Chinese Security Apparatus Interrogates Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Cisco

Don Tennant

In a June post titled, <strong>"Second Lawsuit Accuses Cisco of Enabling China to Oppress Citizens,</strong>" I wrote about a lawsuit filed in Maryland on behalf of three writers in China, alleging that Cisco Systems supplied the Chinese government with technology and training that enabled it to oppress and imprison these writers and other political dissidents. In a disturbing development this week, one of the three named plaintiffs in the case was detained and interrogated about the lawsuit.


Dan Ward, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, Du Daobin et al. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., let me know that on Tuesday morning, Du was detained in the city of Yingcheng in Hubei Province by Chinese police and interrogated by senior officials from China's Ministry of Public Security. It's difficult to know what to make of the fact that Chinese authorities would be so bothered by a lawsuit filed in the United States on behalf of Chinese citizens against a U.S. company operating in China. In fact, they were bothered enough to arrange for the interrogation to be directed by two top Yingcheng security officials: Wu Xiaodang, deputy political commissar of the Yingcheng Public Security Bureau; and Chen Enhong, captain of the Yingcheng State Security Guards.


According to Ward, the interrogators warned Du about his Internet activity, which is monitored by the authorities; demanded information about his role in the lawsuit against Cisco; and sought the names of his contacts in China and the United States who had anything to do with the lawsuit. Presumably, that would include Ward.


I had interviewed Ward for my June post, and he explained what's at stake. Here's an excerpt from that interview:

It's not selling them shackles. They'll make their shackles on their own. It's not selling them an iron maiden. They can make that on their own. This is the means to track and immediately detect the individual who's sitting in an Internet cafe in Beijing and thinks he's got a level of anonymity. But because there's such a great interconnectivity from the Internet police to the street cop, that guy who's two blocks away can be notified within minutes that there's someone sitting in Chair 4 of the Lao Wei Internet Cafe that just posted to China Observer; they can tap him on the shoulder, and he's gone. It's like a quiet Tiananmen to me. It's not crushing people protesting in a square. It's crushing words, bit by bit. Cisco has provided the backbone and provided a great deal of the technology and training that has allowed China to do that.

For all I know, my name's on some list in Yingcheng, too, for writing about the case and providing a forum for Ward to spread the word about the lawsuit. If so, they probably won't like it that I'm including this excerpt from a statement Ward released on Tuesday:

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 and cardiac issues. Du can no longer walk without assistance and depends on a wheelchair for movement.


Following his release, Du became aware of Cisco's role in engineering the CCP's [Chinese Communist Party'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.

Calling on Cisco to use its clout in China to get the authorities to back off and stop harassing and abusing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit in which it's named as the defendant is pretty gutsy stuff. Maybe Cisco executives in China will scoff at the idea. Or maybe - just maybe - they'll remember their American roots and what those roots mean, and they'll pay a visit to the police headquarters in Yingcheng as soon as they possibly can.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 4, 2011 4:31 AM drstphn drstphn  says:

My Oh My.... lovely, Mr. righteous don !!! Self proclaimed protector of mighty and BLOODY SOLD OUT United States of America from the SCUM of this world !!! Got too tired with Infosys, is it ?

Aug 4, 2011 7:54 AM PRO PRO  says: in response to drstphn

Oh! Don is just showing that he does have a full time job other than being Jack Palmer's PRO to keep sensationlizing anything that is Infosys!

Aug 4, 2011 8:18 AM SealTeam6 SealTeam6  says:

Patience young grasshoppers... Infosys will oblige us all(once gain) by sticking their proverbial feet in their mouth by yet another blunder . The clock is ticking...

Aug 4, 2011 10:26 AM PRO PRO  says: in response to SealTeam6

Wishful thinking...... They will settle this case for sure and emerge like a phoenix!

They have done enough to clear their names from these. They are not dumb to be in this business afterall.

Aug 5, 2011 1:34 AM Onemore Onemore  says: in response to Chamat

Even this one

'This strategic relationship will bring Brit Insurance increased scalability, flexibility and operational effectiveness to support our core business areas of underwriting, claims and investment management. We are looking forward to working with Infosys, which is a global provider of consulting and technology services with a proven track record of delivery.'

Aug 5, 2011 2:11 AM Brit Brit  says:

For all the people who love to hate USA, please read the following perspective... You can put USA down, but never out....

Aug 5, 2011 9:33 AM chm chm  says: in response to Brit

Oh that reminds me :P...

Aug 5, 2011 10:04 AM Chamat Chamat  says: in response to chm

Interesting link but following para in the article doesn't go with the taste of blogger:

"About Infosys Ltd

Many of the world's most successful organizations rely on the 133,000 people of Infosys to deliver measurable business value. Infosys provides business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services to help clients in over 30 countries build tomorrow's enterprise. "

Aug 6, 2011 4:19 AM iamokurok iamokurok  says: in response to chm

Below is the REAL reason why Chinook with GIs crashed in Afghanistan....

Aug 6, 2011 5:52 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says: in response to Onemore

Trust me in 2-3 years you will hear about Brit Insurance filling for bankruptcy. The list of western companies destroyed by India, Inc. is several pages long. Why is Apple the last American tech company booming? Because they CLOSED their R&D in India in 2006 and still hire Americans to write their software! LOL,

Aug 6, 2011 7:56 AM chm chm  says: in response to Wakjob

Apple is big client for Infosys though.

Aug 7, 2011 3:56 AM Drunken Economist Drunken Economist  says: in response to iamokurok

The questions need to be raised as to why THAT MANY Seal Team members  were crammed into an MH-47 ( .. Assuming that a 'team' is 300 guys, 21/300 of the kill team, maybe not the same guys, that allegedly put holes in UBL are now out of the picture. Far too interesting a coincidence to be sure.

Seems the Taliban had some excellent HUMINT on the movements of this 'secretive' team, if they downed it with an RPG (the chopper was either sitting on the ground or just taking off).

As well, the press had was given a PR package from the military to report these 'facts' to drum up more war. Great job, military PR corps. Whereas before, in a REAL war, 'loose lips sink ships'.

But Infosys? Really?


Aug 7, 2011 11:11 AM who knows who knows  says: in response to iamokurok

And as per real report...below is the REAL reason

"The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack, claiming to have downed the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade."

Aug 7, 2011 11:40 AM AppleNotOnlyHireAmericans AppleNotOnlyHireAmericans  says: in response to Wakjob

Mr.Wakjob the greatest idiot of America....try to learn google before start commenting.

So for Apple sponsored 2000+ h1b visas, and they are ranked 108th in H1 visa using company.

Talent has no relation to nationality...according to stupids like you it is. And that is the reason you get fired wherever you work and that is the reason any company fires you starts blooming.

If it so great to have only Americans why Apple still manufacture its product in China. It is all based on business sense and it has nothing to do with nationality.

Aug 8, 2011 12:03 PM wakjobISjoblessIdiot wakjobISjoblessIdiot  says: in response to AppleNotOnlyHireAmericans

No one with a fulltime job can post this many comments all over the forums and blogs...

just google "CLOSED their R&D in India in 2006 + wakjob"

there are 1000's of different sites this same comment got posted. Either this is the only paid job he does or he has no job other than posting trash talk about India and Indians.

Wakjob is sick person to be in any forums which will turn the whole forum/blog filled with trash talk and keep away any educated reasonable person from visiting again or have genuine discussion here.

Aby blogger (in this case Don) has to wakeup otherwise his forum is just full of hate, racial and trash comments. I don't see any reason to have these sick people in a blog...anyone who can understand their intension but having their sick comments all over the blogs makes the blog useless.

Aug 8, 2011 12:09 PM AmericasRealProblem AmericasRealProblem  says: in response to wakjobISjoblessIdiot

Fareed's Take: We've downgraded ourselves

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

We have demonstrated to ourselves, the world and global markets that our political system is broken and that we are incapable of conceiving and implementing sensible public policy.

The actual cut to the 2012 budget, the only budget over which this Congress has control, is $21 billion out of total expenditures of $3.7 trillion-a pittance.

Everything else can and will be changed by future Congresses.

What the deal does is - once again - kick tough choices down the road, this time to a congressional super-commission that will have to come up with a larger plan to reduce debt.

And it does nothing to spur growth, without which the debt will expand well above projections.

The manner in which the deal was produced added poison to an already toxic atmosphere in Washington, making compromise even more difficult.

Democrats now feel they need to mirror the Tea Party's tactics and are becoming unyielding on any cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare. Republicans, emboldened by the success of their bullying, have closed ranks more solidly around a no-tax agenda.

But the only solution to America's debt dilemma will need to involve both cuts to entitlement programs and higher tax revenues.

Congress is more polarized than ever before...and that polarization has resulted in paralysis. More than two years into the Obama Administration, hundreds of key positions in government remain vacant for lack of Senate confirmation. The Treasury Department had to handle the global financial crisis, recession, bank stress tests and automaker bailouts, as well as its usual duties, with about a dozen of its senior positions - almost its entire top management - vacant. Senate rules have been used, abused and twisted to allow constant delay and blockage.

The filibuster, historically employed about once a decade, is now a routine procedure that allows the minority to thwart the will of the majority. In 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered a stunning 80% of major legislation. Given how the chamber is composed - two Senators per state, no matter how thinly populated - people representing just 10% of the country can block all legislation.

Is that how a democracy should function?

These dysfunctions come at a bad time. The U.S. faces intense pressures from an aging population, technological change and globalization.We need smart policies in every field.

We need to pare spending in areas like health care and pensions but invest in others like research and development, infrastructure and education in order to grow. In an age of budgetary limits, money needs to be spent wisely and only on projects that are effective.

But in area after area - energy, immigration, infrastructure - government policy is sub-optimal, a sad mixture of political payoffs and ideological positioning.

Countries from Canada to Australia to Singapore implement smart policies and copy best practices from around the world. We bicker and remain paralyzed.

If, as a result of these congressional antics, interest rates on America's debt rise by 1% - in other words, if the world asks for just a little bit more interest to lend us money - the budget deficit will rise by $1.3 trillion over 10 years. That would more than wipe out the entire 10 years of cuts proposed in the debt deal. That's the American system at work these days.



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