After filing the lawsuit on August 20, Falun Gong practitioners Dai Zhizhen, Shi Yuhong and lawyer George-Henri Beauthier (from left to right) held a press conference in Brussels, Belgium (AFP)

( Today (Wednesday, August 20), a criminal lawsuit charging the former Chinese Communist leader, Jiang Zemin with the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and state directed torture, was submitted to federal prosecutors by six Falun Gong practitioners residing in Belgium. Two of Jiang's senior-most accomplices, Luo Gan (the head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee) and Li Lanqing (the former director of the "610 office") are also named in the lawsuit.

Falun Gong practitioners and their lawyer held a press conference in Brussels to answer questions regarding the lawsuit.

Renowned lawyer Georges-Henri Beauthier who is representing the Falun Gong practitioners in this action,said in a statement, the plaintiffs accuse Jiang Zemin who remains the head of China's military, of torture, crimes against humanity and genocide. The lawsuit was filed under the Belgian New Law passed on August 5, 2003.

This lawsuit has drawn widespread interest from international media before it was officially filed with the court.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported yesterday, "The new law, which covers 'serious violations of international humanitarian law,' allows suits to be brought only if there is a link between the alleged crimes and Belgium."

AFP's report said, "One of the plaintiffs in the new case, 31-year-old Belgian computer
programmer Matthias Slaats, who has been a Falungong follower for three years, said Tuesday the lawsuit fulfilled the required criteria."

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Matthias Slaats, told Reuters on Tuesday, "a number of Falun Gong members in countries including Belgium, the United States and Australia were filing similar lawsuits against Jiang Zemine for torture, crimes against humanity and genocide."

"We think we have a very strong case otherwise we would not proceed," he said.

The following is the statement for today's press conference.

Press Statement

Jiang Sued for Genocide

Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the press...

We are practitioners of Falun Gong. Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a practice of meditation and exercises with teachings based on the universal principle of "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance" and has roots in ancient Chinese culture. We are here today to announce that we have filed a criminal lawsuit against the former Chinese Communist leader, Jiang Zemin and two of his senior-most accomplices, Luo Gan (the head of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee) and Li Lanqing (the former director of the "610 office"). The lawsuit was filed under the Belgian New Law (passed August 5th, 2003), charging the defendants with genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of torture.

Our lawsuit is the 11th international lawsuit to emerge in the last two years against Chinese government officials or entities for their role in the persecution of Falun Gong. Three of these lawsuits in the United States have already handed down judgments against Chinese officials for torture and other crimes committed in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Between 1992 and 1999, Falun Gong flourished throughout China. The Chinese governments' own survey indicated there were between 70-100 million people who had taken up the practice by early 1999. Falun Gong practitioners were found in all walks of life, from farmers to bankers, from housewives to government and military leaders. Some sources say government officials at the highest level -- members of the Politburo Standing Committee -- had read the Falun Gong books and had family members who were practicing Falun Gong.

In July 1999, however, fearful and jealous that Falun Gong had touched the hearts and minds of such a broad range of Chinese people, Jiang Zemin, used his power as the country's top leader to ban the practice -- an act that went against the decision of Politburo Standing Committee members and Premier and was, in fact, illegal because it overstepped the power granted to Jiang by the Chinese Constitution.

According to sources in China and thousands of testimonies from victims, Jiang implemented the persecution through a three-prong directive to all levels of government:

  1. Destroy Falun Gong practitioners physically through systematic, state-sanctioned forced-labor, torture and killings.
  2. Destroy Falun Gong practitioners' reputations through a worldwide media campaign to demonize Falun Gong and falsely depict its practitioners as dangerous 'cult' members and a menace to society.
  3. Destroy Falun Gong practitioners financially, which, in a Communist nation where the government can exercise significant control over employment and housing, allowed Jiang to deny Falun Gong practitioners the basic necessities for living. Practitioners lost their salaries/pensions, were fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes in addition to suffering widespread extortion, confiscation of property and state-enforced fines when detained by police.

This directive was carried out primarily by the "6-10 Office" -- a Gestapo-like agency Jiang created for the sole purpose of implementing his "eradicate Falun Gong" policy. The United States Congress has called the "6-10 Office" an agency charged with "overseeing the persecution of Falun Gong members through organized brainwashing, torture, and murder."

In the last four years, almost 800 deaths from torture have been verified, while the true death toll is believed to be in the thousands. Thousands more have been forcefully incarcerated in mental hospitals where many are tortured. More than 100,000 have been sent to forced labor camps, typically without trial. And these are just the numbers we can ascertain behind the information blockade Jiang Zemin has erected around the persecution to hide the true facts from the world.

But the real terror of Jiang's genocidal policy towards Falun Gong is not found merely in the number of dead or the number of imprisoned. What Jiang unleashed in July 1999 was a horrific form of genocide that not only seeks to "physically destroy" 70-100 million people because they believe in "Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance", but has sought to destroy that belief itself.

Police, detention centers and labor camp officials throughout China are granted awards and promotions for successfully exacting statements from Falun Gong practitioners renouncing their faith regardless of the methods they use. At the same time, they are fired from their posts and/or subjected to punishment from their superiors for failing to secure such renunciations. Thus, those who renounce Falun Gong are often released, while those who do not continue to be tortured and abused, or die in the process.

Consider the case of 58-year-old Ms. Chen Zixiu, whose death revealed how Jiang's policy and terror of "610 Office" was carried out by local police. Ms. Chen Zixiu was reported in a Wall Street Journal article, part of a series that won the Pulitzer-Prize in 2001:

The day before [Ms.] Chen Zixiu died, her captors again demanded that she renounce her faith in Falun Dafa. Barely conscious after repeated jolts from a cattle prod, the 58-year-old stubbornly shook her head.

Enraged, the local officials ordered Ms. Chen to run barefoot in the snow. Two days of torture had left her legs bruised and her short black hair matted with pus and blood, said cellmates and other prisoners who witnessed the incident. She crawled outside, vomited and collapsed. She never regained consciousness, and died on Feb. 21.

This is Jiang's horrific form of genocide: It is a terror that does not just destroy lives, but destroys faith. It is a terror that should not be allowed to exist in the modern world. It is a terror that must be brought to justice.

Last week, with the passing of the former Ugandan Dictator, Idi Amin, the world was
reminded of the grave injustice done by allowing brutal dictators to go untried for their alleged crimes. Today, Belgian citizens and residents are standing up to ensure the principle of justice is upheld...even when the accused is the former leader of the most populous country in the world who continues to violate China's own constitution in an attempt to illegally monopolize his political power. The fundamental principle of justice -- that everyone is equal before the law -- must hold true for Jiang and his accomplices as it does for anyone else.

Belgium is a democratic country that upholds and respects human rights. Here we call upon the Belgian people, the Belgian government, the media and members of the international community to join us in ensuring that justice is served: To join us in ensuring that -- in the end -- it is not those who have illegally monopolized political power who prevail, but rather, it is those who stand on the side of justice and rule-of-law who prevail.

This we must ensure, for ourselves, for our country and for the world that we share together. To safeguard humanity, let us -- together -- bring Jiang Zemin and the terror he and his accomplices represent to justice...not only in the court of law, but also in the court of human morality, human conscience and in people's hearts throughout the world.

Thank you.