Standing Up for Justice in Dalian: Lawyers Refuse to Comply with Illegal Court Order

August 12, 2013 | By a Minghui correspondent from Liaoning Province, China

en.minghui.org

(Minghui.org) The Zhongshan District Court in Dalian planned to resume a hearing of 13 illegally arrested Falun Gong practitioners on July 5, 2013. However, in violation of the “Code of Criminal Procedure” and in total disregard for the defendants’ rights, the court gave the practitioners’ lawyers very short notice of the court date, and failed to notify the practitioners at all.

The lawyers representing the 13 practitioners refused to comply with such improper procedure and did not go to court that day. Instead, they sued the Zhongshan Court for violation of their defendants’ civil rights. Under protest from the lawyers, the Zhongshan District Court presiding judge had to reschedule the hearing.

Supporters and Family Members Beaten and Harassed

The thirteen practitioners were arrested over a year ago during a series of mass arrests in Dalian City.

Prior hearings had been marred by police brutality and harassment of the defendants’ supporters. During the hearing on April 20, 2013, the police arrested practitioners who had gathered outside the courthouse and beat one of the lawyers present. During another hearing on June 21, 2013, local practitioners were also arrested, and family members of the defendants were harassed and followed by police.

Making sure that the defendants and their families understood their decision to protest the upcoming trial, the lawyers arrived at Dalian on July 4 to notify the defendants not to comply with the court order and insist on their legal rights.

The Central Politics and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) and the Beijing Ministry of Public Security sent personnel to the July 5 hearing. At 7:00 a.m., the practitioners were brought to the court.

A large number of police and plainclothes officers were stationed at the courthouse, at nearby areas, and at the hotel where the defendants’ lawyers were staying. Some family members arrived at the courthouse but were harassed and not allowed inside. Very few family members were in the courtroom, and the gallery was filled with strangers whom the defendants and their families had never seen before.

A Successful Protest

However, it was not business as usual and the sham trial did not proceed. At 10:00 a.m., the presiding judge of the Zhongshan Court made an announcement: “In order to safeguard the rights of the people, the hearing will be changed to another date.”

Earlier, the practitioners’ lawyers visited a number of agencies associated with the Department of Public Security to file complaints against the Zhongshan Court. They submitted a proposal titled “Changing court personnel and increasing the civilian jury” and statements of the defendants and their lawyers refusing to be present in court under the unjust circumstances. Every family received a copy.

The lawyers then submitted a letter concerning “Submission of major cases” to the Dalian City Procuratorate, suing the Zhongshan Court. Ten lawyers signed the lawsuit. The lawyers also went to the Dalian City Intermediate Court Commission for Discipline and Inspection and filed the lawsuit against the Zhongshan Court for acting against legal procedures, and also presented evidence. They also submitted written materials regarding the lawsuit to the Dalian Municipal People’s Congress.

The lawyers encountered enormous resistance during this process, and they had to go though a heated argument at almost every office. However, the lawyers based their arguments on the law, and the government agencies had to comply.

Background

The 13 practitioners on trial were: Mr. Che Zhongshan, Mr. Zhu Chengqian, Mr. Wang Shouchen, Mr. Wang Tao, Mr. She Yue, Mr. Shi Zhanshun, Mr. Pei Zhenbo, Ms. Pan Xiuqing, Ms. Lin Lihong, Ms. Bai Ruyu, Ms. Li Shengjie, Mr. Guo Song, and Mr. Yu Bo. Many of them have been severely mistreated in detention.

Officers from the Dalian City 610 Office, Domestic Security Division, and the police department, along with many local police stations and neighborhood committees, carried out a mass arrest of Falun Gong practitioners in the Dalian area on July 6, 2012. The practitioners arrested were alleged to have been involved with the installation of satellite dishes to receive NTDTV programs broadcasting uncensored news from overseas. Nearly 100 Falun Gong practitioners were arrested, detained and some were tortured in detention.

Related articlesAfter Attorney Beaten for Defending Falun Gong Practitioners, Others Step Forward13 Falun Gong Practitioners Face Illegal Trials, 12 Lawyers Stand Up for JusticeDalian Court Tries to Earn a Good Reputation Even As It Ignores the LawTravesty of Justice: Mass Arrests of Falun Gong Practitioners in Dalian City, Lawyer Beaten

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Journalist’s Work Portrayed Lurid Corruption by Bo Xilai and Family

By Pam McLennan & Gisela Sommer

On March 31, 2012

Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai. Bo is believed to have been China’s first “naked official,” referring to a cadre who has moved his spouse, children, and assets abroad. Bo owns numerous properties in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vancouver. (New Epoch Weekly Photo Archive)

More than a decade ago, Chinese writer Jiang Weiping, recipient of a 2001 International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, published an article accusing Bo and his attorney wife of corruption. For this, Jiang was convicted of exposing state secrets and inciting subversion and was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2002. Released in 2009, he now lives in Canada with his family.

Jiang has written a number of articles and books, including “A Biography of Bo Xilai,” which all expose Bo and his family for their alleged involvement in corruption and several murder cases.

The following are edited excerpts from Jiang’s writings.

How Bo’s Wife Enriched Herself

Bo Xilai and his family moved to Dalian City in 1988. After his wife Gu Kailai obtained her lawyer license, she opened a law firm and began accumulating great wealth with the help of Bo’s power.

Gu’s law firm needed 20 to 30 staff members to keep up with the number of cases handled each day. Gu usually won the cases she accepted. Big entrepreneurs used her as their legal counsel for arranging monetary tributes [bribes] to the mayor, Bo Xilai.

Gu’s business card listed offices in Beijing, Dalian, Hong Kong, and New York. Her businesses expanded into many areas, including real estate consulting. Most domestic and foreign companies wanting to invest in Dalian consulted with Gu. On the surface, they paid Gu consulting fees, but in fact they were paying to win Bo’s favor, because Bo decided who could purchase a parcel of land.

Gu was in control of all the major projects, including land transfers, foreign investment in Dalian, and construction contracting, from which she earned over 10 billion yuan (about US$1.6 billion) a year.

Lifestyle of the Super-Rich

Official media said Bo’s family lived a simple life, but the reality was just the opposite. Starting in 1988, Bo moved his family to a naval community for high-ranking naval officers at Tiger Beach in Dalian. The family enjoyed fresh air, beautiful scenery, and soldiers on guard 24 hours a day.

Making friends with neighbors also helped Bo climb the Party ladder. The perks were huge, and he did not have to pay for anything out of his own pocket.

In addition, Bo owned many properties in Dalian, including another villa near the ocean and three apartments in Dalian City, which he did not return even after he was promoted to Governor of Liaoning Province and China’s Minister of Commerce.

In the early 90s, Gu bought commercial properties in the Asian Games Village in Beijing and opened law offices in Hong Kong and New York. In 1997, she obtained a green card for Singapore, and in 2000 she sent her 12-year-old son Guagua, and a huge amount of assets, overseas.

Bo was believed to have been the first “naked” Chinese official, referring to a cadre who moves his spouse, children, and assets abroad, as he owned numerous properties in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vancouver.

The Ma Junren Case

One highly controversial and very lucrative defense case that Gu took on was that of famous Chinese track coach Ma Junren. It was the exposure of details in this case that landed writer Jiang Weiping eight years in prison.

Ma Junren had trained several world-class middle and long-distance female runners. Ma and his athletes are called “the Ma family army,” and they were suspected of having used performance-enhancing drugs. Six of his athletes were dropped from China’s team for the Sydney Olympic Games after failing blood tests in 2000.

In 1998, Bo hired someone to ghost-write the book “I Fight the Lawsuit for Ma Junren” for his wife Gu.

Gu made heavy use of the media to promote her book, saying she would free Ma from the legal charges against him. However, 13 years have passed, and she has done very little to help him.

Punishing Whistle Blowers

In early May of 1998, renowned writer Zhao Yu wrote a long investigative report about the Ma family army. He said, “A certain business group had paid 10 million yuan (US$1.56 million) to market the Ma athletes’ performance enhancing drugs.”

Bo hence tried hard to silence Zhao. Large banners criticizing Zhao appeared on Dalian streets, prompting many Dalian residents to comment that it seemed as if the Cultural Revolution had returned.

Many lawyers have criticized Gu for violating fundamental professional ethics in the Ma case, saying Gu actually never really represented Ma Junren, she merely used Ma’s name to amass a fortune and make a name for herself.

Hong Kong’s Front-Line Magazine published an article in 1999, based on Jiang Weiping’s oral account of how Gu had published the book but hadn’t gone to court to defend Ma. The article also exposed Gu’s involvement in corruption.

An enraged Bo had Jiang arrested and jailed. Many other innocent people were also implicated in the case, according to Jiang’s account.

Murder Allegations

Hong Kong’s New-Way Monthly reported on March 23 that Bo and his wife are responsible for several murders. Jiang said he thinks the allegation has merit, as Bo and his wife have been far from lenient with their enemies.

On May 7, 2002, a Northern Airlines plane, on its way from Beijing to Dalian, crashed into the sea, reportedly due to a cabin fire, which resulted in the deaths of 112 people.

Han Xiaoguang, the husband of one of the passengers, was a political rival of Bo. Han had been arrested by Bo’s men and held at a detention center in Dalian before the crash. Han told Jiang Weiping he believed the plane was deliberately crashed, targeting his wife, Li Yanfeng, who was on the flight to deliver letters to him written by former Chinese President Li Xiannian’s daughter and Hu Jintao’s daughter, pleading for Han’s release. Jiang suspected that Bo and his wife were behind the plane crash.

Sex Scandals

While Bo was mayor of Dalian, he was linked to a list of sex scandals. One of his mistresses was Zhang Weijie, a beautiful hostess at the Dalian TV station. Gu was so jealous that she used a pen name to write newspaper articles that defamed Zhang. She also used her connections with the state security and public security to pressure Zhang into resigning from her job.

Zhang eventually lost her job and was once secretly detained in a hotel in Dalian. According to Jiang, she attempted suicide several times before she went to Beijing and then vanished. Some people said Gu had set her up and killed her, while others said Bo had given her 10 million yuan (US$1.56 million) to silence her.

Source – http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/journalist-s-work-portrayed-lurid-corruption-by-bo-xilai-and-family-213239-all.html

China Backs Away From Controversial Internet Filter

BEIJING—China has delayed indefinitely a much-criticized plan to force manufacturers to bundle Internet filtering software with personal computers sold in the country, in an abrupt retreat hours before the policy was due to start.

The climb-down was reported late on Tuesday by the official Xinhua news agency, which said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology would “delay the mandatory installation of the controversial ‘Green Dam-Youth Escort’ filtering software on new computers.”

At a time when Chinas ruling Communist Party appears increasingly sure of its powers to master the economy, society and the Internet, the retreat was a vivid reminder that this sprawling red dragon can stumble on its own ambitions. (China Photos/Getty Images)

At a time when China's ruling Communist Party appears increasingly sure of its powers to master the economy, society and the Internet, the retreat was a vivid reminder that this sprawling red dragon can stumble on its own ambitions. (China Photos/Getty Images)

The “Green Dam” plan, which officials said was to stamp out Internet pornography banned in China, was to start on Wednesday, but had been assailed by critics of censorship, industry groups and officials as politically intrusive, technically ineffective and commercially unfair.Washington

No new date was given and the plan may drift into oblivion.

At a time when China’s ruling Communist Party appears increasingly sure of its powers to master the economy, society and the Internet, the retreat was a vivid reminder that this sprawling government can stumble on its own ambitions.

“They never expected the backlash would be so vehement,” said Wang Junxiu, an Internet entrepreneur in Beijing who has objected to Green Dam and other forms of censorship.

“This will just peter out now and the government will hope it will be soon forgotten, I’d say.”

The Ministry accepted the criticisms of computer companies, but left open the possibility of the censorship scheme returning in some form. And there can be no doubt that the ruling Communist Party remains wary of the Internet, which now has some 300 million users across China.

“Some businesses pointed out the heavy amount of work, time pressures and lack of preparation,” an unnamed Ministry official said in a statement on its website.

The official rejected claims that the plan threatened free speech, violated international trade rules or was chosen without proper tender processes.

“The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will further solicit opinions from all sides, improve the plan, upgrade methods and carry out related tasks,” said the official.

But critics are likely to see the vague backdown, giving no fresh date for a launch, as a way for the government to escape quickly from the domestic and international controversy that erupted after the plan was revealed earlier this month, giving manufacturers little time to prepare.

“I would say we would welcome this,” said Susan Stevenson, a spokeswoman for the United States’ embassy in Beijing.

‘Doomed to Fail’

Wang Junxiu, the Internet entrepreneur in Beijing, said the plan appeared to be poorly thought out and doomed to fail.

“The leaders apparently decided the controversy and problems were too much and decided to make a break,” said Wang.

“If this had been a well-prepared plan with senior support, the result would have been very different. But it wasn’t.”

China said the Green Dam software was designed to block objectionable images, but the policy drew opposition from industry and human rights groups and foreign governments who said it distorted fair market competition and strengthened Beijing’s ability to censor political views.

On Monday, the European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing urged China to reconsider the move, saying it “poses significant questions in relation to security, privacy, system reliability, the free flow of information and user choice.”

Last week, the United States also said the policy was “draconian” and the European Union urged it to be scrapped.

But the most potent opposition may have been the many Chinese Internet activists, bloggers and lawyers who threatened protests, lawsuits and other actions against the plan.

Susan Shirk, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of California, San Diego, said that earlier open criticism of “Green Dam” in the Chinese media suggested the plan did not have the backing of senior government leaders.

“They do watch public opinion very carefully,” Shirk said of China’s Communist Party leaders. “There’s a very dynamic interaction between the Party authorities and the Internet public.”

Hewlett-Packard Co, the world’s number one PC maker, declined to comment on the Chinese government’s decision.

Last Updated
Jun 30, 2009

June 15, 2009: Falun Gong News Bulletin

Monitoring the Falun Gong Human Rights Crisis in China

15 Jun 2009

News from Inside China

News from Outside China

FDIC: “‘China’s Gestapo’ Marks a Decade”
June 9: Ten years after its creation by fiat on June 10, 1999, the extralegal 6-10 Office continues to lead the Chinese Communist Party’s violent campaign to eradicate the Falun Gong spiritual group, the Falun Dafa Information Center said on Tuesday.

Testimony from torture survivors, human rights lawyers, and defectors, as well as official Chinese government websites, highlight the exceptional powers still exercised by the largely secret agency. Official Chinese Communist Party websites from 2008 and 2009 discuss the strengthening of 6-10 operations with the purpose of “handling” and “disposing of” Falun Gong.

“The 6-10 office is just like Hitler’s Gestapo,” says Guo Guoting, a Chinese human rights lawyer in exile. “They are powerful and they got enough financial support from the government so…they secretly control all the Falun Gong practitioners in their local areas.”

To read more (including links to original Chinese official websites): http://www.faluninfo.net/article/886/?cid=84

Christian Science Monitor: “China guts budding civil rights movement”
May 28: Twenty of China’s most courageous and outspoken civil rights lawyers face being disbarred next Monday, as judicial authorities reject or delay their applications to renew their professional licenses, according to three of the lawyers affected. Forbidding them to practice after a May 31 deadline would, at a stroke, decapitate the budding “rights protection movement” that is at the heart of activists’ efforts to build a civil society in China.

“If these 20 lose their licenses it would be the biggest step back in legal reform for 20 years,” warns Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch based in Hong Kong. “It would be really very dramatic.”

The lawyers who have reported problems having their annual licenses renewed have all represented plaintiffs or defendants in politically sensitive cases over the past year, such as members of the banned Falun Gong religious group.

“They are worried that I will take more Falun Gong cases,” says Mr. Wei [Liangyue, from] the northern city of Harbin, who recently served 30 days in prison in connection with the defendant, accused of belonging to Falun Gong, whom he is representing.

To read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0528/p06s04-woap.html

Chinese laywer Jiang Tianyong, shown in Geneva in this 2008 photo, said the Beijing Justice Bureau was dragging its feet in approving a mandatory annual renewal of his credentials. Jiang Tianyong/AP

Chinese laywer Jiang Tianyong, shown in Geneva in this 2008 photo, said the Beijing Justice Bureau was dragging its feet in approving a mandatory annual renewal of his credentials. Jiang Tianyong/AP

Human Rights in China: “Chinese Rights Defense Lawyers Under All-Out Attack by the Authorities”
June 4: … In recent days, the Chinese authorities have used various procedural obstacles, harassment, and even kidnapping to launch an all-out attack on rights defense lawyers. As of June 1, at least 17 Chinese rights defense lawyers did not receive their “annual licensing inspection and registration” approval from the Lawyers Association in their localities, a requisite for lawyers to continue to practice law… As a result, these rights defense lawyers and law firms have lost their right to continue to practice, and the cases they are currently representing will not be able to proceed.

Most of the 17 lawyers have represented cases involving Falun Gong, HIV/AIDS, peasants who have lost land, the tainted milk powder scandal, Reeducation-Through-Labor, house churches, forced evictions, or have advocated direct elections for the Beijing Lawyers Association.”

To read more: (including an appeal letter from the lawyers, their contact information, and a list of cases): http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/press?revision_id=169806&item_id=169791

FDIC Editor’s note: In their defense of Falun Gong adherents in recent months, many of the above lawyers have made strong constitutional arguments in court for their clients’ acquittal, including questioning the legality and justice of the whole campaign. See for example: http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2008/08/200808152350.shtml

Boston Globe: “China’s ‘socialist road’ to misery”
June 3: “It is 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China’s communist regime hasn’t budged an inch…Perhaps nothing today so exemplifies the totalitarian implacability of China’s rulers as their ruthless persecution of Falun Gong… By civilized standards, it is incomprehensible that anything so innocuous and peaceable could provoke bloody repression. But China’s uncivilized government fears any movement it does not control, and Falun Gong – with its uplifting values so different from the regime’s Stalinist ethic – has attracted tens of millions of adherents, independent of the Communist Party.

There is nothing subtle about Beijing’s decade-long campaign to suppress Falun Gong. … the Falun Dafa Information Center describes several of the torture techniques the government uses to break Falun Gong practitioners. Burning, for example. In hundreds of reported cases, police or labor camp authorities have used cigarettes, car lighters, or red-hot irons to sear Falun Gong believers on their faces, torsos, and genitals.”

To read more: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/06/03/chinas_socialist_road_to_misery/

Amnesty International Annual Report: Falun Gong among most harshly ersecuted groups
May 28: “Falun Gong practitioners were among those most harshly persecuted by the government. In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, thousands were reported to have been arrested, with hundreds imprisoned or assigned to Re-education through Labour camps and other forms of administrative detention where they were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment sometimes leading to death.

On 25 January, Yu Zhou, a well-known folk singer, graduate of Beijing University, and reportedly a Falun Gong practitioner, was arrested in Tongzhou District, Beijing, along with his wife, Xu Na, a poet and painter. On 6 February, the authorities from the Qinghe District Emergency Centre told his family that Yu Zhou had died from either diabetes or from a hunger strike, although the family maintains he was healthy at the time of his arrest. The staff at the Emergency Centre refused the family’s request to view the body and for an autopsy. On 25 November, Xu Na was sentenced to three years in prison for “using a heretical organization to undermine the implementation of the law”. She appealed against the sentence and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.”

To read more: http://thereport.amnesty.org/en/regions/asia-pacific/china

Jakarta Post: Ancient Meditation Takes to the Streets

Open and free: This Falun Dafa group meditates in public in Ubud, teaching the practice free of charge. Falun Dafa is practiced in public parks and street corners in Indonesia and more than 70 other countries around the world. JP/J.B. Djwan

Open and free: This Falun Dafa group meditates in public in Ubud, teaching the practice free of charge. Falun Dafa is practiced in public parks and street corners in Indonesia and more than 70 other countries around the world. JP/J.B. Djwan

May 28: Shimmering around them is a sense of well-being and complete calm; buses and motorbikes charging by and streets crowded with shoppers and onlookers do not disturb their meditation.

These are the Falun Dafa practitioners in Bali who follow the ancient laws of the universe – Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance – based on ancient Buddhist and Taoist teachings…. Falun Dafa is a series of gentle movements and meditation aimed at helping people become more calm and generous of spirit, according to Denpasar Police officer and Falun Dafa convert, Roby, who goes by one name only.

“I’ve been following Falun Dafa since 2003. I started when I saw that it increased people’s moral, mental and intellectual abilities. I felt if I followed the laws of this philosophy it would make me better able to serve the public in my role as a police officer and also as a citizen,” says Roby, adding that there are several other practicing Falun Dafa followers within the Denpasar Police force.

“There are five active followers and many others have read the books about this form of exercise and meditation. I believe it makes us more willing to help people and reduces egoism and selfishness — it makes us more patient in our work with the public. We are not arrogant and know we are here to help society.”

Touching on allegations of corruption within Indonesia’s police force, Roby points out if more police and other civil servants followed Falun Dafa, those allegations could be crushed overnight. “If all police followed the laws of honesty, they would never take the wrong road.”

To read more: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/05/28/ancient-meditation-takes-streets.html

Epoch Times: Thousands of Falun Gong Adherents Parade Through New York City (Photo Essay)
Falun Gong adherents from around the world participated in a parade in New York City celebrating the practice and exposing the brutal persecution its adherents in China have endured for ten years.

Falun Gong adherents from all over the world came to New York City to participate in a parade celebrating the practice, which has endured ten years of brutal persecution by the Chinese communist regime. (Edward Dai/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong adherents from all over the world came to New York City to participate in a parade celebrating the practice, which has endured ten years of brutal persecution by the Chinese communist regime. (Edward Dai/The Epoch Times)

To view more photos: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/17832/