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ICC Note: There was no reason to beat a man for wanting to attend a church service!

China : Further acts of harassment against Mr. Zheng Enchong

10/17/06 China (OMCT)The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the World Organization 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:

The Observatory has been informed by Human Rights in China (HRIC) about further acts of harassment against Shanghai lawyer Zheng Enchong, who was released on June 5, 2006 after serving a three-year prison term for “illegally providing state secrets overseas”. Since his release, Mr. Zheng has been under effective house arrest and constant surveillance by police.
According to the information received,. Zheng Enchong and his wife, Mrs. Jiang Meili, left their home with the intention of attending a religious service at the Mu’en Christian Church near Shanghai ’s Renmin Square. However, they were reportedly surrounded by a dozen police officers, who prevented them from leaving their neighbourhood. When Mr. Zheng insisted on attending the church service, police reportedly knocked him to the ground. Then, as several hundred onlookers were gathering to observe the scene, three police vehicles arrived along with another dozen police officers. Mr. Zheng was grabbed by his arms and legs and taken to a small room on the ground floor of his building. He was allowed to return home later that day, without having been given the possibility to go to church.
Around the same time, a friend who had arranged to accompany Mr. Zheng and his wife to church, Mrs. Shen Peilan, was reportedly also stopped outside her home by police officers and prevented from attending the service.
Background information:

Mr. Zheng Enchong was arrested on June 6, 2003, and sentenced by the Shanghai Second Intermediate People’s Court in October 2003 to three years in prison and deprivation of his political rights for one year, on charges of “illegally providing State secrets to entities outside of China ”. In particular, he had been accused of having sent two documents to Human Rights in China . The Shanghai Court of Appeal confirmed this verdict on December 18, 2003.
On January 13, 2004, Mr. Zheng was transferred from the Shanghai municipal detention centre to the Tilanquio prison, where he was detained in the “high security” compound and was regularly victim of physical violence.
On October 28, 2005, the Zhabei District Court in Shanghai prohibited Mrs. Jiang Meili from leaving the country under the pretext of an “estate management dispute”, although she was to attend a ceremony in Germany on December 9, 2005 to receive a prize in the name of her husband from the German Association of Judges.
Subsequently, Mrs. Jiang was refused her usually monthly visit to Mr. Zheng in prison, and her every movement has been monitored. Finally, after many written requests, Mrs. Jiang’s prison visits were restored on April 21, 2006.
On May 16, 2006, the Shanghai home of Mr. Zheng Enchong was broken into by two unidentified men while Mrs. Jiang Meili was on her way to visit him in prison.
On May 30, 2006, in a letter to his wife, Mr. Zheng stated that the secretaries of the Party branch in the North Station and Tianshan districts had visited him in order to discuss the procedure that would be followed for his release, scheduled for June 5, 2006. In particular, they told him that for procedural reasons he had to be transferred to several police stations, before being finally released. On June 5, 2006, Mr. Zheng was finally taken straight back home. However, he was immediately placed under house arrest.
On June 27, 2006, Mr. Zheng went to the local PSB in order to renew his identity card, in accordance with the terms of his sentence. Yet, once at the police station, he was told that the residency officer was not available to process his application.
On June 28, 2006, Mr. Zheng and his wife attempted to go to the Shanghai Municipal Government offices in order to lodge a complaint concerning these facts. They were then informed that the loss of Mr. Zheng’s political rights entailed a total restriction on his freedom of movement.
Furthermore, Mr. Zheng’s phone line was cut and tapped on numerous occasions, and his domicile was permanently watched by several uniformed police officers, preventing anyone from visiting him.
On July 12, 2006, public security police officers from the Shanghai ’s Zhabei District North Station broke into his apartment and summoned his wife to report to the police station, on suspicion of “impeding the officials of state organs in the execution of their duties”. She was released shortly afterwards. A search on Mr. Zheng’s home was carried out and a computer was taken away, along with an important number of other documents, including a letter that Mr. Zheng had written to the authorities. A search warrant was produced after the search.
A few hours later, in the evening, the police returned to Mr. Zheng’s home and summoned him to accompany them to the police station on suspicion of “during a period of deprivation of political rights, impeding officials of state organs in the execution of their duties”, before releasing him a few hours later. Nevertheless, he has since had to report several times to the police station for questioning.

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