Falun Gong Practitioner Zheng Zhihong From Huanggang, Hubei Province Sues for Unlawful Persecution
To International Human Rights Organization(s):
Mr. Zheng Zhihong is a Falun Gong practitioner from Huanggang, Hubei Province. His father, Mr. Zheng Zhong, died because he was severely persecuted for his belief in Falun Gong. On March 11, 2004, his father's work unit organized a memorial service for him. Mr. Zheng Zhihong delivered a eulogy at the service. On May 20, 2004, he was arrested because of the eulogy.
Mr. Zheng was locked up in a detention center for nearly one year, during which period the procuratorate filed charges of "instigation" and "using a [slanderous words omitted] organization to disrupt the administration of law" against him. The local court issued a preliminary verdict and Mr. Zheng appealed it. On February 28, 2005, the intermediate court denied his appeal and upheld the original sentence, a five-year prison term. Mr. Zheng, other Falun Gong practitioners and people with a sense of justice think he should be cleared of the charges. Since there is no way to achieve this goal in China, they have decided to ask an attorney to seek help from international human rights organization(s) to assist them in obtaining justice.
Statement of Appeal
Plaintiff: Mr. Zheng Zhihong, male, born on October 14, 1957, was a cadre at the Huanggang City Salt Company in Hubei Province. He lived at the company dormitory in Huanggang City and is currently detained at the Qinduankou Prison in Hubei Province.
Entrusted agent: an attorney in Hubei Province; named withheld for safety reasons
Defendants: The Huanggang City 610 Office, the Huanggang City National Security Bureau, the Huangguang City Police Department, the Huanggang City Court, the Huangzhou District Police Department, the Huangzhou District Procuratorate and the Huangzhou District Court.
Purpose for lawsuit: to reverse an unlawful verdict and prison sentence
1. Overturn the verdict and unconditionally release Mr. Zheng Zhihong; withdraw the No. 88 Criminal Sentencing Statement from the Huangzhou District  issued by the Huangzhou District People's Court and the No. 32 Criminal Sentencing Statement, issued by the Huanggang City Intermediate People's Court .
2. Compensate the plaintiff for his losses resulting from the unjustified sentence.
3. Prosecute the local judicial bureau officials and legal administrators for abusing their power and violating the law; investigate and prosecute individuals and higher government agencies that directed Mr. Zheng Zhihong's persecution.
At 8:00 a.m. on March 11, 2004, the Huanggang City Foreign Trade Bureau held a courtyard memorial service for cadre Mr. Zheng Zhong. Some bureau officials and Falun Gong practitioners attended the service. Mr. Zheng Zhihong delivered a eulogy in which he stated that his father regained his health after practicing Falun Gong, that the police had monitored and pursued his father since 2002 and forced him into exile, that his work unit suspended his salary and that he passed away under tremendous pressure and poor living conditions due to lack of money. Many people in the audience shed tears. Falun Gong practitioners trailed the casket and called out "Falun Dafa is great," and "Respect human rights."
After the persecution of Mr. Zheng Zhong was exposed online, a group of officials from the central "610 Office" and from the Hubei Province Party Committee headed by Huang Yuanzhi, the vice governor of Hubei Province, went to the Huanggang District. They called it the "March 11 Priority Case" and transferred the head of the Foreign Trade Bureau.
Starting on March 13, they arrested about eight Falun Gong practitioners who had attended the memorial service. On May 20, 2004, Chen Shuming, the Huangzhou District Police Department political head, led a group of officers to break into Mr. Zheng's residence and arrested him. They held him at the No. 1 Detention Center. Later, in June, they issued an arrest warrant and in November, they filed charges of "instigation" and "using a [slanderous words omitted] organization to disrupt the administration of law" against him. On December 23, the Huangzhou District Court held a preliminary trial and sentenced Mr. Zheng to five years in prison. Mr. Zheng appealed the sentence on December 29. The Huanggang Intermediate People's Court denied his appeal on February 28, 2005, and upheld the verdict. The legal references the court cited included Section 1, Article 300 of the Criminal Law of China, and Section 4, Article 1 of the Explanation of Specific Law Enforcement Applications Regarding Cases in Which People Organize Cults to Commit Crimes.
The attorney expressed that Mr. Zheng was following the traditional Chinese custom of filial piety by delivering a eulogy at his father's memorial service and spoke words from his heart. How can it be called instigation? Because Mr. Zheng's father was a Falun Gong practitioner, the government considered Mr. Zheng himself to be associated with Falun Gong. Furthermore, since Falun Gong practitioners had attended the service and appealed for justice, the local officials convicted Mr. Zheng on orders from provincial officials. The judicial bureau not only failed to uphold justice; it convicted the innocent. A Chinese citizen was completely deprived of his human rights because those in power abused and violated the law and issued arbitrary orders.
We need to also consider the charge "using a [slanderous words omitted] organization to disrupt the administration of law," which led to the prison sentence.
Basically, the crucial point here is whether or not the legal references the courts cited in this case apply to Falun Gong practitioners. Did the laws that state Falun Gong to be a [slanderous word omitted] go through the procedures necessary to establish new laws? What is wrong with the starting point of the charges against Mr. Zheng Zhihong? What are the facts that prove these charges? Did Mr. Zheng Zhihong lie about his father's life in his speech? What are the legal foundations and the larger societal outlook for Falun Gong practitioners who appeal for justice? Please read the following:
I. The charges against Mr. Zheng Zhihong have no legal basis. They in fact contradict the Constitution of China.
This case shows Mr. Zheng Zhong and his son Mr. Zheng Zhihong to be Falun Gong practitioners. Because the people in power arbitrarily labeled Falun Gong as a "[slanderous word omitted]," the judicial department based its decision on this arbitrary claim, rather than on the law. It therefore regards Falun Gong as a "[slanderous word omitted]," so it decides Falun Gong practitioners are members of an "[slanderous word omitted]." Therefore, all of the practitioners' words and actions are outside the scope of law. That is the reason for the court accusing most Falun Gong practitioners of "using a [slanderous word omitted], organization to disrupt the administration of law." In any civilized society, the law should punish a person's behavior and not his identity. Mr. Zheng was convicted because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. This is obviously an illegal lawsuit and is against any principles of rule-by-law. The verdict is arbitrary and will cause long-term damage to society.
So far, no law has clearly stated that Falun Gong is a "[slanderous word omitted]." The National People's Congress and the Standing Committee, the highest power structure in the country, have never passed any law that says Falun Gong is a "[slanderous word omitted]." In other words, there is no legal reference for determining the legal nature of Falun Gong practitioners' behavior, no precedent applying any law to the Falun Gong organization, nothing that is contrary to the relationship between Falun Gong practitioners and a Falun Gong organization, no relationship between Falun Gong and a cult, and no parameter that describes what behavior of Falun Gong practitioners constitutes a crime. Falun Gong, therefore, is not a [slanderous word omitted]. An individual person's words and will cannot be regarded as illegal. They only represent that person's opinion. It is against the law to punish Falun Gong practitioners simply for their beliefs.
II. By the same token, there is no legal ground for the instigation charge against Mr. Zheng. The court cited Section 1, Article 300 of the Criminal Law of China, and Section 4, Article 1 of the Explanation of Specific Law Enforcement Applications Regarding Cases in Which People Organize Cults to Commit Crimes, and claims Zheng Zhihong used words of incitement that caused Falun Gong practitioners at the memorial service to call out for justice. He is therefore deemed guilty of instigation and "using a [slanderous word omitted] to disrupt the administration of law." Since there is no law that says Falun Gong is a [slanderous word omitted], it is wrong to use Article 300 of the Criminal Law to convict Mr. Zheng. There is no factual evidence that proves Mr. Zheng guilty of "using a [slanderous word omitted] to disrupt the administration of law."
Many facts are lacking. Where are the physical evidence and eyewitnesses? How did he misuse the law to disrupt the administration of law? What resulted from his behavior? The verdict statement did not answer any of these questions. Isn't it wrong that the statement vehemently claims Mr. Zheng's whole eulogy to be an incitement speech that led other Falun Gong practitioners to protest? Falun Gong practitioners are Chinese citizens and have rights endowed by the Constitution of China. In his eulogy, Mr. Zheng was exercising his freedom of speech as a family member of the deceased and he reflected on the hardworking, law-abiding life his father had led. It is only natural that he explained the cause of his father's death to the audience, because it is an inevitable part of his father's life. There were no overly emotional words of hatred in his eulogy, neither were there any false or slanderous words. "Instigation" is a false charge. Mr. Zheng was really convicted because he mentioned Falun Gong in his speech.
III. Mr. Zheng Zhihong did not exaggerate in his speech. The persecution of Mr. Zheng Zhong and Mr. Zheng Zhihong are absolutely true. Please investigate:
1. The persecution of Mr. Zheng Zhong. Mr. Zheng Zhong was 68 years old when he passed away. Before he started practicing Falun Dafa in 1996 he had severe pleurisy, a lung disease, high blood pressure and other serious illnesses. He was hospitalized twice for a stroke and received long-term IV infusions. After he started practicing Falun Dafa, all of his illnesses disappeared. Not only did he become healthy, but his character and his morals improved as well. During the seven years that he practiced Falun Dafa, he saved his work unit a lot in medical expenses. When the persecution of Falun Gong started, Mr. Zheng Zhong was not spared. The police in the Huangzhou District held him in a detention center five times. Once he was held 70 days past the end of his term. Mr. Zheng Zhong and his wife later went into exile and became homeless to avoid the police and the persecution. The police and the "610 Office" not only monitored his home and followed his two sons; they also tapped his home phone and often harassed and threatened his daughter-in-law and her parents. Mr. Zheng Zhong passed away on March 9, 2004, due to the tremendous mental pressure and the financial difficulty he suffered.
2. Mr. Zheng Zhihong was also persecuted before he was arrested for his speech at his father's memorial service. Before he practiced Falun Dafa, Mr. Zheng had stomach disease, cholecystitis, and severe hepatitis that resulted in pathological changes. Medical treatments failed to help him. All of his illnesses disappeared miraculously after he started practicing Falun Dafa. In 2000 he went to Beijing to validate Dafa and was escorted back to Huanggang City. He was held at the No 1 Detention Center in Huanggang City for one month. After he was released, the work unit said the police department spent 8,000 Yuan escorting him back and made his work unit pay the expenses. His work unit threatened to fire him, so Mr. Zheng paid the amount to his work unit. Nevertheless, his work unit still cut his monthly salary from over 1,000 Yuan to 400 Yuan.
In 2001 the police took Mr. Zheng Zhihong from his work unit without any legal evidence and held him at the No 2 Detention Center for 15 days. After he returned home, his work unit took his desk and chair and lowered his monthly salary from 400 Yuan to 200 Yuan. His work unit also withheld his year-end bonus of over 7,000 Yuan and deducted money if he was late to work or if he left early. After numerous attempts at dialogue with his work unit failed, Mr. Zheng was forced to stay home and not go to work. His home is far from his work unit. His monthly transportation costs amounted to more than 200 Yuan for bus fare. His wife divorced him due to pressure from his work unit and from the government. Mr. Zheng suffered a broken family and lost wages due to the persecution.
3. The National Security Bureau and the "610 Office" called Mr. Zheng Zhong's memorial service, held on March 11, 2004, as the "March 11 Priority Case." The government regarded Falun Gong practitioners who attended the service as criminals. The provincial and city governments oversaw the persecution of the practitioners. On May 20, 2004, when Mr. Zheng left home, a group of plainclothes police officers surrounded him. Without presenting any identification, they put Mr. Zheng's arms behind his back, threw him in a police car and took him to the No. 1 Detention Center. During the arrest and detention, Mr. Zheng's family went to the police department many times but was told this was an order from higher up. The police expressed sympathy but could not do anything about it. His family went to the "610 Office," the procuratorate and the Political and Judiciary Committee and received basically the same answer. The police department told his family to turn in another "organizer" or Mr. Zheng would be considered the organizer. After Mr. Zheng's family appealed many times, the procuratorate dismissed the lawsuit and ordered the police department to supply supplemental evidence. In the end, the police turned in to the court a comment that reads, "be severe in handling this case," written by Huang Yuanzhi, the deputy governor of Hubei Province. Although his family showed powerful evidence that Mr. Zheng had nothing to do with the Falun Gong practitioners' appeals and protests, the court did not give the evidence any consideration. The judicial department followed orders and not the law. Did the Falun Gong practitioners even violate the law? No one organized the Falun Gong practitioners at the service, and Mr. Zheng didn't ask any Falun Gong practitioner to attend the service. He didn't use any words of incitement in his eulogy. The Huanggang Judicial Bureau clearly knows there is no so-called organizer, yet due to pressure from governmental officials higher-up, they handed Mr. Zheng a heavy prison sentence against their conscience. If we look at the trial history of the Huanggang District Court, there has never been a single previous case where a person was sentenced to prison only for something he said. It was learned that the five-year prison sentence was internally decided by the central "610 Office" before the trial even began. This shows that the central "610 Office" is the one that disrupts the administration of law.
4. Falun Gong practitioners were being rational and exercising their legal rights by appealing for the victim. When judging Falun Gong practitioners' appeal for justice, the judicial department should not only consider the breadth, prerequisite and context of the application of law. It should also consider the complex elements that play into the whole situation. Otherwise it would reach an ambiguous conclusion.
The background for this whole dilemma is this: Without any law being passed through normal procedures, Jiang Zemin arbitrary claimed in the mass media that Falun Gong is a "[slanderous word omitted]," and persecuted it. During the past six years, more than 2,676 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of torture under this persecution. More than 100,000 practitioners have been sentenced to prison or forced labor. Thousands of practitioners have been sent to mental hospitals and have been injected with psychotic drugs that damage the central nervous system. Many more have been sent to brainwashing centers to be physically tortured and mentally tormented. Much money has been extorted from them. Their families, relatives and friends have all been punished. Countless families have been broken up, and many practitioners and their beloved ones have been compelled to go into exile.
Falun Gong practitioners have risked their lives and are still risking their lives to clarify the truth about the persecution to the Chinese people, because the Chinese government blocks all channels of appeal. Their effort to restore Falun Gong's reputation has never stopped. Over the past six years, they have constantly clarified the truth, called for respect for human rights, to be allowed to practice their belief unhampered and for an end to the persecution. For the victims to rationally clarify the truth is a form of self-defense. From a legal perspective, appealing for justice is a form of self-defense. All of the Falun Gong practitioners at the memorial service were targets of persecution, and each one of them was calling for upholding human rights and freedom. The practitioners' appeal, therefore, is not directly related to Mr. Zheng Zhihong. It was an action to uphold human rights. It is completely legal for the victims to call out when faced with threats to their human rights, nor does it constitute harm to society. Political power should be restrained by law and should not interfere with the equity of law. If that happens, it will lead to chaos. The law should not be allowed to degenerate into a tool to serve those in power, nor should it be used to retaliate against the victim or to create wrongful cases.
Based on the reasons stated above, the charges of "instigation" and "using a [slanderous word omitted] to disrupt the administration of law" against Mr. Zheng Zhihong do not stand. To send him to prison constitutes an abuse of the law! The law, justice and heavenly principles should not permit this. Jiang Zemin's group is the real perpetrator in the persecution of Falun Gong. I hereby request that international human rights organizations conduct an investigation and uphold justice by helping Falun Gong and Mr. Zheng Zhihong. Falun Gong is innocent and Mr. Zheng Zhihong is innocent!
Appellant: a man with a conscience and Dafa practitioners in the Huanggang District, Hubei Province.