Third-Party Commentary: The Odd January 22nd -- About Different Treatments of Nancy Chen and Charles Li
Voice of America reported that on March 13, 2003, Terri E. Marsh, attorney for Falun Gong plaintiffs, in PLAINTIFFS A-F v JIANG ZEMIN, will participate in a teleconference call with the other parties and the Judge to discuss important legal issues in the case. The lawsuit was brought under the Alien Tort Claim Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act by Falun Gong practitioners against Jiang Zemin and the OFFICE 610 for genocide, torture, and other violations of the Law of Nations.
Two Odd Things Happened On the Same Day - January 22nd
Recently two Chinese foreign nationals were kidnapped in Mainland China, but they received completely different treatment from the Chinese Communist Party.
Why Did the Communist Party Wait Until January 22nd to Arrest Them?
Australian-Chinese Nancy Chen, a Falun Gong practitioner, took her 6-year-old daughter with her and visited her elderly parents in Yibin, Sichuan Province, flying via Shenzhen, Guangzhou Province on January 18. She wasn't arrested until January 22nd, when National Security Agents kidnapped her in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
On January 22, she obviously must have been followed by someone. She went to the local American Consulate and requested help. The staff in the American Consulate agreed to accompany her to a hotel to book airplane tickets. As they arrived at the hotel, the Consulate staff left. Right after that, dozens of police came up and told her they would investigate her. They forced her into another hotel. Some people who claimed to be National Security Agents questioned her. What's odd is that they had been following her all along, but only arrested her on January 22nd.
She was detained in the hotel the whole time. Every day some people questioned her, but she was not subjected to physical torture. After she was detained for several days in Chengdu, she was taken back to her hometown. She was allowed to stay at home for two hours and briefly met her daughter and family members. Afterwards, she was detained in the Yibin Communist Party College Hotel in Yibin, Sichuan Province. On the morning of January 30th, she was told that she had to depart with her daughter within a limited period of time.
He Is the Person That They Are Waiting For
Charles Li, an American Citizen and Falun Gong practitioner from Menlow Park, California, did not experience the same thing as Nancy Chen. According to information from the American Consulate in Shanghai, Mr. Li was arrested as soon as he landed at Guangzhou Airport. After a short while, he was escorted to Yangzhou, a distant city hundreds of miles away.
The Security Agents once threatened Nancy Chen that if she were to contact the Australian Government, she would be expelled from China and not allowed to take her daughter with her. As for Charles Li, however, the Communist Party's security agents first contacted the American Consulate. Li and Chen are both foreign Falun Gong practitioners, but why did they receive different treatment? For one of the two, the agents seemed to be afraid that people would find out their situation; for the other, they were not.
Hostage: The Negotiating Table
What the Security Agents said to Nancy Chen already indicated that the punishment she would receive was expulsion, and she was released right after the officials of the Australian Embassy visited her. The entire process was simple. As for Charles Li, the Security Agents contacted the American Consulate first. According to officials from the Consulate, the Chinese authorities had already filed a lawsuit against him and planned to sentence him to 7 to 15 years in prison. Li said the charge was false and that he was framed, but this time, the will of the Jiang's Regime is unexpectedly strong, and it gives the impression that there is no room left for further discussion. The officials of the American Consulate are allowed to visit Mr. Li every month but only for 30 minutes. This is openly daring the United States to do something to protect its citizens.
Falun Gong Practitioners File Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin
On January 30, in an article entitled "An America Court Accepts a Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin," the Voice of America reported that some Falun Gong practitioners had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois against the Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois accepted the court filings, and the case is now proceeding on track. The case is based in part upon a 200-year-old American Law, which allows foreigners to file human rights based claims against other foreigners who commit serious human rights abuses in violation of international law.
Jiang Zemin Imposes Pressure on the U.S. State Department and the Justice Department
Rather than abide by the United States Code of law, and assert his purported immunity defenses either himself or through legal counsel, Jiang Zemin has instead placed undue pressure on the United States Government, to persuade them to have his case dismissed via diplomatic channels.
Jiang Zemin Must Go to Court In Person
Terri E. Marsh, attorney for the Falun Gong practitioner plaintiffs, said that Jiang's purported immunity is a legal issue to be resolved through proper legal channels. It depends on legal arguments and standards, and not on Jiang's fears and whims.
Marsh said, "According to the American Legal System, all defendants are equal before the law. No one is permitted to use his position or official status to commit genocide with impunity. Like all other defendants, President Jiang is obliged by the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act to assert whatever defenses he may have through proper legal channels. In the United States, all persons are responsible for their acts - be they beggars or Presidents."
According to Marsh, plenty of leaders have already been tried on similar charges in United States Federal Courts, including the former Yugoslavian President Milosevic, and the former Panamanian President Noriega. Both Milosevic and Noriega asserted the defense of Head of State Immunity before a United States federal court and in both cases, their immunity claims were NOT upheld. Attorney Marsh also noted that Office 610 is a defendant in this lawsuit, and that they have no immunity. The Court has jurisdiction over Office 610 because the plaintiffs served Jiang Zemin on behalf of himself and on behalf of Office 610. Marsh believes that the American legal system will give this case the careful consideration it merits. She is hopeful that the plaintiffs will get a favorable decision from the court, including both compensatory and punitive damages reaching perhaps as high as 1.7 billion dollars.
Charles Li is an American citizen. He had to go to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to get his travel visa for China. Therefore, his arrest is not a random act but the result of a calculated plot. Jiang thinks that as long as he arrests a Falun Gong practitioner from U.S., he can use him or her as a hostage to negotiate with the U.S.
As a matter of the fact, the arrest of Nancy Chen was just a smoke screen; she was only the setup for Li's arrest. Jiang just wants to deal the U.S. a head-on blow: if you want to sentence me to jail, I will first sentence one of your citizens to jail.