Taiwan: Falun Gong Practitioners' Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin is Appealed to the Supreme Court

In the genocide lawsuit filed by seven Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners against Luo Gan, Li Lanqing and former Chinese head of state Jiang Zemin, Taiwan's High Court reached a verdict of "jurisdictional error." The attorney representing the Falun Gong practitioners expressed her disagreement and appealed the case to the Taiwan Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon, February 12, 2004.

This was the first lawsuit in history ever to be filed by Taiwanese citizens in the Taiwanese community against former Chinese leaders for their crimes against human rights.

According to the Genocide Law, the High Court is the first judicial court for such a lawsuit. Seven Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners filed the lawsuit on November 17, 2003. Over the next two months, the High Court considered its eventual decision of "jurisdictional error," on the basis that the court did not have legal jurisdiction over the three defendants. The Falun Gong practitioner plaintiffs' legal team questioned the ruling and expressed their disagreement. On the afternoon of February 12, 2004, they appealed the case to the Supreme Court.

Chu Wan-chi, Taiwan spokeswoman for the legal team leading the "Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice," said that the High Court had reached the decision of "jurisdictional error" based on only one reason: the plaintiffs did not produce sufficient "active proof" that they had continued to suffer, both physically and emotionally, after returning to Taiwan from China. Therefore, the High Court decided that it did not have legal jurisdiction over the defendants because the crimes were committed in China and the consequences of those crimes occurred in China as well. Chu Wan-chi expressed that at the stage of judicial procedure that determines whether there was jurisdiction over the defendants, the plaintiffs were required to provide "active proof," something that is without legal or rational basis. Based on the above reason, a "jurisdictional error" ruling is improper, and the plaintiffs' legal team maintains that the High Court's decision was incorrect.

Wei Qian-Feng, an attorney and chairman of the Taiwan Human Rights Association, commented on the issue of whether Taiwan courts have legal jurisdiction in this case. He said it is a well-known fact that Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted in China, especially based on the annual reports of Freedom House, and that worldwide, there are many other lawsuits regarding the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. In addition, citizens of Taiwan and Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted in many areas of Mainland China. According to criminal law, the Genocide Law and other relevant regulations, the High Court should not have strictly followed such a rigid legal interpretation that resulted in declaring no right of jurisdiction. Instead, the court should have followed an interpretation that agrees with international law and the tendency of laws carried out in many countries (a more flexible, sociological interpretation) and should have declared the right of jurisdiction before holding a trial. Thus, the intent of the law, which is to protect human rights and the rights of the weak, would have been respected.

According to the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association, aside from the seven Falun Gong practitioners named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, at least four additional practitioners, including Cheng Xi, Cheng Shi-hueng, Zhang Qiong and Hsian Li-jie, have been illegally sentenced to imprisonment in China for terms of at least two years.

The Taiwan Falun Dafa Association also mentioned that Falun Gong practitioners from six countries -- the United States, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Korea and Taiwan, have filed suits against Jiang and his accomplices, and that practitioners in other countries will be continually filing lawsuits against them as well. The global lawsuit against Jiang will be the largest international human rights lawsuit, based on the most widespread accusations against a country's top officers, since the trial of former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, which occurred in Spain.

Background Information

The case can be traced back to July 1999, when the Jiang regime began the overall suppression of Falun Gong. During 2000 and 2003, seven Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners, Wang Hsiu-hua, Lin Hsia-kai, Chan Jun-Pei and her daughter, Du Shi-Hsiong, Yang Yingsheng and Lin Shan-Ben, went to China either on business or to visit their relatives. However, Jiang's regime, the "office in charge of dealing with Falun Gong issues" and the National Security Bureau illegally arrested, detained, injured and extorted "confessions" from them through violence, simply because of their status as Falun Gong practitioners.

After they were released and returned to Taiwan, the seven practitioners decided to expose to the Taiwan community the fact that Jiang globally persecutes Falun Gong practitioners and violates freedoms of belief. In order to effect fairness under the law, on November 17, 2003, they resorted to filing the lawsuit in Taiwan's High Court.

On November 15, 2003, two days prior to the filing, nearly ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners peacefully gathered to rally their support for the impending human rights lawsuit by practicing the Falun Gong exercises and meditation in front of the Taiwan President's Office.

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