Esteemed Chinese Government Officials and Judicial Authorities: As compassionate members of the overseas Chinese community, we seek your moral and political support in our protest against the unlawful imprisonment of Guoqiang Gong, an innocent Chinese citizen. Before his unlawful detention, Gong served the committee overseeing the High-Tech Industrial Development Zone in Nanchang, China. Always vigilant to protect the investment interests of the local government, Gong astutely detected plans to defraud the agency by a Taiwanese businessman Luo and his group; he publically challenged a higher-level decision to collaborate with the suspect businessman, and recommended that legal actions be taken against the fraudsters. However, when arrested, the fraudsters retaliated by maligning Gong taking his bribe. Unaware of the trumped up charge, Gong was kidnapped and manhandled by several of plainclothes officers who forced him out of his home without any subpoena or warrant for detention on Aug 16th, 2011 (the brutal and illegal method of arrest was caught on tape). After failing to coerce Gong into signing a guilty affidavit comprised of fabricated and totally conflicting details (in terms of time, location, amount, sauce and reason) regarding the alleged briberies that took place, the inquisitors tortured Gong in order to extort a confession. He was humiliated, not allowed to sleep for days on end, and beaten. Unable to endure the inhumane treatment given his old age and deteriorating health (he had advanced diskal hernia and spinal tumors), Gong agreed to a confession in exchange for access to legal counsel and release on bail. However, he was denied bail or access to legal counsel upon signing the affidavit. He soon realized that the promised bail was a scheme to wangle a confession. He immediately overturned the confession to the fabricated crime, and condemned in writing the deceitful conduct on the part of the inquisitors. He also pleaded for a thorough and fair investigation to reaffirm his innocence. Gong was later transferred to a state-monitored hospital for injuries he sustained during his inquisition and was held there for months without a formal indictment. The hold has way surpassed the legally allowable time frame for pre-indictment sequestration, not to mention the denial of any legal counsel to the accused during the arraignment. The judicial interpretation enacted in 1998 by the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate dictates that information (including confessions) gathered through coercion, torture or under false pretenses are inadmissible in court. Further, article 92 of the China Criminal Procedural Law stipulates a 12-hour limit for legal authorities to sequester suspects in criminal investigations, and prohibits the prolonged detention of suspects without indictment. On May 30th of 2010, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, and the Ministry of Justice co-launched “Statutes against Illegal Means of Information Gathering”, mandating that all procuratorial and judicial branches operate with accountability and discipline, observe basic human rights in evidence gathering, and reduce the rate of wrongful arrests and convictions. However, despite the District Procuratorate’s wanton disregard for the law, and failure to produce any credible witness or evidence, the District Court handed down a guilty verdict, in order to protect their entrenched interests. Further, the court did not allow into evidence any factual findings that contradicted the prosecution’s claims. Articles 59 and 187 of the Criminal Procedure Law guarantee a defendant’s right to confront his/her accuser(s) and to have key witnesses questioned by both the prosecution and the defendant’s legal counsel. However, the Appeal Court is denying Gong’s legal counsel’s request to call Luo the Taiwanese businessman—Gong’s original accuser—as a witness. This is not surprising since Luo’s guilty conscience has driven him to retract his false accusations and not only is he now willingness to testify to Gong’s innocence, the defense’s legal counsel has obtained his entering/departing records showing that Luo was not even in mainland China during the three occasions where the alleged briberies took place. Additionally, Luo has provided written testimonial affirming that neither him nor any of his colleagues ever attempted to bribe Gong in any shape or form. Cases where innocent people have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned (e.g. Du PeiWu, Yu XiangLin, Zhao ZuoHai, Shi JianFeng and the list goes on) occurred frequently in recent years in China, often as a result of investigative and prosecuting authorities trampling on human rights and violating procedural laws. The damages arising from wrongful convictions facilitated by torture and coercion are not limited to the lost freedom and ruined reputation of the victims, their deteriorated health status as well as emotional and financial well-being; further, the judicial integrity and transparency of the law enforcement branches are increasingly being called into question. Importantly, the heavy abuse of basic human rights and willful defiance of legal procedures diminish China’s international standing, and give rise to potential social unrest in the long run. While protesting the physical and mental abuse Gong suffered in his wrongful arrest and detention as well as the egregious verdict, we implore you to raise awareness of this case and to exhort the local authorities to take the following actions: 1. Have the Appeal Court call the key witness Luo into stand; 2. Desist from unlawful and inhumane practices in elicitation of false evidence; if further investigation ends without any shred of evidence supporting the alleged crime, acquit Gong immediately; observe basic human rights, and abide by the facts and evidence of the case; 3. Refrain from evidence tampering or one-sided evidence selection, adhere to facts rather than preferences, and follow due process; conduct the trial with fairness and transparency. Members of the North American Chinese Compatriot Community Calgary Chinese Fellowship Society, Canada Chinese Professionals and Entrepreneurs Association of Calgary, Canada Alberta Jiangxi Townsmen Association, Canada University of Calgary Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Canada Calgary Jiang Zhe Shanghai Association, Canada Las Vegas Asia Chamber of Commerce, USA University of Nevada, Las Vegas Chinese Students and Scholars Association, USA
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