- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2003

About 1,500 practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong rallied on the Capitol’s west lawn yesterday, where they held a mock trial of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

It was the fourth consecutive annual Washington demonstration, following Mr. Jiang’s July 1999 crackdown on the meditation sect.

The group says its members are routinely tortured while detained in China and that about 750 Falun Gong practitioners have died in custody.

China has outlawed the group, which it calls an “evil cult.”

Yesterday’s event was the culmination of several days of activity that began with the arrival late last week of about 5,000 Falun Gong proponents from around the world.

Falun Gong is a yogalike combination of meditation and gentle physical posing that is said to enhance general well-being.

Paul Yuan, a computer systems consultant who traveled half way around the world from Sydney, Australia, said that Falun Gong is apolitical, but that Beijing is “jealous” of its vast appeal to ordinary Chinese.

Terri Marsh, a Washington attorney who filed a lawsuit against Mr. Jiang in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, was also at the rally.

Ms. Marsh and her associates said they have a track record of convictions of several international figures using available U.S. laws, including the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act.

She said Mr. Jiang was served papers on the suit in Chicago in October, just days after its filing there, by “substitute service” — essentially, serving Mr. Jiang’s security detail.

Legal experts said the lawsuit is almost certain to be dismissed because national leaders are immune from prosecution.

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