By Dan Ward - Ward & Ward, PLLC
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 the morning of August 2nd by Chinese Communist Party officials regarding his involvement in the lawsuit.
Mr. Du was detained yesterday 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 received a four-year prison term for posting pro-democracy articles online. In 2008, his sentence was re-instated and he was imprisoned for an additional two years. 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.