Chinese protesters rallied Tuesday in front of the Monterey Park Police Department to submit a letter of complaint alleging that Monterey Park police allowed a suspected member of the Chinese Communist Party to assist in the arrest of Fenglin Jiang during a Sept. 15 protest supporting the release of political prisoners in China.
According to protesters, Chester Chong, or Zhuangpei Yuan, introduced himself as a policemen the day of the Barnes Park protest and handed a Monterey Park officer handcuffs to restrain Jiang, who police say was interfering with their attempt to keep the protest peaceful. Protesters also claim Chong is a member of the Chinese Communist Party and was at the Sept. 15 event monitoring anti-Communist activities in the United States.
Chong, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, is very active in the Chinese American community, according to Tuesday's group of protesters. He is also active in Chinese politics, representing the Xinjiang province in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a majority Communist advisory body in China, Chinese news source Xinjiang Television reports.
Chong was attending the rally and stopped protester George Mo from delivering a speech, according to Jiang, a member of the West American Chapter of China Democracy. Jiang demanded that all members of the protest be able to speak freely. Minutes later, officers arrested Jiang for misdemeanor using handcuffs that were passed on from Chong.
“I saw a man in black went in to stop Mo, who was giving a speech,” Jiang said. “I thought the speaker was protesting legally and the police officer should not push the man and stop him. So I attempted to persuade the man to stop pushing the speaker. Then someone else came up and handcuffed me.”
The Monterey Park Police Department says it has no association with Chong, who is a a reserve deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and has no issue with him assisting during the arrest. “The circumstances of this person that was involved, we don’t know him, we didn’t know him before all this began, we have no connection with him,” said Captain Eugene Harris of the Monterey Park Police Department. “He was here as somebody attending this event, and as a result of the disturbance, he handed an officer handcuffs. Aesthetically, it may not be pleasing but the circumstances around it I don’t think are anything.”
Although Jiang maintains that Chong provoked him, Monterey Park police say that Jiang interfered with their attempts to calm other protesters. “The original contact was not with him. He went over and put himself in contact with the officers who were talking to the gentleman,” Harris said. “He shoved one of the officers.”
Other protesters spoke with Chong after Jiang was detained and noticed a badge he was wearing on his belt as one that resembles that of the Communist Party of China. When they asked him about it, witnesses say Chong quickly covered his badge, said he was just a security guard, and walked away.
Some Chinese residents who attended the protest are concerned that the incident may have revealed a group of Chinese officials monitoring anti-Communist activities in the Chinese American community. “I am very disappointed with the American police and worried that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to corrupt the American police,” Monterey Park resident and protester Weimin Chen said. “I want the Monterey Park Police Department to investigate the incident thoroughly. We are in America, and our freedom of speech should not be compromised.”
Monterey Park City Clerk Vincent Chang will submit the protester’s letter of complaint to the city manager for review.