Canadian Court Severely Restricts ACLA's Intervention in Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) According to the The Epoch Times, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 23, 2007 that the All-China Lawyers Association (ACLA), which had sought to intervene in the torture lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, would have five restrictions in its involvement, including being forbidden to submit evidence or make arguments in the case. The ruling dealt a serious blow to Jiang Zemin's attempt to have the case dismissed through those under his control outside of China.
Attorney Theresa Chu, CEO of the U.S. Human Rights Law Foundation's Asia branch, which helps Falun Gong with lawsuits against Jiang Zemin around the world, told a reporter, "Obviously, after a default judgment was given in Bo Xilai's case in Australia, Jiang worries about the civil charges being brought against him in the lawsuits in seventeen countries. Therefore, Jiang is clearly working harder to intervene in these lawsuits through overseas intermediaries in an attempt to influence the court's decision."
"The Falun Gong human right lawsuits are regarded as being highly politically sensitive. They are a litmus test of whether the courts put politics before law, or if they follow the law and international justice standards to make independent judgments. Our ultimate hope is for the Chinese court system itself to take action to bring this human rights criminal to justice, rectify past injustices, and bring this to a satisfactory conclusion for all Chinese people, but Falun Gong practitioners and their families in particular. This would also serve to help the international community view China in a new light."
On Nov. 15, 2004, six Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto filed a lawsuit in the Ontario Supreme Court against high-level Chinese officials mainly responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong. The officials included Jiang Zemin, Li Lanqing, Luo Gan, Liu Jing, Wang Maolin, and others. They were accused of forced incarceration and illegal detention, physical assault, illegal confiscation and/or damage of property, financial crimes, physical and mental torture, and slander. The defendants sought 20 million Canadian dollars as compensation.
In August 2006, ACLA sought to intervene in the lawsuit. On November 23, 2007, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that ACLA would have five restrictions to its involvement, including being forbidden from submitting evidence or making arguments in the case. Kate Kempton, the plaintiffs' lawyer, told The Epoch Times that she was pleased with the decision. "We had obviously hoped to succeed in preventing the ACLA's intervention entirely, but the court ordered quite a limited intervention, and we are happy about that," Kempton said.
The Background of ACLA
According to the homepage of the Chinese Department of Justice, ACLA is a subordinate organization of the Department of Justice. Mr. Han Guangsheng, the former chief of the Justice Bureau of Shenyang City, told The Epoch Times that lawyer associations in China are not independent of the government. Mr. Han himself was the chair of the Lawyer Association in Shenyang when he was the chief of the Justice Bureau.
In the Constitution of the ACLA, which is available at www.legalinfo.gov.cn/gb/moj/zhishudanwei/lvshixiehui.htm, Item 4 and 17 state that "ACLA is supervised and guided by the department of justice" and "the justice department has the right to assign a qualified lawyer to enter the election campaign of ACLA as a candidate."
Mr. Guo Guoding: ACLA is controlled by the CCP
Mr. Guo Guoding, a well-known human rights lawyer, points out, "The ACLA claims to be like the lawyer associations in the United States, which are independent of the government. But in reality, ACLA is not a non-government organization. In China, the lawyer associations at the national, provincial and city levels have CCP committees and are controlled by the CCP. The lawyers who have been persecuted by the CCP for speaking out for Falun Gong or for trying to protect human rights are not protected or assisted by the lawyer associations."
Dr. Terri Marsh: the CCP is nervous about the lawsuits
"The Chinese Communist Party is very nervous about the lawsuits filed against the major perpetrators of the persecution of Falun Gong," said Dr. Terri Marsh, a U.S. attorney who has worked on many of the cases. She continued, "That's the strategy of those officials involved in the persecution--they don't reply to the lawsuits; they use a proxy to try to have the case dismissed. This is because they know that the defendants are responsible for these crimes. If they were to come to court to defend themselves, they would be held accountable for their crimes."
Jiang responded to the lawsuits indirectly
Mr. Shi Cangshan, a China expert living in Washington D.C., said: "Jiang Zemin is trying to interfere with the lawsuits through the ACLA, which is an indirect response to the case. This signifies a new phase in the progression of the lawsuits. Although the international community may not be fully clear on the nature of ACLA, the Chinese people know quite well that it answers to the CCP and that the CCP is up to no good."
Lawsuits against Jiang all over the world
According to Ms. Chu, Falun Gong practitioners in 30 cities around the world have filed more than 50 lawsuits against Jiang Zemin since 2002. Ms. Chu said, "Jiang Zemin has ordered the Chinese media to attack and slander Falun Gong. Countless Falun Gong practitioners have lost their jobs, their freedom, and had their families torn apart. Falun Gong practitioners are tortured in prisons, labor camps and detention centers. They are forced to do heavy labor. Some of them were sent to mental hospitals and injected with unidentified drugs."
At least 3,107 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of the persecution since July 20, 1999.