On November 5, Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court dismissed the lawsuit against former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang without proceedings in a court hearing.
The plaintiff's attorney Zheng Enchong indicated the court's decision violates the law, and could have possibly been made to avoid public and political pressure. The plaintiff Tong Guoqing plans to appeal.
This unprecedented politburo lawsuit was accepted on September 20, 2007, a year after it was filed with the court even though according to China's Administrative Litigation Law, the court must respond within seven days to decide whether or not to accept a case. The acceptance of the case was considered encouraging to mainlanders, the attorney Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai lawyer and human rights defender, had stated previously that it was already a victory in the history of Chinese petitioners' human rights litigation.
Defendant Replaced by the Court
The plaintiff, Tong Guoqing, indicated he received the official letter from the Second Intermediate People's Court on November 7. It was stated that the dismissal was based on it being “Not consistent with the relevant provisions of the Administrative Review Law.” In the letter, the defendant had also been changed to the incumbent Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu from the former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang.
Zheng was puzzled about the sudden change of the defendant by the court without a prior notification in accordance with regulations. In the administrative plea issued by the Ministry of Public Security on October 16, as the state's formal response to Tong's suing Zhou Yongkang's failure to carry out his Ministerial duty to protect the appellants, the legal representative was then Minister, Zhou Yongkang. As for the dismissal of the lawsuit, Zheng expressed his disappointment. He said, “The court has violated the legal process at the beginning by delaying the acceptance of a case, and now is making a second even more serious mistake.” Zheng further mentioned, “The Second Intermediate Court is the court of first instance, the legal procedure requires a hearing. Dismissal of a case without a court hearing is a serious violation of the law.”
Zheng believed Zhou Yongkang as the Party Chief for the Central Political and Legal Committee has pressured the court to dismiss the case and replace the defendant with his authority in the regime's law enforcement and justice system. Besides, the dismissal could be the consequence of a new compromise between the two factions inside the Chinese Communist Party (Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin).
He further analyzed, “Since it was publicized first internationally, this case has been watched closely by the media. It is expected to cause a wave of legal lawsuits filed by petitioners nationwide as a chain reaction, if Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court initiated the case hearing. The Court did not dare take up this responsibility and chose to dismiss the case.”
As the legal representative of Tong's case, the Shanghai human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong was summoned once again on November 8 by Shanghai Zhabei District Public Security.
The plaintiff Tong Guoqing was forced to defend his rights through petition after authorities illegally seized his private house in 1999, and forcibly relocated him. During this time, Tong was also pursued by police, beaten and even arrested.