Mr. Cao Dong Lodges Complaint against Beijing Forced Labor Administration Committee
(Minghui.org) Mr. Cao Dong, a Falun Gong practitioner from Beijing, was sentenced to forced labor on June 8, 2010, after he was arrested by Beijing police. His defense lawyer, Mr. Li Xiongbing, lodged an administrative appeal against the Beijing Forced Labor Administration Committee, requesting that Mr. Cao's sentence be repealed and that he be released immediately. However, the Xicheng District Court refused to accept the appeal. Mr. Li then submitted the appeal to the Xicheng District Intermediate Court.
The Beijing Forced Labor Administration Committee sentenced Mr. Cao to two-and-a-half years of forced labor based on the accusation that “75 Falun Gong books and 14 copies of Falun Gong materials were discovered at his home.” The defense lawyer initially issued an administrative complaint against the forced labor committee because the case had been processed with inadequate facts, contradictory evidence, misuse of the law, and imprudent implementation. On October 26, 2012, the Beijing Forced Labor Committee denied his complaint and upheld the original sentence. Mr. Cao refused to accept the decision, and on November 9, 2012, his lawyer submitted an administrative appeal to the court against the Beijing Committee.
Mr. Li argues that Mr. Cao's forced labor sentence has deprived him of his freedom as an individual, and that the sentence constitutes an administrative punishment that violates China's constitution, legislative laws, and relevant rules regarding administrative punishments. According to China's constitution, no citizen is liable for arrest without the judgment of the court or the Procuratorate. Administrative punishments that deprive citizens of their freedom are overruled by the laws made by authoritative legislators of the nation. Administrative rules and doctrines made by police or other parties are not permitted to deprive individuals of their freedoms. Mr. Cao's sentence, based on those ineligible administrative rules and doctrines created by the police, is a violation of China's constitution, the Law of Administrative Punishment, and the Legislature. In lieu of a sentence that is based on inadequate facts and unlawful procedures levied by institutions that lack the adequate authorization put forth by Chinese law, Mr. Li argues that the sentence should be repealed, and that Mr. Cao should be released immediately.
Mr. Li enumerated other irregularities in addition to those already mentioned. Mr. Cao's two-and-a-half-year sentence exceeds the maximum term regulated by relevant laws, which stipulate two years. According to items 13 and 14 of the Implementation Proposals to Further Strengthen and Improve the Approval Procedure of Forced Labor Sentences (Implementation Proposals), the maximum sentence for forced labor is two years. The six additional months are legally baseless. The sentence was passed without informing the defendant and without a legal hearing, an obvious violation of the administrative rules of public security. The sentencing procedure was thus unlawful.
Mr. Li emphasized, “The case against Mr. Cao is essentially an issue of religious belief, a basic civil right that China's constitution claims to respect and protect. There is no law stating that a citizen who possesses Falun Gong books or materials is in violation of the law and should be condemned.”
Mr. Li put forth a proposal to “rethink the system of forced labor.” He stated, “Over the past ten-plus years since 1999 [when the persecution of Falun Gong began], China's legal system has witnessed many alarming cases that should serve as reminders of the country's right to respect the civil liberty of religious belief with full consciousness and rationality. … It is an utter violation of legal procedure and law to sentence a citizen to forced labor based merely on the Implementation Proposals, without any trial, hearing, or defense of the person in a court of law.”
Mr. Li continued, “From legislative history and the growth of the idea of free religious belief among civilized countries around the world, unmistakable conclusions can be drawn: The legal establishment and implementation of the civil right of religious belief makes politics more transparent by liberating human rights, which, in contemporary China, is marked with infamous unfair treatment toward religions and different beliefs throughout history. To establishing a culture of freedom of belief, human beings have paid a high price. Today is the right time for China to uphold this universal principle in full conscience and sincerity.”
China's forced labor camp system can be traced back to the former Soviet Union. Entirely illegal, it used to be a system unique to the Soviet Union, but it has now become a featured system unique to communist China and an entity that stands above China's law. It has become a significant instrument in the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution of Falun Gong. The CCP might respect the rules in sentencing others, but it is not so with Falun Gong practitioners. A single statement by a practitioner saying that he or she will practice Falun Gong regardless of circumstances, or the discovery of any Falun Gong materials ransacked from their homes, is enough to get a practitioner sent to forced labor. Such circumstances explain why most of the prisoners in forced labor camps are Falun Gong practitioners.
Due to public outcry in China, the CCP's system of force labor is drawing more and more attention from the international society. Although many CCP officials may have become aware of its illegality, they simply close their eyes and keep it running. The forced labor system, a product of the CCP's autocracy, stands above the law of the land and is operated exclusively by the police, giving the police the power to arrest anyone the CCP does not like. The arrest and sentencing of Falun Gong practitioners to forced labor is actually carried out solely by the police, while the so-called “Re-education Through Labor” Administration Committee merely disguises the treachery of those who truly wield the authority. The system itself is a criminal organization that operates at the state level and is patently illegal.
In the labor camps, oversight is nonexistent. The seventh group of Beijing's Xin'an Forced Labor Camp, where Mr. Cao is held, is very strict. Mr. Cao's letters to his family are not be sent until they are approved by prison guards after the most strict examination, yet the labor camp rules state that detainees have the right to communicate by mail without having their letters examined. When Mr. Cao got permission to make a phone call, he was strictly forbidden to talk about the terrible conditions inside the labor camp. Police were seated at his side, making a record of what he said. If he mentions anything about the brutality he has to endure, the police disconnect the call immediately, and no further calls are approved. His right to see his lawyer has been mostly denied. When he is allowed to see his lawyer, their discussions are closely monitored.
What worries us most is the fact that no laws are respected in the labor camp. As a matter of policy, the government overlooks crimes against Falun Gong practitioners. Under a tight lid, the persecution rages on.
We hereby call for attention from overseas Falun Gong practitioners and the people of the world to be aware of the conditions under which Mr. Cao and other practitioners are held.
Address of the Beijing Forced Labor Administration Committee:
No. 7 You-anmen Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
Zhou Zhengyu, legal representative