FDI: Media Coverage of Argentine Lawsuit is Overlooking the Most Important Aspect: the Evidence
Statement from the Falun Dafa Information Center
25 Dec 2009
Last week, an Argentine judge indicted and ordered the local Interpol department to seek the arrest of two high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials, Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan, for their role in crimes against humanity committed against Falun Gong practitioners. Subsequent media coverage of the decision has exhibited a tendency to frame the lawsuit, the judge’s decision, and the CCP’s response in relativistic terms. That is, framing the story as one of allegations being thrown back and forth between Falun Gong (or the judge) and the CCP with little evaluation of the credibility of the source or the evidence presented to support either position. Such coverage is unfortunate and inaccurate.
The Argentinean judge, Octavio Araoz de Lamadrid, conducted extensive and detailed research over a span of four years before reaching his conclusion that crimes against humanity have taken place with Jiang and Luo counted among those responsible. In fact, of the 140+ page decision he issued, over one hundred pages are an account of the evidence he found of such crimes. This includes first-hand accounts from Falun Gong victims whom he personally interviewed and found to be credible, as well as Amnesty International and United Nations reports.
His final conclusion, cited in the decision was: “The genocidal strategy … comprised a broad range of actions arranged in total contempt for life and human dignity. The designated purpose - the eradication of Falun Gong - was used to justify any means used. Therefore, torment, torture, disappearances, deaths, brainwashing, psychological torture were everyday occurrences in the persecution of its practitioners.” Yet this statement fundamental to the understanding of the case has been missing from most news reports.
Judge Lamadrid clearly took his investigative task seriously and has made an independent assessment of the situation – therein lies the importance of what he has done. It is far from spurious ‘false charges’ as a recent Reuters article unquestioningly cites a Chinese government spokesperson stating. It is therefore disappointing that this aspect of the story has been overlooked or even dismissed in coverage of the case, while vilifying and inaccurate CCP propaganda has been given significant attention.
Falun Gong practitioners have not filed this and other lawsuits as a political or public relations effort to make the Chinese authorities lose face. The suffering that is happening in China is very real, well-documented, and ensconced in a climate of impunity. The use of universal jurisdiction to file overseas lawsuits is a last resort. Falun Gong practitioners who tried suing Jiang inside China were themselves arrested, imprisoned, and tortured.
The Falun Dafa Information Center encourages reporters covering this story to examine the decision itself. The Center has also assembled a brief report that cites third-party confirmation of the brutality and scale of the persecution Falun Gong practitioners face: http://faluninfo.net/article/908/?cid=162.
There is little doubt that what the Chinese regime has done—and continues to do—to Falun Gong fits the Rome Statute’s definition of crimes against humanity. The question lies in what the international community should do about it. Judge's Lamadrid decision is a solid first step and deserves to be covered as such.
Category: Lawyers and Lawsuits