(Clearwisdom.net, January 22, 2004) On January 20, 2004, Dr. Terry Marsh, lead attorney in the lawsuit against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and the "610 Office" for persecuting Falun Gong, filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. The brief asks the Circuit Court to reverse the decision of the U.S. District Court and allow the case to go forward. The court formally accepted the appeal at 11:15 am on January 20, 2004.

High Resolution Picture
Falun Gong practitioners in front of the Chicago Chinese Consulate Plaintiffs' attorneys hold a news conference at Hilton Hotel.

At the same time, in front of the Chinese Consulate at Chicago, several dozen local Falun Gong practitioners continued their peaceful appeals through practicing the exercise.

At 1 pm, plaintiffs' attorney, Dr. Terry Marsh held a news conference at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Eight media, including Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, World Journal, New Tang Dynasty TV attended. The interviews with attorneys and the Falun Dafa Information Center Chicago spokesperson lasted two hours.

Dr. Marsh said, "Imagine an injury has occurred, for example the holocaust in Nazi Germany, and in spite of the tremendous loss of life and cost to the community of man, it is surrounded in a shroud of silence. The victims, thousands upon thousands or perhaps millions upon millions, cannot speak, and even if they could speak no one would hear what they say. There is not a shroud of evidence. Indeed no one outside of Germany knows of the camps, the terror and the tragedy. Indeed many claim that the holocaust did not occur precisely because of the silence which surrounds it. "

"This is exactly the situation in China today. A genocidal holocaust has been launched against those who embrace the spiritual path of Falun Gong in China today. To say or speak the words ?sup>oCompassion, Tolerance, and Truthfulness" is a crime in China, which brings up to 18 years of jail time, murder by torture, and other forms of torture so brutal as to render them virtually beyond belief. Infants are tortured as are young mothers, young children, the elderly, the strong and able. No one is excluded. The predicate (a.k.a. ticket of entry) is quite simple - the belief that by being kinder, by showing compassion to one's fellow man, by being tolerant of others¡¯ mistakes and foibles, one is a far better and more enlightened person. Difficult to imagine and even harder to believe! "

This lawsuit is to arouse people's attention to this brutal violation of human rights, and to break people's silence toward the persecution of Falun Gong. It also gives those victims a chance to speak out in court, according to the norms of international law which the U.S. has ratified, stating no one should suffer genocide and murder.

Dr. Marsh emphasized, "Most importantly, our argument regarding the nonimmunity status of defendant Jiang is based on U.S. and International law and can be reduced quite simply to a balancing test. On the one side we have the divine rights of kinds, the notion that the king is above the law, the more modern view that a head of state must perform certain stately or sovereign functions while in power which may be diminished by subjecting him or her to lawsuit. On the other side, we have the dignity of the human person, the fundamental human rights of all persons to be free from torture and genocide. The modern notions of equality before the law - that no one, not even a king is above the law and can commit genocide with impunity."

It was reported that the brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit asked the court to reverse the U.S. District Court's decision based on head of state immunity. Their argument was based on the following points.

  1. That the United States a strong interest in vindicating the human rights violations alleged by the plaintiffs in this case.
  2. That "private acts" include acts of torture, genocide, and other violations of jus cogens norms.
  3. That Former heads of state are not immune in U.S. or International law for serious human rights violations committed in a "private" capacity during their term of office and for violations of other international norms committed after their term of office.
  4. That absolute deference to the Executive Branch's "Suggestion of Immunity" for former heads of state's acts of torture, genocide and jus cogens violations is inconsistent with important policy considerations and offends the doctrine of separation of powers.
  5. That the District Court erred in finding that Jiang Zemin may not be served on behalf of office 6/10.
  6. That personal jurisdiction exists over Office 6/10.

At the news conference, Mr. Steven Gregory, a representative of Falun Gong practitioners, read a statement from Mr. Morton Sklar, Executive President of the American branch of the World Organization Against Torture. Mr. Sklar maintained that the U.S. government could tell the court whether Jiang Zemin was the head of the state; however, whether Jiang should enjoy immunity should be determined by the court. There is no debate that it was Jiang Zemin who started and carried out this persecution campaign. The U.S. Department of State has also reported that Falun Gong practitioners are being tortured and murdered in the persecution. The district court's decision to dismiss and the corresponding reasons are incorrect.

The Chicago lawsuit is an unprecedented class-action lawsuit. On October 18, 2002 when Jiang Zemin visited the U.S., Falun Gong practitioners filed this lawsuit in the Northern District Court of Illinois charging Jiang and his 610 Office with genocide, torture, and a conspiracy to commit violations of civil rights within the jurisdiction of the United States, among other crimes. Jiang was served with the subpoena through his security guards.

The Jiang regime is panicked over this lawsuit. Jiang abused his power to coerce the Chinese government to exert pressure on the U.S. Under this pressure, the US State Department filed an amicus brief to the district court, requesting the court to dismiss this lawsuit. On September 12, 2003, Judge Kennely dismissed the case, ruling that Jiang as head of state had immunity and could not be sued. Many human rights lawyers and international lawyers did not consider this decision to be in accordance with present American and international laws.

Mr. Morton Sklar, Executive President of the American branch of the World Organization Against Torture, will submit his amicus brief to the Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, a number of law professors, including Jordan Paust will jointly file an amicus brief to the court. They are all influential law experts, and their briefs will state their reasons for supporting this lawsuit according to the laws.

It is reported that after the lawsuit against Jiang was filed in Chicago, Falun Gong practitioners from different countries and regions, including Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, and Korea successively filed lawsuits against Jiang Zemin and his 610 Office in their respective countries.