ICC NOTE: The Falun Gong have been a target of the Communist Party of China since 1999 when the politburo ordered a crackdown on the religious minority. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is attempting to push for a federal appeals court to hear a lawsuit against the network hardware company Cisco which is accused of aiding China in locating Falun Gong members who were later tortured by the government. Falun Gong prisoners have been tortured while incarcerated, but the most appalling reports from human rights groups and Falun Gong activists are of Chinese authorities using prisoners for organ harvesting. The EFF is facing an uphill battle on the case as it was originally dismissed in 2014.
1/13/2016 China (The Next Web News) – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is trying to rally a federal appeals court to hear a lawsuit in which network hardware maker Cisco is accused of helping China identify members of a religious minority who were later tortured by its government.
Cisco built the Golden Shield system that blocks foreign content and tracks online activity in China. According to the EFF, the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Cisco knew that its creation would be used to identify as well as aid in the capture and torture of members of a spiritual practice known asFalun Gong.
The company was named in a class action suit in 2011 by a group of Falun Gong victims and their families under a law known as the Alien Tort Statute, which allows non-US citizens to bring claims in federal court for violations of human rights laws.
Fighting an uphill battle
The case was dismissed in 2014, as a judge ruled that the company didn’t do enough in the US to facilitate human rights abuses.
The non-profit believes that the judge misapplied the law and made a mistake in throwing out the case. EFF staff attorney Sophia Cope said, “Company officials didn’t have to be present in China in order to assist human rights violations, and victims have a right to their day in court.”
According to the lawsuit, the Golden Shield system included a library of Falun Gong internet activity that enabled the Chinese government to identify members of the religious following online. The case also listed systems for storing and sharing information about “forced conversion” or torture sessions for use as training tools.
Cisco’s involvement was documented in internal marketing literature, where a company engineer described the company’s work aiding China’s security objectives, including the “douzhung” of Falun Gong practitioners. Douzhung refers to describing abuse campaigns against disfavored groups and minorities that involve persecution and torture.
Why target Falun Gong?
It’s worth noting that Falun Gong isn’t a dangerous cult or terrorist group. Its teachings and practice combine meditation and a moral philosophy based on truthfulness and compassion. It is widely believed that the Chinese government went after the 70-million strong following as it felt threatened by the fast-growing group.
In 1999, the Communist Party leadership began blocking Falun Gong sites declared it a “heretical organization” that threatened social stability. Human rights groups report that hundreds of thousands of practitioners in China are estimated to have been imprisoned extrajudicially and have been subjected to forced labor, psychiatric abuse and torture.