HONG KONG—On October 16, the second day of the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Ministry of Public Security mailed the administrative plea of Shanghai petitioner Tong Guoqing, to the Second Intermediate People's Court of Beijing. The document is the state's formal response to Tong's lawsuit against Zhou Yongkang, China's former minister of Ministry of Public Security. According to Zheng Enchong—Tong's prosecuting attorney—this case will lead to several tremendous changes in the country, the most immediate being a great wave of petitioners filing lawsuits in the near future.
The defendant, Zhou Yongkang, is considered by many to be a representative of Jiang Zemin (former Chinese leader who initiated the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999).
During a trip in late 2005 to Beijing where he was attempting to make an appeal, Tong was severely beaten by personnel from the Shanghai administrative office in Beijing. Although he filed a complaint of this abuse at the office of Beijing's Public Security Bureau, his claim was rejected. Tong then took his case to the Second Intermediate People's Court of Beijing. After a one-year delay in processing the claim, he finally received the administrative plea on September 20, 2007.
During an interview with The Epoch Times, Tong spoke of his two-year appeal process. The lengthy procedure began in 2003 after his private house was illegally seized by authorities in 1999, later he was forcefully relocated. Soon after, Tong was pursued by police, beaten and even arrested. Tong fought back by studying law and learning about the right to defend himself.
On the evening of December 28, 2005, Tong was dining with a few petitioners from Shanghai in a restaurant near Tiananmen Square. Suddenly, a large group of Shanghai officials stormed the restaurant and began videotaping Tong and his dining companions. As he approached the officers to get them to stop, Tong was grabbed by his hair and his head was slammed against the wall. Tong lost consciousness and the other four petitioners with him were brutally beaten as well. Later, they called 110 (China's 911) for help and asked the Beijing police station to issue an injury diagnosis certificate to document the crime. Only after repeated requests were they finally given a poorly printed certificate that clearly described their injuries. The next day, after personnel finished examining them for injury, the group was again brutally beaten because of their request for proper documentation.
Case Was Accepted After a Year
Tong filed three copies of an administrative reconsideration to the Beijing Public Security Bureau, including his injury diagnosis certificate, the assault and battery he endured, and the authority's refusal to properly record the incident. Tong was armed with even greater evidence, but his case was rejected once again. Tong then brought his appeal to the Second Intermediate People's Court of Beijing.
According to China's Administrative Litigation Law, the court must respond within seven days to decide whether or not to accept a case. But Tong's case did not receive an answer for a full year. During the year long wait, he went to the court eight times to file the lawsuit. Eventually on September 20, 2007, the court formally accepted his case—Case Number 585. Later, on October 16, the Police Security Bureau responded with a plea. Tong expects the court to have a hearing soon.
Initiating a Wave of Litigations
Zheng Enchong, a Shanghai lawyer and human rights defender, was encouraged that the Beijing court had accepted a case from a Shanghai appellant. He stated that it was already a victory in the history of Chinese petitioners' human rights litigation.
“Every year hundreds of thousands of people go to Beijing to appeal, and just one person could be bringing materials for dozens of people,” said Zheng. “Unfortunately, appellants are usually forced to return to their home towns where they often face the very officials for whom they are filing a complaint. The law doesn't protect them; several appellants from Shanghai were tortured to death. If Tong's case receives a good deal of exposure, it won't matter whether he wins or not. As long as a verdict is issued, it gives us more of a chance with future cases.”
He also emphasized that Zhou Yongkang—as the minister of Police Security Ministry—failed to carry out his duties. “He should be responsible for ensuring the safety of the appellants, said Zheng. “Plus, the funding for the Police Security Ministry comes from taxes. Citizens paid their taxes but Zhou did not serve them at all.”
Zheng said that he already accepted Tong's request to become his legal representative, and is prepared to attend the court hearing for this lawsuit. He thinks whether he can make it to Beijing is a good test on whether the Party will implement its so-called “democratization” that they talked about during the recently concluded 17th National Congress.
Background of Zhou Yongkang
This Standing Committee member of the CCP Politburo is Jiang Zemin's nephew-in-law. Currently the deputy secretary of the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, Zhou has long been involved in the CCP's political and legal system, having held various positions in the past, including Minister of Police Security, the first Political commissar of the People's Armed Police Force.
Under Zhou's leadership at the Police Security Ministry, China's security and public safety concerns continued to noticeably worsen. Criminal cases increased by 17 to 22 percent per year. Despite his poor record as a public servant, Zhou was extremely dedicated in introducing and implanting Jiang Zemin's genocidal policy against Falun Gong in 1999. He made his intentions clear when he stated, “To forcefully strike at Falun Gong is the focus of China's police force.”
Zhou was the secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee for many years. During his tenure, he made Sichuan, a province of nearly 100 million people, one of the most brutal places in the persecution of Falun Gong.