Thoughts on Issues Raised by Dafa Practitioners in China Hiring Lawyers
(Clearwisdom.net) Since 2007 when six Beijing lawyers represented Falun Gong practitioner Wang Bo and her family, many practitioners in various places have hired lawyers to defend their innocence, either for themselves or for fellow practitioners, at high cost. "Defense of Innocence" has almost become a trend in some areas and many practitioners are still enthusiastic about it.
First of all, we must acknowledge the positive effects of the "innocence" defense in saving sentient beings. However, it has also revealed some unavoidable issues, such as covert fund-raising, dependence on lawyers, and disgrace to Master and Dafa.
Why should we hire lawyers? Some practitioners say that we do this because we can clarify the facts to lawyers. Such reasoning sounds very magnificent, but it would still depend on the state of mind we have in actual practice and how effective it is. For example, if the starting point is indeed to clarify the facts to lawyers in order to save them, then there are many ways we can do this, such as sending them truth-clarifying materials, or clarifying the facts to them face to face. Why do we use such a costly approach and hire lawyers? We need to know that it is very expensive to hire a defense lawyer. Also, we don't have to pay sentient beings in order to save them.
To hire a lawyer, one must pay a certain amount in legal fees, according to everyday people's common practice. From what I know, it costs over ten thousand yuan to hire a lawyer to defend a practitioner. Due to years of persecution, both financial as well as physical, many practitioners and their families cannot afford such high legal fees. When practitioners who are being persecuted cannot afford the legal fees, local practitioners would, out of sentiment, often "chip in" to help out. What is serious is that some coordinators of such projects (hiring lawyers) in certain areas went to various Fa-study groups to collect money, which is already like "covert fund-raising". Master said in "Fa Teaching Given at the Fa Conference Marking the Tenth Anniversary of the Minghui Website's Founding," "If you have the means or the conditions are right.... " This is a Fa principle, and it is not easy to handle properly in actual practice. However, this concerns our cultivation and Dafa disciples must do our best to handle it properly.
As for the issue of dependence on lawyers, some practitioners said the reason we hire lawyers is because Dafa practitioners do not understand the law. This may be the reason why many places have hired lawyers. But is this reasoning truly in accordance with the starting point Master talked about in the Fa? Such reasoning has in fact covered up our mentality of wishing to sidestep difficulties, and has given rise to a dependence on lawyers.
"Hiring an attorney and making a defense in court can itself thus serve to save people. Whoever attends the court hearing, be it someone sent by the wicked CCP or an ordinary citizen, is going to hear the facts clarified when presented with the lawyers' just reasoning. Doesn't it serve to bring out the goodness in such people? Some judges have fallen silent as they listened, hanging their heads. And some police have even had admiration afterwards, saying things like, "Well said!" when they left the courthouse. That meant that these people's goodness was awakened. What is it that the evil fears? Isn't it exactly this that they fear?" ("Fa Teaching Given at the Fa Conference Marking the Tenth Anniversary of the Minghui Website's Founding")
In order to achieve such an effect, the lawyers involved should first of all understand the facts to this degree, and this can only be achieved by Dafa practitioners' clarifying the facts well. Therefore it is Dafa practitioners' responsibility to make sure the defense is rational and effective against the accusations, and it can save sentient beings through truth-clarification. However, in some areas, practitioners totally rely on lawyers to defend them and allow lawyers to say whatever they like in court. Reasoning such as, "It's not a crime to have beliefs" sounds vehement, it actually contains a paradox. It depends on what belief one holds. One can hold righteous beliefs, but he may also hold evil beliefs. So the argument "it is not a crime to hold a belief" can also mean that "it is also legal to believe in a heretical cult and that a person having such a belief should not be deprived of personal freedom, at least." So the implication is that the lawyer may defend us under the understanding that we are "evil cult" members, and the "rights" of members of an "evil cult" should be safeguarded. Can such defense inspire and move the conscience of the audience and deter the evil? Can we say that we practitioners have clarified the facts well to the lawyer so he understands clearly? Doesn't such a "defense" defame Dafa?
However, due to our dependence on the lawyers, we have failed to notice and realize such serious problems. We must make sure that the defense lawyers represent the views of Dafa disciples! This kind of defense not only fails to clarify the facts with righteous thoughts, but also defames Dafa. How can such a defense meet with any success?
I have looked at many defense cases, and found that a great number of them have similar serious problems. It is not the lawyers' fault, but ours. The responsibility lies with ourselves.
Why is "defense of innocence" unsuccessful? There is another issue of acknowledging the persecution. There was a letter from a lawyer to the family members of a Dafa practitioner, which was posted on Minghui website on November 22, 2008, with the title: "It's Legal to Cultivate Dafa and to Clarify the Facts." The editor added a note, saying the title was changed from "It's Innocent to Cultivate Falun Dafa and to Clarify the Facts."
Why did the editor change "innocent" to "legal"? The editor explained that in the legal concept imposed upon the Chinese people by the evil Party, a "slight offense" may not be viewed as violating the law and it can be taken as innocence. "Defence of innocence" could indicate that the accused has "violated the law slightly". Accordingly, to seek an order from the judge to be released with a verdict of "not guilty" would not be much different than begging the judge. Dafa disciples say they are "not guilty", this can mean to a certain extent that they are admitting that they have "slightly violated the law".
Although it is only a small change of a phrase from "innocent" to "legal", the difference between the two is very big! "Defense of innocence" has failed to meet the high standard required of Dafa disciples by the Fa-rectification - which is to completely deny and eliminate the persecution, whereas "defense of legal rights" would completely deny the persecution.
Also, when we are clear that we are legal, then our defense would have a fundamental change - defense of innocence would change to a defense that verifies that Dafa practitioners are legal. The process of such verification also verifies that the persecution of Dafa practitioners is a criminal act. Dafa practitioners who have been unlawfully persecuted would have then become the "plaintiff"and would be able to uprightly accuse the real criminals.
In everyday life, when a good person is bullied and robbed by a person, and yet the bad person turns around and accuses the good person of bullying and robbing him, in court, the good person would not only clarify the facts, but would also accuse the real bad person of bullying and robbing him and seek orders from the judge to punish the bad person. Anyone in their right frame of mind would not just say he is innocent and beg the judge to release him/her with a verdict of "not guilty" without accusing the bad person.
Since what Dafa practitioners do is legal, and since the suppression and persecution of Dafa practitioners are criminal acts, then why should Dafa practitioners only ask for "defense of innocence" instead of accusing the evil? After all, Dafa practitioners are the most righteous beings in the universe and are responsible for the righteous elements in the universe. It is also an act of compassionate rescue to accuse the bad people and thus stop them from committing more crimes.
When we are clear about these issues, Dafa practitioners will shift from passively defending their innocence to accusing the evil with righteous thoughts and righteous actions. Only then can we achieve the goals of resisting the persecution, validating Dafa and saving sentient beings through the legal system.