Zhao Zhizhen, the Former Bureau Chief of Wuhan Broadcasting and Wuhan Television Applies for Delayed Court Appearance
(Clearwisdom.net) On August 2, 2004, the former Director of Wuhan TV and Radio Bureau in Hubei Province, Zhao Zhizhen (also Director of Wuhan TV Station) appeared in the U.S. Federal District Court in New Haven, Connecticut. He applied for a delayed court appearance. This is the second case of a defendant in a lawsuit initiated by Falun Gong practitioners appearing in court, the first being the former Minister of Education Chen Zhili's appearance in a Tanzanian court.
On August 2, Zhao Zhizhen declared on the form of appearance that he will return to China, and to please forward all documents to his workplace, the Wuhan TV Station. He applied for a delayed appearance with the excuse of "very limited English."
The lawyer for the plaintiff, Joshua Lanning said that on July 30, Zhao submitted another delay request to the court, and hopes to delay his appearance until November 30, 2004, with the following reasons given: the language barrier, no medical insurance, and needing to coordinate the 2004 Beijing International Science Education Movie Festival. The Court has not responded to his request.
According to co-consul for the plaintiffs Dr. Terri Marsh, the language barrier excuse is understandable, but four months' time is unreasonable, because Zhao can hire a lawyer to appear in court on his behalf, and the legal process should not be delayed for that length of time. "Whenever the defendant is ready, we are ready to face him in court."
On July 14, 2004, when Zhao Zhizhen was visiting New Haven, Connecticut, he received a summons issued in a U.S. Federal District Court. Zhao Zhizhen is the former Wuhan TV Station Director and the former Wuhan TV and Radio Bureau Director in Hubei Province, China. Zhao Zhizhen is being sued for making propaganda films that incite hatred, violence and genocide against Falun Gong practitioners. As the lawyer representing the plaintiffs has stated, "This is to tell those Chinese officials who have chosen to suppress beliefs with violence that they cannot avoid responsibility simply because they can control the state law [in China]."
Before this lawsuit, Falun Gong practitioners also filed a lawsuit in the Northern District Court of Illinois against the former head of state of China, Jiang Zemin, for crimes of genocide. In addition to suing Jiang Zemin, several Falun Gong practitioners have also sued other Chinese officials such as Bo Xilai, the former governor of Liaoning Province, and China's current Minister of Commerce. During Mr. Bo's tenure of office in Liaoning Province, the province came in first in terms of the severity of the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Faun Dafa practitioners told the journalist on July 20, 2004, that Zhao declared that he is not afraid of being sued. But his former landlord said that Zhao moved away from New Haven to an unknown destination.
In June, 1999, under Zhao Zhizhen's direct orders, the production team of the popular "Scientific Time" TV program for Wuhan went to Changchun City and produced a special film entitled, "The Story of Li Hongzhi." This film was used by Jiang Zemin to force other Central Government leaders to agree on the persecution of Falun Gong. Then the film began to be played over and over again on CCTV starting from July 22, 1999, three days after the persecution officially began. In the early stage of the persecution, this film was the only TV propaganda program demonizing Falun Gong. It is also one of the major tools used to brainwash Chinese people nationwide. Later, this film was played in forced labor camps, prisons, and mental hospitals for brainwashing purposes, and used as an excuse to torture Falun Gong practitioners. After watching the program, many police officers intensified their hatred towards Falun Gong and, as a result, it has aggravated the persecution.
References show that Zhao Zhizhen not only personally chaired and supervised the production of the hate-inciting propaganda film, but also that he was one of the Standing Committee members of the Chinese Anti-Cult Association (CACA). In many places in China, CACA is directly associated with the "610 Office," the agency formed exclusively for the suppression of Falun Gong (1).
One of the reasons that certain members of Falun Gong have sued the former chief of the Wuhan Broadcasting Bureau is that, in the past other nations have set similar precedents in the international community. At the end of last year, the UN War Crimes Court convicted three defendants on crimes of using the media to inflame hatred during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Of the three, the former government press official and Director of Radio Television Libre de Mille Collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana, was sentenced to life in prison; the founder of the RTLM, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment [reduced to 27 years because of the time he has already spent in jail]; chief editor of a newspaper, Hassan Ngeze, was sentenced to life in prison. This is the first time that the international community has acknowledged that using the media to incite hatred is the same as crimes of genocide. (Reference: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/12/04/rwanda.journalists.reut/)
According to co-consul for the plaintiffs Dr. Terri Marsh, "The Wuhan Broadcasting and TV Bureau and TV Network Station were given primary responsibility by the former President of the Peoples Republic of China to create a climate of hatred, fear and violence against persons who practice Falun Gong in China. American laws protect freedom of speech, but freedom of speech can never be equaled to a dictatorship's propaganda machine."
"There is only one voice in China, whether it is produced by the Wuhan TV station, CCTV, or the Jiang regime itself," continued Dr. Marsh. The Chinese media has no freedom, but only serves as the "mouthpiece of the Party," as Jiang himself told CBS's Mike Wallace on August 31, 2000, on the news program, 60-Minutes.
Dr. Marsh stated, "As in the Cultural Revolution, as with the Tiananmen Massacre, and as with the persecution of Falun Gong, the media ¨C be it TV, radio, or newsprint ¨C speaks with one voice determined not by the beliefs and views of the speakers, but dictated by the exigencies of the matter at hand. In this case, the matter at hand is the eradication of Falun Gong, and the alleged means ¨C or tools ¨Care the torture, the re-education and the defendant's (and others') propaganda."
"Had speech been 'free' in China, there would have been no Cultural Revolution and no persecution of Falun Gong. It is precisely because speech is unfree that it can create the conditions calculated to bring about the destruction of and eradication of the belief in and practice of Falun Gong."
(1) "610 Office" - A national agency created to persecute and "reform" practitioners, while destroying Falun Dafa. It has absolute power over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems.