Former Chinese Leader Faces Criminal Lawsuit in Belgium for Genocide, Torture, and Crimes Against Humanity
BRUSSELS (FDI) – A lawsuit charging former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and two of his senior aides with genocide, torture and crimes against humanity was filed yesterday in Belgium by practitioners of Falun Gong and their lawyer, Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier.
After handing the suit to federal prosecutors, Mr. Beauthier and a number of plaintiffs held a press conference inside the Brussels Justice Palace. (press statement)
Among the plaintiffs was 40-year-old Jane Dai whose husband was tortured to death in China because he practiced Falun Gong. Holding back tears, Ms. Dai told the press “I’m a mother. If we don’t speak out for our children, who will speak out? …I love [China] and I love the people there, but this killing must be stopped.”
“Jiang is guilty… not only of trying to destroy Falun Gong [practitioners], but also to destroy their convictions,” Mr. Beauthier told AFP. “We think we have a very strong file otherwise we would not proceed with the case,” Mr. Beauthier added.
Mr. Beauthier is a renowned international human rights lawyer known for his role in bringing charges against former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. He also brought the first successful case under Belgium’s human rights law against two individuals for their roles in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
The Belgian lawsuit is the eleventh international lawsuit in eight countries to emerge in the past two years against high-ranking Chinese officials or government bodies for their roles in persecuting Falun Gong. (news – website)
Belgian Practitioners Describe Jiang’s “Reign of Terror”
In a statement to the press, Belgian Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Nicolas Schols, described how Falun Gong had flourished throughout China in the 1990’s with 70-100 million people practicing throughout the country, according to a Chinese government survey in 1999. “Falun Gong practitioners were found in all walks of life, from farmers to bankers, from housewives to government and military leaders,” Mr. Schols said. (press statement)
“In July 1999, however, fearful and jealous that Falun Gong had touched the hearts and minds of such a broad range of Chinese people, Jiang Zemin used his power as the country’s top leader to ban the practice – an act that went against the decision of the Politburo Standing Committee members [who were advocating for Falun Gong at the time] as well as China’s Premier,” Mr. Schols said. “In fact, Jiang’s actions against Falun Gong were illegal because they overstepped the power granted to Jiang by the Chinese Constitution.”
Mr. Schols proceeded to explain how Jiang’s directive to “eradicate Falun Gong” resulted in systematic and widespread detainments, brainwashing, torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners in China – all with the intent to force practitioners to renounce their faith. “Those who renounce Falun Gong are often released, while those who do not continue to be tortured and abused, or die in the process,” Mr. Schols said.
“This is Jiang’s horrific form of genocide: It is a terror that does not just destroy lives, but [aims to] destroy faith… It is a terror that must be brought to justice,” Mr. Beauthier told AFP.
Wave of International Lawsuits Target Persecution of Falun Gong
The Belgian lawsuit is the latest in a string of international lawsuits against high-ranking Chinese officials or government bodies for their roles in persecuting Falun Gong.
In December 2002, a criminal lawsuit was filed in France charging the former Vice-Prime Minister of China, Mr. Lanqing Li, with crimes of torture. In July 2003, the French criminal court began legal proceedings on the case. (news)
In the United States, five such lawsuits have been filed. Two of these lawsuits have already seen judgments in favor of Falun Gong.
In June 2003, a U.S. Magistrate Judge denied foreign sovereign immunity to Beijing Party Secretary and former Beijing Mayor Liu Qi. In a report the judge submitted to the court, Liu Qi was found guilty of overseeing the torture of practitioners of Falun Gong. (news)
In December 2001 the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled against Zhao Zhifei, chief of police and second-in command of the “6-10 Office” in Hubei Province. In this case, the judge ordered a default judgment against Zhao Zhifei and awarded nominal damages to the plaintiffs, which could include the punitive and declaratory damages sought by the plaintiffs. (news)
In March 2003, a Switzerland-based international non-governmental organization, “Track Impunity Always,” announced plans to sue Jiang Zemin for his role in persecuting Falun Gong. (news)
Lawsuits have also been filed in Indonesia and Hong Kong, while citizens of Canada, the United States, Australia, Ireland, Hong Kong and China have submitted a case against Jiang Zemin to two United Nations bodies as well as the International Criminal Court.