Washington DC: Forum Explores Movement to Prosecute Former Chinese Dictator
(Minghui.org) A forum held at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 15 discussed the current movement in which thousands are suing former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for persecuting Falun Gong. Representatives of the Falun Gong group, lawyers, and human rights advocates provided historical background, personal testimony and analysis of the movement’s significance.
Frank Lee, spokesperson for Falun Dafa Association in Washington D.C., said Chinese citizens are risking their lives by filing criminal complaints against Jiang. “Facing a totalitarian regime, they did so using their real identifies, including name, address, and personal information. We admire their courage and selflessness,” he said.
Jiang launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999, explained Lee. At least 178,000 criminal complaints have been filed against Jiang between late May to mid-September. Most of these complaints come from China with copies submitted to the Minghui website and some have been from plaintiffs residing in other countries including the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
An Act of Conscience
Lee said these lawsuits will not only bring Jiang to justice, but will also provide a clearer picture of the persecution of Falun Gong.
Since the persecution began in 1999, the government-controlled media in China has been spreading defamatory propaganda both in China and overseas, explained Lee. He said that when a large number of Chinese people were misled and became hostile towards practitioners, they became numb to this severe human rights violation. And this acquiescence led to even harsher mistreatment of practitioners, including organ harvesting from living practitioners, said Lee.
Criminal Responsibility and Civil Liability
Human rights lawyer Ye Ning said that more than 300,000 practitioners in China have been subjected to detention or imprisonment. Minghui has confirmed nearly 4,000 deaths of practitioners as a result of abuse in police custody.
Mr. Ye brought up the fact that the United States signed the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide in 1988 and that the first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg Trials following the World War II.
The systematic and massive suppression of Falun Gong practitioners in China, especially live organ harvesting, should be opposed by all governments and organizations, he said.
In addition to criminal responsibility, Ye said that Jiang should also be held civilly liable because tens of millions of practitioners and their families suffered as a result of the suppression.
Suing Jiang Will Bring Real Changes
Martin McMahon, a civil rights lawyer who practices in New York and Washington D.C., said he was encouraged by the movement to bring Jiang to justice.
When a communist-regime backed physical assault against Falun Gong practitioners took place in 2003 in the US, McMahon accepted the practitioners' case. “The violence stopped within 24 hours after the lawsuit was filed,” McMahon said.
McMahon recently submitted several lawsuits against Jiang on behalf Falun Gong practitioners. His assistant, Jameson Fox, said the peaceful and persistent efforts of practitioners to raise awareness of this issue will eventually bring real changes.
Path to a Better Future
Human rights advocate Wei Jingsheng said the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is inevitable. “The Party is vicious and it has consistently harmed Chinese people. No one with a conscience would want to side with it and share in its ill fate.”
Dr. Charles Lee, spokesperson for the Tuidang (Quit-the CCP) Center, said that the number of Chinese people who have formally renounced the CCP and affiliated organizations is now over 200 million, a movement that began in late 2004.
At least ten Falun Gong practitioners in Washington D.C. have filed criminal complaints against Jiang and several of them gave testimonies at the forum.
Plaintiff Wang Chunrong was arrested three times and her home was ransacked each time. She used to be the chairperson of the Board of Directors at a large accounting firm. For her belief in Falun Gong, she was first sent to Masanjia Labor Camp and then to the Liaoning Province Women's Prison.
“In the persecution of Falun Gong, Jiang has committed genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity,” Wang said. “This has created tremendous pain and loss for practitioners and their families. Suing Jiang will help stop this tragedy.”