SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The organizers of the San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration do not have to include a Falun Gong organization that opposes the policies of the Chinese government, a California appeals court ruled.
The USA Western Falun Dafa Association sued San Francisco’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The Falun Gong group alleged that the chamber had violated its civil rights by refusing to allow it to participate in the festivities, which include a parade, a street fair and a flower fair.
Justice Simons ruled that the chamber events are expressive, and to force the chamber to include a group it disagrees with would violate its First Amendment rights.
The chamber did not allow the Falun Gong group to participate in the festivities from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 the group was allowed to participate in the street fair before it was excluded again in 2006.
“Falun Gong could have held its own fair or attended the Street and Flower Fairs and expressed its views verbally by signs, pamphlets or other paraphernalia,” Simons ruled. “It had no right to insist on being included in the Chamber’s activity.”