Judge rules against Falun Gong in San Francisco parade flap

San Jose Mercury News/February 14, 2007
By Terence Chea

San Francisco -- Followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement did not suffer discrimination when the city funded a Chinese New Year Parade whose organizers barred the group from marching, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Superior Court Judge Patrick Mahoney sided with the Human Rights Commission's conclusion that the Chinese Chamber of Commerce was within its rights to keep Falun Gong out of the parade. Mahoney issued a tentative ruling Tuesday, but made it final Wednesday after hearing arguments from both sides in the long-simmering dispute.

The business organization has rejected Falun Gong's request to participate in the March 3 parade after excluding them last year, claiming Falun Gong previously violated the parade's ban on political activity.

Falun Gong alleges that local Chinese businessmen are bowing to pressure from the Chinese government, which considers Falun Gong a dangerous cult and has banned the group.

The city contributes $77,000 of the parade's more than $800,000 budget along with police protection.

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