Les Presses Chinoises Trial: Falun Gong Practitioners Reveal the Persecution for the First Time in a Western Court
A Minghui Reporter from Montreal reports that on November 14, the final trial of the slander case of The Overseas Chinese Times (Les Presses Chinoises) had entered the third day. Plaintiff witness Professor Zhang Kunlun appeared in court to testify. The plaintiff's attorney, Mr. Mickle Bergman, pointed out that this was the first time that Falun Gong practitioners have revealed the direct and indirect persecution in a court in a Western country.
On November 14, from 9:40 am till 4:40 pm, Canadian citizen Zhang Kunlun, with the help of a translator, testified in detail in court about the persecution he had suffered because he practiced Falun gong. The persecution included torture, brainwashing, house surveillance, illegal imprisonment, and more.
Defendant's attorney states persecution has nothing to do with this case
In the morning, when Profession Zhang began giving his testimony about the persecution he experienced while he was in China, the defendant's attorney abandoned his original statement, which denied the existence of the persecution, and repeatedly stood up to say that the persecution of Falun Gong occurred in China. The persecution was confirmed, but "had nothing to do with this case." The defendant's attorney also used the holocaust of the Jews as an example to say that if all the holocaust victims could sue the responsible person, there would be four million people to sue the case. It was not practical, if every one of them stated his persecution experience in court. It would take 12 months to have a trial, if any issue related to Falun Gong could be stated in this court.
Plaintiff's attorney states that the witness's personal experience is helpful for the court to establish the background of this case.
As to the defendant attorney's opposition, Mr. Bergman pointed out that in their articles, The Overseas Chinese Times attempted to deny the existence of the persecution, and witnesses' persecution and personal experiences were very important to assist the court in understanding the case. The opposing party's attorney intended to limit witnesses to 15 people. These witnesses' experiences were to help the court in understanding the background of this case.
The judge allows the plaintiff witnesses to relate the persecution they suffered
After listening to the opinions of the attorneys from both sides, the judge pointed out that the defendant's attorney objected to the plaintiff's witnesses testifying about their persecution, which was equal to the rejection of the testimonies of all plaintiff witnesses in this case. Therefore, the judge rejected the objections of the defendant's attorney many times.
For the first time Falun Gong practitioners revealed Jiang's policy of genocide in court as plaintiffs
Professor Zhang said the reason he was abducted the first time in Mainland China was for writing a letter to the central government stating the true situation of Falun Gong. After he was taken away, the official of the local police station said to him, "The General Secretary Jiang said that no matter how the Falun Gong practitioners were being treated, it was not excessive. If a practitioner was beaten to death, he should be taken outside and buried. It would be claimed that he committed suicide because he feared punishment."
Professor Zhang also said that during his illegal imprisonment period, he was beaten mercilessly, suffered electric shocks with electric batons, and experienced other tortures.
Since Jiang's persecution of Falun Gong has been widely made public since July 1999, this was the first time that Falun Gong practitioners as plaintiffs and witnesses revealed the direct and indirect persecution in a western country.
Falun Gong practitioners as plaintiff witnesses expose indirect persecution
The Overseas Chinese Times of Montreal once published He's slanderous article in the special issue on February 2, 2002. This article mentioned the name of Zhang Kunlun. Professor Zhang said in his testimony on February 14: "Canada is well known in the world for respecting freedom and human rights and regarding them as Canada's principles. But, I couldn't believe that Jiang extended his persecution to overseas. He has spread lies, provoked hatred, and put Falun Gong practitioners in a bad light. I was persecuted in China, which left me with serious mental scars. The slanderous article in The Overseas Chinese Times made me feel that there was no safe place in the world." Professor Zhang said The Overseas Chinese Times has caused him tremendous damage.
Protecting the Buddha law with righteous thoughts, and clarifying the truth against defamation
In the debate on February 14, the defendant's attorney attempted to uncover some detail in Professor Zhang's personal testimony in order to attack Falun Gong and repeat those slanderous lies made by the Jiang regime, such as "Falun Gong practitioners don't care about their families," "The founder of Falun Gong amassing wealth," "cut the belly to look for the law wheel," or "Tiananmen self-immolation," etc. The defendant's attorney quoted out of context from the Falun Gong books, and targeted Falun Gong and its founder once again.
Facing the defendant's attorney, Professor Zhang used a good opportunity to clarify the truth in court and refute the Chinese government's lies, giving detailed answers to the defendant's attorney's questions one by one with dignity and clarity.
The Quebec province appellate court's written judgment will be published in Dominion Law Reports
The appellate court's written judgment will be published in Dominion Law Reports -- Selected Legal Cases by the Quebec province appellate court in Canada regarding Falun Gong practitioners suing The Overseas Chinese Times and the author He Ping.
Plaintiff's attorney Mr. Bergman pointed out that this ruling collected by The Report on Selected Legal Cases would establish an important legal point, set precedents for attorneys for other cases, and establish authority and principles that would limit newspapers from publishing slanderous articles in civil action cases.
On November 13 this year, the Central News indicated that according to some legal figures, Dominion Law Reports --Selected Legal Cases already had a century long history, and it rarely published Quebec province verdicts. The acceptance of the ruling on this case indicates its signifcance and unique nature in the Canadian legal world. The verification committee of The Report on Selected Legal Cases scrutinizes thousands of new rulings from many Canadian provinces and only chooses very important and typical cases for the Digest. Only one percent of the rulings are selected to be studied and used by Canadian legal figures, including judges, lawyers, attorneys, law department professors and students. It only cites significant trials.
About Professor Zhang Kunlun
Zhang Kunlun once taught sculpture from 1980 to 1989 at Shandong Province Art Academy. In 1989, he was a visiting professor at McGill University in Canada. In April 1996, he returned to his homeland. From 1996 to January 2001, he was the director of Shandong Province Art Research Institute. During this period, he was abducted and illegally detained many times because he practiced Falun Gong and told the truth of the persecution to the mainland public.
According to the Minghui.net records, after Professor Zhang was arrested the third time by the Chinese Authorities in July 2000, he was sentenced to a labor camp for three years. On January 4, 2001, Xingdao Daily reported that Professor Zhang's family said that this verdict never passed through any official interrogative procedures.
Because of the close attention and effort made by the Canadian government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the national assembly, international human rights organizations, and good Canadian people, Professor Zhang Kunlun was suddenly released early on January 10, 2001, after half a year of illegal imprisonment in a labor camp. He arrived safely at Ottawa airport and was welcomed by Amnesty International and Falun Gong practitioners. Professor Zhang is the first Falun Gong practitioner to be successfully rescued by Canada. This case was once regarded as "a big success" for international pressure by the Canadian media.