(Clearwisdom.net) Minghui reporter Zhen Yan: New progress has been made in the lawsuit against Chen Zhili, the former Minister of Education and currently a Member of the Chinese State Council. The preliminary hearing in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 3 was in favor of the Falun Gong practitioners in Ethiopia, on whose behalf attorneys brought the case.

The case was initiated as a civil action via an affidavit filed with the Tanzanian Court on July 19. The affidavit alleges Chen Zhili is guilty of murder and torture of Chinese teachers and students who practice Falun Gong. The judge's decision concluded the civil action, clearing the way for a criminal trial. According to the Falun Gong practitioners' attorney, the plaintiff's witnesses are ready to appear in court.

Chen was Minister of Education from 1998-2003, and is currently a member of the Chinese State Council. She had a romantic affair with Jiang Zemin and had enjoyed power. She championed Jiang's persecution policies in the Chinese educational system, which resulted in an extraordinarily cruel persecution in that system. According to incomplete estimates, in 2003 alone, at least 435 Falun Gong practitioners in 210 Chinese universities and colleges were forced into labor camps or mental hospitals. Over the past five years, at least 61 teachers or students were killed for practicing Falun Gong.

Moreover, Chen Zhili also held numerous meetings to implement the persecution. She published decrees in the name of the Ministry of Education, to order teachers and students in universities, secondary and primary schools to take their stand in this persecution; she forced teachers and students to view propaganda films that defamed Falun Gong and sign statements that renounced and attacked Falun Gong. Due to her orders, educational content designed to defame Falun Gong and incite hatred was incorporated into primary and secondary school textbooks as well as tests and exams, including those in universities and graduate schools. State run propaganda in the form of TV programs produced by CCTV was broadcast at Normal Schools [teacher training institutions] to instill hatred against Falun Gong into the minds of future teachers.

After visiting South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe, she arrived in Tanzania on July 17, 2004 for a four-day visit. She appeared in person in court on July 19, upon being subpoenaed in Tanzania. This was the first time that a defendant personally appeared in an overseas court in the series of ongoing lawsuits against Chinese officials for their crimes in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Tanzania, a democratic country, located in eastern Africa, has an independent legal system. Before Chen was sued, at least ten Chinese government officials who personally participated in the persecution of Falun Gong were served with lawsuits in the U.S.A., Canada, Taiwan and European countries. The officials include former Chinese president Jiang Zemin who single-handedly launched and directed the persecution.

The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners who practice and live by Truth, Compassion, Tolerance, the principles of Falun Gong, will not be tolerated. Falun Gong practitioners around the world are paying earnest attention to the investigation of persecutors and are treating the issue with righteous thoughts.