A 73-year old lady from China is set to be deported from Singapore. This would seriously jeopardise an upcoming trial involving two Falungong practitioners.
The matter involves an incident in which three Falungong practitioners were arrested for protesting outside the Chinese Embassy along Tanglin Road in July this year.
The protest was over the issue of organ harvesting in China. Falungong practitioners have accused the Chinese government of persecuting and harvesting the organs of its followers for organ transplant. (Readers are strongly encouraged to read a report on this matter published by two Canadians, former minister and MP, David Kilgour, and international human rights lawyer and MP David Matas at http://investigation.go.saveinter.net/).
On 10 June 1999, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin commissioned a team that was mandated to stop the growth of Falungong. Former vice-premier Li Lanqing was appointed to head this outfit which was called the 6-10 Office, named after the date of which it was established. Mr Li quickly made clear his modus operandi, which was “defaming their reputations, bankrupting them financially and destroying them physically.”
Apparently, Mr Li has acquired quite a reputation across the world for his zeal in ensuring the demise of Falungong. Lawsuits have been taken out against him in several countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia for crimes against humanity and torture.
Top lawyers, including France’s Mr Georges-Henri Beauthier who successfully brought charges against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC who represented the 1987 ISA detainees in Singapore and who is now the Chief Justice of the UN War Crimes Commission, have filed suits against Mr Li and other top Chinese government officials for torture and persecution.
The Canadian police is reported to be carrying out investigations on Mr Li Lanqing for his alleged acts and could take action against Mr Li if he steps onto Canadian soil.
But what does all this have to do with Singapore?
The July protest outside the Chinese Embassy was targeted at Mr Li Lanqing during his visit to Singapore. The protest was carried out by two Singaporeans, Mdm Ng Chye Huay and Mr Erh Boon Tiong, as well as 73-year old Mdm Chen Peiyu, a Chinese national.
The three had hung a banner outside the embassy which read: “Stop Persecution of Falun Gong in China.” (See photo) They were arrested by the Singapore police and later charged with “harassment by displaying insulting writing – with common intention.”
In the meantime, the National University of Singapore had conferred upon Mr Li Lanqing an honorary degree during his visit.
Mdm Ng’s and Mr Erh’s case is due to be heard on Monday, 28 Aug 2006. However, Mdm Chen Peiyu, who was also charged was going to be deported.
Desperate for legal representation, the three approached Mr M Ravi, the only lawyer who would take up human rights cases in Singapore and who is presently counsel for Ms Chee Siok Chin and Dr Chee Soon Juan in their defamation struggle against MM Lee Kuan Yew and PM Lee Hsien Loong.
Seeing that the Singapore Government was going to deport Mdm Chen, which would guarantee her torture and maybe even death if she goes back to China, Mr Ravi reminded the authorities that there was an outstanding charge against the elderly woman and therefore under the law she could not not be repatriated willy-nilly.
The AG then quickly withdrew the charge yesterday at 4 pm so that they could get the elderly lady out of the country as quickly as possible.
But Mr Ravi now told the authorities that she was a material witness to the case and must be allowed to remain in order to testify. The lawyer quickly subpoenaed Mdm Chen as a witness, leaving the Singapore Government now unable to deport her, at least until after the conclusion of the case.
In the meantime expert witnesses, including Messrs Kilgour and Matas, have been invited to testify in the case which is scheduled to be heard on 28 Aug 06 at the Subordinate Courts.
The three accused and their lawyer held a press conference today and said that they would contest the case. They said that if anyone is “harassed or insulted, it is the Falungong practitioners, not the Chinese Embassy.”
They urged the AG to withdraw the charges as they had done nothing wrong by making a humanitarian call to the world.
Mr Ravi revealed at the press conference that the authorities had been harassing the elderly Mdm Chen, including Immigration and Customs Authority officials visiting her at midnight to tell her that she was going to be repatriated.
Mdm Ng Chye Huay and Mr Erh Boon Tiong are Singaporeans and their right to express themselves and to call for the cessation of the persecution of their fellow practitioners must be respected.
The Singapore Democrats call on the PAP Government to honour our national pledge which states that we are one united people “regardless of race, language or religion” and to stop harassing citizens who exercise their constitutional rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
Lawyer Ravi ashamed to be associated with NUS after degree conferment
Mr M Ravi, at the press conference, said that he wanted to dissociate himself from his alma mater the National University of Singapore for conferring on Mr Li Lanqing an honorary degree.
Handing out yellow ribbons, Mr Ravi urged all NUS students and graduates to protest against NUS’ decision to honour Mr Li because of the on-going persecution of Falungong practioners in China.
Conclusion of the Kilgour-Matas
REPORT INTO ALLEGATIONS OF
ORGAN HARVESTING OF FALUNGONG PRACTITIONERS IN CHINA
Based on what we now know, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true. We believe that there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.
We have concluded that the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and ‘people’s courts’, since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. Their vital organs, including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas, were virtually simultaneously seized involuntarily for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries.
How many of the victims were first convicted of any offence, serious or otherwise, in legitimate courts, we are unable to estimate because such information appears to be unavailable both to Chinese nationals and foreigners.
It appears to us that many human beings belonging to a peaceful voluntary organization made illegal seven years ago by President Jiang because he thought it might threaten the dominance of the Communist Party of China have been in effect executed by medical practitioners for their organs.
Our conclusion comes not from any one single item of evidence, but rather the piecing together of all the evidence we have considered. Each portion of the evidence we have considered is, in itself, verifiable and, in most cases, incontestable. Put together, they paint a damning whole picture. It is their combination that has convinced us.