Chinese dissidents in Scotland have filed lawsuits against a former president of China alleging they suffered human rights abuses including torture under his regime.
They are among a group of 30 Chinese nationals in Britain taking legal action against Jiang Zemin who was China’s leader from 1993 to 2003.
The six people in Scotland taking legal action include a doctor called Denise Yu who lives in Edinburgh.
She was imprisoned for five years for refusing to stop the banned spiritual practice Falun Gong which combines meditation and quigong.
Falun Gong was banned in 1999 by the ruling Communist Party of China when the government decided the practice was a grave threat to its authority.
Since then tens of thousands of Falun Gong have been arrested and sentenced to ‘reform through labour’ camps where, it is claimed, they have been starved, beaten, tortured and murdered.
Yu was granted refugee status in 2013 by the UK government who accepted her claim that she suffered torture in China because she practised Falun Gong.
Her lawsuit has been sent to the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.
The document states: “From on or about April 27, 1999 until 2015, Jiang Zemin, acting alone or in concert with other known and unknown members of a joint crime, initiated, designed, planned, ordered, launched, implemented, managed, participated in, or otherwise instigated the torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in China.”
Yu said: “In April 2001, I was sent to the brainwashing centre of Haidian district, Beijing city. I was placed in a room with a group of people surrounding. They were urging me to denounce Falun Gong. When I refused they forced me to squat and kicked me and swore at me. They also threatened me that I would not be allowed to see my daughter anymore until I was ‘reformed’. Di Yu was released but arrested again in April 2005 and spent five years in prison.”
Yu served most of her sentence in Beijing Women Prison where she claims she was often maltreated and even forced sit on a small stool for up to 18 hours a day.
A separate lawsuit against Zemin was filed by Mary He who is a Chinese refugee living in Glasgow.
Mary He refused to renounce Falun Gong and was forced to give up her job as a travel agent in the city of Dalian in February 2000.
After fleeing China she was granted refugee status by the UK government in January this year.
She said: “I have been subjected to severe mental pain and suffering.”
The Chinese refugees and their supporters are starting a campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to make it illegal for someone to travel to China for an organ transplant.
They would like Scotland to introduce legislation to outlaw transplant tourism and have the backing of Edinburgh councillor Jim Orr who is trying to get a bill sponsored at the Scottish Parliament.
Orr said: “With Scottish based Falun Gong practitioners we are seeking an MSP to sponsor a bill to restrict transplants abroad only to countries with ethical and transparent transplant systems. As part of this we are raising awareness of all the emerging and compelling evidence of organ harvesting.”
The Chinese Embassy in London, UK, declined to comment.
A version of this story was published by the Daily Record on 28th August 2015.