One week after a Sydney man won a similar case against the Chinese Commerce
The Federal Attorney General’s Department intervened yesterday to stop a default
judgement in the Supreme Court of NSW against a high-ranking Chinese government
official for his role in the torture and persecution of two Sydney Falun Gong
practitioners while they were in China. The Attorney General’s department had
received correspondence from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese
Embassy in relation to the case.
The plaintiffs, Ms Yan XIE and Ms Fuying LI had applied for a default judgement
after the defendant, Mr CHEN Shaoji failed to provide a defense. Both women
suffered torture in Guangdong Province, at the time when Chen Shaoji was personally
overseeing the detention, torture and forced “brainwashing” of Falun
Gong practitioners in the region.
“It is disappointing that the Australian Government seems to be bowing
to political pressure from a foreign regime and effectively protecting a perpetrator
of torture against Australian citizens,” said Mr Newton Xu, legal assistant
to the case.
The unexpected government intervention came one week after Sydney Falun Gong
practitioner Mr PAN Yu won a similar case against the Chinese Minister of Commerce,
Mr BO Xilai. The default judgement from the court allows the Falun Gong plaintiff
to now seek damages from Mr Bo.
The court allowed the Attorney General’s Department to provide submissions.
It is expected they will try to stop the case with a claim that the Chinese
official has foreign immunity.
Don Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University
spoke to The Australian on the issue of foreign immunity: “In countries
such as China, he said, where positions of national responsibility and power
lie in the ruling party as much as in the government, ‘you can enter a grey
area’ regarding immunity entitlement.” Chinese minister guilty of torture
The next hearing is set for 26 November 2007 before a Duty Judge.
Posting date: 21/Nov/2007
Original article date: 14/Nov/2007
Category: Australian News