Final Trial Begins Against Chinese Newspaper Les Presses Chinoises in Montreal for Defaming Falun Gong; Lawyers Make Statements to the Court (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net, November 10, 2003) After two years, over ten hearings and several investigations and rounds of testimony, the trial against the Montreal Chinese weekly newspaper Les Presses Chinoises for defamation and incitement of hatred against Falun Gong brought by Montreal Falun Gong practitioners began in the Quebec Supreme Court at 10:45 am today.
The plaintiffs, including 200 Falun Gong practitioners from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal and 15 witnesses were present in the courtroom. On the defendant's side, only the president of Les Presses Chinoises, Mr. Zhou Jinxing, was present. Another defendant, He Bing, did not show up.
|The plaintiffs, 200 Falun Gong practitioners, walking into the court room||Mr. Bergman, Attorney for Plaintiffs making statement.|
During today's court hearing, attorneys representing the plaintiffs and defendant made statements to the court.
Mr. Bergman, representing the plaintiffs, said in his statement that this is a very important case, and a very special case because it will examine whether we will have tolerance and respect for our citizens in this multicultural country.
Mr. Bergman also stated that the plaintiffs are the victims of hatred. They are labeled as subversive and evil, a group of people to be kept at a distance and not desired as neighbors, people that society should fear. The consequence is that our society would unite to defend itself by staying away from them. The plaintiffs standing in front of you are victims of China's persecution of Falun Gong. They are not only deprived of the right to their spiritual belief, but those who stand by their belief in China are also facing persecution and death.
Mr. Bergman also noted two important questions this case involved: how to establish the boundaries of freedom of speech and freedom of press in Quebec and Canada with respect to legislation regarding hate crimes and defamation. He said that 15 to 16 witnesses were going to testify in alphabetical order or the sequence of the events.
Starting tomorrow, the judge will hear the testimony of the experts and plaintiffs. At present, it is still not clear whether the defendant will have witnesses to testify.
On November 3, 2001, Les Presses Chinoises published Ms. He Bing's articles defaming and inciting hatred against Falun Dafa, Teacher and Falun Dafa practitioners in the name of "a Canadian Falun Gong Exerciser." The words used were filthy and extremely vicious. Practitioners made every effort to contact Les Presses Chinoises, asking it to stop publishing the articles, make an apology, and desist in propagating misinformation. However, Les Presses Chinoises refused any contact, calling practitioners' compassionate behavior "threatening." They not only did not pay any attention to the three letters issued by practitioners' lawyer, but also further intensified their efforts in publishing whole pages of defamatory articles on November 10, November 24 and December 8. During this time there were entire pages that copied word for word articles issued by Jiang Zemin's regime, which defamed Falun Dafa. Given the circumstances, over 200 practitioners had no choice but to file a lawsuit at the Quebec Superior Court against Les Presses Chinoises, the editor of the newspaper and Ms. He Bing for defamation and incitement of hatred. After the first court hearing, the court issued the safeguard order on December 10, 2001 to prohibit it from publishing defamatory and hateful articles. In October 2002, according to the results of investigations of attorneys from both sides, the court set the final trial of the case from November 10 to 25, 2003.