“Vast state financial resources have been used for a long time to persecute a spiritual group with many believers throughout China and the world. This is a barbarity indeed rarely seen in the history of mankind. A lawyer who does not stand up for their defense and uphold justice is not a real lawyer.” So wrote prominent mainland Chinese lawyer Guo Lianhui on his microblog on Dec. 7. His statement is also one indeed rarely seen in China, where defending Falun Gong, the spiritual group referred to by Guo, can be met with severe punishment.
Falun Gong is a qigong practice that became extremely popular in China during the 1990s before the Chinese regime launched a nationwide persecution in 1999.
Guo continued his post by explaining that some of the core charges used against Falun Gong—that it’s a “heterodox religion,” or in the commonly rendered translation of the Chinese term, an “evil cult,”–lack any legal basis. The labels are “obviously not legally binding, nor can they be used on a legal basis,” Guo said.
Guo made himself internationally known in 2010 when he characterized a proposed Chinese law that sought to permit local governments to seize business or private property at will as, “If the local government can make a law regardless of the Constitution, then why is there a Constitution?”
In his blog this month, Guo expressed with certainty, “Falun Gong is not a cult and even existing Chinese law does not label Falun Gong as a cult.”
In an attempt to codify the persecution of Falun Gong and other religious groups, Chinese authorities drafted an article 300 in the People’s Republic of China’s Criminal Law, which refers to “the crime of organizing and utilizing a cult organization in undermining implementation of law.”
The basis of this law has been rejected by legal analysts, however. Yiyang Xia, the senior director of policy and research at the Human Rights Law Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., writes that “The Chinese government never legally banned Falun Gong and there is, in fact, no law on the books prohibiting this religious practice.”
Guo, the Chinese lawyer, said in his post that Falun Gong practitioners distributing literature about the persecution of their faith in China is not breaking the law, either.
Guo said that he has received pressure from Chinese judicial authorities to stop defending Falun Gong. He said that he believes defending the innocent is the charge of the attorney.
Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.
Read the original Chinese article.
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