The press took evident satisfaction in the conviction (“EVIL INCARNATE” ran a typical trial headline, from the Daily News), but the Fujianese community in Chinatown was less enthusiastic. “A lot of people in Chinatown are saying that we’re putting Robin Hood on trial,” Steven Wong, the Fujianese community leader, told me. The World Journal reported that villagers in Shengmei had volunteered to do prison time on Sister Ping’s behalf; they described her as a living Buddha.
Perhaps the most telling illustration of the allure this country has for the Fujianese is the number of Golden Venture passengers who endured the voyage, imprisonment, and deportation, only to return to the United States. In 1998, Wang Wu Dong, who had been imprisoned and deported, was re-apprehended when a snakehead powerboat—the Oops II—ran aground off the Jersey shore. According to Peter Cohn, a filmmaker who has interviewed several of the passengers for a new documentary, scores of those who were deported have returned illegally.
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