Human Resource Leadership Forum (HRLF) Issues a Challenge to Hong Kong and the International Community
(Clearwisdom.net) The Hong Kong government used a blacklist provided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to deny several hundred Falun Gong practitioners from Taiwan who held valid visas from entering Hong Kong and deported them, some even violently. This has caught international attention.
The Human Resource Leadership Forum (a non-profit organization formed in 2005 to preserve human rights around the world) released the following statement to ask governments around the world to speak out and do what they can do, indeed what they must do, to not only preserve fundamental protections and checks and balances in Hong Kong, but also, and just as importantly, to put an end to the government-sponsored torture in China. The following is the complete text of the HRLF editorial statement:
A Challenge to Hong Kong and the International Community
There has never been a more urgent need to preserve fundamental basic rights and freedoms and the democratic system of checks and balances than today, as over 500 persons of the Falun Gong faith have been denied the exercise of a variety of constitutionally protected human rights including the right to travel, the right to hold and exercise religious and spiritual views, the right to freely associate and to peacefully express opinions, and the right to not be discriminated against on religious grounds due to an abuse of power by the Hong Kong Office of Immigration and the co-extensive lack of strong steps taken by the governments around the world against government-sponsored torture programs in China that transcend the bounds of the law and our most treasured human rights values and norms.
The 500 barred travelers are all citizens of Taiwan in possession of valid visas and requisite travel documentation who clearly pose absolutely no safety risk to Hong Kong whatsoever. Indeed, as an application for judicial review filed with the High Court of Hong Kong SAR maintains, the Hong Kong immigration department in collaboration with the Chinese communist authorities have purposefully excluded all persons of the Falun Gong faith from traveling to Hong Kong in the wake of a lawsuit filed against Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, and Li Lanqing for their purportedly pivotal role in the government-sponsored torture programs set up in China today. Lawsuits have been filed against these three defendants in over 17 countries around the world based on the very same allegations.
These actions were taken by reference to a blacklist of names of presumed Falun Gong practitioners or supporters that was compiled by the Chinese communist regime, and circulated by it to the Government of Hong Kong. As Chen Yonglin, a former high ranking Chinese Communist Party official involved at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party spy network abroad, has stated, the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners who reside outside of China includes the collection of information about them and their activities in other countries to prevent any form of (legal or other) protest activities against the government-sponsored torture programs in China. To this end, the Chinese communist authorities created these black ("no fly") lists with the help of a network of spies who work for them around the globe.
It is this information collection and effort to prevent legal or other types of protest that has been used to bar these 500 presumed Falun Gong practitioners from traveling to Hong Kong to show their support of the lawsuit filed to hold accountable those responsible for the repressive policies of the Chinese communist authorities.
The use of blacklist collection efforts to single people out for various forms of ill treatment has a history that goes back at least as far as the Nazi era. Himmler's blacklists of Jewish persons living in Europe were used by the Nazis to identify, round up, and transport six million Jews to the concentration camps where they were subjected to forced labor, torture, and mass extermination. The Nazi Gestapo is also known to have compiled a list of more than 2,300 persons whose arrest was to occur immediately after the victory of the Nazi forces. Included on the list were Winston Churchill, Churchill's cabinet ministers, France's former leader De Gaulle, "enemy of Germany" Lady Astor, the leadership of British intelligence Service Robert Vansittart, and many Jewish refugees including Dr. Sigmund Freud.
However, unlike Nazi Germany, the Hong Kong legal system like that of all democratic states has evolved carefully structured checks and balances that are predicated in part upon the independence of the judicial branch of government. The "no fly" blacklists that bar entry into Hong Kong of Falun Gong practitioners not only impose sanctions on Falun Gong practitioners (amounting to a deprivation of their constitutional due process rights under Hong Kong's Basic Law), making abuses through discrimination inevitable. They also signal the conspicuous lack of an independent judicial branch able to decide cases and controversies without sanctions imposed upon the complainants and their supporters.
The latest in a series of due process deprivations in Hong Kong is especially unfortunate in light of the purpose of the transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1994 - to uphold a two-system rule rather than the one-system rule of government that prevails in China today. This is equally unfortunate in light of the gravity of the human rights allegations, allegations that are being taken quite seriously by federal courts around the world. In May of 2004, the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged the pivotal role of the former head of state Jiang Zemin in the "mass arrests, allegedly farcical trials, torture, forced labor, 're-education,' and killing of [Falun Gong] members" in its opinion issued on May 27, 2004. Similarly, Judge Octavio Araoz de Lamadrid, the chief judicial officer now presiding over the criminal case filed in Argentina against Luo Gan, issued an opinion in January of 2006 which held that the role of defendant Gan in these government-sponsored torture programs was of such a serious nature as to not permit a dismissal of the case on foreign immunity or related grounds. Other courts including most notably the Spanish National Court (Audencia Nacional) have applied the principles of universal jurisdiction to cases filed against former head of state Jiang Zemin in spite of the absence of any links between Spain and the alleged crimes, the alleged perpetrators, or the victims, based upon the serious of the allegations and strength of the plaintiffs' case.
While the courts around the world have upheld the principles of justice and the legal standards created to enforce these principles, most of the democratic countries around the world have cast a blind eye to the ongoing government-sponsored torture programs that clearly transcend the bounds of law and the most treasured values of all democratic states. HRLF asks governments around the world to speak out and do what they can do, indeed what they must do, to not only preserve fundamental protections and checks and balances in Hong Kong, but also and just as importantly to put an end to the government-sponsored torture in China.