Falun Gong Practitioners in Taiwan File Lawsuit Against the Hong Kong Government for Violation of Human Rights (excerpts)
Voice of America April 9, 2003 from Taiwan
Disgruntled with deportation, Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan decided to file a lawsuit against the Hong Kong government. This is the first case of Taiwan residents suing the Hong Kong government for violating human rights.
In February 2003, nearly 80 Falun Gong practitioners were forcibly deported when they arrived at the Hong Kong customs. Regarding this incident, the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association held a press conference on Wednesday and announced the lawsuit. Chang Ching-hsi, director and spokesman for the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association pointed out the Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan held legal visas to enter Hong Kong and to participate in legal activities in the local area. They were forcibly detained, however, and the police deported them, using violence. Several female practitioners sustained injuries due to rough treatment by police.
Zhu Wanqi, one of the deported practitioners, said it is unacceptable that, out of cooperation with Beijing, the Hong Kong government is suppressing Falun Gong. Throughout the history of human rights, there is not any case where any society that is free and ruled by law would help an anti-human rights, autocratic government suppress people with legal visas from free societies, ruled by law. Within the past five years, the former image of Hong Kong as an image of freedom and a society living under "rule-by-law," was destroyed and the bubble of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy has burst.
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The Taiwan Falun Dafa Association has filed a lawsuit with a Hong Kong court and delivered evidence of the female practitioners' injuries, and evidence of the improper treatment from the customs officials. A human rights attorney in Hong Kong has provided the court with this evidence.
The deportation incident attracted the attention of the Taiwanese government. On March 2, 2003, Annette Lu, Vice President of Taiwan and spokeswoman for the Taiwanese Governmental Human Rights Consultation Group held a press conference in the president's building and expressed her support for the deported Falun Gong practitioners. She said this deportation incident is a great warning sign for the collapse of human rights in Hong Kong, five years after the application of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy. It is a great tragedy. She emphasized that the people of Taiwan should pay attention to the fact that Chinese government leaders are manipulating the Hong Kong government to violate of human rights.
The lawsuit against the Hong Kong government by Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners is the first of its kind in Taiwan and in Hong Kong. Chang Ching-hsi, the director and spokesman of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association hoped the Hong Kong government would publicly apologize to the victims for the mistakes by the customs and police officials. They should also found a special organization or have a government agency to conduct an investigation for the violation of the human rights.
Zhu Wanqi, a Taiwan Falun Gong practitioner and also an attorney, said she is uncertain about the outcome of the lawsuit, but it is more important to call on the Hong Kong government to show respect for human rights and freedom of belief. "Every one of our Falun Gong practitioners held a legal visa. None of us had a bad record. We should be able to enter Hong Kong with dignity and participate in legal activities in the local area. We still want to enter Hong Kong. Maybe some people think they can't keep far enough away because of SARS, but we exercise a different logic. Because if today no one is willing to step forward to speak for human rights, the violation of human rights, controlled by autocratic powers behind the scene, will continue."