(Clearwisdom.net) On December 7, 2004, Tanzania's court prodeeded with the case against Chen Zhili, former Minister of Education and current State Councilor of the People's Republic of China. The court may issue its rulings as early as next week.

Tanzania's Court Proceeds to Hear the Case Against Chen Zili After an Initial Inquiry

Human rights attorneys filed a lawsuit against current State Councilor Chen Zhili, China's former Minister of Education, during her state-visit to Tanzania. She is charged with being responsible for the torture and death of Falun Gong practitioners connected with China's education system. She was ordered to appear before Tanzania's court on July 19.

Chen was Minister of Education between 1998 and 2003. She is currently the State Councilor in charge of culture and education. During her time as Minister of Education, she closely followed Jiang Zemin's dictates within her level of authority, China's education system, and carried out his policies relating to the persecution of Falun Gong. For this singular reason, the persecution of Falun Gong has been especially severe and cruel within China's education system. She implemented a systematic campaign whereby Chinese youth are taught that hatred of Falun Gong and the suppression of Falun Gong are legitimate. Many students, teachers, and staff members have been detained and persecuted because they practice Falun Gong. At least 61 practitioners in the education system have died due to the persecution. Examples of the persecution include students being forced out of school, murder, disappearance, and illegal detention, all of which are clearly basic human rights violations.

Between December 7 and 16, 2004, the High Court of Tanzania proceeded to hear the case against Chen Zhili after an initial inquiry. The court may issue its ruling as early as next week.

Chinese Government Applies Pressure and Attempts to Influence the Independence of Tanzania's Judicial System

During the judicial investigation period, The Guardian newspaper published a related article on December 13. The article reported that the Tanzania Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the existence of the lawsuit charging Chen Zhili with torture and extra-judicial killing. The defendant has denied any connection with the article in The Guardian.

Having the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issue such a public statement before the case has been decided violates the principles required to have an independent judiciary. It is difficult not to suspect that the Chinese government applied pressure on the Tanzanian government. Thus, this lawsuit will set a clear precedent regarding the independence of Tanzania's legal system.

It is very common for the Chinese government to pressure foreign governments to suppress lawsuits through diplomatic channels. It becomes more and more obvious that Jiang Zemin and his followers have no intention of accepting responsibility for their persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. The minute they are faced with a multitude of international lawsuits, they panic and attempt to evade the lawsuits through diplomatic finagling. A case in point is the lawsuit against Jiang Zemin in the United States. The Chinese government has repeatedly requested that the U.S. government put a stop to the lawsuit. This is a clear and direct interference with the internal issues and independence of the U.S. judiciary system and violates the U.S. constitution.

On February 3, 2004, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found the Vice-Consul General of the People's Republic of China at Toronto, Pan Xinchun, guilty of slandering practitioner Joel Chipkar in a Canadian newspaper. Pan was ordered to pay damages of 1,000 Canadian dollars, a symbolic amount requested by the plaintiff, and 10,000 Canadian dollars in legal costs. Pan, however, relying on his diplomatic status, refused to appear before the court or accept its ruling. He avoided paying the fine by closing his bank account. The Chinese government also issued a statement through the defendant's lawyer, calling for the Canadian government to intervene, claiming the incident would affect the relationship between the two countries. Such diplomatic tricks did not work under the Canadian judicial system, however. In November 2004, an official at Foreign Affairs of Canada confirmed that Pan Xinchun had fled from Canada.

Evildoers Cannot Escape Justice

Utilizing independent judiciary systems and mountains of convincing evidence detailing the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners have pursued legal actions against Chinese officials who have participated in the persecution of Falun Gong. To date, there are 13 lawsuits against Jiang Zemin worldwide, and 34 lawsuits against twenty-two high-ranking Chinese officials who have been following Jiang's polices in the persecution of Falun Gong. Some of these defendants have already been found guilty.

On December 8, 2004, Judge Wilkin of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California affirmed a magistrate's ruling that Beijing Communist Party Secretary Liu Qi is liable for the crimes of torture and crimes against humanity committed by the police under his administration in the persecution of Falun Gong.

We hope these lawsuits can provide a clearer understanding of the persecution of Falun Gong to those within the court systems, the general public, and the world's governments. At the same time, we hope the lawsuits also serve as warnings to those Chinese officials who are still participating in the persecution of Falun Gong. They are a clear call to cease and desist, to wake up and stop participating in this illegal persecution. Otherwise, they will face legal pursuit and punishment by law.