Falun Gong members file suit against ex-Chinese president

MADRID, Spain (AP) — Members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement filed a criminal suit Wednesday in Spain’s National Court against former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and another prominent official accusing them of torture and genocide for their part in China’s crackdown on the group, news reports said.

The suit hopes to take advantage of Spain’s universal justice legislation, under which some offenses, such as crimes against humanity, can be tried here even if they were committed elsewhere.

The National Court will study the suit over the coming months and decide whether to open a case. In the past, one of the court’s top investigative magistrates, Baltasar Garzon, has taken on cases against former military dictators in Argentina and Chile.

The suit was filed by 15 members of the Falun Gong from across the world, including one Spaniard, the private news agency Europa Press said.

Besides Jiang Zemin, the complaint was also directed against Lou Gan, a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo and head of state security, Europa Press said.

Similar criminal complaints are planned in Australia, Britain, France, the United States and other countries, the agency cited Mariano Espinosa, spokesman for the 15, as telling a press conference in Madrid.

”In China, it is impossible to take this type of action because any person who identifies themselves as being from Falun Gong is immediately jailed in concentration camps and tortured,” Espinosa said.

Falun Gong believes as many as 2,000 of its members may have been killed in China and tens of thousands arrested since Beijing outlawed the group in 1999, claiming it was an ”evil cult” and a threat to public safety and communist rule.

”It’s one of the biggest violations of human rights in history,” lawyer Carlos Iglesia told the press conference.

The Falun Gong movement has attracted millions of followers with a mix of traditional Chinese calisthenics and doctrines drawn from Buddhism, Taoism.

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Oct. 15, 2003
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 16, 2003.
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