Zhang Gong, the founder of the Holland lawsuit, will be sentenced to appear in court in December 12th.

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 Zhang Gong, the founder of the Holland lawsuit, will be sentenced to appear in court in December 12th.


The judgment may involve the burden of proof.

The second court hearing for Fujian villagers to recover the statue of Master Zhang sitting in the body of Buddha was held on the afternoon of 31 local time. After nearly three hours of presentation and heated debate, the presiding judge, J. Thomas, announced that the Court will deliver its sentence in six weeks, that is, December 12.

The judgment may involve whether the statue of Buddha is the burden of proof of Zhang Gong, which is the key content of todays hearing. Jan Holthuis, a representative of Fujians villagers Holland lawsuit and a lawyer from Holland, told Xinhua.

He said that the court might announce that Van Ovilim should submit time evidence for his acquisition of the Buddha statue, because he had always claimed that he had bought the Buddha statue before it was stolen, but had never submitted any evidence.

Holtekheis had previously said that only after it was determined that the stolen Buddha statues of Fujian villagers were the same as those held by Dutch Tibetans would the court debate on whether the defendant had acquired the Buddha statues in good faith and whether the defendant had ownership of the Buddha statues.

Van Ovilim said in a court statement that he had no documents when he purchased the Buddha statue, but he was contacting a Hong Kong dealer who helped him purchase the statue that year, who might have relevant documents in store.

Van Ovilim repeatedly stressed that the Buddha statue he purchased was by no means the same as that of Grand Master Zhang pursued by the plaintiff, because the Buddha statue he purchased did not possess the characteristics described by individual villagers in the news reports, namely, the location of the left-hand tiger mouth is porous, cracks in the neck, head or loosening.

Holt Heyss pointed out that Van Ovilim only submitted the expert conclusion of CT scanning of Buddha statues to the court, but only a written report, excluding the scanning image itself, and without independent third-party checks, does not constitute evidence.

Holt Heis gave a detailed account of the latest comprehensive investigation report issued by Fujian Cultural Relics Identification Center, pointing out in particular the fact that the Chinese characters on the back of Buddha statues are the same persons handwriting as those on the material evidence of Zhang Gongzu preserved by Fujian villagers up to now. The plaintiff has fully demonstrated that the Buddha statues purchased by the defendant are Zhang Gongzus handwriting. The image of the teacher.

Liu Yushen, a Chinese lawyer accompanying Fujian villagers to attend the hearing, explained to reporters that when the lawsuit was filed, Fujian villagers put forward the main appeals of returning the Buddha statue and declaring that the defendant obtained the Buddha statue in bad faith. If the judgment of the Dutch court of 12 December only responds to the specific issues arising in the proceedings, and does not involve the core issues (that is, whether the Buddha statue is Zhang Gong, whether it belongs to the plaintiff and should not be returned), it is only a provisional judgment, which means that one party needs to submit further supplementary statements while the other party continues to defend.

Liu Yushen said that the judgment of Holland court depends on the degree of judges understanding of the case. Master Zhang, like Dutch lawsuits, is highly complex and difficult, not only because the judicial systems of China and the Netherlands are very different, but also because the cases involve many factors such as culture, history, religion, folk customs and so on. It takes a long time for the Holland judge to understand the story of Zhang Gongs master.

Who did the Buddhas exchange give to?

At the hearing, Van Ovilim reiterated that he no longer held the Buddha statue because he had reached an exchange agreement with the third party and that he himself did not have detailed information about the identity of the third party.

Holt Heis pointed out that the exchange behavior in this case is a violation of public order and good customs, and also a fraudulent transfer aimed at preventing the plaintiff from exercising his right to pursue the Buddha statue, and Van Ovilims different views on the time when the exchange agreement was reached have further proved his intention to mislead the court. Holt Hey J reiterated that the villagers of Fujian asked for permission to read the relevant evidence that had already been fixed before the court.

The statue of Zhang Gongzu sitting in the body was worshipped for thousands of years in Puzhao Hall, Yangchun Village, Fujian Province, and was found stolen on December 15, 1995. In March 2015, the Buddha statue attracted wide attention when it was exhibited in Hungary, and Van Ovilim, the owner of the statue, withdrew immediately. Van Ovilim then issued a statement saying that the statues he bought had appeared in Hong Kong at the end of 1994/early 1995 and had been shipped to Amsterdam in mid-1995.

Van Ovilim had expressed his willingness to return the Buddha statue to China, but could not return it to the Puzhao Hall of Yangchun Village. He also proposed other conditions that Fujian villagers could not accept. At the end of May 2016, Fujian villagers commissioned the Sino Dutch lawyers group to file a lawsuit in Holland. Following the first hearing on July 14 last year, at the request of Fujian villagers, the Dutch court has implemented a fixed action to obtain evidence, copying the so-called exchange agreement and specific information related to the identity of third party from Van Ovilims computer. The relevant data are now kept by independent institutions. Fujian villagers had previously applied for the data, and the court did not approve it.

Holt Heis told reporters: Fujian villagers asked Van Ovilim to disclose the identity information of the third party, this appeal has entered the legal process. The court will consider it before announcing the verdict.

It is very meaningful for villagers to appear in court.

At the hearing, 6 villagers in Fujian used the same device to listen to the whole process without being questioned by the judge. More than 20 people, including the media, attended the hearing.

After the hearing, the villagersrepresentatives were interviewed by NOS TV in the Netherlands. With specific examples, they described how the villagers looked on Zhang Gongzu for spiritual sustenance from generation to generation. NOS TV broadcast the related news at 8 oclock in the evening. Liu Yushen believes that in view of the complexity and particularity of the case, villagersrepresentatives overcome difficulties to come to the Netherlands to participate in the prosecution, and their presence in the Dutch courts is of great significance in itself. Holt Hey J also pointed out that the presence of villagers in Fujian is very important. Sending representatives to the hearing shows that the villagers in Fujian respect Hollands laws and judges. In addition, Van Ovilim has been smearing Fujian villagers, saying that they are emotional, angry, and trying to borrow government power to get back the Buddha statue, which is no longer tenable, because the judge saw this is not true. Source: Xinhua editor: Gu Ying _NN6577

After the hearing, the villagersrepresentatives were interviewed by NOS TV in the Netherlands. With specific examples, they described how the villagers looked on Zhang Gongzu for spiritual sustenance from generation to generation. NOS TV broadcast the related news at 8 oclock in the evening.

Liu Yushen believes that in view of the complexity and particularity of the case, villagersrepresentatives overcome difficulties to come to the Netherlands to participate in the prosecution, and their presence in the Dutch courts is of great significance in itself.

Holt Hey J also pointed out that the presence of villagers in Fujian is very important. Sending representatives to the hearing shows that the villagers in Fujian respect Hollands laws and judges. In addition, Van Ovilim has been smearing Fujian villagers, saying that they are emotional, angry, and trying to borrow government power to get back the Buddha statue, which is no longer tenable, because the judge saw this is not true.