On December 17, the Central News Agency reported significant progress in the lawsuit against former Chinese Vice Premier, Li Lanqing. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Mr. William Bourdon, stated that a French court had asked the Chinese judiciary to assist in the investigation. Under a mutual assistance agreement between the Chinese and French judiciaries, the Chinese government cannot, in theory, ignore the request. This is the first case in which a European court has asked the Chinese judiciary for assistance.
Mr. Bourdon said that he filed the lawsuit against Li Lanqing on December 2002 because of Li's persecution and ill-treatment of Falun Gong practitioners.
The French Falun Gong Association, with French practitioner Ms. Hélène Petit as plaintiff, sued Li Lanqing because Ms. Petit was beaten in China when she appealed for Falun Gong in November 2001. Li Lanqing was head of the 610 Office, which was created specifically for monitoring and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.
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