Beware of the Singapore Government Making up New Excuses to Persecute Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) Three Falun Gong practitioners displayed a banner bearing the words, "July 20th Hunger Strike in Protest against the CCPs Inhuman Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners; Stop the Persecution of Falun Gong in China" in front of the Chinese consulate in Singapore. The Singapore police charged them with "harassment by displaying insulting writings." The hearing opened at a subordinate court in Singapore on August 28. The original plan was a five-day trial, but defense lawyer Mr. Ravi submitted a criminal motion to the high court, resulting in a postponement of the initial hearing.
On September 4, 2006, the subordinate court held a pre-court hearing and decided to resume the trial on September 25 after a discussion on the criminal motion at the High Court of Appeals.
Mr. Ravi, the only human rights lawyer in Singapore who represents Falun Gong practitioners, and the Singapore Democratic Party expressed support for the practitioners during the trial. Such support is normal in a democratic country, yet the government-run media deliberately stirred up the incident and twisted the news. The Singapore government has been trying to suppress Falun Gong practitioners activities there in order to gain favor with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been looking for and creating excuses to carry out the suppression against Falun Gong.
The following is a summary of the trial and the standpoint of the Singapore Falun Dafa Association
Lawyer: defendant deprived of right to a fair trial
Legal proceedings have moved very slowly after the trial opening on August 28, 2006. Defense lawyer Ravi discovered many abnormal discriminatory treatments of Falun Gong practitioners, including
The court strictly limits Falun Gong supporters from attending the trial. Court security permitted only six to eight supporters to enter the courtroom, although nearly 100 supporters were waiting outside.
The court refused to provide the defense lawyer with the polices videotape that serves as their primary evidence. This action is contrary to common practice.
The court permitted police witnesses to audit the trial when their presence is not required on the witness stand, which is against the rules of the court and standard courtroom proceedings.
The court security personnel withheld the most important evidence from the defense lawyer.
Mr. Ravi brought the aforementioned infractions to the attention of the court and requested the court restore the defendants' basic right to a fair trial. Violations three and four were corrected after a long discussion, and the trial was reconvened.
During the afternoon of the second day, the defense lawyer cross-examined police witness Huang Yaozong. When he answered the defense lawyers question, he said that the reason why he regarded the words on the banner as "insulting" is because he did not believe that the CCPs persecution of Falun Gong is true. If the persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP is validated, however, the charge of "insulting" would not stand and the lawsuit would be withdrawn.
The defense lawyer immediately furnished Huang Yaozong with the "2004 United Nations Investigation Report," which lists numerous incidents of persecution against Falun Gong by the CCP. Mr. Ravi requested to have the report be included as part of the evidence, and he also requested the court to instruct the investigators or members of the general prosecutors bureau to base their investigation on the report, in order to verify the fact that Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted in China. The subordinate court judge, however, denied his request.
Mr. Ravi believes that by denying evidence, the court is stonewalling the defendants right to a fair trial. To guarantee that the legal rights of the litigants are not violated, Mr. Ravi filed a criminal motion on August 30 with the high court, where a hearing regarding the motion took place in the morning of August 31. The court judge listened to statements made by both sides, but denied the defense lawyers requests with the reason that "the subordinate court is capable of handling this issue." Mr. Ravi again filed the motion with the High Court of Appeals, which was approved. The High Court of Appeals will discuss the motion on September 25, 2006.
We particularly need to point out that in the mornings of August 30 and August 31, the security officers at the high court conducted a thorough search of Falun Gong supporters handbags when they were entering the court. They forbade anyone to bring books or items with "Falun Gong" into the court, including Zhuan Falun, the main text of Falun Gong that guides the cultivation. Three Western Falun Gong practitioners were exempt from the search. Falun Gong practitioners from different countries see this act as a violation of their freedom of belief. They will bring the issue to the consulate and Department of Foreign Affairs of their own countries.
Government media deliberately misleads the readers by twisting the words of Falun Gongs banner
On August 29, 2006, the second day of the trial, United Morning News, the largest Singapore Chinese newspaper, and Strait Times, the largest English newspaper in Singapore, both reported the Falun Gong practitioners words on the banner in front of the Chinese consulate. The original words of the banner were "July 20th Hunger Strike in Protest against the CCPs Inhuman Persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners." The United Morning News referred to "China" in place of the "CCP" and replaced "inhuman" with "complete lack of tolerance."
The Strait Times twice wrote, "stop prosecution" instead of "stop persecution," which completely altered the meaning of the banner's words. The newspaper reported the banner to have said, "7.20 - Stop Prosecution of Falun Gong in China." After these errors came out in the reports the first day, Falun Gong practitioners went to the Strait Times correspondent Mr. Singh and pointed out the mistakes. Mr. Singh agreed to publish a correction the following day. However, the September 1 Strait Times report still used "prosecution" instead of "persecution."
Singapore government trying to create new excuses to persecute Falun Gong
The main Chinese language paper, the United Morning News, published a commentary entitled "For Whom a Public Protest Takes Place," written by Lin Yiming on September 2.
The article began with the Democratic Partys request to have a protest march during the annual meeting of the World Bank. After he expressed the governments standpoint about this incident, the topic then immediately turned and pointed to Falun Gong, "Recently, the Democratic Party has been very close to local Falun Gong adherents and has been supporting Falun Gong on various occasions, including the Democratic Party website, to oppose the suppression of local Falun Gong practitioners by the Singapore government.'" This led some people from opposing parties to think that the Democratic Party can join local Falun Gong practitioners, share each others resources and hold public protests together.
Lin Yiming is attempting to guide the readers to think that by supporting Falun Gong, the Democratic Party is holding a joint public protest with Falun Gong, and that Falun Gong must be participating in the Democratic Partys activities, such as the protest march during the World Bank meeting. I dont have any intention of discussing the legitimacy of the Democratic Party protest march, but I would only stress that the activities of the Democratic Party have nothing to do with Falun Gong.
Lin Yimings article then turned to defense lawyer Mr. Ravi, "Coincidentally, lawyer Ravi represents Xu Shunquan, his sister and the Democratic Party in a libel suit against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. He is the same person who represents two Falun Gong practitioners accused of harassment, which intensifies the suspicion that the Democratic Party and Falun Gong have joined forces."
Mr. Ravi is the main and often only human rights lawyer in Singapore. The Democratic Party and Falun Gong practitioners are his clients. It is a huge logical leap to then accuse those two groups of joining forces. Lee Kuan Yews lawyer must also have other clients. Does this mean that Lee Kuan Yew is also joining forces with all of them?
Attached is an announcement by the Singapore Falun Dafa Association
The Singapore Falun Dafa Association issued the following announcement regarding the lawsuit against the unlawfully accused Falun Gong practitioners and the September 2 article "For Whom the Public Protest Takes Place" on United Morning News:
Falun Gong is a cultivation group; it does not get involved in politics, nor does it have any political motives;
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)s persecution over past seven years constitutes the most severe genocide in the history of mankind. The Singapore government not only didnt come to the aid of this persecuted group, but instead appeased the CCP for financial gains and took part in the persecution against Falun Gong. If this lawsuit is not withdrawn, the Singapore government would be an accomplice to the persecution and participant in the genocide; the nature [of the crime] is serious. Right now, the whole world is watching this trial.
Falun Gong practitioners condemn the persecution of Falun Gong from anyone in any form. Their goal is to stop this persecution as soon as possible. It cant be said that it is "getting involved in politics" simply because some political figures were exposed during the process.
Falun Gong practitioners have earned worldwide empathy and support through their peaceful protest in the past seven years. Many people in Singapore supported Falun Gong practitioners after they learned the truth, but they are afraid to express their support publicly because of the governments suppression of Falun Gong. These supporters include police officers, government officials and people from various walks of life.
The Singapore Democratic Party expressed concern and support for Falun Gong through its website. This is completely normal in any democratic and its an act of conscience by Singaporeans. The whole society ought to encourage and support those groups that uphold justice, instead of applying pressure or threatening to "take measures" against it;
Falun Gong practitioners in Singapore will continue to seek support from Singapore and the world, to end the persecution together. We welcome support in this regard, whether it is from the ruling party, the opposition party, other parties, social organizations and individuals;
Since few lawyers in Singapore are willing to represent the cases of Falun Gong in court, the accused Falun Gong practitioners had decided to defend themselves in court at the time of the pre-trial meeting on August 7. They decided to hire lawyer Ravi only after the sudden deportation of Chen Paiyu. Chen Paiyu is a 73-year-old Chinese woman, holder of a Chinese passport, one of the three defendants in the case. Her Singapore resident permit was suddenly revoked on August 10. She was ordered to return to China within three days. She could face charges of "contempt of court" as she was awaiting the August 28th trial, which would also affect legal proceedings; therefore, the other two Falun Gong practitioners decided to hire lawyer Ravi to deal with the related complex legal matters.
Mr. Ravi responded to the request despite his hectic schedule and has lived up to his reputation as a human rights lawyer. He has also been accomplishing his mission as a human rights lawyer. But the relationship between Mr. Ravi and Falun Gong practitioners is that of lawyer-client.
The Singapore government, who proclaims itself to be a first-tier government, should live up to its claim in dealing with increasing support for Falun Gong from inside and outside Singapore. We call on the Singapore government to abandon its outdated notions and conduct, and treat the phenomenon of more support for Falun Gong from society with an open mind and a democratic attitude.