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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Hu heckler on harassment charge
Wang Wenyi
Dr Wang had shouted "your time is running out" in Chinese
A woman has appeared in court in Washington after heckling visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House.

Dr Wang Wenyi, 47, was charged with harassing, intimidating and threatening a foreign official.

Dr Wang, who had a press pass for the event, had shouted at Mr Hu not to oppress the outlawed Chinese spiritual movement, the Falun Gong.

An embarrassed President George W Bush apologised to Mr Hu for the outburst.

If convicted, Dr Wang could face six months in jail and a fine of $5,000 (2,800).

First Amendment

Dr Wang, a doctor, had about 40 supporters at her hearing on Friday.

She was released on condition she remained in New York City, did not approach the White House and came only to Washington for legal reasons.

Her lawyer argued she was entitled to free speech under the First Amendment.

Prosecutors said the amendment did not allow her to break the law.

The judge did not rule on the free speech issue.

Dr Wang had received a press pass for the White House event on behalf of the English-language Epoch Times, which has strongly supported Falun Gong in the past.

She shouted in Chinese: "Stop oppressing the Falun Gong" and "Your time is running out".

She also shouted in English: "President Bush, stop him from killing."

She was ushered away after a few minutes by Secret Service agents.

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