Torture Survivor Wins Case Against Chinese Minister of Commerce

By Samantha Lev, The Human Rights Law Foundation
November 6, 2007 12:00 am Last Updated: November 6, 2007 12:00 am

An Australian court issued a default judgment Monday in a civil lawsuit filed by a torture survivor against China's Minster of Commerce Bo Xilai. It is the first win in a case against Bo, who has been sued in over 10 countries for his role in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Pan Yu, an adherent of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, sued Bo for torture during the minister's visit to Canberra for the APEC forum in September. Pan had been shocked with electric batons in a labor camp in Liaoning Province when Bo was governor.

“As soon as the baton would make contact [with] me, I would lose control of my bodily functions, rendering me incontinent,” says Pan. “In the end, they applied the baton to the most sensitive spot on my inner leg. The pain was indescribable,”

According to Pan and his lawyers, as the province's top official, Bo played a pivotal role in the campaign against Falun Gong, with the region quickly becoming one of the deadliest for adherents. The default judgment recognizes Bo's failure to provide a defense against such allegations, leaving open the possibility of damages being awarded to Pan in the future. “This win is also a potent reminder of the currently opposing legal systems between Australia and China, as still to this day, no lawyers in China are allowed to take on such cases,” says Newton Xu, legal assistant on the case. “We are another step closer to the event of the perpetrators of the persecution of Falun Gong in China being brought to justice at an international level.”