Class Action Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin Becomes a Forerunner of Litigation in Australia (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net August 17, 2003) Jiang Zemin is facing another lawsuit. In Australia, after Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Zhang Cuiying announced her intent to launch legal action against Jiang Zemin in her own name, practitioners in Sydney decided to bring forward a class action lawsuit against Jiang in Australian Federal Court. Currently, the case is in the stage of consultation and collecting materials.
According to reports from Epoch Times, since October 2002, Falun Gong practitioners filed a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin and his "610 Office" for torture, genocide and other crimes against humanity in the Illinois District Court in the United States, assistants to Chinese high officials took actions in countries outside China, attempting to prevent legal action against Jiang from proceeding. It is reported that the Chinese Embassy in Australia had contacted the Australian Foreign Ministry to seek advice for the possibility of filing a lawsuit against Jiang in Australia.
An Epoch Times reporter interviewed Mr. Li Qizhong, one of the coordinators of this class action lawsuit. Mr. Li talked from both legal and moral aspects the significance and feasibility of suing Jiang Zemin and his "610 Office" in Australia.
Reporter: For Australia, Jiang Zemin is a former leader of another country. It is said that Australia did not have a corresponding law based on which he can be sued. Would you please tell us how you plan to go forward?
Mr. Li (Li Qizhong): Indeed, this is the first time in Australian history that Australian citizens are going to sue another country's leader in their local federal court in Australia. Countries including the United States have this kind of law to allow this sort of suit to proceed, but there is no related law in Australia. However, through repeated consultation, our attorney clearly told us that because of the particularity of this case, the corresponding lawsuit can proceed. To put it simply, first, Australia is a member nation that signed the United Nations' international criminal law. Second, although Jiang regime's persecution of Chinese citizens in China's territory is out of the control of Australian law, people who live in Australia are being harmed, and that is within the scope of Australia.
Another fact is that if the federal court encounters pressure from the government, it might not accept this lawsuit. However, if there are many plaintiffs and the evidence is conclusive, the court has to accept this suit.
Reporter: How is it possible for Jiang Zemin in China to persecute people who live in Australia?
Li: Our attorneys explained to us the legal concept of being persecuted in Australia, which can be summarized as three cases: (1) That family members encountered persecution in China also puts their relatives in other countries in a painful situation. Australian law considers that this kind of harm has already indirectly persecuted people who reside in Australia.
(2) To enforce the repression policy, China's state-run media conducted extremely extensive slanderous propaganda and used all kinds of channels to spread the propaganda all over the world (for example, the staged "Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident") According to Australian laws, this kind of rumor-mongering propaganda has ruined (Falun Gong's) reputation, which directly exerts mental pressure on Falun Gong practitioners in other countries, or causes other people (for instance, family members and friends) to discriminate against practitioners. This is within the scope of the Australian laws.
(3) When Australian residents went to China to visit their family members, they were barred from entering China's territory, or were casually detained in China, illegally imprisoned, or their names appeared in a "blacklist", so on and so forth. As long as these experiences still remain in your memory, Australian laws consider you to be enduring successive harm. In particular, those who are unable to meet with their family members in China (even when their family members were on the verge of death, they were not allowed to visit them) are considered to encounter the biggest harm.
People who meet any item of the above three has the right to bring forward a lawsuit in Australia.
Our attorneys said that, from this angle, every Falun Gong practitioner has the right to become a legal plaintiff. In fact, whether you practice Falun Gong or not, no matter what your status is (Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or alien residing in Australia), if you have encountered Jiang regime's direct or indirect persecution, you have the right to file a lawsuit in Australia.
Reporter: How many people have joined your plaintiff group? Are they all Falun Gong practitioners? How much expense do you need to proceed with this lawsuit?
Li: Earlier, we sent more than 3,000 consultation letters to all attorneys in New South Wales. We received more than 180 supportive replies, among which, 15 attorneys are willing to help us to proceed with the lawsuit and requested further discussions. During our conversations, the attorneys said that this case is very special, which has never been seen in Australian history.
We chose a large, well-known attorney firm. They are willing to take care of all of the affairs regarding the lawsuit for us free of charge. The attorney who will be present in court on our behalf will also not charge us anything. This attorney expressed that this case can become a research project, and he will ask university students in the law department to study this case.
According to the law, at least 10 plaintiffs, but with no upper limit, are required for a class action lawsuit. At present, more than 80 Falun Gong practitioners signed up to be plaintiffs. Thirty-two plaintiffs' testimonies have been completed. Things are going smoothly. We believe that our plaintiff group will continue growing. Victims are not limited to Falun Gong practitioners. We welcome anyone that has been subjected to the Jiang regime's persecution to join our class action lawsuit.
Reporter: How much effect will this lawsuit have on the former leader of China? What might be the final result?
Li: The former leader of Serbia was detained in an airport in the United Kingdom, because a U.K. court sent a subpoena to him. Australia and U.K. have very similar laws. We can also request the Australian court to send the subpoena. When Jiang Zemin, members of his "610 Office", direct persecutors or ones who are responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, enter Australian territory, they may receive the Australian court's subpoena or be detained.
To bring a class action lawsuit against Jiang Zemin in Australia is only part of the activities of "Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice". The significance is: No matter who he is, as long as he committed crimes, he has to bear the legal responsibility for that. Laws are supposed to protect victims, uphold justice and punish criminals. One should note that Jiang Zemin not only persecutes Falun Gong, but he also persecute other religious beliefs. Laws and morality should protect people's basic human rights. We are not against any country or any government. What we are opposing is the persecution and those people we are suing are criminals whose hands are stained with innocent people's blood.
For many Falun Gong practitioners, as victims of the persecution, we are simply stepping forward to do what we are supposed to do. We firmly believe that through this series of legal actions, when more and more people get to know the facts of the persecution, Jiang Zemin is already being tried in the court of people's conscience and morality, while the trial in the legal sense can be expected to follow.