Arbitrary arrest of Mr. Zheng Enchong and further acts of harassment against him- CHN 001 / 0803 / OBS 041.12

21/02/2008
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by Human Rights in China (HRIC) about the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Zheng Enchong, a human rights lawyer in Shanghai, and further acts of harassment against him.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the People’s Republic of China.

New information:

According to the information received, on February 16 and 17, 2008, Mr. Zheng Enchong was reportedly beaten by police officers who were following him and his wife Ms. Jiang Meili. Later on February 17, 2008, he was summoned to the police station and was kept in detention for over 12 hours. The police asked him about the recent legal aid he provided to petitioners and victims of land grabs, as well as the interviews he gave to the Epoch Times on February 12, 2008, in which he talked about the corruption case of Shanghai tycoon Zhou Zhengyi and the possible involvement of former Chinese Communist Party leader Huang Ju. While in detention, he was beaten by unidentified men.

On February 19, 2008, the interview to the Epoch Times went to press and on February 20, 2008, Mr. Zheng was again arrested, before being released in the evening. He was once more beaten by an unidentified person while in detention. As a consequence, he was wounded and bleeding. He would allegedly plan to sue the authorities.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Zheng Enchong was released on June 5, 2006 after serving a three-year prison term for “illegally providing state secrets overseas”. Since his release, Mr. Zheng and his family have been under effective house arrest and constant surveillance by police [1].

The Observatory condemns these new acts of harassment against Mr. Zheng Enchong and his wife, and urges the authorities to respect their fundamental freedoms, as well as to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity.

Background information:

In 2004, Mr. Zhou Zhengyi, former president of Shanghai-based property firm Nongkai Development Group, was sentenced to three years in prison for various crimes, including accounting fraud and stock price manipulation. He was released in May 2006 upon completion of his prison term (which included time served pre-trial). Soon after, a corruption scandal erupted in Shanghai, resulting in the dismissal of Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu and many other officials in September 2006. Mr. Zhou Zhengyi was detained again on new allegations and formally arrested on charges of bribery and forging tax invoices on January 21, 2007.

On July 5, 2007, Mr. Zheng Enchong, together with other 100 evicted householders, signed a petition demanding a public trial for Mr. Zhou Zhengyi and for the evictees to be allowed to attend and testify at the trial. They have received no reply to date.

On July 24, 2007, at approximately 7.30 a.m., Mr. Zheng Enchong and his wife, Mrs. Jiang Meili, went to the Shangai Municipal Higher People’s Court in order to register themselves to attend the Zhou Zhenghyi’s trial, scheduled for the end of July 2007. Once the couple arrived at the Courthouse, they were surrounded by six police officers. Two of them, along with the other officers, knocked Mr. Zheng Enchong to the ground, beat him and dragged him nearly 200 metres in an hour-long assault that was witnessed by hundreds of neighbouring residents. As a result, Mr. Zheng sustained serious abrasions to his left hand during the struggle.

The police officers then reportedly pushed Mr. Zheng and his wife into a taxi that took them to the home of Mrs. Jiang Meili’s older sister, Ms. Jiang Zhongli, on Baochang Road. According to the latest report, five police cars and more than 30 police officers were allegedly blocking the exits of the street, keeping Ms. Jiang Zhongli’s home under close surveillance and preventing the couple from leaving.

In the meantime, more than 50 displaced residents of the Dongbakuai neighbourhood, including Mr. Wei Qin, Mr. Shi Lin, Mr. Shen Peilan and Mr. Wang Liqing, arrived at the Shanghai Municipal Higher People’s Court at approximately 9 a.m. to register to attend the same trial, but they were prevented from entering the court building by security guards and court police.

Actions required:

Please write to the Chinese authorities urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zheng Enchong and his family;

ii. Conduct a fair, impartial and independent investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment above-mentioned, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to justice and apply to them the civil, penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

iii. Guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to Mr. Zheng Enchong, as a victim of abuses;

iv. Put an end to any kind of act of harassment and threats against Mr. Zheng and his relatives, as well as against all human rights defenders in the country;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, Article 6.b, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others [...] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, as well as Article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the People’s Republic of China.

Addresses:

Mr. Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Guojia Zongli, The State Council General Office, 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Mr. Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Sifabu, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345, minister@legalinfo.gov.cn / pfmaster@legalinfo.gov.cn
Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Waijiaobu, 2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijingshi 100701, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6588 2594, Email: ipc@fmprc.gov.cn;
Mr. Meng Jianzhu, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang, Gong’anbu, 14 Dongchang’anjie, Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100741, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216
Mr. Ma Zhenchuan, Director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, Juzhang, Beijingshi Gong’anju, 9 Qianmen Dongdajie, Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100740, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 85222320, Email: wbjc2sohu.com
Ambassador Sha Zukang, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, P.O. Box 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.int;
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 463 1160 Auderghem, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 663 30 10 / + 32 2 663 30 17 / +32 2 771 14 97 / +32 2 779 43 33; Fax: +32 2 762 99 66 / +32 2 779 28 95; Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the People’s Republic of China in your respective countries.

***
Geneva-Paris, February 21, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail : Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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