Visa Denials: The U.S. Is Taking Substantive Actions against Human Rights Violators
(Minghui.org) The Minghui website issued a Notice on May 31, 2019 for human rights violators, especially those who have persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.
The notice begins: “An official from the U.S. Department of State recently told various religious groups that the U.S. government is imposing stricter visa vetting and may deny visas to human rights violators and perpetrators of religious persecution.” The visas concerned include both immigration visas and non-immigration visas such as tourism and business visas.
Even those who were granted visas (including “green card” permanent visas) could be denied entry. “The official specifically told Falun Gong practitioners that they can submit a list of perpetrators involved in the persecution of Falun Gong,” wrote the notice.
The U.S. government's warning targeting human rights violators seeking entry to the country suggests that the international community's reaction to former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin's crimes against humanity – specifically the persecution of Falun Gong – has gone from peaceful appeal to actual concrete actions.
The First Lawsuit Against Perpetrators
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Jiang Zemin have, since July 1999, mobilized the entire state machine in China to persecute Falun Gong and its 100 million followers. Due to Jiang's extinction policy to “destroy their reputations, cut them off financially, and eradicate them physically,” countless practitioners have been put in forced labor camps and prisons and suffered irreparable harm.
For the past 20 years, Falun Gong practitioners, living according the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, have been peacefully and rationally explaining to people in China and around the world what the practice is, and about the persecution it endures. They have also been working to seek legal protection for their right to freedom of belief and their right to expose the illegality of the persecution without retaliation.
The first lawsuit brought by Falun Gong practitioners against a CCP official was in New York on July 17, 2001. Practitioner Mr. Peng Liang in mainland China granted power of attorney to practitioners in the U.S. to sue Zhao Zhifei, the head of Hubei Provincial Public Security Bureau. Mr. Peng's younger brother, Peng Min, and mother, Li Yingshou, both died due to police beating in April 2001.
Zhao was served court summons and statement of charges in New York during his visit to the U.S. in July 2001. He flew back to China the next day. The U.S. Federal Court found him guilty of wrongful death, torture, and crimes against humanity, with him being in absentia, on December 21, 2001.
This is also the first overseas case where a CCP official was found guilty relating to their involvement in the persecution of Falun Gong.
Arrest Warrant for Jiang
Falun Gong practitioners in the U.S. sued Jiang Zemin in 2002, starting the wave of taking Jiang to court internationally.
Why are the lawsuits against Jiang accepted around the world? Because the persecution extends around the world. Moreover, Jiang's faction has committed three most severe crimes as defined by international criminal law, genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. These are the basis of most lawsuits by Falun Gong practitioners. The international community has acknowledged these crimes as among the most severe human rights violation crimes. Many civilized countries and those that have signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court have established laws against these crimes. Therefore, Falun Gong practitioners have sued Jiang Zemin and his accomplices in many countries.
Jiang, who was in the highest level of power in China in 2002, attempted to stop the U.S. lawsuit “at any cost.” However, a series of similar lawsuits against him have taken or will take place around the world.
On September 30, 2003, The Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice was founded in Washington, DC.
On November 21, 2003, forty people, including Falun Gong practitioners persecuted in China and citizens in Germany, along with the Falun Dafa Association in Germany, filed a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin and a group of police working at forced labor camps in China, with the Public Prosecutor General of Germany. This is the first time that police officers who participated in persecuting Falun Gong have faced a criminal suit overseas.
On December 27, 2009, Judge Octavio de Lamadrid of the Argentina Federal Court No. 9 issued a historical verdict – an international arrest warrant for Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan, who had committed crimes against humanity and torture against Falun Gong practitioners. Such an arrest warrant had never been issued before against a former head of China.
More Officials Charged
Among the oversea lawsuits, CCP officials Bo Xilai, Liu Qi, Xia Deren, Guo Chuanjie, and Zhao Zhifei have been found guilty in “in absentia” trials.
In August and September of 2010, Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua, Acting Governor of Shaanxi Zhao Zhengyong, Director of Religious Affairs Management Bureau of Shaanxi Wang Zuo'an, and the Deputy Party Secretary of Hubei Communist Party Committee and head of the Hubei “610 Office” Yang Song visited Taiwan in different trips. After they arrived at the airport, Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan submitted charges against them, for the crime of genocide and violating the Civil Rights Convention, with the Taiwan High Court.
Suing Jiang in China pushed the appeal for ending the persecution and restoring justice in China to a new peak. Since May 2015, over 200,000 Falun Gong practitioners and their family members, who had suffered persecution, have submitted lawsuits against Jiang with the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court in China. The actual number of these cases should be higher due to the CCP's Internet blockade that caused difficulty in collecting information.
As Falun Gong practitioners persist in exposing the persecution outside of China, the CCP's brutal persecution is known to the world. The U.S. annual human rights reports have mentioned the torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China multiple times.
Many countries have passed laws or resolutions to prohibit illegal organ transplants and human rights violations. The U.S. passed the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in 2016. The Canadian version of the law is the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Bill. Both laws target human rights violators by restricting their personal freedom and financial wealth.
This law has been well acknowledged by the world. The U.S., Canada, and the U.K. have passed the Magnitsky Act into law, and Australia is reviewing the bill. This law will make sure that those who violate human rights will be held accountable for their actions, including those who have participated in persecuting Falun Gong.
In May 2019, the U.S. government started enforcing the Magnitsky Act. This leads the trend of enforcing this law on a much larger global scope.
A Warning for 610 Office Staff
Minghui's Notice stated: “We urge Dafa disciples all over the world to take immediate action to collect, compile, and submit to Minghui.org information on the perpetrators, their family members, and their assets, so as to locate and verify their identities.”
According to the “Minghui.org Form Collecting Perpetrators’ Information,” perpetrators include those directly carrying out the persecution, as well as those who made policies, issued orders, and assisted in the persecution.
According to the U.S. immigration laws, crimes that will trigger denial of visas include: 1) Extrajudicial killing (defined as deliberated killing not authorized by a previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees) 2) Torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment 3) Prolonged detention without charges 4) Causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons 5) Other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons 6) Ordering, inciting, assisting, or otherwise participating in genocide
Based on the requirements above, many staff members working at the 610 Office, and in the law enforcement and judicial systems, qualify for visa rejections. This may also apply to their family members. Many corrupt CCP officials have sent their children and hidden their assets overseas. This U.S. measure will be a warning for them – making a choice between the CCP and personal freedom for themselves as well as their families. It is impossible for them to commit crimes in China and then escape overseas with immunity.
Over 320 million people have openly announced to quit the CCP and its youth organizations, namely Youth League and Young Pioneers. The days for CCP’s existence are numbered, and people would be well-advised to renounce the CCP and stop persecuting Falun Gong.