It was on Dec. 10, 1948, that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sixty-eight years later, a human rights lawyer has cited these universal rights in calling for the trial of the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, whose abuses against the Falun Gong spiritual practice and others victimized by the communist regime has blackened his legacy.
The message has resonated far and wide. According to Theresa Chu, a Taiwanese lawyer who helps coordinate global support for the movement to bring Jiang to justice, about 2.06 million people have signed their names in a campaign supporting the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who have delivered legal complaints to the nation’s highest judicial offices.
Said Chu: “This is a shout out to the Xi Jinping administration, as well as the International Criminal Court in the Hague: please pay attention to this human rights cause from 28 nations and over 2 million people of the world in suing Jiang Zemin, the arch-criminal in the persecution of Falun Gong.”
Many signatures came from 21 European countries, including Ukraine and Israel. The majority originated from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The civic movement started in mid-2015, echoing a tide of lawsuits in mainland China against the Jiang for his genocide and crimes against humanity. The former Party Head unleashed a full-force campaign in 1999 aimed at eradicating Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice based in Chinese traditional beliefs. Its over 70 million adherents have suffered torture, imprisonment, labor camps and illicit organ trade.
“The communist dictatorship was responsible for tens of millions of persecution cases and deaths, in Latvia as well as our neighbor countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia,” said Anatoly, a Latvian Falun Gong practitioner. “I think now is the time. The communist regime should be prosecuted, so that Chinese people can receive real freedom of conscience.”
Theresa Chu called on current Chinese leader Xi Jinping to hold Jiang accountable for his public crimes, and rehabilitate Falun Gong practitioners legally, socially, and financially.
“Xi has vowed to fulfill universal values, restore traditional culture, realize religious freedom, and abolish forced labor camps, but the international society will ask: so has the atrocity of live organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners been stopped?” Chu said.
“Even though suing [Jiang] cannot bring victims back to life, we want their family know—the world all sees how unjust this is,” said Dr. Madeleine Petrovic, senior senator of the Green Party in Austria.
This year, the theme for Human Rights Day was “Stand up for someone’s rights today.”
Reporting by Wu Min-chou