Interview with Plaintiffs in the Lawsuit against Les Presses Chinoises: Hateful Propaganda is a Type of Spiritual Persecution
(Clearwisdom.net) The trial against a Canadian based Chinese language newspaper, Les Presses Chinoises for libel and incitement of hatred against Falun Gong began in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal on Monday, November 10, and is scheduled to continue until November 27, 2003. The plaintiffs of the lawsuit believe that defaming and instigating hatred against Falun Gong constitutes a spiritual persecution, and that the right to freedom of speech should not be used as a means to diminish the human rights of others.
Ms. Zhou Limin is one of the plaintiffs of the lawsuit. Ms. Zhou started to cultivate Falun Gong at the end of 1996. "Before I started to cultivate in Falun Gong, I was very ill. I tried many different types of medical treatments, including traditional Chinese medical treatment, but none of them worked. To add to my misery, my family suffered from financial difficulties. Therefore, I became very distressed and started to ponder the meaning of my life. After a friend introduced it to me, I started to practice Falun Gong. As a result, I now enjoy both physical and spiritual health."
Ms. Zhou gave a few examples of her spiritual transformation, "Prior to practicing Falun Gong, I thought only about and myself and my family. I rarely thought about the needs of others. Since I began Falun Gong, I've had a new understanding in this regard and started to think about others, including those who are outside my family."
Ms. Zhou also said this about Les Presses Chinoises' hateful propaganda against Falun Gong: "Les Presses Chinoises published articles defaming and inciting hatred against Falun Dafa practitioners with filthy and extremely vicious words. It has damaged the good name of each and every Falun Gong practitioner, including my family and me. In addition, because I am a contact person for local Falun Gong activities, Les Presses Chinoises has repeatedly attacked me personally in their articles in an attempt to defame Falun Gong and justify the persecution against Falun Gong in China."
"This is not all the damage done by Les Presses Chinoises," said Ms. Zhou. "Media of all sizes in China copied articles defaming Falun Dafa from Les Presses Chinoises word for word to further their propaganda campaign. This is extremely harmful to my personal reputation. My husband and my family in China read these articles and became highly distressed. Prior to the persecution, all of my relatives witnessed the restoration of my health and the renewed harmony in my family after I started to cultivate Falun Gong. All of them highly approved of Falun Gong. But now my family members are forced to endure the invisible pressure because of Les Presses Chinoises and the Chinese Communist government's collaboration in publishing and transcribing articles defaming and inciting hatred against Falun Dafa."
Professor Zhang Kunlun is a 63-year-old sculptor and a Canadian citizen who was arrested and tortured in China for his belief in Falun Gong. After three months, Professor Zhang was rescued and returned to Canada with the help of the Canadian government, media pressure and groups like Amnesty International. During the interview, Professor Zhang told of his sufferings when reading the articles in the Chinese newspaper, "Les Presses Chinoises published articles that defamed Falun Gong with extremely filthy and grotesque words. It has created the most insufferable harm to each and every Falun Gong practitioner."
Mr. Lin Shenli, who was rescued with the help of Amnesty International and the Canadian government after being illegally detained in a forced labor camp for two years due to his steadfast belief in Falun Gong, said about the damage caused to him by the spreading of hatred, "When I read the defamation articles in Les Presses Chinoises, I was shocked beyond belief. I was traumatized again both physically and mentally. The fading memory of my two years of forced labor camp life again came into my mind. I felt as if someone had smeared salt into wounds that had not completely healed. I felt like I was once again in a forced labor camp, because I faced these lies and this hateful propaganda every day during two years of forced brainwashing."
When asked about his attitude towards the freedom of speech, Mr. Lin Shenli said, "It is my understanding that the freedom of speech in a normal society is completely different from China's so-called freedom of speech. China wages its defamation and political persecution against anyone or any group at will. Freedom of speech in a normal society works on the premise of respecting everyone's human rights and respecting the truth. However, Jiang violates human rights and defames Chinese people and then calls it "freedom of speech." In fact, nothing could be further from freedom of speech. Isn't it true that Jiang has fabricated countless lies to defame Falun Gong? He maliciously distorts the meaning of certain passages in Falun Gong books and spread the distorted meanings to deceive the public. Those who do not know the truth mistake such distorted interpretations as the true Falun Gong ideals."
Ms. Zhou said, "Les Presses Chinoises has also tried to collect anti Falun Gong signatures in the Chinese community. Their ultimate goal was to label Falun Gong as subversive and evil, a group of people to be kept at a distance and not desired as neighbors, and people that society should fear. As a newspaper, Les Presses Chinoises spread hateful propaganda which had an extremely horrible effect on people's impression of Falun Gong. We had no choice but to file a lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court against Les Presses Chinoises to protect our belief and our dignity."
Ms. Zhou added, "In the past two years, I had to invest a substantial amount of time, energy and money in preparing the lawsuit and repairing the damage created by Les Presses Chinoises' poisonous propaganda. The work took a severe toll on many Falun Gong practitioners' daily normal lives. Take myself as an example. I lost my job during the recession of the high-tech job market. If not for Les Presses Chinoises' defamation of Falun Gong, I could have spent the time looking for a new job. Because of the Les Presses Chinoises' defamation, I had no time or energy left for job hunting. For the first year [since the initial filing of the lawsuit,] I've had to travel from Ottawa to Montreal several times a week to meet repeatedly with the court judges and attorneys to clarify the truth to them about Les Presses Chinoises' defamation and incitement of hatred against Falun Gong.
Professor Zhang explained, "Falun Gong practitioners can easily tell that such accusations as Falun Gong practitioners "killed people" or "committed suicide" are completely false. They can only be the Chinese Communist government's political propaganda because our Teacher has taught us that a cultivator must cherish life. A genuine Falun Gong practitioner is absolutely incapable of killing people or committing suicide. There was an even more absurd rumor that Falun Gong practitioners cut their abdomens open to locate the Falun. Falun is a form of energy that only exists in other dimensions. One cannot see a Falun with the naked eye or touch a Falun in this dimension. Similar to the invisible energy points in traditional Chinese medicine, a Falun does not interfere at all with the normal operations of one's internal organs. This is common knowledge to a cultivator. No cultivator would do something as foolish as cutting his abdomen open. Those who provided false testimony about such absurd accusations on the Chinese TV were either psychopaths or actors hired to defame Falun Gong. The spreading of such propaganda is has nothing to do with exercising one's freedom of speech. The Chinese Communist government claims the right to freedom of speech when defaming Falun Gong, but has never given Falun Gong practitioners any freedom of speech in order to defend themselves. Such reports do not even have any truth or objectivity. How can it be called exercising freedom of speech?"
Professor Zhang added, "Les Presses Chinoises is a Canadian based newspaper. Since it is free of political pressure from the Chinese Communist government, it has no reason to actively participate in the hateful propaganda against Falun Gong. If Les Presses Chinoises were truly interested in Falun Gong, why did it choose to overlook the real cases of Falun Gong practitioners around it in Canada?"
Ms. Zhou said, "In a free society such as Canada it is extremely abnormal for a media to overlook the fact that so many Falun Gong practitioners in Canada have benefited physically and spiritually, and instead copy word for word articles issued by Jiang's regime, which defame Falun Dafa. A news agency is capable of publishing thousands or even tens of thousands of copies of its newspapers within a very short period of time, but how much time and energy do we civilians have to spend in order to repair the damage that their newspapers have created? Isn't it extremely damaging to us? In Canada, we are entitled to file a lawsuit against the news agency that defames Falun Dafa. But in China where there is a lack of justice, Falun Gong practitioners often have to risk being killed in order to repair such damage and to protect their own dignity. Isn't such defamation and incitement of hatred against Falun Gong hurting people?"