Torture Lawsuit Filed against Chinas Minister of Information During U.S. Visit
CHICAGO (FDI) – A Chinese minister was served with legal papers Friday charging him with torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
The papers were served upon a guard outside Wang Xudong’s hotel room within hours after the Minister of the Information Industry delivered a speech at an internet technology trade summit in Chicago.
“[The] defendant’s acts and omissions were deliberate, willful, intentional, wanton, malicious and oppressive, and should be punished by an award of punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial,” according to the complaint.
The civil action was filed according to the provisions of the Alien Tort Claim Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act on behalf of an unnamed plaintiff who was tortured in China for over three years.
Wang, China’s current Minister of Information, is accused of supporting such torture while serving as Communist Party Secretary of Hebei Province, from June of 2000 through November of 2002.
Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, is one of five notorious Chinese provinces. Of China’s 30 provinces, the five have accounted for over half of the deaths of Falun Gong practitioners from abuse in custody.
Plaintiff “Doe,” from Hebei’s city of Shijiazhuang, has survived this abuse. “Plaintiff was subjected to arbitrary detention, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and severe torture,” reads the complaint, “because she refused to relinquish her spiritual belief in the tenets and practice of Falun Gong.”
The complaint states that “Defendant Wang Xudong has authorized and supported a harsh crackdown against the Falun Gong. [He] planned, instigated, ordered, authorized, or incited others to commit the abuses suffered by Plaintiff, and had command or superior responsibility over, controlled, or aided and abetted such forces in their commission of such abuses.”
According to the complaint, the abuses practitioners have experienced in the province of Hebei include: shocking with electric batons, beating and burning of the genitals, stripping naked and drenching with icy water in the winter, as well as breaking of nose, teeth and vertebra.
Justice Sought Outside of China
Two attorneys are representing the plaintiff in this case: Lana Han, and Dr. Terri Marsh.
Dr. Marsh is also representing Falun Gong practitioners in cases against former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, and Han is working on a case against the Chinese Minister of Commerce and former governor Bo Xilai.
According to Han, these lawsuits are an opportunity to seek accountability for torts committed in violation of international law, Chinese law and U.S. domestic laws.
The complaint, too, emphasizes that justice cannot be sought in China at this time. “A proceeding in the People’s Republic of China for these claims in not possible. The Chinese judiciary has never resolved a case of abuse filed by civilians against their government.”
“A suit in Chinese courts would be futile and could result in serious reprisals against those raising the allegations as well as their attorneys,” says the complaint against Wang.
Notorious at Home, a Star among U.S. Executives
Wang was in Chicago attending the third Annual China-U.S. Telecommunications Summit, an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Telecommunications Industry Association, a U.S. trade organization.
Wang gave a talk Friday night at the Hyatt Regency. In attendance were top executives of 30 firms who may have been eyeing the $500 billion China is said to be ready to spend on information technology over the next four years.
As the person in charge of China’s information industry, Wang is responsible for making deals with U.S. firms to help censor and monitor China’s Internet.
Selling such technology, according to Harry Wu of the Laogai Research Foundation, is as good as selling China “electronic handcuffs.”
According to media reports, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Nortel Networks and others have given China’s security systems the tools they need to criminalize free speech on the Internet. With this technology, some industry reports say China’s “internet police” are able to monitor nearly every single email message that goes through China’s Internet – commonly known as the “Great Firewall of China.”
“When foreign companies sell this kind of censorship and monitoring technology to this repressive regime knowing full well the torture and other severe abuses that are brought down upon those who are captured with it,” says Dr. Zhou, a computer science Professor with Rutgers University, “you can’t say they are not accomplices. What is the difference between Jiang Zemin – who has murdered thousands of Falun Gong practitioners – and Saddam who killed his own people? Why should we treat them differently?”
For further information on the lawsuit, contact, Lana Han at +1 516 850 9299 or Dr. Terri Marsh at +1 202 369 4977.