Gang v. Zhizhen
The Alien Tort Statute, 28 United States Code §1350, may not provide jurisdiction in a "foreign-cubed" suit over allegations that foreign plaintiffs were tortured by a foreign defendant in a foreign country. Allegedly, the plaintiffs were shocked with electric batons by Chinese security forces, handcuffed to beds while their bodies were stretched in opposite directions, hung from ceilings with handcuffs and forced to watch propaganda films. The plaintiffs sued Zhao Zhizhen in Connecticut District Court, alleging that in his role as producer at a state-owned television station in China he made anti-Falun Gong television shows that portrayed adherents of Falun Gong as a threat to Chinese society. The defendant moved to dismiss and argued that the Connecticut District Court lacked jurisdiction over a complaint for conduct in a foreign country, brought by foreign plaintiffs against a foreign defendant. The plaintiffs objected that the defendant allegedly directed his propaganda campaign toward U.S. citizens and that refusal to provide legal redress would deprive the plaintiffs of their only remedy. The Connecticut District Court found that the Alien Tort Statute, 28 United States Code §1350, did not provide jurisdiction. "Because the alleged abuses occurred in China and do not sufficiently 'touch and concern' the United States," wrote the court, "the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' ATS claims." The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss.