Recently, Dr. Wang Wenyi invited renowned mainland Chinese attorneys Gao Zhisheng, Yang Zaixin, and Zhang Jiankang to join her defense team. Wang's trial for speaking out at the White House welcoming ceremony for President Hu on April 20th , is scheduled to begin on May 18th. To learn more about attorney Gao joining Dr. Wang's defense team, Sound of Hope Radio Network interviewed attorney Gao Zhisheng at his home in Beijing.
Reporter:</b Gao: If our Chinese legal team receives permission from Beijing and the U.S. to travel to the United States, we will first need to discuss the technical aspects of the U.S. legal process with Dr. Wang's U.S. legal defense team. We will need to focus our attention on two areas: 1) to study, understand, and adapt to the procedural guidelines of the U.S. legal system, and 2) to build a strong defense working within the guidelines of the U.S. legal system. To accomplish this we must first thoroughly understand the technicalities of the U.S. legal system, the basics of U.S. trial procedures, and the mood of the U.S. populace regarding this case. We will need to fully focus on these areas of understanding prior to our entering a U.S. courtroom as part of Dr. Wang's defense team.
From our current limited understanding of the U.S. legal system, we recognize that in a democracy laws are formulated by the legislative branch of the government which is freely elected by the people. Enforcing laws is designed to protect basic safety, order and/or protocol, regardless of whether it is Chinese law or United States law; both share one common point and that is written laws can only remedy actions by punishment if the actions of the defendant do in fact, threaten the society. This important concept underlies the foundations of legal systems throughout the world.
The decision made by the legal system is part of human civilization. To judge whether Dr. Wang's action was a threat to society, it would be very difficult to determine whether it falls within the scope of criminal law or fits the definition of a crime because the case took place in a civil law country. We believe that Dr. Wang's outburst at the White House on April 20th does not fall within the intent of the law for which she is charged.
Based on most recent evidence and on our current understanding of U.S. law, there can be only two perspectives on Dr. Wang's trial: 1) to understand the case from outside the court's procedures, and 2) to understand from within. No doubt the court's understanding should be part of the entire society's understanding. The court's understanding cannot be separated from that of the society. Of course, the court has its own characteristics. It even has its own specific technical procedures.
You probably have noticed that almost everyone in every corner of the world, except the very biased counterrevolutionary forces within the Chinese Communist Party, is praising Dr. Wang's heroic act. This is certainly not a coincidence because everyday we receive numerous phone calls supporting Dr. Wang's actions. Just a minute before you called, someone in Langfang City, who frequently calls but has always remained anonymous, specifically asked me to pass on his respects to Dr. Wang. His exact words were, “Please tell Wang Wenyi that she is a saint among the 1.3 billion Chinese people.” He emphasized a few times, “She is a saint. It was God who allowed her to speak the way she did.” He hoped attorney Gao would pass on his respects to her, and at the same time, hoped attorney Gao could join her defense team.
Wang Wenyi's action does not constitute a crime. However for freeing people like Wang Wenyi from their sufferings, for freeing Chinese people from the harm the tyranny has brought them, and for freeing from disasters brought by suppression of the freedom of belief, the process of this court trial provides a process for the entire international community to attend to the terrible conditions religious groups are subjected to, which are what is behind the Wang Wenyi incident, though it brought much trouble to Wenyi. This process even provides a warning to human beings that they cannot remain indifferent any longer. To put it more frankly, it provides the condition that mankind has no excuse to continue to be shameless. It is a kind of assailment, forcing humans to find their own positions in such a process.
Hence, I hope to and would be very glad to defend Wang Wenyi. At the same time, I hope my defense for Wenyi can quickly secure a positive result.
Reporter: Do you think the three open letters you wrote to appeal for Falun Gong will have any effect in court?
Gao Zhisheng: I think we still have sufficient confidence in America's legal system and the American's morality and justice and their positioning and compliance to this kind of value. You cannot say that the U.S. court has trials like the kind of old fashioned trials in countries with statutes and in China, which depends on the judge's will. In the U.S., whether one would be judged guilty or innocent is in fact a representation of the public opinion. Because its jury members come from the people, according to the present U.S. public opinion, we are very confident that Wang Wenyi would not be found guilty.
Reporter: When the court considers a case from the legal perspective, would it consider the supporting and commending calls from the people based on morality and justice?
Gao Zhisheng: You should not pin your hope on whether the court would listen to calls or appeals from the people. The members of the jury themselves come from the people.
Reporter: Is there precedence for foreign lawyers going to the U.S. to join the attorney team?
Gao Zhisheng: We are allowed to join the defense team as Chinese citizens, but not as lawyers. But I think in the U.S., we should be allowed to defend as lawyers. On the other hand, U.S. lawyers are absolutely not allowed to defend in the China.
Reporter: Do you think you can make the trip?
Gao Zhisheng: We are working on it. Because all our materials, we are facing such an unusual “government”. Since it is unusual, you cannot make any regular judgment. We can only say that we will try our best. I hope that regardless of whether I can make the trip, during the process of this court trial, they will continue to take my three open letters as part of the court's evaluation. That is, these three letters can provide them a good foundation for judging what is the situation and state of the problem that Wang Wenyi raised.