Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that jailed lawyer Zheng Enchong was allowed to return directly home following his release on completion of his sentence. However, a number of other Shanghai residents were rounded up for detention and surveillance in the lead up to his release and the anniversary of the June 4th crackdown.
Sources in China told HRIC that officials at Shanghai's Tilanqiao Prison took Zheng Enchong from his cell at 4:00 a.m. on June 5, and at around 5:00 a.m. sent him directly home. As reported by HRIC on June 1, Zheng had previously informed his wife, Jiang Meili, that he would be put through a battery of official procedures over the course of two days before having his freedom entirely restored. Zheng was scheduled for release on June 5 after serving a three-year sentence on charges of illegally providing state secrets overseas. He was detained while providing legal advice to people forcibly relocated in one of Shanghai's major redevelopment schemes.
Sources told HRIC that Jiang Meili, fearing obstruction by the authorities in her plans to meet her husband, spent the previous night at the home of a friend. Upon reaching the prison on the morning of June 5, she found Zheng already gone, and soon received a phone call confirming that he had returned home. HRIC has called Zheng's home to inquire after his welfare, and through his family Zheng expressed his gratitude to the international community for the great interest and concern relating to his case.
HRIC has also learned through sources in China of at least 8 cases of detention, house arrest, and harassment of petitioners leading up to the politically sensitive period surrounding the 17th anniversary of June 4th and Zheng Enchong's release:
HRIC welcomes the safe return home of lawyer Zheng Enchong after three years in prison, although his sentence continues with the deprivation of his political rights for one year. HRIC calls on authorities to ensure the physical safety of Zheng and his family, and to ensure that Zheng is able to participate in all legitimate activities without harassment. At the same time, the massive roundup of petitioners, the very people Zheng Enchong has spent years of his life assisting, indicates that the Shanghai authorities remain committed to their campaign of suppressing efforts by citizens to peacefully defend their rights. HRIC calls for the immediate release of all of these petitioners being detained arbitrarily.