On July 7, a three-panel decision from the US Ninth Circuit Court gave Falun Gong practitioners a green light to sue Cisco System, Inc. for its action in designing the Internet censorship network used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The CCP carried out its Golden Shield project (金盾工程) from 2003 to 2006 to build the Internet censorship and monitor system used against the Chinese people. The system, known colloquially as “The Great Firewall of China,” not only blocks people inside China from visiting websites that the CCP does not want people to go to, but also monitors people’s actions on the Internet. Cisco, in order to get bigger access to the Chinese market, helped the CCP to design this censorship system; China lacked the sophisticated skills needed to develop the system on its own.
At a Congressional hearing in 2008, Cisco admitted to its involvement in developing the system. Its Vice President admitted that Cisco’s internal presentation included an official statement from the Chinese government on combating hostile elements, including religious organizations. Cisco also stated in the same or related PowerPoint presentations that the CCP would carry out a crackdown campaign against Falun Gong, describing the project as a lucrative opportunity for the company.
In 2011, Falun Gong practitioners brought a lawsuit against Cisco and two of its former executives, CEO John Chambers and China Vice President Fredy Cheung, for assisting the CCP in tracking and persecuting Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2014, a local district court rejected the case.
On July 7 of this year, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision and reinstated all claims under the Alien Tort Statute against Cisco.
1. NTDTV, July 8, 2023
2. Minghui, July 10, 2023