Named and unnamed plaintiffs claiming to be U.S. and Chinese citizens who practice Falun Gong have filed a putative class action under the Alien Tort Claims Act, alleging that the defendants developed and made a surveillance system that the Chinese government used “to eavesdrop, tap and intercept communications, identify, and track Plaintiffs as Falun Gong members for the specific purpose of subjecting them to gross human rights abuses.” Doe I v. Cisco Systems, Inc., No. 11-02449 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., filed May 19, 2011).
The plaintiffs claim that Falun Gong is “a peaceful religious practice that is based on the tenets of Zen Shan Ren (Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance).” According to the complaint, government officials identified the plaintiffs by means of the defendants’ system, and the defendants knew the Chinese government would use the system for this purpose. Alleging torture, arbitrary detention, forced labor, cruel and degrading treatment, assault, false imprisonment, wrongful death, and unfair business practices, the plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and costs.