Lawyer's Speech during a Press Conference in Sweden regarding Criminal Charges Against Jiang Zemin

Peter Bergquist’s speech in Stockholm on September the 21st 2004

China is a nation sometimes described in terms of political stability. The real truth is that a regime which dare not encounter its people in free, open and democratic elections cannot represent stability. The real truth is that a regime, which counters demands of human rights and democracy with tanks, cannot represent stability. The real truth is that a nation, which is devoid of a stand-alone legal system, where lawyers cannot defend their clients without getting punished, where the judges are recruited directly from the Communist Party, cannot represent stability. The stern truth is that the Chinese regime represents quite the contrary to what we mean by stability.

To that must be added that China is a nation where money can buy everything, in spite of the Communist façade. Permission to run a business is bought for money. Permission to spread information and propaganda regarding human rights can be bought for money. The prisons are financed through the prisoners' relatives, who are made to pay fees. Executions are financed by relatives of the executed, who are made to pay for the bullets that killed their family members. After that their internal organs are sold to transplant surgeons.

Of all these money transactions, the members and dignitaries of the Communist Party get their due share. These examples show that China is not only an unstable nation, but also a nation in moral decline.

What China needs is not stability for today but change; it needs more democracy, more human rights, more openness and more morality.

Instead, the Chinese regime has chosen to counter all such demands with violence, and reporters from abroad that criticise or spread information about what takes place in China are denied a visa.

The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners should be viewed in this perspective. Falun Gong is not a political movement. But it is a movement that is bigger than the Communist party and it is a movement that represents, through the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, a moral elevation that is unfamiliar to the Communist Party. It is precisely the moral aspect of Falun Gong that the Communist Party presumably perceives as the most serious threat.

I used to say that to be able to understand the desperation of the Chinese regime, you have to realise that the people they perceive as a deadly threat to the regime are the ones that have no ambitions other than to live according to their conscience and meditate in the parks. When you realise that these peaceful people, who want nothing but to live according to their conviction, are perceived as a threat, then you will also understand the inconceivable desperation and cruelty of the Chinese regime.

The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners is widespread and has continued for several years. It is directly inspired by the Communist Party and it is managed by a specific authority, established by the Communist Party. More than 800 practitioners [today the number is 1047] have been tortured to death in Chinese prisons. 800 is the official number, but more probable figures amount to 3-4000 people. So 3–4000 practitioners have been tortured to death over the last few years in Chinese prisons.

What we have seen enacted here today, during a few hours, is consequently something that is going on every day in China. All these horrific scenes, where people are tortured and women are raped, just because they wish to live in accordance to their moral conviction, is taking place constantly in Chinese society.

No reactions are to be expected from the Chinese legal system. The perpetrators of these loathsome crimes, from the persons holding the keys to the prison cells to the ones directing the persecution, are still unpunished.

The alternative at hand for the international community is to use the courts in each country to put the perpetrators on trial, and in the whole world there is a campaign ongoing at present, where evidence is collected and legal actions are taken against the ones accountable for crimes against human rights in China. This campaign takes place all over the world: From South Africa to Scandinavia, from the US to Europe, legal processes are ongoing and prepared against the torturers in China.

Sweden can contribute to this campaign too. The crimes in question are especially the ones defined as abduction in Sweden. Those crimes are penalised with at least four years in prison. A person could be punished in Sweden for those crimes, regardless of where on earth the crimes are committed, irrespective of who committed them and whatever the nationality of the victim is. It is thus possible for Sweden to intervene against the torture in China.

But it is not only possible for Sweden to do so. It is an obligation towards international law to do so because these crimes are subordinate to the Convention Against Torture. The Convention Against Torture stipulates that the signatory nations shall punish crimes against the convention. That means that Sweden, as a signatory to the convention, not only has a possibility to take legal action against the human rights violations in China, but also has an obligation towards international law to do that.

That gives cause to raise another question, since it is said that these types of crimes are preferably punished in the respective homelands. The experiences at hand when it comes to punish those in power for old crimes against human rights, are above all the experiences collected when the Spanish prosecutor Baltazar Garcon tried to put Augusto Pinochet on trial. The experiences from that lawsuit especially tell us that a case in a foreign country can stimulate lawsuits in the native country. These lawsuits all over the world can hopefully also, in a wider perspective, result in demands for human rights in China.

The democratisation in China implies, as an important component, that the crimes against human rights are punished. The people, whose relatives have been killed, are entitled to compensation for the crimes, and those accountable for the violations are bound to serve their sentences. Otherwise, nothing worthy of the name democratisation can take place.

Jiang Zemin, who has instructed this loathsome persecution, can and will accordingly be punished, either in China or in Sweden.

Thank you.

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