31 Aug 2006

Singapore Justice System Tested by Falun Gong Trial



Proper judicial procedure comes into question on first day of trial of human rights demonstrators

By Jaya Gibson and Steven Smith
On Assignment in Singapore Aug 29, 2006

[A passerby takes a look at a placard against the killing of Falun Gong practitioners in China, in the financial district of Singapore, 02 August 2005. Practitioners were recently arrested for handing out flyers about the persecution. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)]

SINGAPORE—In a miniscule room, tucked away in the furthest corner of the Subordinate Court, a trial of remarkable human rights interest got underway today. The accused are two Falun Gong practitioners who were peacefully protesting outside of the Chinese Embassy on July 20th, exercising their democratic right to practice their freedom of belief. Their protest consisted of displaying a banner bearing in Chinese the words, "7.20 - Stop the inhumane persecution of Falun Gong in China." (The persecution of Falun Gong in China started on July 20, 1999.)

This statement is allegedly 'insulting' and is 'harassing the Chinese Communist Party' and these are the allegations that resulted in the protesters' arrests.

Trial Treated Differently—Overseas Influence?

From the outset of the trial today, an inordinate number of police restricted court access to anyone who was not a witness or a family member of the defendants. Initially foreign press was also not allowed access as local press went straight through.

The feeling among the many interested parties waiting outside the court—some who had traveled from overseas; Australia, UK and Hong Kong to name a few countries—was that Courtroom 36 was deliberately chosen so as to restrict access and restrict public visibility.

Prior to the trial truly getting underway it was made apparent that the prosecution witnesses were present in the courtroom when the defendant's witnesses were not, thus undermining correct judicial procedure.

One such motion of serious contention was that a VCD containing footage to be submitted as evidence for the prosecution was denied to the defense due to fears that it might be made available to the public via the Internet and other channels. This raises the question: Why does the prosecution fear this footage reaching the public domain?

Defense lawyer M. Ravi put forward several impassioned motions outlining the various discrepancies surrounding the trials circumstances, suggesting a miscarriage of justice. All these motions were denied.

He also stated that article 12 of the constitution—(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law—had been breached and that the AGC is deliberately targeting Falun Gong practitioners under pressure from the government and Beijing.

73-Year-Old Defendant Ordered Deported Prior to Trial

One such example of this discrimination is clearly evident in the case of Chen Peiyu, one of the three arrested. She was finally able to attend the trial after an unusual series of events.

Chen Peiyu, a 73-year-old lady, who had been handcuffed and detained in July 2005 for handing out leaflets, was abducted by Immigration officials on August 10, 2006 prior to the trial set for August 28, 2006.

Plainclothes police and Immigration officials approached her while she was shopping, asked her name, which she gave, and then requested her passport. She refused and instead offered a duplicate copy of her passport. They then forcibly carried her to a car and drove her to the immigration office. Her green card was then revoked without explanation and she was told she had seven days to leave the country. She had to conclude her affairs and be gone by August 17.

Defense lawyer M. Ravi issued a letter to Immigration on August 14 explaining that Chen was required to attend trial on the 28th and couldn't leave Singapore.

On the August 16, police then hand-delivered a notice requesting that Chen appear in court on the 17th. On August 17, after a very short hearing, charges against her were dropped, allowing immigration to continue deportation proceedings.

Immigration then informed her that she must leave on August 21, as she was no longer required for trial. On the 21st she traveled to Batam but was refused entry and had to return to Singapore. After talking with their superiors, immigration officials granted her an extension until August 22. On the 22nd, Chen traveled to Malaysia.

She was later subpoenaed as a witness for the trial by defense lawyer M. Ravi and granted permission to return for one day to attend trial on the 28th.

This raises the question of why officials went to such trouble to prevent a 73-year-old lady from attending a trial, a lady who has committed no apparent crime, an elderly woman arrested for passing out leaflets.

Chen, who practices Falun Gong, believes she was targeted after Chinese officials put pressure on the Singapore Government to crack down on Falun Gong.

Falun Gong is an exercise and meditation practice which cultivates the universal principle of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. It was banned in China by former head of state Jiang Zemin in 1999 when it became very popular. Since then, many thousands have been tortured or killed and hundreds of thousands sent to labor camps without trial for practicing the exercises and principles.

Recent reports have exposed that organs for China's booming organ transplantation industry are obtained from living Falun Gong practitioners who are imprisoned for their beliefs. Such illicit organ harvesting is widespread in China, with hospitals and the military profiting. In a press conference held in Melbourne, Australia, at the Sir Thomas More Center last week, Edward Macmillan-Scott, the Vice President of the European Parliament, called such use of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience nothing short of genocide.


32 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

Q: Are the CHINESE GOVT persecuting and killing Falun Gong practitioners?

A: Yes. That is TRUE.

So how come a world-class corruption-free,objective judiciary conducts itself such that telling others about the truth is against S'pore law.

Doesn't make sense does it?

Ahh... the state and its ability to contradict itself.

Anonymous said...

falungong guys like to suffer; some even set themselves on fire in tiananmen

expat@large said...

The people who "set themselves on fire" may very well have been planted by the China government just to make people think the way 'anonymous' thinks.

Download the body harvesting report here.

I make some other comments on my usually much more infantile blog.

Anonymous said...

xpat@large said...

The people who "set themselves on fire" may very well have been planted by the China government just to make people think the way 'anonymous' thinks.

.................

I just love conspiracy theories! Any more to share?

X-Files Fan

Anonymous said...

hehheh... the falungong guys realized they made a mistake, and tried to transfer the blame on PRC government

falungong is not a weak, oppressed group; it can afford to give away all those free newspapers and books all over the place; it used to organize gangs to attack newspapers that criticize its health claims (one of its own leaders died recently after refusing to seek medical treatment)

Anonymous said...

all those people willing to set themselves on fire upon order of beijing government? that's patriotism for you

now if the falungong guys are equally patriotic.. then they can all go back to china and beg for forgiveness...

Anonymous said...

Aiyoh, why dat expat so goblok one?

Wah lau eh. Where got communist cadre burn himself to make the Falunggong people look bad one just for the sake of the State?

Where got Communist ideology do suicide one? Only God-fearing religious fanatics like Islamist terrorists will dare to bomb themselves. They kena psycho so fierce one until they becum groggy and believe dat they will be rewarded in the afterlife with dunno how many virgins. Dat's why they dare and want to die lah.

As far as I know, there has not been a single case of a Communist in China do a sucide case for their cause and ideology. Besides, Communists don't believe in an afterlife, so surely they do not want to die so fast rite?

Sincerely.
Anti-Goblok

Anonymous said...

of course expats are goblok; that's why they have to leave their own county to make a dollar somewhere else

Anonymous said...

Please don't run down our expat friends. Havent' you heard? They are now a sought after breed called *foreign talent*.

Get with the programme children.

Peregrine

Anonymous said...

but foreign talent need to be educated to have asian values, so that they agree with me...

Anonymous said...

"but foreign talent need to be educated to have asian values, so that they agree with me..."

________________

You sound like Rip Van Winkle, someone who has been asleep for way too long while the world passed you by.

Get a clue. It is you who have to change and accomodate them.

Learn to be bit more "untidy" and enjoy shows like "Crazy Horse" and soon ... Las Vegas type extravaganzas when the IRs are in full swing.

Wakey, wakey sleeping child.

Peregrine

Anonymous said...

surprisingly as it may seen, foreigners pick up authoritarian manners very quickly; in fact, many found the usual irksome restrictions on the exercise of power back home not present in the singapore system and feel liberated, and made the most of it

look up National Neuroscience Institute, Johns Hopkins, and NUS Business School... now think whether there are others not yet opened up for public view...

Anonymous said...

"surprisingly as it may seen, foreigners pick up authoritarian manners very quickly; in fact, many found the usual irksome restrictions on the exercise of power back home not present in the singapore system and feel liberated, and made the most of it"

Many foreigners? You did a poll?

Restricting exercise of power = more liberated?

That statement doesn't appear to make any sense.

Can you rephrase?

Peregrine

Anonymous said...

read again, man, and look up the cases I cited

Matilah_Singapura said...

anonymous 0700:15

Yes, that is true. People usually adjust to "minor annoyances" so that the path to their "greater objective" is easier for them.

However if the state becomes the intolerable monster (according to Thomas Jefferson), then people will use their judgement to see if the "greater objective" is worth the putting up with state interference and curtailment of liberty.

So far, the S'pore state has not become intolerable — generally speaking. But is sure as hell can be a fucking annonying pain in the arse in many spheres of voluntary human activity.

Anonymous said...

I meant more than accepting minor annoyances; I meant they actually find authoritarianism quite useful, because they now have more authority to exercise than back home; however, they often run up against limitations they did not realize were there and cause major problems, some of which were reported in the news

NNI guy, for example, ignored medical ethics in conducting experiments on patients; JHU centre ignored ASTAR rules organizing its research operation; the business school matter please see past issue of Today; they all thought they could use their authority in the way they wanted, and the guys working under them did nothing to tell them otherwise - sounds familiar?

Anonymous said...

so anon, i must learn asian values if i wish to work and life in singapore, ie spitting in the street, pushing and shoving if I want to get onto a bus orMRT, allowing my little son to piss in the street, generally rude and discourtious, never say thank you or please, thye list goes on. Singapore is a totally ignorant country, the singapore chinese claim everything they do is local culture, no chinese in Hong Kong and China are totally different. mrtorehvfew asian values

Anonymous said...

man you know nothing about asia, and you cant keep up with the discussion; why do you bother to come here? just to feel good about your own superiority?

Fed-Up said...

I think there should be a very large demo to protest on behalf of the Falung-gong movement to help educate the world about its practices.

The alternative is continued IGNORANCE by the general public of other teachings or practices.

If they are not afraid, why should they ban or prohibit them ??

yuen said...

they should go to batam, like all the other organizations

expat@large said...

I notice this sign at the bottom of the "leave your comment" box: This blog does not allow anonymous comments.

That doesn't seem to be working Steve.

~~~~~~~~~

Falun gong: good, bad or indifferent, crazy people, individuals seeking freedom of expression and faith - doesn't matter.

You don't isolate an really rather benign group, vilify them, persecute them, imprison them and select the healthy ones to be used as spare parts for rich Chinese and foreigners.

That's got nothing to do with Asian values all you anonymous cowards out there, it's just plain evil as humans can get. It can happen in any centrally organised country - China, Nazi Germany, Cambodia. The lesson of Nazi Germany is that anyone - you, me - anyone, can become acculturated to organisational murder.

And "Asian Values" as promulgated by Mr Mahatir a decade ago, before Asia became almost valueless, most "foriegners" interpreted to mean a laxity in morals generally and the absolute certainty that any politican can be bought.

I don't speak Singaporean pidgin so I have no idea what one of those anonymice people was saying about me several comments up. Something unflattering to do with color of my former hair, probably. As if it mattered.

E@L

Anti-Goblok said...

expat@large said...

I don't speak Singaporean pidgin so I have no idea what one of those anonymice people was saying about me several comments up. Something unflattering to do with color of my former hair, probably. As if it mattered.

...............................

*Goblok* is a colloquial expression for Dufus. It has nothing to do with your hair.

Anonymous posters do not always equal men who are mice. It's so lecheh (troublesome) to register and start up a Blogsite just so you can post a comment or two occasionally.

Hope this has cleared up the fog of pidgin-English entries.

Anti-Goblok

yuen said...

falungong is not a benigh group; it makes health claims discouraging people from seeking medical attention and promises eternal life (and one of its own leaders died recently following this advice), and when reporters criticized this, the leaders incited followers to gang up and attack the newspaper offices; after a few thousand of their members suddenly appeared outside the party leaders' residential compound in day, a peaceful demo but with quite menacing implications, the party leaders decided to suppress it;

the cult can afford all those free newspapers and books given to people all over the place; its living buddha leader had no difficulty migrating to USA; anyone who thinks falungong is a weak, helpless group has merely fallen for its propaganda

expat@large said...

Yuen: so what? (All religious people are nutters in my book actually...) But we are talking about something beyond the persecution of any particular group. They could be Nazi prisoners of war, they could Khmer rouge genocidists, they could be pro-democracy students, they could be Tom Cruise and his Scientologists, they could be Muslims, they could be Christians, they could be Jews, they could be the mentally retarded, they could be seditious bloggers...

Who they are is not the point.

They could be you next, they could be me next is the point.

There's absolutely no excuse on this earth that can sanction a government allowing it's military health machine to chop healthy people up and sell their body parts for profit.

It's just evil to the n'th bloody degree.

~~~~~~~~

However, I am very pro stem-cell research. Go figure.

~~~~~~~~

Anti-goblok: right. Anonymity is just a symptom, laziness is the actual disease? Do I have that right. Lol! I don't read Singlish blogs or articles or even comments because a) they are obviously aimed at a certain closed and exclusive readership and b) I can't. I'm only here in Dufusapore (can i claim that?) for 4mths of the any given year, and work with English, Japanese and Mandarin speakers. The rest of the time people around me speak Thai, Vietnamese, Hindi, Arabic, you name it... We speak English in the office, and I don't have a local girlfriend so I haven't needed to learn this town's particular pidgin. (It IS a pidgin - a unique and interesting mixture of local dialects and the official language.)

P.S. Word from people in certain international schools who left Dufusapore is that many of the promises made by Govt to lure them to this fair little island hub were so much hot air. Govt failed to deliver in a multitude of areas, in a plethora of ways. It was just unworkably unprofessional, I was told. Can't elaborate any more, it was just dinner table gossip from someone I believe was an ex-teacher there.

expat@large said...

p.p.s. This foreigner (ai-yah, why so US and THEM?) is not in Dufusapore because there is no talent here. There isn't, but that's not why I am here.

Is Head Office one.

Anti-Goblok said...

"right. Anonymity is just a symptom, laziness is the actual disease?"

Let's not use a straw-man. I did not say the above.

"(It IS a pidgin - a unique and interesting mixture of local dialects and the official language.)"

Thank you for that explanation. Whatever will we poor, ignorant Singaporeans do without you. :-)

"p.p.s. This foreigner (ai-yah, why so US and THEM?) is not in Dufusapore because there is no talent here. There isn't, but that's not why I am here.

Is Head Office one."

You dirty rotten scoundrel you! You speak excellent Singlish!

Good to have a foreign voice in these parts. Even if it's a little goblok sometimes.. ;-)

Pay no attention to these xenophobic "them and us" spiel.

You get buffoons everywhere.

Heard of the genius Shrub who bankrupted the state of Texas?

Anti-Goblok

soci said...

Hi expat

recently changed the setting which didn't cover the early comments. I am receiving a rediculous level of spam comments.

And I would have to confirm the statement regarding education in Singapore as "unworkably unprofessional" a fair assessment of the situation in my professional opinion. I worked for a private school with many teachers as friends and the general conclusion was a lot less flattering.

expat@large said...

A-G: Not such a "straw man" argument I think. You said "too (troublesome)" [your translation]- I merely extrapolated this to a suggestion of laziness which was certainly implied in your statement. I hardly misrepresented your tone at all, and merely put that interpretation up for you to refute. Note the question mark.

Hook? Off.

Speaking of "straw man", you might refrain from it yourself if your are as averse to it as you profess. In defining Pidgin to those other readers for whom English is not their first language and think of Pidgins as something to make soup with, I was performing a mere trifling curtesy, common enough to those of good breeding and private school education in foreigner countries. That is hardly being critical of Singaporeans, yet you sarcastically imply I am suggesting they (you) are "poor" and "ignorant"!

That is outrageous!

I merely said you had no talent. In my particular profession I mean: gobloking. But obviously, I was misinformed. ;-)

It was JHU that the teacher was talking about, I believe.

E@L

Anti-Goblok said...

> In defining Pidgin to those other readers for whom English is not their first language and
> think of Pidgins as something to make soup with, I was performing a mere trifling curtesy,
> common enough to those of good breeding and private school education in foreigner countries.

Am I allowed to read the above as a trifle patronising without being accused of conjuring up a strawman?

AG

expat@large said...

Totally triflingly NOT! That was sarcasm, pure and simple.

lee hsien tau said...

I don't necessarily want to get into a discussion about Tom Cruise and his Scientology, but I certainly agree with Tom Cruise on his views about shrinks (interpret ---> IMH) and their quack medicine ... avoid at all costs. If you need something to soothe your nerves, write everything you hate about PAPa Lee.

I've personally been through the Singapore justice system as had CSJ, JBJ, TLH, FS and countless others (if they will tell their tales). M Ravi must be a near-extinct member of his profession. How long can he possibly last?

Anti-Goblok said...

expat@large said...

"Totally triflingly NOT! That was sarcasm, pure and simple."
___________________

Nothing pure about it but certainly simple.

One out of two this time around isn't too baaad.

Goblok is improving. ;-)

AG