Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against High-Ranking Chinese Official Arrested; Denied All Contact with Outside World

Landmark $50 Million Civil Lawsuit Finds Head of Public Security for Hubei Province Guilty of "Wrongful Death, Torture, False Imprisonment, Crimes Against Humanity"

NEW YORK, January 13, 2002 (Falun Dafa Information Center)—Sources inside China confirmed that Peng Liang, the plaintiff in a landmark lawsuit against Zhao Zhifei, Head of Public Security for Hubei Province, has been arrested by the Wuhan City Public Security Bureau; Section Seven, Station Two. Peng Liang’s condition remains unknown, as neither friends nor family have been allowed to see him or speak with him.

Family members who recently traveled hundreds of miles, from as far away as Xinjiang, to visit him were denied access and told they could only leave some clothes and other small belongings.

Sources inside China previously indicated that Peng Liang was arrested on August 30th, 2001, but then disappeared. His whereabouts were unknown until last week, when it was discovered he had been arrested by the Wuhan City Public Security Bureau and was being held at the Bureau’s Second Station (Section Seven) in Wuhan City.

Plaintiff Grants Power of Attorney After Brother and Mother are Tortured to Death by Hubei Police

In July, 2001, Peng Liang had entrusted Falun Gong practitioners in the United States to sue Zhao Zhifei after both his brother and mother were tortured to death by police in Zhao’s Hubei Province. Numerous eyewitnesses confirmed that police beat Peng Liang ‘s younger brother, Peng Min, on January 9, 2001, causing a fracture in his fifth vertebra and a compression bone fracture in his neck vertebra, resulting in complete paralysis. He died on April 6, 2001. Peng Liang’s mother Li Yingxiu died in the same hospital as her son on April 29, 2001. Her husband, the senior Peng, discovered numerous injuries on his wife’s head and thickened, dried blood in her mouth while inspecting her body. The police told him the reason for Li Yingxiu’s death was that she “talked too much” after her son’s death.

Landmark $50 Million Civil Lawsuit Finds Zhao Zhifei Guilty as Charged

On December 21, 2001, Zhao lost the $50 Million civil lawsuit when United States Court Judge Denise Cote entered a default judgment against him. The lawsuit charged Zhao with wrongful death, torture, false imprisonment, crimes against humanity, and other violations (of international human rights law) carried out against Falun Dafa practitioners in his home province of Hubei.

Terri Marsh, one of the attorneys working on this case, indicated that further steps are possible to ensure Zhao will not be able to travel to the United States again. “We expect that his visa will not be renewed although we have not yet had official confirmation of this,” she said.

Zhao Counters Lawsuit With Large-Scale Manhunt and Propaganda Campaign

The day after Zhao Zhifei was served a legal summons in New York City, it is believed he boarded a plane for China and did not return to the U.S. According to reliable sources, soon after Zhao’s return to China, a massive hunt for Peng Liang, and other Falun Gong practitioners in Hubei Province began. Those believed to have assisted Peng Liang “transmit information over the internet” were targeted in particular. Many Falun Gong practitioners in Wuchang District whom the police thought to be associated with Peng Liang were arrested and tortured.

Then, in early October during the China-US human rights dialogue in Washington DC, a propaganda campaign initiated by Chinese state-run media attacked the lawsuit against Zhao claiming that Peng Liang’s brother and mother both died of natural causes.

Ms. Marsh noted: “Instead of contesting these charges directly, the response from Zhao has been twofold: 1) To instigate a manhunt for Peng Liang and all those who are suspected of helping him and 2) Launch a media campaign of propaganda and lies to bend the truth. They try to produce the “truth” by using state-controlled media and terrorist-propaganda machines to turn black into white.” Ms. Marsh continued, “And now Peng Liang has been illegally arrested and cut off from the outside world, simply for filing a lawsuit. We demand that Peng Liang be set free.”