The Human Rights Law Foundation (HRLF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization established to deter human rights abuses, develop human rights legal standards, and educate the public on the cultural forms and institutions that undergird the practice of persecutory campaigns. HRLF uses strategic litigation and targeted advocacy to ensure perpetrators of human and civil rights violations are brought to justice. HRLF’s work includes representation of Falun Gong believers who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured, or otherwise persecuted as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s campaign against the religion.
HRLF is currently pursuing a number of cases to defend the human and civil rights of targeted Falun Gong practitioners. Most recently, HRLF filed a complaint in the Eastern District of New York on behalf of a group of actual or perceived Falun Gong practitioners in Flushing, New York, who have been threatened and attacked by leaders or supporters of a Chinese Communist Party-affiliated anti-Falun Gong hate group. The suit makes a number of innovative civil rights claims to protect the basic rights of the residents of Flushing to safely travel on public streets and to practice the religious beliefs of their choice.
HRLF litigation is ongoing against the major American network technology corporation Cisco Systems, Inc., as well as the prominent Chinese Communist Party propagandist Zhao Zhizhen. The suit against Cisco, pending before the Northern District of California, is based upon the company’s key role in the design, implementation, and maintenance of China’s “Golden Shield” Internet surveillance system, in particular the systems and features designed and used to subject Falun Gong believers to ideological conversion (i.e., torture). The suit has been the topic of numerous news and expert reports by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal. and Stanford Law School. If successful, the case will send a strong message to American technology corporations that their complicity in Chinese human rights abuses will result in serious legal consequences and accountability.
Meanwhile, the suit against Zhao Zhizhen, currently pending before the District Court of Connecticut, tests the precise parameters of speech that incites or aids and abets criminal conduct, and seeks to establish liability for Zhao Zhizhen’s role in severe human rights abuses committed against Falun Gong practitioners in Party-run detention centers. Both of these cases were filed under the Alien Tort Statute, which has been a major source of innovative human rights litigation in the United States.
As part of its longstanding role in a campaign of direct litigation against Chinese Communist Party officials who have played a major role in the violent suppression of Falun Gong in China, HRLF has also secured favorable judgments in case filed against Liu Qi, the former mayor of Beijing and Zhao Zhifei, the Director of Public Security and Communist Party Office 610 Chief of Police of Hubei, in addition to favorable judgments and/or settlements in several Falun Gong asylum appeals and telecommunications cases.
In 2002, HRLF began a multinational global litigation campaign against the former Chinese President Jiang Zemin for his role in initiating the violent suppression of Falun Gong believers after filing the first such case in the U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois. Thirty-nine (39) members of Congress filed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. case. Through the assistance of HRLF, cases have been filed in Argentina and Spain where indictments were issued, as well as in Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, and Asia.
HRLF continues to collaborate with a team of human rights attorneys including Daniel Machover, William Bourdon, and David Matas to secure basic civil and human rights for Falun Gong. For further information, see www.hrlf.net.