Chinese Communist Insider Sued in Cyprus for Persecution of Falun Gong
Human Rights Violations Generate Buzz in Local Media
CHICAGO (FDI) – A member of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle was sued in Cyprus today, joining other high-ranking Chinese officials in more than a dozen countries who have been named as defendants for their responsibility in genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. (news)
Mr. Wu Guanzheng, former governor of Shandong province and current member of the CCP Politburo’s Standing Committee, was visiting with government officials in Cyprus when the national court accepted a civil suit filed by Falun Gong practitioners.
Noted Cypriot human rights attorney Mr. Laris Vrahimis filed the suit.
The court-appointed process servers, however, were prevented from physically serving Wu on three attempts, the last in front of the Cyprus House of Representatives. According to witnesses, police politely but firmly blocked the server from delivering the document, saying that orders to block them came from “high places.”
The named plaintiff in the civil suit, Canadian-Chinese art professor Mr. Zhang Kunlun, was sentenced without trial to three years in a forced labor camp in Shandong Province where he was beaten and tortured with electric batons in an attempt to force him to renounce his beliefs. Due to international pressure, professor Zhang was released after just a few months and returned to Canada where his daughter attends University. (news)
A December 26, 2000 Pulitzer-Prize winning Wall Street Journal article mentioned Wu prominently as responsible for massive illegal actions and brutality against Falun Gong practitioners in Shandong during his time as governor of the province. (Full story)
According to a Sept. 24 report by the Falun Dafa Information Center, approximately 11% of all deaths from torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China occur in Shandong Province. (news)
Vrahimis noted that the case against Wu will be open for one year, and subject to renewal after that. Thus, Wu could still be served on subsequent visits to Cyprus.
All the Buzz in Cyprus
The prevention of service generated great interest from Cypriot media, which conducted extensive interviews with witnesses to the persecution of Falun Gong.
Vrahimis said that the local Chinese embassy had been calling numerous government offices in Cyprus, pressuring local officials to stop the legal action against Wu.
Such pressure is consistent with previous attempts by agents to spread misinformation and interfere with legal actions against visiting CCP Party officials in the more than a dozen countries where lawsuits have been filed against those officials for severe human rights violations.
Legal experts have pointed out that no one — regardless of post or status — can claim diplomatic immunity for actions that constitute genocide or torture, according to international legal conventions and treaties.
Many people of Cyprus, familiar with suffering and strife in their divided nation, gave sympathetic reception to Falun Gong practitioners’ reports of suffering at the hands of the CCP during more than four years of persecution that have resulted in hundreds of deaths and millions of broken families.