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New Zealand: Court Hears Torture Claims Against Chinese Officials

November 15, 2005 |  

(Clearwisdom.net) New Zealand's the Independent Business Weekly published an article written by Kelly Sinoski on October 26, 2005. The article states that at the request of Falun Gong practitioners' barrister, Chris Lawrence, the court reviewed
a civil suit filed by the practitioners in the court last October, accusing former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, Vice-premier Li Lanqing and Luo Gan of torture and conspiracy and other crimes. Justice Priestley said that subject to judicial resources, the case warranted a full court hearing with two judges.

The article also states that eleven Chinese immigrants who practice Falun Gong may get a chance to press charges of torture against officials of the Chinese Communist Party. The eleven claim they were tortured in China, and are suing three of China's top officials, including former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Justice John Priestley quashed an earlier judgment in the High Court at Auckland that had prohibited the practitioners from serving a statement of claim and notice of proceedings outside New Zealand.

The practitioners' Auckland barrister, Chris Lawrence expressed that ruling the issues relating to the lawsuit were of "enormous importance." He granted a half-day review of the decision at his request.

The review relates to a civil suit filed by Falun Gong practitioners in the court last October, accusing former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, Vice-premier Li Lanqing and Luo Gan of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, misfeasance in public office, torture and conspiracy.

All eleven plaintiffs are New Zealand permanent residents, citizens or refugees. They are seeking special damages as well as general damages in the sum of $250,000 plus the further sum of $10,000 for each wrongful arrest, $5,000 for each day of unlawful imprisonment, $10,000 for each act of torture and exemplary damages of $250,000.

Justice Priestley said that none of the claims of action arose in New Zealand, but the Falun Gong practitioners could not access justice in China and, if any were to return to China to sue, their positions "could well be grim."

He also noted Lawrence, a former proceedings commissioner with the NZ Human Rights Commission, was available to make submissions at the earlier hearing but did not have the opportunity.

The judge said, "Lying at the center is the inability of New Zealand citizens and
permanent residents to access the courts of the People's Republic of China for redress."

The Lawsuit Alleges CCP Officials of Being Responsible for the Actions of Their Subordinates in Persecuting the Plaintiffs

In the statement of claim, the Falun Gong practitioners allege that the three Chinese officials were "vicariously liable for the actions of their subordinates in persecuting the plaintiffs."

The claim maintains that Jiang Zemin established the national policy and campaign to eradicate Falun Gong and its practitioners, and declared Falun Gong [slanderous words omitted].

The claim says that Li Lanqing "designed and oversaw implementation of many aspects of the campaign against Falun Gong," including re-education through forced labor and brainwashing, and unlawful detention and torture, while Luo Gan allegedly directly participated in policy-making to escalate the persecution of Falun Gong.

The practitioners claim they were jailed, forced to watch anti-Falun Gong films, threatened with labor camp sentences and tortured. Many were jailed in cells with no hot water even though temperatures were below zero outside.