From the Les Presses Chinoises Trial: Should There Be No Ethical Standards Regarding Freedom of Speech?
February 27, 2004
Chinatown in Montreal, Canada, was livened up very much this week as more than 200 Falun Gong practitioners came from all over Canada appropriately dressed to bring some warmth to this chilly city. In the morning or at noon, they practiced their exercises in front of the Cathedral and City Hall located to the east and west of the Superior Court. They also passed out flyers wearing smiles in bustling intersections. Most of them came from Toronto. Some took a special trip to fly here from the east coast. More than 30 practitioners drove overnight from the USA to lend their support.
This was the third day of the final closing statements of the Falun Gong practitioners' lawsuit against Les Presses Chi noises. The lawyer for the accused presented his closing statement. It lasted the whole day and it was thought that he would continue the following day. Let's hear how people look upon the argument presented by the lawyer of Les Presses Chi noises and others sitting here in the biggest courtroom of the Superior Court in Montreal.
The lawyer for the accused proposed that there should not be any limits on freedom of speech; that any belief and individual can be attacked. Should there be no basic ethical standards regarding freedom of speech?
Ms. Liu from Toronto worked very hard to understand it and she said: "I am surprised by what the lawyer for the accused said today. I always thought lawyers should have a noble character and speak out from a sense of justice for the weak. He should be thorough, practical and realistic. What he said today shocked me. If every one attacked one another as they pleased, would this society have right and wrong, good and evil? It would be terrible."
Ms. Liu is not a plaintiff. She came just because she is concerned about and supports this case.
"Any freedom has its limits. Otherwise, it would do harm to people's basic human rights." said a woman from Ottawa.
Mr. Grey, lawyer for the accused, said: "When all the witnesses read He Bin's article attacking Falun Gong published in Les Presses Chi noises, they felt cold all over and became full of fear. They trembled and felt they were back in China. At that time, they could not think normally ...... which makes people suspect the reliability of their testimony."
A man from Toronto said: "He [the lawyer for the accused] lives in a beautiful house in Canada. He cannot understand the persecution Falun Gong practitioners suffer and what they feel. If he took a book of Falun Gong and went to China to shout "Falun Dafa is good," after he was arrested by the police and beaten up, he'd understand."
The lawyer for the accused claimed that most of the people who came to the court and testified were "hard to believe." For example, it was impossible that Professor Zhang really created by himself many sculptures that include both Eastern and Western artistic styles. He said that with so many plaintiffs testifying in court last November for three weeks and with more than 200 people attending the closing statements at that time, it was strange that so many people did not go to work for all that time. The inference was that they must have been paid in some way. However, Falun Gong practitioners insist that they do everything with their own money. Falun Gong is not an organization and also does not accept money. Because they said this, he claimed more than 200 plaintiffs who sat in the courtroom were lying.
One woman who listened to the closing statements said: "Next time, we should prepare some materials and ask Professor Zhang to make a sculpture in public and show it to the lawyer for the accused. We will see what he would have to say then"
A Falun Gong practitioner from Boston drove for 6 hours to get there and said, "I feel very sad. Last November, I also attended the court interrogation. This case affects every kind and righteous person's heart. So, I asked for leave from work and came here. No one pays us. We stay in other practitioners' homes, eat instant noodles, and sleep in sleeping bags. We just want more people to remember Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance".
A lady who is studying in a college in Ottawa analyzed these statements and said: "Lawyers have guidelines of professional ethics. The lawyer for the accused discounted all of our testimony without any factual basis and also used absolute words. I feel he was unreasonable."
When asked for their opinion on this case, several persons expressed the same thought: the damage caused by Les Presses Chi noises' slandering Falun Gong practitioners cannot be weighed with money. We want justice and we want to let the people know the truth about Falun Gong.