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Falun Gong Practitioner Zheng Zhihong Sues for Unlawful Persecution  
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To International Human Rights Organizations:

Mr. Zheng Zhihong is a Falun Gong practitioner from Huanggang, Hubei Province. His father, Mr. Zheng Zhong, died because he was severely persecuted for his belief in Falun Gong. On March 11, 2004, his father's work unit organized a memorial service for him. Mr. Zheng Zhihong delivered a eulogy at the service. On May 20, 2004, the police arrested him for reading the eulogy.

During the year Mr. Zheng was locked up in a detention center, the procuratorate charged him with “instigation” and “using a ‘xx’ organization to disrupt the administration of law.” The local court issued a preliminary verdict, which Mr. Zheng appealed. On February 28, 2005, the intermediate court denied his appeal and upheld the original sentence, a five-year prison term. In China, attorneys are not allowed to represent Falun Gong practitioners, so they decided to ask help from international human rights organizations to help them obtain justice.

Statement of Appeal

Plaintiff: Mr. Zheng Zhihong, male, born on October 14, 1957, was a cadre at the Huanggang City Salt Company in Hubei Province. He lived at the company dormitory in Huanggang City and is currently detained at the Qinduankou Prison in Hubei Province.

Entrusted agent: an attorney in Hubei Province; name withheld for security reasons

Defendants: The Huanggang City 610 Office, the Huanggang City National Security Bureau, the Huangguang City Police Department, the Huanggang City Court, the Huangzhou District Police Department, the Huangzhou District Procuratorate and the Huangzhou District Court.

Purpose for the lawsuit: to reverse Mr. Zheng’s verdict and prison sentence

Requests:

1. Overturn the verdict and unconditionally release Mr. Zheng Zhihong. Withdraw the No. 88 Criminal Sentencing Statement from the Huangzhou District [2004] issued by the Huangzhou District People's Court and the No. 32 Criminal Sentencing Statement, issued by the Huanggang City Intermediate People's Court [2005].

2. Compensate the plaintiff for his losses resulting from the unjustified sentence.

3. Prosecute the local judicial bureau officials and legal administrators for abusing their power and violating the law. Investigate and prosecute individuals and government agencies that directed Mr. Zheng Zhihong's persecution.

Facts

At 8:00 a.m. on March 11, 2004, the Huanggang City Foreign Trade Bureau held a courtyard memorial service for cadre Mr. Zheng Zhong. Some bureau officials and Falun Gong practitioners attended the service. Mr. Zheng Zhihong delivered a eulogy in which he stated that his father regained his health after practicing Falun Gong, that the police had monitored and pursued his father since 2002 and forced him into exile, that his work unit suspended his salary, and that he passed away under tremendous pressure and poor living conditions due to the loss of his income and the persecution.

After the Mr. Zheng Zhong’s persecution and death were exposed online, a group of officials from the central 610 Office and from the Hubei Province Party Committee headed by Huang Yuanzhi, the vice governor of Hubei Province, went to the Huanggang District. They called this the “March 11 Priority Case” and transferred the head of the Huanggang City Foreign Trade Bureau, because they had held the memorial service.

Then, starting on March 13, they arrested about eight Falun Gong practitioners who had attended the memorial service. On May 20, 2004, Chen Shuming, the Huangzhou District Police Department political head, led a group of officers to break into Mr. Zheng's residence and arrested him. They held him at the No. 1 Detention Center. In June, they issued an arrest warrant. In November they charged Mr. Zheng with “instigation” and “using a ‘xx’ organization to disrupt the administration of law.” On December 23, the Huangzhou District Court held a preliminary trial and sentenced Mr. Zheng to five years in prison. Mr. Zheng appealed the sentence on December 29. The Huanggang Intermediate People's Court denied his appeal on February 28, 2005, and upheld the verdict. The legal references the court cited included Section 1, Article 300 of the Criminal Law of China, and Section 4, Article 1 of the Explanation of Specific Law Enforcement Applications Regarding Cases in Which People Organize Cults to Commit Crimes.

Mr. Zheng’s attorney stated that his client was just following the traditional Chinese custom of filial piety by delivering a eulogy at his father's memorial service and spoke words from his heart, so  it could not be called instigation. Rather, the government convicted Mr. Zheng because his father was a Falun Gong practitioner, because Falun Gong practitioners attended the service and because they appealed for justice

The crucial point is whether or not the legal references the courts cited in this case apply to Falun Gong practitioners. What are the legal foundations?

I. The charges against Mr. Zheng Zhihong have no legal basis and contradict the Constitution of China.

This case shows Mr. Zheng Zhong and his son Mr. Zheng Zhihong to be Falun Gong practitioners. Because the people in power arbitrarily labeled Falun Gong as a “xx” the judicial department based its decision on this arbitrary claim, rather than on the law. Mr. Zheng was convicted not because of what he did, but because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. So far, no law has clearly stated that Falun Gong is a “xx.” The National People's Congress and the Standing Committee, the highest authorities in the country, have never passed any law that says Falun Gong is a “xx.” In other words, no law has ever been passed banning Falun Gong or granting the police the authority to arrest Falun Gong practitioners for practicing the exercises or distributing flyers. Nor is there any parameter that describes what behavior of Falun Gong practitioners constitutes a crime. Falun Gong, therefore, is not “illegal.” It is actually against the law to punish Falun Gong practitioners for their beliefs.

II. There is also no legal ground for the instigation charge against Mr. Zheng.

The court cited Section 1, Article 300 of the Criminal Law of China, and Section 4, Article 1 of the Explanation of Specific Law Enforcement Applications Regarding Cases in Which People Organize Cults to Commit Crimes.  Since there is no law that says Falun Gong is a  “xx,” it is wrong to use Article 300 of the Criminal Law to convict Mr. Zheng. There is no factual evidence that proves Mr. Zheng guilty of “using a ‘xx’ to disrupt the administration of law.”

Many facts are lacking. The verdict statement did not answer any of the pertinent questions. In his eulogy, Mr. Zheng was exercising his freedom of speech as a family member of the deceased and he reflected on the hardworking, law-abiding life his father had led. It is only natural that he explained the cause of his father's death to the audience, because it is part of his father's life. There were no overly emotional words of hatred in his eulogy, neither were there any false or slanderous words. “Instigation” is a false charge. Mr. Zheng was really convicted because he mentioned Falun Gong in his speech.

III. Mr. Zheng Zhihong did not exaggerate in his speech. The persecution of Mr. Zheng Zhong and Mr. Zheng Zhihong are absolutely true.

These are the facts of his persecution:

1. Mr. Zheng Zhong was 68 years old when he passed away. Before he started practicing Falun Gong in 1996 he had many serious illnesses. After he started practicing Falun Gong, all of his illnesses disappeared. Not only did he become healthy, but his character and his morals improved as well. During the seven years that he practiced Falun Gong, he saved his work unit a lot in medical expenses. When the persecution of Falun Gong started, the police in the Huangzhou District held him in a detention center five times. Once he was held 70 days past the end of his term. Mr. Zheng Zhong and his wife later went into exile and became homeless to avoid the police and the persecution. The police and the 610 Office not only monitored his home and followed his two sons; they also tapped his home phone and often harassed and threatened his daughter-in-law and her parents. Mr. Zheng Zhong passed away on March 9, 2004, due to the tremendous mental pressure and the financial difficulty he suffered as a result of the persecution.

2. Mr. Zheng Zhihong was also persecuted before he was arrested for his speech at his father's memorial service. Before he practiced Falun Gong, Mr. Zheng also had numerous ailments. Medical treatments failed to help him but all of his illnesses disappeared miraculously after he started practicing Falun Gong. In 2000 he went to Beijing to appeal for the right to practice Falun Gong and was escorted back to Huanggang City. He was held at the No 1 Detention Center in Huanggang City for one month. After he was released, the work unit said the police department spent 8,000 Yuan escorting him back and made his work unit pay the expenses. His work unit threatened to fire him, so Mr. Zheng paid the amount to his work unit. Nevertheless, his work unit cut his monthly salary from over 1,000 Yuan to 400 Yuan.

In 2001 the police took Mr. Zheng Zhihong from his work unit without any legal evidence and held him at the No 2 Detention Center for 15 days. After he returned home, his work unit lowered his monthly salary from 400 Yuan to 200 Yuan. His work unit also withheld his year-end bonus of over 7,000 Yuan. After numerous attempts at dialogue with his work unit failed, Mr. Zheng was forced to stay home and not go to work. His wife divorced him due to pressure from his work unit and from the government. Mr. Zheng suffered a broken family and lost wages due to the persecution.

3. The National Security Bureau and the 610 Office called Mr. Zheng Zhong's memorial service, held on March 11, 2004, the “March 11 Priority Case.” The government regarded Falun Gong practitioners who attended the service as criminals. On May 20, 2004, when Mr. Zheng left home, a group of plainclothes police officers surrounded him. Without presenting any identification, they put Mr. Zheng's arms behind his back, threw him in a police car and took him to the No. 1 Detention Center. During the arrest and detention, Mr. Zheng's family went to the police department many times but was told this was an order from higher up.

His family went tried to get Mr. Zheng released many times, but the police then gave the court a comment that read, “Be severe in handling this case,” written by Huang Yuanzhi, the Deputy Governor of Hubei Province. Although his family showed powerful evidence that Mr. Zheng had nothing to do with the Falun Gong practitioners' appeals and protests, the court considered the orders from above, not the evidence.

It was learned that the 610 Office decided on the five-year prison sentence even before the trial even began.

4. Falun Gong practitioners were being rational and exercising their legal rights by appealing for the victim.

The background for this whole persecution is this: Without any law being passed through normal procedures, Jiang Zemin arbitrarily claimed in the mass media that Falun Gong is a “xx,” and persecuted it. From a legal perspective, appealing for justice is a form of self-defense. All of the Falun Gong practitioners at the memorial service were targets of persecution, and each one of them was calling for upholding human rights and freedom. The practitioners’ appeal, therefore, was an action to uphold human rights. It is completely legal for the victims to call out when faced with threats to their human rights. Political power should be restrained by law. Based on the reasons stated above, the charges against Mr. Zheng Zhihong of “instigation” and “using a ‘xx’ to disrupt the administration of law” do not stand. Sending him to prison constitutes an abuse of the law. I hereby request that international human rights organizations conduct an investigation and uphold justice by helping Falun Gong practitioners and Mr. Zheng Zhihong. Both are innocent.

Appellant: a man with a conscience and Falun Gong practitioners in the Huanggang District, Hubei Province.

 

type=case,religious intolerance; location=Hubei,Huanggang


     
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