 23 in its Asia Edition, titled "The Cold Harvest in China." The Weekly Standard in early May published an article "Why Wang Wenyi Was Shouting." The article reported eyewitness accounts and included available evidence regarding the alleged live organ harvesting from detained Falun Gong practitioners.

If Dr. Wang only wanted people to pay attention to the atrocities in China, she has partly succeeded. But her original plea—"President Bush, stop him from killing"—has not been acknowledged. In fact, the government has charged her with "coercing, intimidating, threatening, and harassing" a foreign official, a crime that could put her in prison for six months and cost her a fine of US$5,000.

Almost at the same time Dr. Wang was shouting in front of the White House, the two Chinese witnesses (Peter and Annie) who initially exposed the organ harvesting crimes from live Falun Gong practitioners in China made a public appearance, further calling for the international community to help stop the atrocities that are still occurring. Both of them also toured around the country with Dr. Wang to address the media after the White House incident.

On April 22, The Washington Post published an editorial titled "Overreacting to Protest, Wenyi Wang Doesn’t Belong in Jail." It said, "Does Ms. Wang deserve to go to prison for six months? That might be the response to embarrassing and rude speech in Beijing. It shouldn’t be in Washington."

The Washington Times said that Dr. Wang "welcomed" the Chinese leader in a democratic way, and named her as the "noble" person of the week.

Many individuals and organizations have also expressed their support for Dr. Wang. On April 26, the Christian Defense Coalition and National Clergy Council held a press conference in Red Square at Georgetown University, asking the Bush Administration to drop the charges against Dr. Wang.

The reaction from Chinese pro-democracy and human rights activists has been even stronger. One prominent pro-democracy dissident, Mr. Xu Wenli, who himself spent a total of 16 years in Chinese prisons before the Bush Administration helped him come to America, wrote an open letter to President Bush. Mr. Xu asked President Bush to urge the Justice Department to drop the charge against Dr. Wang. He further wrote in his letter, "In the early morning of April 23rd, I solemnly pledged to Dr. Wenyi Wang: ‘If the Washington D.C. District Court sentences you to prison, I am willing to go to prison and serve the sentence with you or stand outside the prison gate while you are incarcerated.’"{mospagebreak}

Professor Sun Wenguang of Shandong University in China stated, "Believing that humanity surpasses everything is the manifestation of Ms. Wang’s noble character."

Several prominent human rights lawyers in China, including Gao Zhisheng, have accepted the invitation to join the legal team for Dr. Wang and defend her. Gao wrote in an open letter to the (potential) jury, "Ms. Wang’s courage and ethics provides a shining light on humanity."