Chinese Consulate Official Noted in Default in Libel Case
TORONTO (FDI) – After being sued for libel by a local businessman, the Chinese Deputy Consul General in Toronto, Mr. Pan Xinchun, refused three attempts at service, including a substitute service granted by the Ontario Superior Court. Mr. Pan has now been noted in default in the case.
On April 25th 2003 shortly after the SARS-related death toll in Toronto reached 16, The Toronto Star published a feature letter from local businessman Mr. Joel Chipkar who expressed his concern over the SARS cover-up that lead to the spread of SARS in Toronto.
For the past 4 years Mr. Chipkar has also written letters and appealed to the Chinese consulate in Toronto for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China where his mother and father-in -law faced brutal torture and now live in exile.
On May 1, 2003 a rebuttal letter by Mr. Pan appeared in the same newspaper denying responsibility for the cover-up of SARS and used the situation to accuse Mr. Chipkar and other Falun Gong practitioners of having a “hidden purpose” and “ulterior motives.” He also labeled Mr. Chipkar and Falun Gong practitioners as being members of a “sinister cult.”
Mr. Chipkar says Mr. Pan’s written attack against him and his beliefs bore a disturbing resemblance to the state-run propaganda in China. “My mother-in-law was arrested, electrocuted and beaten blind and deaf by police in China simply because she peacefully stood up against Jiang Zemin’s persecution,” says Mr. Chipkar. “The slander calling her an ‘evil cult member,’ and demonizing her belief in Falun Gong is one of the primary weapons Jiang Zemin uses to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong by fueling hatred against Falun Gong among the people.”
Mr. Chipkar continued, “As we saw with the December 3rd ruling of the United Nations Criminal Court against Rwandan media execs for the role their hate propaganda played in igniting genocide in Rwanda, this kind of hate propaganda is very dangerous. These lies are the weapons being used to ‘eradicate’ Falun Gong practitioners in China and it is terrifying that Chinese officials are spreading the same hate here in Canada.”
Mr. Chipkar concluded, “I want Chinese diplomats to know that if they choose to follow the illicit orders of China’s former leader, Jiang Zemin, and commit crimes against Falun Gong their names will be exposed and they will be held responsible for their actions.”
Mr. Chipkar says he has proof that Chinese Consulate officials in Toronto held a hate rally to condemn Falun Gong. He also says they have sent hate materials to government officials across Canada asking them to not support constituents who practice Falun Gong in Canada, and they have held pictorial displays in their visa office for the past year accusing Falun Gong practitioners of horrific crimes: Claims that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch call, “Unproven,” “Bogus” and part of a “Massive Propaganda Campaign.”
In August, 2003, Mr. Chipkar launched the libel lawsuit against Mr. Pan in the Ontario Superior Court. His lawyer, Peter Downard, who specializes in Libel, received a call from Mr. Pan immediately following the first attempted service saying, “I refuse to accept it, I’m a diplomat.”
Mr. Downard, however, disagrees.
“In writing and causing this letter to be published, the defendant acted maliciously, in bad faith and for improper purposes,” says Mr. Downard. “As such the defendant acted outside his official functions and is personally liable to the plaintiff.”
A spokesperson for the Canadian Foreign Affairs office also cited the limits of immunity as they apply to the case. “Mr. Pan … enjoys only limited consular immunity with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions,” the spokesperson told New Tang Dynasty Television. “So diplomatic immunity should not be confused with consular immunity which is limited in scope.”
Media Contact: Peter Downard. (416) 865-4369, Joel Chipkar (416) 709-8678