The Laogai Research Foundation has authored an excellent blog post titled “Who is Liu Xianbin?” that puts a “human face” on Liu Xianbin, one of the named plaintiffs in Du v. Cisco. I encourage all the readers of this blog to click over to the Laogai Research Foundation’s blog to learn more about Liu Xianbin.
Over the past week, there has been increased media attention on Du v. Cisco.
Last Monday, Daniel Ward was interviewed on Asia Pacific Forum, for a segment titled “Partners in the Police State? US Tech Giant Cisco Sued for Aiding China.” Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation was also interviewed for that segment.
Yesterday, Daniel Ward was interviewed on the Marketplace Tech Report, for a segment titled “Suit says Cisco is helping China commit Crimes.” John Palfrey, co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and a professor at Harvard Law School, was also interviewed for that segment.
The Committee to Protect Journalists recently wrote about Du v. Cisco in a post titled “In lawsuit, Chinese writers allege Cisco aids government.” That article observes that “The threat of legal action may encourage other businesses to examine any potential negative impact of their activities in China” and provides the following quote from EFF’s Cindy Cohn:
“It’s no longer acceptable for companies to plead ignorance about how technology they sell is used,” said Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s incumbent upon experts in the field to create standards to guide companies in making ethical business practices, so that companies like Cisco can’t delude themselves or their investors about the blood-stained profits they derived from their business deals with China or other authoritarian governments.”
The growing attention given to Cisco’s actions in China should give Cisco, and other American corporations working with the Chinese Communist Party, pause and concern over their continued willingness to accept “blood-stained profits” from the Chinese Communist Party.
Let Cisco Systems know that their support of the Chinese Communist Party, and its efforts to violate the human rights of peaceful political dissidents like Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin will no longer be tolerated by contacting your elected representatives and by signing the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s petition– Tell Cisco: Stop helping China abuse human rights!.
The EFF continues its active interest in Du v. Cisco. The EFF’s recent post, “Cisco and Abuses of Human Rights in China: Part 1” provides a comprehensive background on Du v. Cisco and addresses the ethical issues corporations face when dealing with oppressive regimes. It is an excellent read for any and all interested in these important issues.
Most important to this of us involved in Du v. Cisco was the EFF’s call for action (directed at Cisco) to preserve the safety of our clients. In the post, the EFF writes:
“To clarify, we are asking Cisco to contact their customers and business partners in the Chinese government and tell them not to target the plaintiffs in Du v. Cisco or Doe v. Cisco. We hope Cisco will prove that they don’t condone bullying tactics used to repress free speech and that they believe these disputes should be settled under the rule of law, not the iron fist. We’d be particularly pleased if Cisco would make a public statement about their stance on the continued safety of the plaintiffs – and it would certainly go a long way to improving their public image at this time when the world is watching. But above all, we urge Cisco to use every method at their disposal to ensure that Du Daobin and all of the plaintiffs in both cases make it through the court process, and beyond, unharmed by Chinese officials.”
We couldn’t agree more. Hopefully Cisco does as well, and will let the Chinese Communist Party know that their harassment of the Du Plaintiffs (and those in Doe v. Cisco) is neither wanted nor helpful. Time will tell. I am looking forward to reading “Part II” of this series.
Daniel Ward will be interviewed this evening at 9:00 PM on the Asia Pacific Forum about Du v. Cisco in a segment titled “Partners in the Police State? US Tech Giant Cisco Sued for Aiding China.” If you are in the New York City listening area, tune in to WBAI, 99.5. Otherwise, listen on the web.
Again, the safety of our clients in Du v. Cisco is dependent, in no small part, on the fact that the world is watching. Keep watching, and let Cisco know you are are watching by signing the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s petition– Tell Cisco: Stop helping China abuse human rights! We also ask that you contact your elected representatives in Congress and let them know that complicity in the abuse of human rights by American corporations should no longer be tolerated.
Du Daobin is one of the earliest cyber dissident writers in China. By the time of his detention in October 2003, he had published tens of articles on the internet at home and abroad. In June 2004, he was charged with “inciting to subvert state power” and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Instead of serving his prison sentence immediately, it was postponed while he spent four years under probation.
In June of 2008, on the eve of the Summer Olympics to be held in China, the authorities accused Du of disobeying the rules of probation, as he had continued to write articles critical of the regime. Thus, after four years of probation, Mr. Du was sent to serve his 3-year prison term. While in prison, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture and was held under the most stringent control. He was forced to sit on a low bench for two months, which led to cardiac prolapse. After this incident, due to malnutrition and potassium deficiency, he lost his ability to walk and for a long time he was dependent on a wheelchair. Although today he is free and able to walk, Du remains under close watch. Who is this man that China views as such a threat, and what is it about his writings that has the government so nervous?
Du Daobin was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1964. Formerly an employee of the district government, Du was a firm believer of communism. He read the works of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong and took up writing poetry. After the tragic events of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Du sympathized with the students and strongly opposed the killing that occurred. This marked an ideological and political turning point for Mr. Du. Before officially becoming a Communist Party member, he retracted his application. He began to write works in support of the democracy movement and since 1997 he has been exploring the ideas of liberalism and promoting China’s path to democracy.
Originally just a supporter of the movement, as Du became more outspoken, he too became a victim of the government’s crackdown on freedom of speech. Starting in 2001, Du published articles on a number of Chinese websites, calling for fair treatment of city and rural dwellers, social security and fair wages for farmers, and for the abolishment of the discriminatory policies of usury towards farmers. He also published articles on foreign websites, severely criticizing Chinese Communist Party ideals and the one-party dictatorship system and policy.
Despite his sentencing in 2003, Du continued to write under a pseudonym and from January 2005 to June 2008, he wrote over 100 articles for Laogai Research Foundation’s Observe China website. His most influential writings from this period are those advocating for the installation of an election system in China, including: Chinese People Should Try by Every Means to Be Elected As Representatives, We Simply Can’t Do Without People’s Representatives, Indirect Democracy and Deputy Representatives: Shortcomings and Questions, Various Nonsense That Attempts to Prevent the Installation of Election in China, Peoples’ Sovereignty Dwells in Just and Fair Election, Direct Election and Social Stability: Are They In Sharp Contradiction? When Can China Kick Off Direct Election? These articles approach many aspects of the possible establishment of direct election in China or the modification of the existing People’s Representative system. They have been widely reposted after they were first published on Observe China. He continues to be an outspoken critic of China’s internet surveillance, oppression of freedom of speech, and the government’s handling of many social issues.
Du Daobin is no criminal, yet he has been continually persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for expressing his ideas and encouraging public discussion about democratic reform. Even though Du was released in 2010, he is not really free. He is not able to use his real name to publish articles domestically or internationally; he is not allowed to leave China and he must report to the police department if he wishes to leave his city. Du’s guests are tightly regulated, questioned, and placed under surveillance. The Public Security Bureau has threatened many times that they “may hinder his child’s educational advancement,” and on many occasions they have intercepted Du’s mail and royalty checks. His internet is constantly monitored, the speed of which is so slow that it sometimes takes an hour to load one page, and he constantly gets redirected to other webpages. He has not had a job since he was set free and thus does not have a stable income. As a result of this harassment and hardship, Du’s wife has moved out and left him solely responsible for raising their child.
This is why Du Daobin has taken part in the lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. currently pending in Federal Court in Maryland. Through “Golden Shield” network and internet surveillance technology provided by Cisco, China’s Ministry of Public Security has been able to monitor and track down dissidents like Du who dare to exercise freedom of speech against the Chinese Communist Party’s wishes. Since filing the lawsuit, he has come under even closer scrutiny- Du was interrogated earlier this month by officials from the Ministry of Public Security about his involvement in the Du v. Cisco.
As I have said before, Du Daobin’s safety depends, in no small part, on the fact that the world is watching. Keep watching, and let Cisco know you are are watching by signing the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s petition– Tell Cisco: Stop helping China abuse human rights!
This post was written by the Laogai Research Foundation.
The Sydney Morning Herald article addressing the Du v. Cisco lawsuit has generated additional media interest. The Frontline, a UK technology website run by V3, has also taken an interest in Du v. Cisco. The Frontline article, “Cisco implicated in Chinese human rights abuses as second Golden Shield lawsuit gathers pace” is certainly worth a read.
As I have previously stated, recent events lead us to believe that the safety of our clients in Du v. Cisco is dependent, in no small part, on the fact that the world is watching. Keep watching, and let Cisco know you are watching.
Asher Moses, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Technology Editor, wrote an excellent article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald outlining the Du v. Cisco lawsuit and Cisco’s activities in China in general. While the U.S. media has been slow to report on this issue, we are enthused to see such in-depth reporting from esteemed outlets such as the Sydney Morning Herald and the Economist.
Recent events lead us to believe that the safety of our clients in Du v. Cisco is dependent, in no small part, on the fact that the world is watching. Keep watching, and let Cisco know you are watching.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken up the cause of protecting Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, Liu Xianbin and other Chinese political activists in their efforts to prevent American technology companies (such as Cisco Systems, Inc.) from aiding the Chinese Communist Party in their efforts to suppress political speech.
As I have previously written, Du Daobin was interrogated by Chinese officials this week about his involvement in Daobin v. Cisco, the Human Rights lawsuit currently pending in U.S. District Court in Maryland. We are very concerned for Mr. Du’s safety, as well as the safety of Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin, the other Plaintiffs named in Daobin v. Cisco. Their heroic willingness to stand against oppression and injustice, as seen in their willingness to be personally and publicly named as Plaintiffs in Daobin v. Cisco, has brought unwanted attention from the Chinese Communist Party. The more visible this issue is, the safer they become. Please take a moment to review the EFF Action Alert and take action.
Our collective action and attention to this matter can prevent any further harm to Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Du Daobin, one of three named plaintiffs in a human rights lawsuit brought by Ward & Ward, PLLC against Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) alleging knowing and willful enablement of the Chinese Communist Party’s harassment, arrest, and torture of Chinese political activists, was questioned this morning by Chinese Communist Party officials regarding his involvement in the lawsuit.
Mr. Du was detained this morning by Chinese police and interrogated by senior officials from China’s Ministry of Public Security. Wu Xiaodang, the Deputy Political Commissar of Yingcheng Public Security Bureau, and Chen Enhong, Captain of Yincheng State Security Guards, directed the interrogation of Mr. Du. Mr. Du’s interrogators first warned him about his recent Internet activity (which they monitor) and then demanded information about his role in Du Daobin et al. v. Cisco Systems, Inc (“Du v. Cisco”), including the names of his contacts in China and America.
Mr. Du has long been a victim of China’s Cisco-engineered “Golden Shield Project,” a sophisticated system of Internet filters and censoring techniques, which both restricts access to content disfavored by the CCP, and allows “Internet police” to identify the sources of such disfavored content. The Golden Shield Project is used by the CCP to eliminate all references to, inter alia: Tiananmen Square; Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate (currently imprisoned by the CCP); the Jasmine Revolution sweeping through the Middle East; and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This recent harassment is yet another example of the CCP’s ongoing persecution of political writers and activists across China – persecution knowingly aided by American technology companies like Cisco.
Cisco has been involved in the filtering, censoring, and altering of the Internet in China since at least 2002, when it began working on the “Golden Shield Project.” Cisco provides the CCP with the technology and training necessary to develop, operate and expand the Golden Shield Project.
Mr. Du’s persecution began in 2003, when he was arrested while his house was raided by Chinese authorities. On June 11, 2004, he was charged with “inciting to subvert state power” and was sentenced to three years in prison for posting pro-democracy articles online. Instead of immediately serving that sentence, he was placed under probation for four years, after which it was determined that he violated the terms of his probation and was then forced to serve his original three year prison sentence. During his imprisonment, Mr. Du was subjected to extreme physical and psychological torture. By the time of his release in 2010, Du was suffering from extreme malnutrition, cardiac issues, could no longer walk without assistance, and was dependent on a wheelchair.
Following his release, Du became aware of Cisco’s role in engineering the CCP’s “Golden Shield” and “PoliceNet” systems, the surveillance systems used to identify and track him and countless other pro-democracy activists and writers across China.
Despite fear of retribution, Du chose to hold Cisco accountable. In June 2011, Mr. Du, along with Zhou Yuanzhi and Liu Xianbin, filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against Cisco and a number of Cisco executives for their knowing and willful aiding and abetting of the CCP’s harassment, arrest, and torture of Chinese political activists..
The CCP seeks, once again, to undermine Mr. Du’s fundamental human rights through coercion and intimidation. These tactics of fear and oppression have not deterred Mr. Du. We call upon Cisco to use its extensive ties with the CCP to ensure that Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, and Liu Xianbin are not subjected to harassment, interrogation, detention, or physical abuse as a result of their involvement in Du v. Cisco.
The Chinese Communist Party should know that the world is watching.
For further information, please contact Daniel S. Ward.