First Mainland Official Charged In Taiwan For Human Rights Abuse
TAIPEI, Taiwan—Xu Guangchun, former secretary of the Henan Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was sued on charges of genocide by the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association when he visited Taipei.
Xu arrived Dec. 14, leading a delegation of more than 600 people for a cultural event in Taiwan. The lawsuit was served the following day, when his visit was nearly over, and he immediately left the event.
The lawsuit charges that during Xu’s tenure as secretary, more than 1,100 Falun Gong practitioners were persecuted in Henan and more than 100 practitioners died from torture they endured in police custody.
Xu is said to be directly responsible for the spread of hate propaganda that sustained the persecution of Falun Gong. As head of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television at the time, he was responsible for an 18-minute special broadcast by CCTV’s “Focal Point Interview” in which Falun Gong was vilified.
On Dec. 15, Chang Ching-hsi, president of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Association and attorney Chu Wan-chi filed the lawsuit at the Prosecutors Office of the Supreme Court of the Republic of China on behalf of the plaintiffs. The lawsuit is based on a Taiwanese law for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.
The Crime of Genocide
This is the second time Xu has been sued while on a trip abroad. The first lawsuit was filed by the World Organization for Human Rights when he visited San Francisco in July of 2005.
The Taiwanese law for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide was adopted in 1953 as a domestic version of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide .
Genocide, as defined by the U.N. Convention, includes “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial, or religious group such as by killing its members or inflicting harm on the group with the intent to destroy it."
Punishment can include the death penalty, a life sentence, or a minimum of seven years in prison.
Wave of Related Lawsuits around the World
Recently, a number of renowned human rights attorneys around the world have taken up Falun Gong-related cases, including former Pinochet prosecutors Mr. William Bourdon and Mr. Georges-Henri Beauthier. Mr. Beauthier is also known for bringing the first successful case under Belgium’s human rights law against two individuals for their roles in the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Lawsuits against sitting and former Chinese officials and/or institutions with strong ties to the Chinese regime have been filed in over twelve countries, including suits for torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Former Communist Party Chairman Jiang Zemin, who initiated and drove the campaign against Falun Gong since 1999, has been sued in the United States, Australia, Belgium, and Spain.
Former Vice-Premier Li Lanqing, known to be heavily involved in directing the persecution of Falun Gong, was sued in France last December.
Luo Gan, head of the notorious 610 Office, the Gestapo-like agency that is charged with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong, set a record for the most lawsuits served to a visiting Chinese official. He collected four lawsuits when visiting Iceland, Finland, Moldova, and Armenia this past September.
Whether the Taiwan Supreme Court will subpoena Xu during the remainder of his visit remains unknown.