Lawyers in China Refused the Right to Defend Falun Gong Practitioners

According to an article published on the Minghui website (the Chinese version of the Falun Dafa related website on February 23rd, 2007, the Pudong New District Court of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai illegally sentenced Hong Kong practitioner Ms. Zeng Aihua to a 3-year prison term. The court provided Ms. Zeng's file to the defendant's lawyer only three days before the trial date, denying the lawyer to discuss the case with Ms. Zeng prior to the trial. Shanghai National Security and the Gestapo like 610 Office staff were afraid the news of the trial would be exposed. In order to block anyone from finding out, they tapped and recorded the lawyer's mobile phone three days before the trial, up to the day that this article was first published (five days after). They also interfered with his phone signals, thus making the media unable to interview the lawyer. The home phone and mobile phone of Ms. Zeng's family residence in Shanghai had also been tapped secretly. After the trial, the authorities deliberately made noises on the phones, to remind her family of the tapping. The wiretapping even involved Ms. Zeng's in-laws in Fujian Province.

The persecution against Falun Gong not only includes physical torture, but also includes manipulating the law so that lawyers cannot defend Falun Gong practitioners.

Lawyers cannot enter innocent pleas

Mr. He Lizhi, a Falun Gong practitioner who was rescued in May of 2004 and escaped to Canada, said: "When I was jailed, my wife found a lawyer for me. Later, the lawyer told my wife that he could not defend me, because he had been deprived of his license to practise law. He had entered a plea of innocence for another Falun Gong practitioner before my case, and after that, he didn't get the annually renewed lawyer certificate. So, he was no longer a certified lawyer."

Mr. He's wife talked to another lawyer. This lawyer had his business in Beijing but his family was in his hometown. After the lawyer agreed to defend Mr. He, the policemen in his hometown went to his house and conducted an investigation to see if he had any connection with Falun Gong practitioners. Once, the lawyer met with Mr. He's wife where she asked him to deliver a letter to Mr. He. After the meeting, his car was stolen, and on the second day the car was returned. Nothing in the car was missing, except for the letter from Mr. He's wife. The lawyer knew that the policemen were spying on him. For his and his family's safety, he told Mr. He's wife that he was sorry, but he could not defend him.

Just lawyers are persecuted

Lawyers who have spoken out for Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted. Mr. Gao Zhicheng, a human rights lawyer, had conducted a series of investigation into Falun Gong practitioners' cases. He wrote to the high ranking officers in the CCP on three separate occasions, publicising the persecution of Falun Gong. Because of this, Mr. Gao and his family were under 24-hour surveillance for 280 days. In August of 2006, Mr. Gao was illegally arrested and jailed. His family was monitored and even beaten by the police when he was jailed. Currently, Mr. Gao is still being watched tightly by the CCP.

The CCP breaks the law

Chu Wanchi, a human rights lawyer in Taiwan and the Chief Executive of the Human Rights Lawyers Association in Asia, said: "If the safety and human rights of a lawyer of Falun Gong practitioners cannot be protected, then how can they protect the rights of the Falun Gong group? How can they protect the human rights of the citizens?"

Ms. Chu pointed out that the CCP violates the Chinese Constitution. "The Party made the political decision first. Before the persecution officially began on July 20th of 1999, Jiang Zemin and his gang decided to persecute Falun Gong and so they made some political rules to support the persecution. Those political rules violate the Fifth Article in the Constitution, which protects the basic human rights of citizens. So, we don't think those "rules" are lawful. In October of 1999, the National People's Congress passed the anti-cult law. But even in terms of that law, Falun Gong was not defined as cult. The truth is that the CCP manipulates the whole national machine, including the propaganda system, the media, the labour camp system, the military, the education system and so on, to illegally persecute Falun Gong."

Having laws doesn't mean a country is under the rule of law

Ms. Chu pointed out that having laws doesn't mean a country is under the rule of law. She said: " If there is no justice and fair mechanism to carry out the laws, and if the laws are used as tools by the tyrants, then the tyrants can manipulate the laws to persecute the people who have different voices."

Ms. Chu pointed out that the persecution of Falun Gong is the focus of the human rights issue in China. She said: "In the 21st century, when speaking of human rights in China, one must focus on the persecution of Falun Gong. The reason is simple. Although the CCP has been violating human rights for many years, and there are so many documents about their brutality, the documents concerning the persecution against Falun Gong are the most complete. The proof and evidence of the persecution are considered by the international human rights community to be the most complete. Moreover, the persecution is still going on."

Everybody's responsibility

Mr. Chu said: "On December 10th, 2006, Pinochet, the former tyrant in Chile, died before he was brought to trial. Later, Saddam Hussein, another tyrant, was executed. It is everybody's responsibility to end the CCP's tyrannical governing."

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