Sydney Falun Gong practitioners gathered in front of the New South Wales Supreme Court on the morning of November 26th, 2007 to protest the Chinese Embassy's interfering with Australian judicial proceedings.
|Barrister for the plaintiffs, Angela Kate|
|Sydney Falun Gong practitioners gather in front of the NSW Supreme Court protesting the Chinese Embassy's Interference with Australian judicial proceedings|
In December 2006, when Chen Shaoji, chairman of the Guangdong Province Political Consultative Committee and deputy secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee, visited Australia, Falun Gong practitioners Ms. Li Fuying and Ms. Xie Yan filed a lawsuit against him for illegal detention and torture (Ms. Li and Ms. Xie had both been detained for practising Falun Gong in China). On November 26th, 2007, the NSW Supreme Court held another hearing over the case of Chen Shaoji. Defendant Chen Shaoji has failed to respond to the court since the lawsuit was filed in February 2006. Therefore, the plaintiffs applied for a default judgment against him.
Chen Shaoji is Outside the Jurisdiction of Diplomatic Immunity
On November 13th, three solicitors from the Australian Attorney General's office submitted a letter to the court from the Chinese Embassy in Australia claiming that the defendant should be granted immunity, because he is an official of a foreign country.
Due to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Attorney-General's Department intervened in the case. They submitted a certificate granting the defendant Chen Shaoji diplomatic immunity. The certificate was issued and signed by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on November 15th, 2007. The hearing should have discussed certain issues, such as whether the court would approve Foreign Minister Downer's certificate and if intervention by the Attorney General's Department is legal. Now, due to federal elections which took place ten days after the certificate was signed, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney General Philip Ruddock are no longer in office. It is unclear if their submission to the court will be granted by the newly-appointed foreign minister and attorney general. Therefore, the judge decided to defer the case for two weeks.
Mr. Downer abused his authority previously by signing certificates for 42 months, which restricted Falun Gong practitioners' protests in front of the Chinese Consulate. He appeared to take this action only to stay in favour with the CCP. Falun Gong practitioners filed a lawsuit against Mr. Downer and the Supreme Court ruled that Downer was to stop issuing and signing the certificates, and that Falun Gong practitioners have the right to protest in front of the Chinese Consulate. Downer paid $20,000 Australian dollars in compensation for damages to Falun Gong practitioners.
Barrister for the plaintiffs, Angela Kate, said that the court has not approved the Attorney-General Department's intervention. This case will be deferred to December 12th, as the Attorney-General Department will also reconsider the certificate signed by Downer.
President of the New South Wales Falun Dafa Association, Lucy Zhao, said that the court did not make a final judgment today as to whether it will allow the Attorney-General's Department to intervene in the case. This will likely be decided at the December 12th hearing. We hope that the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will respect the independence of the court and let the court make an independent judgment.
Working Together to Stop the Chinese Embassy's Interference with Australian Judicial Proceedings
Plaintiff Ms. Xie Yan wrote an open letter to the Australian people regarding the CCP's interference with the case. She said, "Adolf Hitler was a government official and he did what he did based on the laws of Nazi Germany. I would like to know, if Hitler were on trial today, would Minister Downer and the Attorney General use the same reasoning to excuse him? Actually, the persecution of Falun Gong itself is against both China's Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including all international laws based on the Declaration."
"Falun Gong is a traditional Chinese practice based on the principles of Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance. Currently more than 100 million people in over 80 countries around the world benefit from the practice. I hope all people of justice will pay attention to and support the Australian judicial justice system and stop the Chinese Embassy in Australia's unreasonable interference."
Plaintiff Ms. Li Fuying said in an interview, "I was imprisoned twice in 2000 for practising Falun Gong. During the detention, I was deprived of food and water for three days. They forced me to write a guarantee statement. I'm 78 years old, but I did not give in. When I went to a park to do the exercises a second time, I was arrested and incarcerated in a brainwashing centre where I was subjected to torture."
"My daughter Yan Haiyu has been imprisoned for over three years for practising Falun Gong. She has been brutally tortured. The guards handcuffed both her hands to a window frame for 24 hours, with only her toes touching the ground. She was also locked in a metal cage."
Ms. Li believes that Chen Shaoji, took advantage of his position, by ordering and inciting officers in the legal system and the general public to hate Falun Gong. He also ordered, supervised, controlled, assisted or instigated police officers to brainwash Falun Gong practitioners, thus subjecting Falun Gong practitioners in the Guangdong area to severe persecution. Chen Shaoji cannot shirk responsibility for his involvement in crimes against humanity which occurred in Guangdong Province. According to international law, when a crime involves torture and crimes against humanity, no one has immunity.
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