Current Cases


Zhang et. al. v. CACWA

Case Summary and Documents

On March 2, 2015, HRLF filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of a group of individuals in Flushing, New York, who were allegedly targeted for violence and intimidation as a result of their actual or perceived status as Falun Gong believers. The alleged perpetrators are individuals associated with an organization called the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance, an anti-Falun Gong organization with alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Plaintiffs filed claims under federal civil rights statutes and a New York hate crimes statute, as well as claims for assault, battery, and other torts. After the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ federal claims, District Court Judge Sandra Townes adopted Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon’s report and recommendation which recommends that defendants’ motion to dismiss be denied in its entirety.

Following discovery proceedings, both parties cross-moved for summary judgment. In a 49-page opinion issued on April 23, 2018, Judge Jack B. Weinstein held that fact issues precluded summary judgment on state claims but granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether Falun Gong qualifies as religion under U.S. law. Specifically, the court held that “the history and tradition in American constitutional law and the beliefs of most of the population of the United States mandates a finding that Falun Gong is a religion…” contrary to defendants’ denial that Falun Gong is a religion, a narrative constantly propagated by the Chinese Communist Party in its persecution of Falun Gong.

Defendants subsequently raised a challenge to the constitutionality of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACEA), on which one of Plaintiffs’ federal claims is based. Judge Weinstein issued an opinion on May 30, 2018, upholding the constitutionality of FACEA but certifying the question for interlocutory appeal. Defendant-Appellants submitted their Appellate Brief on December 18, 2018. Plaintiff-Appellees submitted an Answering Brief on March 19, 2019. The Defendant-Appellants replied on April 3, 2019. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal heard oral arguments of the issue on Oct 3, 2019 and a decision is pending.

For more information, contact the Human Rights Law Foundation at ‪‪(202) 697-3858‬‬.‬‬



District Court

Mar 3 2015 Plaintiffs’ Complaint
Jun 5 2015 Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
Jul 21 2015 Plaintiffs’ Opposition Letter to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
Aug 5 2015 Defendant’s Reply to Plaintiffs’ Opposition Letter
Aug 17 2015 Plaintiffs’ Sur-reply
Jan 28 2016 Magistrate Judge’s Report & Recommendations dismissing Defendant’s MTD
Mar 22 2016 District court’s order adopting Magistrate Judge’s Report & Recommendations
Jan 26 2018 Plaintiffs’ First Motion for Summary Judgment (asking court to recognize Falun Gong as a religion)
Jan 26 2018 Defendant’s Opposition to Plaintiffs’ First Motion for Summary Judgment
Apr 23 2018 District court’s opinion granting partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff (establishing Falun Gong as a religion)
May 21 2018 Plaintiffs’ memorandum in Support of Constitutionality of FACEA
May 21 2018 Defendants’ supplemental brief on Unconstitutionality of FACEA
May 25 2018 Plaintiffs’ Response to Defendant’s supplemental brief on the Constitutionality of FACEA
May 25 2018 Defendants’ Reply to Plaintiff’s response as to the Constitutionality of FACEA
May 30 2018 District Court opinion denying Defendants’ challenges to the Constitutionality of FACEA and certifying case for interlocutory appeal


Appellate Court

Dec 18 2018 Defendant-Appellants’ Opening Brief
Mar 19 2019 Plaintiff-Apellees’ Response Brief
Mar 25 2019 Amicus Brief by Muslim Advocates
Apr 03 2019 Defendants’ Reply Brief

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