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Les Presses Chinoise Faces Trial in Canada
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After two years, the trial against the Chinese language Canadian newspaper Les Presses Chinoise went to court on November 10th. The Quebec Superior courtroom in Montreal was packed on Monday with some of the more than 200 plaintiffs in the case. All of the plaintiffs practice a meditation system called Falun Gong. The newspaper is being sued for publishing a series of four articles defaming Falun Gong, individuals who practice it, and its founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi.

On November 3rd, 2001, Les Presses Chinoise, a weekly Chinese-language newspaper based in Montreal, began publishing a series of hate articles targeting Falun Gong. Following the publication of the initial article, local residents who study the practice of Falun Gong requested to meet with newspaper officials, but were ignored.

The final and most severe article, a 12-page piece that appeared to be a reprint of information taken directly from mainland Chinese state-run media, was published after a December 10th Quebec Superior Court order prohibiting the paper and author Bing He from spreading hate propaganda in Canada.

This “special edition” was personally written by the editor and included reprints of the three previous articles. The paper was sued for “contempt of court,” and the judge found the case to be closely related to the lives and safety of the people of Quebec.

On June 20th, 2003 the Quebec Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence to continue with the case and to uphold the restriction placed on La Presse Chinoise prohibiting it from publishing hate literature against Falun Gong.

Mr. Bergman, legal counsel for plaintiffs in the case commented, “This appeal decision establishes important legal points that sets precedents and certain principles that lawyers can use for other cases -- It establishes the authority and principle for a court to restrict in civil cases certain publications of defamatory or hateful literature.”

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