Venerable Hong Yuan came to New York to raise money for her fire-damaged temple, but found herself arrested for handing out prayer beads, charged with a misdemeanor for acting as an unlicensed vendor and offered a day of community service in exchange for a guilty plea. Last week the nun refused to plea guilty to any wrongdoing, and now DNAinfo reports “[p]rosecutors said that they will effectively dismiss the charges when she appears in Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday.”
Phew! (Update: charges dismissed!)
You can read Shayna Jacobs’ full story at DNAinfo—it seems the prosecution sees its mistake. Ven. Hong Yuan should now have no more need to worry about these ridiculous charges. Many thanks to Ms. Jacobs for her reporting on this incident, highlighting a situation that could easily have disappeared under the radar.
Thanks also to Jack Daw for spearheading a Twitter campaign to persuade the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to reconsider this case. We may never know how much the Twitterverse shaped the prosecutors’ ultimate decision, but it was no less breathtaking to see Buddhists rally online for one humble Chinese nun far away from home in New York City.
Of course, you can still support Ven. Hong Yuan’s cause to raise funds to restore her temple. You can make checks payable to the Atlanta Pu Xian Buddhist Association, Inc., 3140 Shallowford Pl., Atlanta, GA 30341. The association can also be reached by telephone at 678-436-3607.
Photo credit to Singtao Daily.