Swiss Attaché follows Practitioners’ Appeal Hearing in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the appeal hearing for practitioners falsely charged with obstructing the pavement while holding a peaceful appeal in front of the Chinese Liaison Office began on the 3rd of September and lasted for three days. Three judges listened to the lawyers’ submissions. At the end of the hearing they could not give an immediate verdict. Through experience, the lawyers said that it may take between several days and four weeks until the verdict is known.

Many journalists were present in the court and followed the trial closely.

The Attaché from Switzerland, who followed last year’s trial, also showed up this time and expressed an interest in the case. She was not able to be present daily but asked practitioners to keep her up to date on the hearing’s progress, via a telephone call or email.

The following is a press statement that was read by a Swiss practitioner before the beginning of the hearing on the 3rd of September.

Bringing Jiang Zemin to Justice in Europe

Press Statement

Hong Kong, the 3rd of September 2003

Ladies and gentleman,

My name is Erich Bachmann. I’m from Switzerland and I practise Falun Gong.

It is not easy for me to stand here and talk to you today. Why do I say this? I was stopped by Immigration at the airport, and was only permitted to enter Hong Kong because today I needed to attend our appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal.

After the SARS crisis, which the Chinese Government failed to alert the world to for about four months, was over, I read that China and Hong Kong wanted to work together to bring tourists back. But obviously I am not considered one of those “desirable” tourists and I am only allowed to stay here for nine days.

The first time I entered Hong Kong I did not have any problems at Immigration. This “special treatment” didn’t begin until we were illegally arrested for carrying out a hunger strike appeal in front of the Liaison Office, to call on Jiang Zemin to stop killing [Dafa practitioners in China] on March 14th last year. Later, we had to stay in court for 26 days because of false accusations. I think it would be hard to find a court case that took such a long time just for so-called “obstruction of public property”, a place where now, after more than one year’s work, huge flower beds have been installed. The other day, I passed by there and saw that the flowerbeds cover more than two-thirds of the entire pavement. It makes me wonder whether those flowers should be sued for causing obstruction in court. Would those police officers that arrested us consider warning and removing the flowerbeds? It would be interesting to find out.

Was our case really just an obstruction issue? What was the real reason that I had difficulty entering into Hong Kong? It seems that Mainland China’s suppression of Falun Gong has been extended to Hong Kong, where people’s basic human rights are supposedly protected.

The fact is, on March 14th 2002, our right to demonstrate and our freedom of expression was severely harmed, and on August 15th - the day when the guilty verdict was delivered - Hong Kong’s ability to protect people’s rights was seriously doubted.

It seems obvious that the Hong Kong Government has repeatedly given in to pressure Mainland Chinese authorities, led by Jiang Zemin.

After the persecution of Falun Gong began, practitioners around the world spoke out against various fabricated lies and crimes committed by Jiang and his followers. In Hong Kong, Falun Gong has been viewed as a litmus test of the “One Country Two Systems” by other countries, as well as many of Hong Kong’s own residents. A lot of people have realised that Hong Kong Falun Gong could very well be the first target if Article 23 legislation is passed. Article 23 not only harms people’s right to practise Falun Gong, but also if it is implemented, the much-cherished human rights and freedom of Hong Kong will be cut back, and people’s lifestyle will be forever changed. This is contrary to what leaders who look to the future should do.

The Hong Kong government should not let Jiang and his followers, who place their personal interest and feelings above the law, ruin the future of Hong Kong. The rest of the world knows that Mainland China has constantly violated human rights. To protect human rights in many countries the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” was ratified.

Jiang Zemin has committed crimes of Genocide in his mad persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. To enforce his policy of “defaming their reputation, bankrupting them financially and destroying them physically” he has forced people to act against their own will. Under his orders many people have committed atrocious crimes that will weigh heavy on their conscience for the rest of their lives.

After four years of brutal persecution, finally Jiang Zemin is facing lawsuits in Europe:

Belgium — On August 20th 2003, a criminal lawsuit charging the former Chinese Communist leader Jiang Zemin and two of his senior aides with the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and state-directed torture, was submitted to the federal prosecutors by practitioners of Falun Gong and their lawyer, Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier. Two of Jiang’s most senior accomplices, Luo Gan and Li Lanqing (the head of the “610 Office”) have been named in the lawsuit. Mr. Beauthier brought the first successful case under Belgium’s human rights law against two individuals for their roles in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

France — In July this year, a criminal court in Paris began legal proceedings with a lawsuit, charging the former Vice-Premier of China, Li Lanqing, with crimes of torture. Mr. William Bourdon, one of the lawyers responsible for trials against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, has taken on this case. An examining magistrate in Paris has been assigned. The complaint is based on the United Nations Convention against Torture. As a signatory, French Courts are authorised to hear cases that allege violation of its terms.

Switzerland—This year in March, Mister Philip Grant, president of the Swiss based international NGO “Track Impunity Always” and legal counsel representing Falun Gong practitioners, announced plans to sue Jiang Zemin for torture, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. Jiang will face formal legal litigation if he enters Switzerland.

Our Hong Kong case will be part of these lawsuits, which are soon to follow in various European countries to stop Jiang Zemin killing people who only want to practise Qigong exercises and be good people in society. Jiang Zemin, on the other hand, has used the state-run media to demonise Falun Gong and incite hatred towards practitioners.

By means of all these lawsuits Jiang Zemin’s days are numbered and very soon he will be found guilty for his crimes; justice will prevail.

Even with these actions, we are not against China but it would be good if the ruling Chinese Government takes steps to stop Jiang Zemin and this cruel persecution. Jiang Zemin is ruining China; he harms China and brings disaster all over this wonderful land. We have to stop this, we have to work together to stop this evil tyrant who is out of control.

An example of how other countries respect human rights can be found on the Swiss Government’s website at:

Human rights are rights which people are inherently entitled to. Every man, woman and child can lay claim to these because they are human beings. Human rights means recognising human dignity and the freedom of every individual to make their own decisions. They are essential qualities of human existence. They enable human beings to live according to their nature. Human rights thus limit the power of ruling individuals. The ruler or the state is not free to act as it pleases. Citizens can cite human rights to defend themselves against the state and to demand justice.

These rights include the right not to be tortured, freedom of speech, freedom to practise the religion of one’s choice, freedom of assembly, as well as respect for one’s personal property. Human beings may not be discriminated against because they belong to a minority, are of a different race, or if they are female.

Human rights, however, also entail the right to receive certain services from the state such as schooling for children, adequate nutrition and a pension for the elderly. They protect the values of the community, and also apply to individual relationships.

With these words I want to end this speech, thank you very much for your attention.

Erich Bachmann

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