'Unprecedented': Former Chinese Official on Campaign to Sue Former Dictator

The highest Chinese courts are acknowledging citizen lawsuits against an ex-regime leader, a historic phenomenon, says a former Chinese official.
'Unprecedented': Former Chinese Official on Campaign to Sue Former Dictator
Frank Fang

Some Chinese citizens from a brutally persecuted group who filed lawsuits against a former regime leader recently are being acknowledged by the Chinese legal apparatus—an "unprecedented" development, according to a Chinese official-cum-defector.

As of June 14, nearly 4,000 practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong—a traditional Chinese meditation practice whose adherents follow moral principles—have sent criminal complaints against ex-Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin to China's highest legal bodies, according to Minghui, a website that carries news about Falun Gong.

Jiang, 88, is being sued for crimes against humanity and initiating an extralegal campaign of persecution. In 1999, Jiang mobilized the Party and state apparatus to unleash a nationwide suppression of Falun Gong. Over 3,800 practitioners have died from abuse and torture, and potentially hundreds of thousands more languish in the regime's prison system, according to Minghui, which closely monitors the persecution.

Falun Gong practitioners tried to bring Jiang to justice in China's courts in the early days of the persecution, but the attempts ended with violent retaliation. Now, most are able to walk away unmolested after filing a complaint, and some have even been given receipts of acknowledgement from the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

"This is an unprecedented phenomenon," Han Guangsheng told the Chinese-language edition of Epoch Times in Toronto. He cautioned that the Communist Party, by accepting the complaints, "might just be trying to conjure an illusion that the rule of law is improving in China," but noted that similar efforts from the Falun Gong community over the years have brought positive change, including the closure of re-education through forced labor camps, one of the regime's forms of arbitrary detention.

Han, a 62-year-old Toronto resident, was formerly the director of Shenyang City Judicial Bureau from 1999. Completely disillusioned with the Party after witnessing the persecution of Falun Gong and being made to oversee institutions responsible for its perpetuation, Han defected to Canada in September 2001.

"The persecution of Falun Gong, in essence, is an illegal act that violates China's constitution," Han told Epoch Times. "Denying religious freedom is a crime against humanity, as it has no legal basis, no legal procedure, and is simply a violation of human rights."

After the Chinese regime violently cracked down on the 1989 student pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, Han started feeling resentful towards the Party, but decided to try and change the system from within.

Ten years later, Han's resentment gave way to a collapse of faith after he realized that the Chinese regime was ignoring legal proceedings in arresting Falun Gong adherents—a problem Han feels the Party has not corrected after all these years.

"The regime will never admit that it has committed a crime against humanity. As long as the Chinese regime is in power, and whenever it feels that its rule is threatened, it will relentlessly resort to brutal persecution," Han said.

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.