Taiwan: Press Conference Supports Six Lawyers Defending Falun Gong Practitioners in China

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To voice support for six lawyers in Beijing who are defending Falun Gong practitioners, lawyer Chiu Huang-chuan, deputy director of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) Asian Delegation and Director of the Cheng Nan-jung Foundation, invited human rights lawyers in Taiwan to take part in a press conference on May 5th, 2007.

The press conference called for the international community to condemn the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) deprivation of lawyers' rights, support the six lawyers in Beijing who are safeguarding righteousness, and demand that the CCP immediately release Falun Gong practitioners unlawfully imprisoned and stop the persecution of religious freedom in China.

Taiwanese lawyers and human rights representatives held a joint press conference on May 5th to support the six lawyers in Beijing who are defending Falun Gong practitioners

Attendees at the press conference included lawyers Gao Yung-cheng and Li Sheng-hsing from the Human Rights Protection Committee of the Taipei Bar Association, lawyer Lin Feng-cheng from the Civil Judicial Reform Foundation, professor Huang Mo from the Chang Fu-chuan Human Rights Research Centre, and lawyer Chu Wan-chi from the Human Rights Law Foundation. Central News Agency, FTV and New Taiwan Weekly covered the event.

An open letter was signed during the press conference and sent to nine well-known human rights organisations, including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. The letter urged these organisations to condemn the CCP's atrocities against the lawyers and asked them to request the Chinese government to improve human rights conditions. The letter also requested these organisations to monitor the Chinese government to see whether it is fulfilling its human rights promises. Copies of the letter were sent to Chinese President Hu Jintao and the International Olympic Committee.

The representatives sign an open letter to international human rights organisations, legal associations and Chinese President Hu Jintao

On the morning of April 27th, 2007, six lawyers in Beijing, Li Heping, Li Xingbing, Zhang Lihui, Li Shunzhang, Tong Biao, and Wu Hongwei, defended Falun Gong practitioners Wang Bo and her parents in the Shijiazhuang Intermediate Court, Hebei Province. This is the first time that the outside world has heard of several lawyers conducting an innocence defense in court for Falun Gong practitioners, despite pressure from the CCP. Lawyer Tong Biao and others were beaten by court police in front of the public.

Lawyer Chu Wan-chi said, "During the eight years of the CCP's persecution of Falun Gong, the CCP ordered the courts to deal harshly with Falun Gong issues and not allow any defense for Falun Gong. After the long-term efforts of Falun Gong practitioners to expose the persecution, the CCP is under a lot of pressure. From 2001 to 2003, some practitioners received 'guilty defense' from lawyers to reduce their punishment."

A Chinese lawyer told Ms. Chu over the phone, "This is better than before. No one wants to defend Falun Gong practitioners in China because they risk their life doing so."

A Chinese democracy activist told her that China is not controlled by law or humans. Ms. Chu said, "In the twenty-first century, the CCP has established hell on earth. Lawyers in China try their best to do two things: to protect litigants' interests and their own lives. Their difficulties cannot be imagined by lawyers in the outside world."

Ms. Chu then mentioned that Falun Gong practitioners had filed more than fifty lawsuits against Jiang Zemin and more than twenty lawsuits against the CCP in more than thirty countries across the world. She said that more than fifty human rights lawyers who are involved in the Falun Gong lawsuits, including herself, have received interference and harassments from CCP embassies and consulates.

Professor Huang Mo from Chang Fu-chuan Human Rights Research Centre said that lawyers should have a righteous commitment to strive for human rights. It is a new and welcome change for the six lawyers to jointly defend Falun Gong practitioners in court. He thought that their defense could set a precedent and teach a lesson to the CCP regime about human rights and rule of law.


Professor Huang Mo from Chang Fu-chuan Human Rights Research Centre

Mr. Huang said, "From this trial, in which the CCP persecutes Falun Gong practitioners and beats lawyers in front of the public, one can tell that the CCP is a tyrant. The CCP should be condemned for its policy of persecuting dissidents. Practitioner Wang Bo's case is a basic human rights issue. The CCP's actions violate the Chinese Constitution and international human rights law."

Mr. Huang continued, "The voice of support in Taiwan is significant in that so many lawyers and organisations are expressing their support openly. Many professional organisations in Taiwan are reluctant to openly support the Chinese people's efforts against CCP persecution. From the point of view of universal human rights, they should not be like that."

He hoped that the media including newspapers, magazines and TV, would report on this in depth and investigate the basic issues.

Lawyer Li Shi-hsing, Director of Amnesty International (AI) Taiwan Branch, said he wrote to AI headquarters in London and asked AI branches in each country to voice support for the activity. He said though the CCP regime hates Taiwan, the rights of 1.3 billion Chinese people should be safeguarded. Human rights in Taiwan have progressed and human rights in neighbouring countries should be safeguarded.

Lawyer Li Shi-hsing, Director of Amnesty International (AI) Taiwan Branch

Mr. Li said, "Professor Huang Mo and I are listed on the CCP's blacklist and cannot enter mainland China. The CCP ignores people's basic human rights for economic development. Religious freedom and freedom of belief are precious and cannot be replaced. Falun Gong is the biggest group being persecuted by the CCP. Even under the CCP's brutal control, these lawyers are defending Falun Gong practitioners. I send my highest respect to the six lawyers. All lawyers in China should help stop the persecution of human rights."

Lawyer Lin Feng-cheng from the Civil Judicial Reform Foundation said that it is a principle that lawyers conduct innocence defense for defendants. He was surprised to learn that the innocence defense in China is considered huge progress. He indicated that the situation in China is worse than he thought.

Lawyer Gao Yung-cheng from the Human Rights Protection Committee of the Taipei Bar Association pointed out that lawyers in China cannot protect their own basic human rights and that there is a serious problem in execution of the constitution and law in mainland China. He said if 120,000 lawyers in China and more future lawyers would stand up together, they would experience society controlled by the rule of law. When the rule of law become mature, such persecution of basic human rights would not happen.

Lawyer Gao Yung-cheng from the Human Rights Protection Committee of the Taipei Bar Association

Lawyer Chiu Huang-chuan, deputy director of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) Asian Delegation and director of the Cheng Nan-jung Foundation

Lawyer Chiu Huang-chuan, Director of the Cheng Nan-jung Foundation, said he was surprised at the CCP's beating of lawyers in court. He criticised the act saying; "Such a government does not qualify to host the Olympic Games. Civilised countries should think over what kinds of improvement of human rights can be achieved by attending the Olympic Games and what help can be obtained for the Chinese people. If it [hosting the Olympic Games] cannot be helpful in this regard, it just lets the CCP take advantage of the opportunity to decorate itself and cover up the ugly things, and in fact assists the CCP regime."

Attorney Chiu said that civilised countries emphasising human rights should support these six lawyers and speak out for the defendants.

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