Australian Government Steps in to Argue for Diplomatic Immunity in Chen Shaoji Case
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is acting out of desperation in Australia. After the default judgment was rendered against CCP official Bo Xilai in early November for his crimes against Falun Gong, the Australian courts were scheduled to have a hearing on a default judgment against CCP official Chen Shaoji. Then a letter was unexpectedly delivered to the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court, declaring that regardless of what Chinese officials do in any capacity, whether official or private, they should have immunity, and that any lawsuit against them is illegal.
When the barrister for plaintiffs Xie Yan and Li Fuying went to apply for the default judgment, three solicitors from the Australian Attorney General's office arrived and submitted the letter to the court from the Chinese Embassy in Australia. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer issued and signed a certificate on November 15, 2007, granting defendant Chen Shaoji diplomatic immunity, claiming the defendant was not subject to the jurisdiction of the court, and the 22nd Australian Attorney-General submitted a document to the court using the Foreign States Immunity Act 1985 to protect Chen Shaoji from the proceedings.
Plaintiff Ms. Xie Yan wrote an open letter to the Australian people on November 23. She stated, "Adolf Hitler was a government official and he did what he did based on the laws of Nazi Germany. I would like to know, if Hitler were on trial today, would Minister Downer and the Attorney General use the same reasoning to excuse him?"
The Supreme Court had held a hearing on CCP official Chen Shaoji, who was sued for illegal imprisonment and torture. The two plaintiffs, Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Li Fuying and Ms. Xie Yan, were detained and tortured when defendant Chen Shaoji was the political and judiciary secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee and Minister of the Guangdong Province Public Security Bureau. At the time, Ms. Xie was an unmarried young woman, and Ms. Li was over 70 years old.
Now Ms. Li Fuying is nearly 80 years old. She was imprisoned in Guangzhou City twice for remaining steadfast in her belief in Falun Gong. Her daughter, Ms. Yan Haiyu, was sent to Chatou Women's Forced Labor Camp for a two-year term without any legal procedures having been followed. She was physically and mentally tortured and was force-fed many times. After she served the term, she was sent to the Guangzhou City Brainwashing Center, where fresh air was only let in once every 24 hours. She suffered various tortures, brainwashing, and other cruel means of persecution and was greatly traumatized. When Ms. Li Fuying recalled the persecution that she, her family, and other Falun Gong practitioners had been subjected to in China--and who are still being brutally persecuted today--she couldn't control the sadness in her heart and burst into tears several times.
Plaintiff Xie Yan said: "Because I refused to denounce my belief in 'Truthfulness, Benevolence, and Forbearance,' I was illegally imprisoned for two years in China, and suffered brutal torture in a forced labor camp." She said that during the two years and three months of forced labor, she was tortured brutally. During the first two days, she was handcuffed and hung on the metal window frame of a cell for 48 hours with only the tips of her toes touching the ground. During the next three days, she was handcuffed and hung in the same way for 18 hours a day. Other tortures included being tied up for a long time, force-feeding, brainwashing, and forced labor 16 hours a day.
Defendant Chen Shaoji headed up a 610 Office and assisted and instigated police officers to strengthen their brainwashing techniques to attack Falun Dafa practitioners, among his other crimes. Chen Shaoji cannot shirk the responsibility for his involvement in crimes against Falun Gong in Guangdong Province.
In December 2006, Ms. Li Fuying and Ms. Xie Yan filed the lawsuit against Chen Shaoji, and successfully delivered the summons to the defendant, who was leading a Guangdong delegation in Sydney. The plaintiffs said that a hearing of the defendant's crimes against Falun Gong and a judgment in an Australian court may help the plaintiffs attain justice in the free country of Australia, something that is not possibleThe New South Wales Supreme Court has held several hearings, and Chen Shaoji has not responded. With defendant Chen Shaoji failing to respond to the case, the plaintiffs applied for a default judgment, in the hope that the court would use Bo Xilai's case as a reference.
Australian Falun Gong practitioner Pan Yu sued former Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai for torture. When Bo failed to provide a defense for the case, the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney issued a default judgment in favor of Pan Yu on November 5, 2007. The court ruled that plaintiff Pan Yu won the case, and may ask for compensation for injuries caused by Bo.
Former CCP diplomat Chen Yonglin said that the loss of CCP official Bo Xilai's case in Australia is a huge setback and frightening to CCP officials who have directly led and participated in persecuting Falun Gong, because none of them will then be able to evade trial. Chen Yonglin thought that, because Bo Xilai's case has had such a big impact, if Chen Shaoji faces the same judgment this time, more CCP officials will be faced with default judgments. This might lead the CCP to threaten the Australian government with ceasing China-Australia relations, canceling their free trade agreement, etc., which would mean huge economic losses for Australia.
The November 13, 2007, letter from the Chinese Embassy states: "Immunity shall prevail no matter in what capacity such officials act, official or private. All proceedings against these officials are unlawful no matter whether they are incumbent or have ceased to perform their duty."
Plaintiff Ms. Xie Yan hopes that the Australia judicial system won't submit to the CCP's pressure and that it will persevere, recall the fair procedures in Bo Xilai's case, and issue defendant Chen Shaoji a default judgment. Ms. Xie also said that the path of Chen Shaoji's promotions to becoming a high-level CCP official is covered in Falun Gong practitioners' blood: "The crimes against humanity committed by CCP officials in the persecution of Falun Gong will exist forever in history."