Human Rights in China has learned that Shanghai rights defense lawyer Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠) was detained again on February 20 after several days of harassment by police and unidentified thugs. Zheng was released in the evening, but while in detention he was beaten by an unidentified person. Sources in China told HRIC that Zheng was taken away because of legal advice he gave to petitioners and interviews he had recently given to internet news outlets. HRIC condemns the recent beating and harassment of Zheng and is concerned for his safety in light of this escalating persecution. Zheng was wounded and bleeding due to the beating, and reportedly plans to sue the authorities.
"Flouting growing international criticism in the lead-up to the Olympics, the message sent by Chinese authorities is clear: freedom of expression does not encompass any unapproved media interviews, despite new, widely-touted media regulations," said Executive Director Sharon Hom. "If China is serious about rule of law, it must immediately cease the crackdowns on and detentions of lawyers and legal advisors, including Zheng Enchong, Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), and Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄)."
Human Rights in China also calls on China to demonstrate respect for independent international decisions and release all individuals who have been determined by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to be in detention arbitrarily. This group includes barefoot lawyer Chen Guangcheng, journalist Shi Tao (师涛), labor activist Yao Fuxin (姚福信), political dissident Hu Shigen (胡石根), and religious activist Li Chang (李昌).
Zheng was also reportedly beaten by the police officers who were following him and his wife Jiang Meili (蒋美丽) on February 16 and 17. Later on the 17th, Zheng was summoned to the police station; he was kept in detention for over 12 hours and was beaten by unidentified men. The police asked him about the recent legal aid he provided to petitioners, as well as the interviews he gave to the Epoch Times on February 12, in which he talked about the corruption case of Shanghai tycoon Zhou Zhengyi (周正毅) and the possible involvement of former CPC leader Huang Ju (黄菊). The interview went to press on February 19.
Zheng’s family is concerned that this pattern of harassment mirrors official action taken prior to his formal arrest in 2003. Zheng Enchong was arrested in June 2003 for "illegally providing state secrets outside the country," and was released in June 2006 after a three-year sentence. Since his release, Zheng and his family have faced ongoing harassment and monitoring by the police. All this, however, has not stopped him from continuing to provide legal support to petitioners and victims of land grabs.
Take Action for Lawyers in China in February! http://www.ir2008.org.
For more information on Zheng Enchong, see:
- "Case Update: Police Ordered Zheng Enchong Not to Leave Home as Tycoon Zhou's Case Opens," October 22, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/45370;
- "Case Update: Zheng Enchong Unable to Pay Last Respects to Dying Mother," October 12, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/45265;
- "Persecution of Zheng Enchong Must Stop: HRIC," August 22, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/44607.
- "Zheng Enchong Battered by Police while Seeking to Attend Zhou Zhengyi’s Trial," July 24, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/44399.
- "Zheng Enchong and 100 Displaced Residents Demand Public Trial for Zhou Zhengyi," July 17, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/44286.
- "House Arrest of Zheng Enchong, Mass Detention of Petitioners for Party Congress," October 16, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/31085.
- "Shanghai Residents File Formal Complaint Suggesting Official Collusion in Zhou Zhengyi Fraud," August 30, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/30465.
- "Zheng Enchong Detained Again," July 12, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/29514.
- "Shanghai Lawyer Zheng Enchong Under De Facto House Arrest," June 28, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/29431.
- "Zheng Enchong Released Amidst Crackdown on Petitioners," June 5, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/29175.
- "Special Procedures Imposed on Zheng Enchong’s Release from Prison," June 1, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/28063.
- "Imprisoned Lawyer Zheng Enchong Receives Human Rights Award from German Judges," December 8, 2005, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/26317.
End Illegal Detention
In addition to Chen Guangcheng, four other individuals featured in our IR2008 campaign have been determined by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to have been placed in detention arbitrarily. This international independent body has declared that Chen Guangcheng, Shi Tao, Yao Fuxin, Hu Shigen, and Li Chang are in detention arbitrarily, yet all remain in prison. HRIC calls on the Chinese government to release these five individuals and all others declared to be in detention arbitrarily.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a "Special Procedure" of the Human Rights Council, the main human rights body at the UN. It investigates cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty around the world, and acts on information submitted by governments, international bodies, NGOs, and individuals. In its China cases, the Working Group has examined issues related to the lack of an independent judiciary and imprisonment on the basis of exercising freedom of expression. The Working Group has visited China twice (in 1997 and 2004), where it met with government officials, lawyers, judges, prison officials, and prisoners. Although it has made many recommendations, few have been implemented.