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Further Harassment of Zheng Enchong’s Wife

March 4, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Jiang Meili, the wife of jailed lawyer Zheng Enchong, was arrested once again while on the way to visit her husband in prison.

According to sources in China, Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison sets aside the third and fourth of every month for family visits. On March 4, around 10:30 a.m., Jiang Meili set out from her home to visit Zheng Enchong, but was waylaid by plain-clothes police officers and told she could not leave her home. Jiang protested that as she was not a criminal, there was no reason for her to be detained at home, and she continued on her way. However, as she walked along Tianmu Donglu, a group of people, including two women, suddenly pounced upon her, grabbed her by the hands and feet and began carrying her bodily away. Outraged at this assault in public in broad daylight, Jiang Meili began struggling furiously and struck her head against a nearby guardrail. Fearing Jiang Meili would injure herself, her captors agreed to set her down to walk on her own feet, but continued to closely surround her as they escorted her to the Guoqing Lu Public Security Bureau dispatch station.

Upon hearing of the incident, Jiang’s sister and brother, Jiang Zhongli and Jiang Youliang, hurried to the dispatch station and insisted that Jiang Meili be released, or that the proper legal documents be presented for her arrest. Jiang Meili was finally released shortly after 2:00.

This is the third time that Jiang Meili has been unlawfully detained since her husband, Zheng Enchong, was sentenced last October to three years in prison on charges of “leaking state secrets.” The first time was in November, when Jiang was detained while in Beijing to confer with Zheng Enchong’s lawyer. The second time was at the end of last month, while Jiang was in Beijing to petition the National People’s Congress on Zheng’s behalf.

“The government’s outrageous treatment of Jiang Meili demonstrates the hollowness of its reported intention to introduce a clause on human rights into the Chinese constitution during the upcoming NPC session,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “China clearly hopes to improve its image in the international community through this amendment and through its recent release of dissident Wang Youcai on medical parole to the United States. HRIC welcomes the release of Wang Youcai, but we feel that sending him into exile does not constitute progress in the Chinese government’s recognition of his basic human rights. If the Chinese government really wishes to allay criticism of its human rights record, it should allow people such as Wang Youcai and Jiang Meili the freedom to peacefully express their political views and appeal for justice. As long as the government continues to arbitrarily deprive people of their liberty, even the most beautifully worded amendment to the constitution will be utterly meaningless.”