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Ye v. Zemin
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
383 F.3d 620 (2004)
Jiang Zemin (defendant) served as the President of China and as the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Under Zemin’s leadership, efforts were orchestrated to end the Falun Gong movement, which was believed to be a movement to overthrow the government. In 1999, Zemin outlawed Falun Gong, and the government established the Falun Gong Control Office (control office). In October 2002, Wei Ye and others involved in the Falun Gong movement (plaintiffs) filed suit against Zemin in a court of the United States. Ye and the plaintiffs alleged that they had experienced torture; genocide; arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; and restricted freedom of conscience, movement, and religion. Zemin served as head of the Chinese government and as an agent of the control office during a visit to the United States. After Zemin has been served, the United States government moved to assert head-of-state immunity, arguing that Zemin was inviolable and could not be served in his capacity as a government official or as an agent of the control office. The district court held that Zemin was entitled to head-of-state immunity, but that he could be sued as an agent of the control office. However, the district court dismissed the claim upon finding that Ye had not shown that Zemin was an agent or officer of the control office and because the court lacked jurisdiction. Ye appealed on the ground that Zemin could not be immunized because he had violated jus cogens norms of international law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Manion, J.)
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