U.S. Court Hears Chinese Media’s Role in Torture
Epoch Times |
September 24, 2005
By Tracey Zhu
HARTFORD, Conn. – On a sunny Thursday morning in a packed federal courtroom, the audience heard how the state-owned media in China has furthered a campaign of torture against Falun Gong adherents in China.
Zhao Zhizhen, a CCP official and the former Director of Wuhan TV Station in China was served with a summons in July 2004 when he was visiting New Haven. The lawsuit was filed by Falun Gong practitioners under the Torture Victim Protection Act a statute passed by Congress in 1992 to give courts jurisdiction over perpetrators of torture abroad. It was also filed under the Alien Tort Statute; a 215-year-old law that allows foreigners to sue in the U.S. over human rights abuses committed anywhere. The Thursday hearing addressed the defendant’s motion to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it’s about speech and not about torture.
The defendant's attorney, Bruce Rosen, told U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny that his client is not responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong in China, as it is unrelated to the Defendant’s television programs, website and other activities. He characterized the case as a “libel case” and characterized the Defendant’s television programs as like 20/20 and 60 minutes.
But Terri Marsh, Plaintiffs’ attorney compared the defendant’s speech to that of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. She said that Zhao is intricately linked to the perpetration of a campaign of torture and genocide waged against Falun Gong in China. She said that the Defendant is responsible for the material broadcast on the WRTB television station he managed as CEO and for the material displayed on the China Anti Cult Association (CACA) website as one of the founders of the website and a member of the board. The television station and website displays include direct calls for the eradication of Falun gong, as well direct orders to “punish [Falun Gong] without mercy,” and to “shoot them once confirmed.”
Attorney Marsh also explained that in China “propaganda” substitutes for a “rule of law.” In the United States, one may not be deprived of one’s liberty or life without due process (including a trial by a jury of one’s peers). In China, the Communist Party first labels a person or group as “an enemy of the state” and secondarily has them arrested and tortured. As the CACA website says, “lets call them terrorists, then whatever measures we use will be justified.”
This is exactly how the persecution began: Jiang Zemin, the former head of the CCP called Falun Gong an enemy of the state to justify the persecution he initiated in July of 1999. According to Amnesty International, the persecution has caused thousands of deaths and severe torture to practitioners of Falun Gong in China.
Marsh said that Zhao knew that the material he produced, aired and displayed on through these media were likely to incite, inflame and further the unlawful arrest and torture of practitioners of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Outside, plaintiff Chen Gang, 34, said a movie made by Zhao was shown over and over inside the labor camp where he was sent in 2000 for being a member of Falun Gong. He said that type of propaganda led to beatings and other torture.
“Before the suppression started, the media comes out and says these guys are bad,” Chen said. “That gives them the excuse. Some crimes are hidden. If you give someone the knife and say, 'That guy is bad,' it makes what happens worse.”
Outside the courtroom, one Falun Gong practitioner said “Here in the U.S. we are filing the suit for those who are responsible for the killing and torture of practitioners because we want justice.”
Judge Chatigny said he would rule soon on the motion by Zhao’s attorney to dismiss the case.