On the afternoon of the opening of the Sub-Commission, practitioners of Falun Gong gave a speech on the progress of the lawsuit against Jiang during the meeting of the Working Group on the Administration of Justice. The statement drew the attention of international experts on justice and of other participants.
The following is the text of the statement.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, thank you for giving us the floor.
We are speaking on behalf of Interfaith International because of our extreme concern regarding the issue of the obligation of the State to provide its citizens with efficient domestic remedies, in particular in the event of the violation of international human rights treaties. Every victim of human rights violations should be able to appeal in his own country. What, however, is the true situation?
Not only do we observe that serious violations are committed in a number of countries with no possibility of recourse to justice for the victims in their own country, in China, for example, but we are also aware that the reservations mechanism permits certain States which are signatories to international human rights treaties to evade surveillance by the monitoring body established by those treaties.
What recourse then remains to the victims?
We would like to give you an example of the situation which currently exists for victims from China who have no possibility of access to domestic remedies in their own country.
The former Chinese head of state, Jiang Zemin, is being prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and torture.
In Chicago, United States of America, a lawsuit was filed against Jiang Zemin in October 2002 by survivors of Chinas forced labour camps. The lawsuit also concerns the officials of the 610 Office established by Jiang in June 1999 to carry out and implement his state policy for the total elimination of practitioners of Falun Gong in China and the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners abroad.
More has been done, however: in Switzerland and worldwide, Falun Gong Associations around the world, together with the international Swiss-based NGO TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) have set up an international network of lawyers specializing in human rights with the aim of bringing Jiang Zemin and all those responsible for the persecution to justice.
A Reminder of the Facts
Everyone is aware that Falun Gong practitioners in China have been persecuted for the past four years. What many people do not know, however, is that this extremely serious and wide-spread persecution is an act of genocide, as defined by international law.
Falun Gong (Falun Dafa) is a traditional Chinese method for the improvement of health and the practice of meditation based on respect for the values of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance.
Initially, the Chinese Government supported the method. On 20 July 1999, however, Jiang Zemin banned Falun Gong, and a campaign was initiated for the total elimination of all those who practised it.
China experts have attributed the crackdown to the methods immense popularity and to the totalitarian paranoia of the former head of State. A national survey by the Chinese Government in the spring of 1999 in fact revealed that more than 70 million people were practising Falun Gong.
In August 2000, Jiang issued the following orders with a view to the elimination of Falun Gong practitioners: Slander their reputation, ruin them financially and destroy them physically.
Violation of International Laws
As a result of these orders, we are witnessing the violation of international laws ratified by China:
1. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (9 December 1948),
2. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (10 December 1984),
and the United Nations Covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights of 16 December 1966; China is a signatory to the former and has ratified the latter.
Jiang Zemin is charged with:
1. Genocide in respect of the practitioners of Falun Gong
In the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, the term genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Jiang Zemin has sponsored and authorized the systematic use of mental and physical torture, Soviet-style psychiatric abuse, rape, break-up of families, forced abortion, removal of children from their parents, confiscation of property and money, forced unemployment, expulsion from schools and universities and deprivation of all social and civil rights. The persecution affects millions of families, friends and colleagues of Falun Gong practitioners and is leading to currently unknown numbers of deaths. Sources in China speak of thousands of deaths. The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is by definition an act of genocide, in accordance with the above-mentioned Convention.
2. Involvement in various types of crimes classified by the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity, such as: murder, extermination, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual violence, persecution, abduction and other inhuman acts
Confirmed daily accounts reaching us from eyewitnesses in China tell of crimes of torture in detention centres, labour camps, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and secret locations run by local 610 Offices.
More than 40 types of inhuman torture have been experienced and listed: use of electric batons, sleep deprivation, hanging by the arms while handcuffed, solitary confinement in cages submerged in stagnant water or in water dungeons, scalding with boiling water, burns inflicted with cigarettes or electric irons, to give only a few examples. These methods have led to the deaths of large numbers of practitioners and continue to do so.
Hunger strikes are the only recourse left to Falun Gong practitioners to protest against this inhuman treatment. They are then force-fed sometimes with human excrement or detergents or liquids heavily laced with salt or pepper causing irreparable damage; big long tubes are brutally inserted and may cause perforation of the lungs and stomach, leading to death.
Extending the Persecution Outside China
Furthermore, all countries are concerned by the extension of the persecution:
1. Exploitation of the diplomatic status and immunity of Chinese personnel residing overseas in order to spread hate propaganda against Falun Gong worldwide.
2. Use of diplomatic and economic pressure to export the persecution to other countries by obliging the Governments of democratic nations to violate the rights of their own citizens and their Constitutions (e.g. in Iceland, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine, Lithuania, Thailand, Burma ).
3. Establishment and use of a blacklist to harass and persecute - Large numbers of agents are being sent round the world to spy on, interfere with and slander Falun Gong practitioners and to keep the blacklist up to date. For example, when Jiang Zemin visited Reykjavik and Hong Kong, practitioners from Switzerland and elsewhere were banned from entering the countries in question and/or were subjected to ill-treatment.
Thanks to recourse to legal proceedings in other countries we can entertain the hope that the victims of human rights violations can genuinely be defended.
Thank you for your attention.
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