La Presse Chinoise Slander Case Opens in Montreal, Canada
November 14, 2003
(Clearwisdom.net) During the morning of November 10, 2003, on the first day of the trial, about 200 Dafa practitioners from different Canadian cities came to the biggest available courtroom, arranged for by the court that hears our case. Prior to the opening of the trial proceedings, Dafa practitioners quietly waited in the large hallway outside the courtroom. We know this to be an unusual battle between righteous and evil. We must display the magnificence and wonder of Dafa. We know Dafa practitioners are the ones who are the true players in this game, and that this is a stage set up for Dafa.
The first day
The attorneys on both sides presented their opening statements. Then, in his concluding remarks, our attorney Mickle Bergman petitioned the judge to consider the importance of this lawsuit because this complaint is not an isolated case but involves tens of millions of Chinese people and will affect all Falun Gong practitioners everywhere.
Many people around the world are paying attention to this trial and its outcome. This will become a test case for other similar legal actions around the world. It will become a historical reference point. A solemn atmosphere prevailed in the court and Dafa practitioners displayed their dignity.
On the opposing side, the defense attorney not only invoked the newspaper's freedom of speech, but he also said the article in question did not harm Falun Gong practitioners. The newspaper article only criticized Falun Gong and its founder, concluding that the actual plaintiff should be our Master and Dafa. He thereby tried to negate the practitioners' accusations!
Our attorney responded, "If one reads this newspaper report, one would think Falun Gong practitioners who are standing here are vulgar, immoral people who are a threat to society. You would conclude that they should be excluded from society. Do you know why so many practitioners came here? All these practitioners here have suffered persecution themselves. They were slandered, and as a result they were hurt. Their families and friends in China live in constant danger. They came here not only to speak for themselves; they represent practitioners who cannot come here; they represent all Falun Gong practitioners in Canada and all Falun Gong practitioners who suffer persecution in China. They represent all Falun Gong practitioners around the world."
His words were touching, and many in the courtroom were moved to tears. We realized that although on the surface this is a lawsuit against the newspaper La Presse Chinoise, it actually deals with our righteous belief, our comprehension of Fa principles, our attitude toward sending forth righteous thoughts and with truth clarification.
In the beginning, the defense attorney spoke about freedom of speech, but now at the conclusion of the trial with his remarks he had directly attacked Dafa and Master. He also held in his hand the slanderous booklet Jiang Zemin gave to former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Because we felt a change in the courtroom atmosphere, many practitioners asked for a day off from work to attend the next day's proceedings.
The second day
A non-practitioner, a professor who has studied Chinese history took the stand. This scholar is an expert on Chinese history and culture and understands the Chinese language. He had been to China over a dozen times and had conducted on-site studies. In 1999, while in France, he saw reports on the April 25th Appeal by Falun Gong practitioners. He wanted to learn more about Falun Gong. After he had returned to Montreal he went to local Falun Gong practitioners and in succeeding years began an academic study of Falun Gong. He had attended numerous Fa conferences in North America and had an opportunity to observe the practitioners planning and organizing Fa conferences.
He testified before the court to the development of qigong in China in the past few decades and the intrinsic cultural foundation upon which qigong is based. He also spoke of the outstanding popularity of qigong in the 1940s and 1950s; how it was banned during the Cultural Revolution and it's re-emergence in the 1980s, and how Falun Gong fared when the government neither encouraged nor suppressed qigong. He also said that many high-level Chinese government officials practiced qigong, and that the Chinese government at first supported Falun Gong and later opposed it. Although he had no experience with the substance of qi, widespread scientific circles in China had verified its existence. This professor had also conducted studies with some practitioners in North America. He showed the results of part of his research in court, which were relatively objective. At the same time he also testified that Falun Gong is similar to other qigong practices but it places a heavy emphasis on moral conduct.
The defense attorney tried to confront our witness on numerous occasions with questions about the credibility of supernatural abilities and other similar phenomenon, but our witness cited the example of Jesus' resurrection three days after his death, which is recorded in the Bible. Our witness didn't repel such notions. The defense attorney was speechless.
Overall, we think this day went very well. The defense attorney will continue to cross-examine our witness on Monday.
Comprehension regarding the Fa principles
The defense attorney has time and again brought Zhuan Falun and several other Dafa books to court and quoted from them lines out of context to mislead the court. This has raised fear in practitioners' hearts. We worry - what if we cannot answer the questions properly? This becomes an issue of us worrying, about not being able to properly explain all that is being asked, and also that others might not understand us. We are clearly aware, though, that everything is targeting Dafa and that our conduct will impact everything.
Actually, the Fa principles run through everything, from top to bottom. Master has used human language to explain the extremely profound Fa principles in the human world to us. We should therefore be able to answer all the questions with wisdom and in a language that is comprehensible to common people. No matter what questions we are required to answer, we will be able to calmly offer a clear explanation, using examples and analogies.
People in Mainland China live in an environment of atheism; that is why we always feel they may not understand what we say about higher beings in relationship to Dafa, but many Western people believe in a God [the latest statistics show that 70% of the population in North America professes a belief in a God]. Theism and atheism are fundamentally different and diametrically opposed. A person in North America would not necessarily be shown prejudice for being either an atheist or a theist. This comes under one of the rubrics that the Western society calls democracy and freedom of expression. However, because we as Chinese do not have enough experience living in and knowledge of culture in the Western society, we tend to have this or that scruple when we express our views, which is in fact one of our shortcomings.
The court, of course, is not a forum for academic discussions; however, when we are asked a question, we can certainly answer it firmly and clearly, in a scientific way, using analogies that are comprehensible to all people. This is being merciful, and this is also redeeming people. At the same time we should not get caught up in these questions. The La Presse Chinoise is the one being sued for slandering us, and it is not up to the court to judge Falun Gong. Our answers do not need to go beyond the point we make, and we should always bring the issue back to the point that it is the other side that is slandering and attacking us. The fact that we hold different views does not make it legal to attack us.
Lastly, practitioners sitting in the court's visitors' gallery are there for support and to help dispel any loopholes. We can share as much as we like and discuss any different views prior to the opening of a court session. When a court session has started, though, we should all let go of our own points of view. No matter what our witnesses say in their answers, we should always remember that we are one body, and we should use our righteous thoughts to silently support the practitioner who is answering questions. Even if his/her answer may not be perfect, we should help to enable what s/he says to have its due effect and can be understood by common people. We should not worry, but trust Master's guidance and our fellow practitioners, because they are using their best side to answer any questions.
Let us become an indestructible, whole body in the Fa that can perfect everything.