Image: Wenyi Wang
Caleb Jones  /  AP
Wenyi Wang, accused of heckling Chinese President Hu Jintao during a Thursday White House ceremony, waves outside court in Washington, D.C. on Friday being released from custody.
updated 4/22/2006 10:05:36 AM ET 2006-04-22T14:05:36

A woman accused of heckling Chinese President Hu Jintao during a White House appearance was charged Friday in federal court with willfully intimidating, coercing, threatening and harassing a foreign official.

Dr. Wang Wenyi, 47, had obtained temporary press credentials for Hu's visit Thursday as a reporter for a Falun Gong newspaper and positioned herself on a camera stand. After Hu began speaking, she shouted in Chinese and in English: "President Bush, stop him from killing" and "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

She was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service agents led her from the stand.

A group of 25 to 40 supporters attended Wang's arraignment Friday.

Wang, who is from New York City, was released on condition that she remain there and come to Washington only to consult with her attorneys or attend legal proceedings. She must also stay away from the White House

If convicted, she could receive up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. She is a medical doctor and a practitioner of Falun Gong.

The incident was the second in five years involving Wang and a Chinese leader. In July 2001, she confronted then-President Jiang Zemin on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Wang said she introduced herself, then urged Jiang "to stop the killing of Falun Gong practitioners in China."

Security officials whisked Wang away, but Jiang called her back and spoke to her in Chinese, witnesses said.

"He was very agitated and told me that Falun Gong practitioners were killing themselves," Wang said later.

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