Human Rights in China has learned that Shanghai petitioner and rights defender Xu Zhengqing was released from Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison on the morning of January 29 after completing a three-year sentence for “provoking an incident, thereby causing a serious disturbance.”
Xu Zhengqing told Human Rights in China that Shanghai police returned him home in the morning despite the fact that family was waiting for him outside the prison. Now, many petitioners have come to visit him at home. Xu said the authorities are nervous about groups of petitioners gathering because the Shanghai People’s Congress (SPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee (CPPCC Shanghai Committee) are currently in session. Many police officers, including plainclothes officers, are stationed outside Xu’s home and closely monitoring the crowd.
Xu asked Human Rights in China to convey his thanks to the international community and media for their concern and support. He said he will not give up his rights defense work even though he may face further retaliation.
Xu was detained in Beijing on January 29, 2005, after attending a memorial service for former state leader Zhao Ziyang earlier that month. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for “provoking an incident, thereby causing a serious disturbance.” Xu was allegedly beaten and subjected to other forms of abuse in prison.
In related news, Shanghai petitioner Shen Yongmei reported that she and other petitioners were removed from outside the SPC and CPPCC Shanghai Committee meeting venue on January 27. The petitioners were taken away in a large vehicle and forced to get out in the outer suburb of Fengxian. It was midnight before the petitioners were able to return home. Other petitioners were taken to the outer suburb of Songjiang.
For more information on Shen Yongmei, see: