The Destructive Consequences When Judges Are No Longer Just
(Minghui.org) Ronald Dworkin, a famous scholar of U.S. constitutional law, once said, “We are subjects of law's empire, liegemen to its methods and ideals, bound in spirit while we debate what we must therefore do.”
Translated from the Hebrew term shofet, the word “judge” also carries the meaning of “ruler” in Hebrew. Together with the legislative and administrative branches of government in the U.S., the judiciary is the third pillar that stabilizes a society with law and order and a fundamental bedrock of modern civilization.
In individual cases, judges are given extraordinary power and responsibility to determine a person’s fate. But when it comes to more significant cases that concern the fate or the future direction of a country, whatever decisions judges make will influence everyone's lives in that country.
A good judge should interpret the law as it is written and not be influenced by any political or financial powers. If judges themselves are corrupt and bow to self-interest or authoritarian power, it often signifies that the society is no longer free and abides by no proper sense of order to speak of.
Throughout history, when a country falls into the hands of tyrants, judges are often turned into tools of suppression to advance the interests of the ruling class, abandoning their sacred duty to uphold justice and maintain checks and balances.
Take China as an example. After over 70 years of Chinese Communist Party rule, most of the judges have become rubber stamps for the government. This is especially true in the now 22-year-long persecution of Falun Gong, in which judges have played a major role in convicting innocent practitioners who stay firm in their faith.
In the film Judgment at Nuremberg, a German judge said, “I followed the concept that I believed to be the highest in my profession – to sacrifice one’s own sense of justice to the authority of the legal order – to ask only what the law is – not whether it is also justice.” Judges in China would say the same today.
First Judge to Sentence Falun Gong Practitioners Dies of Lung Cancer
On November 12, 1999, the first Falun Gong case in China was heard in Haikou City, Hainan Province, and Chen Yuanchao of the Haikou City Intermediate Court was the presiding judge. He sentenced four Falun Gong practitioners to jail terms ranging from two years to 12 years.
Soon after the sentencing, Chen was praised by the Supreme People's Court and Luo Gan, the former head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, an extra-judiciary agency that oversees judiciary and public security branches.
At Luo’s instructions, the First Criminal Court of Haikou City and Intermediate People's Court received a group award-second class and Chen received an individual award-second class.
On March 18, 2002, Chen was diagnosed with lung cancer and became bedridden. Luo still issued orders to promote his story as the first judge to try Falun Gong practitioners in China. The People's Supreme Court then honored Chen with the title “National Model Judge,” the Supreme Court of Hainan Province gave Chen the “Individual First Class Award,” and the Haikou City Communist Party Committee recognized Chen as a “Model Communist Party Member.”
The awards didn't save Chen's life. He died on September 2, 2003, at the age of 52.
Heavenly Reminder to Stop Doing Wrong
Chen was not the only judge in China who incurred consequences for participating in the persecution of Falun Gong.
According to information collected by Minghui.org, which has been publishing first-hand accounts of the persecution of Falun Gong every day for the past 21 years, at least 70 judges who have participated in the persecution of Falun Gong have died, most at the height of their careers. Some were struck by lightning, some died of cancer or other terminal diseases, some were in major car accidents, some fell to their deaths, and some were shot to death. In some cases, even their families weren’t spared.
In traditional Chinese culture, it’s widely believed that premature death or misfortune is often a result of one’s wrongdoing. Such karmic retribution is considered a reminder from heaven not to commit further evil deeds.
Judges who violate their conscience and convict Falun Gong practitioners are not only persecuting good people who merely try to live by the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Such decisions shake people’s confidence in law and order and their faith in the divine, leading to a rapid downslide in moral standards overall.
Below are details of the deaths of five such Chinese judges.
1. Chen Jingqiang Died after Being Struck by Lightning
Chen Jingqiang, the former vice-president of Kangping County Court in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, died after being struck by lightning on his way to go fishing on August 15, 2014. His death came shortly after he used his connections to get a suspended sentence of three years for taking bribes from local gangsters.
A month prior to his trial, Chen, 48, and another judge, Fan Bin, sentenced Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Wang Jinfeng to seven years in prison and Mr. Li Xiaoping to three years. Fan Bin was sentenced to prison in the same bribery case that Chen sidestepped.
2. Zhang Haitao Died of a Heart Attack
In 2002, Zhang Haitao, the presiding judge of the Jinshantun District Court in Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, sentenced 21 Falun Gong practitioners to prison. Among them, Mr. Qin Yueming, who was sentenced to ten years, was persecuted to death in Jiamusi Prison. Ms. Fu Guichun and Mr. Li Changsheng also passed away from the aftereffects of torture shortly after they were released.
Their deaths didn’t faze Zhang. On June 18, 2009, he sentenced three practitioners to between eight and 11 years. A year later, Zhang sentenced four more practitioners to between three and 12 years and then convicted two more practitioners to two and four years in 2014.
On January 11, 2015, Zhang went out with a few friends for lunch. As they were talking in the car, he suddenly lowered his head and died of a heart attack.
3. Chen Shuigen and Tang Chengji Died of Stroke
Less than a month after judge Chen Shuigen of Qingyunpu Court in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, sentenced Falun Gong practitioners Mr. Chen Xiangyang to 11 years and Ms. Zhang Shujun to 10 years, he collapsed and died of a brain hemorrhage during a court recess on November 17, 2006. He was 50.
Judge Tang Chengji of the Pingjiang County Court of Hunan Province signed an order to confiscate 60,000 yuan in savings from Ms. Jiang Xianyan on December 7, 2006. In early February 2007, Tang collapsed and died from a stroke. He was 42.
4. Gao Shanghui Died in a Car Accident
Between 2003 and 2006, Gao Shanghui, the president of Jidong County Court in Heilongjiang Province, sentenced several Falun Gong practitioners to prison.
On August 3, 2007, Gao and his wife Deng Yujie, a judge in the Jiguan District Court, were taking their daughter to Harbin to be examined for suspected breast cancer. On their way home, a semi-truck loaded with 12 tons of goods smashed into Gao’s car. He, his wife, and the driver Wang Jicai died at the scene.
5. Wang Fei Died of Liver Cancer
Wang Fei, the president of Nongbashi Intermediate Court in Shihezi City, Xinjiang Province, was diagnosed with liver cancer on September 8, 2007. He was only in the hospital for three days before he died on September 13.
Wang conspired with Huang Jun, a local procuratorate official, to threaten their subordinates with violence and tempt them with financial gain (3,000 to 10,000 yuan per Falun Gong case) to force them to handle Falun Gong cases.
One time Wang held a gun to the head of a subordinate official and threatened him, saying he had to handle Falun Gong cases. The official refused to obey Wang because he knew the persecution of Falun Gong was illegal.
Other judges incurred karmic retribution in the form of prosecution, demotion, or fines.
Judge Shu Pinghua of the Xianning City Intermediate Court of Hubei Province rejected all cases of appeal filed by Falun Gong practitioners. In 2011, he was fired from his position and sentenced to 11 years for taking a 1.2 million yuan-bribe.
Only two months after Li Qingxin, the president of Sujiatun District Court in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, retired in January 2012, he was investigated for embezzlement and corruption and later sentenced to prison.
While Li was in office, he actively participated in the persecution of Falun Gong and personally sentenced a number of practitioners to long prison terms.
Good-hearted Judges Persecuted
For many Chinese judges, participating in the persecution of Falun Gong is a prerequisite for promotion or advancement.
Those who refuse to participate in the persecution or those who practice Falun Gong themselves face retaliation from the authorities.
Mr. Huang Jinchun was a judge in the Civil Division of the Intermediate Court in Beihai City, Guangxi Province. Because he went to Beijing to appeal for Falun Gong in September 1999, the chief of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee in the Guangxi Autonomous Region was very upset with him.
After Mr. Huang was arrested in Beijing, he was taken back to Beihai and detained for 15 days. The court fired him on November 8 because he refused to give up practicing Falun Gong. A week later, on November 15, 2001, two police officers forced Mr. Huang into a psychiatric hospital, saying they were complying with orders from the leaders of the Provincial Public Security Office.
In the hospital, he was injected with tranquilizers that made him sleepy every day.
Another judge, Mr. Hu Qingyun, credited Falun Gong for curing his many ailments, including acute leukemia, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and tuberculosis, even though many medical experts predicted he only had one to three months left to live.
Mr. Hu said that modern medicine didn’t help. His cancer cells increased from 30% to 65% after chemotherapy. He lost nearly 40 pounds. He was unable to eat and could only take fluids. He was in constant pain and unable to move.
By that time, he’d decided to stop the chemotherapy and other treatments and focus on practicing Falun Gong. He did the Falun Gong exercises on his hospital bed. Two months later, his condition improved.
After the communist regime ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, Mr. Hu, who was the former department head of the Jiangxi Province High Court, wrote letters to state leaders on several occasions describing how Falun Gong had restored his failing body. Because of this, he was arrested in July and again in October 1999. He was later sentenced to prison and was not allowed to practice Falun Gong. His leukemia relapsed when he was in prison and he died on March 22, 2001, in Jiangxi Prison hospital.
Before passing away, Mr. Hu wrote an open letter, urging the authorities to stop persecuting Falun Gong. He said, “As a cultivator, we benefit firsthand from the practice. We know clearly how to be a noble and moral person, not someone who blindly follows along or is controlled by someone else, as the government’s slanderous propaganda smears Falun Gong practitioners. It’s nothing like what those who don’t practice Falun Gong have thought. For us who have awakened to the truth of the universe, there is no way for us to give up our faith. Please understand us.”
The persecution of Falun Gong has entered its 22nd year. With the suppression of the universal values of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, social norms and moral standards in China declined sharply—from toxic milk powder to “gutter oil,” from cardboard-stuffed buns to fake vaccines, people stop at no evil to make money and to pursue personal fame.
In fact, it’s not only the corruption of judges that harms society, but teachers and doctors as well. When schoolteachers become the mouthpieces of the communist regime and instill falsehoods, hatred, and class struggle ideologies into young minds, and when doctors, who are supposed to save lives, become murderers that kill Falun Gong practitioners for their organs, the harm and damage they do to society as a whole is simply too profound to describe.
Before she died, Tuo Yuying, a Huining County Court judge in Gansu Province, apologized to her family, saying that it was because she had persecuted Falun Gong practitioners that she developed cancer, that it was karmic retribution.
In fact, every life is precious. Punishment in the form of death may not be what the divine really intends for people. For the past 22 years, Falun Gong practitioners have persisted in raising awareness about the persecution and trying to persuade the perpetrators to stop committing more crimes. They want to prevent these tragic deaths.
The Chinese Communist Party has determined its own fate by choosing an evil path that is against humanity. But for everyone living under this system, they are still being given a chance by the divine to make their own choice—to follow in the footsteps of judge Chen Yuanchao or to choose to be a free soul and cease being controlled by the communist regime.
With humanity now at such a critical juncture in history, which path we choose to take may be the most important choice for us all.