Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Archive for June, 2009

Christian Attorney Zheng Enchong Interrogated and Tortured by PSB

Posted by radiofreechina on June 25, 2009

SHANGHAI, CHINA (ANS) A Christian human rights attorney has been interrogated and tortured for nine hours by Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers because of his work defending Chinese citizens whose land has been confiscated by the government.

 

Zheng Enchong (ChinaAid photo)

According to ChinaAid (www.ChinaAid.org), during his detention on June 17, Zheng Enchong he was beaten, stripped and cigarettes were held to his lips and eyelids. Zheng Enchong has filed a written protest and plans to file a complaint to the central government.

A media release says that according to ChinaAid sources, Zheng Enchong was summoned by four officers from Zhabei District Branch of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau on June 17.

The ChinaAid news release states: “During his detention, officers took turns slapping him five or six times in the face, and hitting him three times in the back of his head. Police also held lit cigarettes to his lips and eyelids. Later, the officers pulled him from the seat and took off all his clothing, except his underwear. Police threw his personal belongings, including: money, keys, pen, and a Bible and some cookies to the floor. Then the PSB officers proceeded to search his body.

“Authorities compiled a written record of the interrogation without interrogating Zheng at all, and, then, wanted him to sign it. Instead, he wrote down a statement on the record describing his violent treatment by the PSB. He denounced authorities for using the same method on him as they use on Falun Gong practitioners.”

ChinaAid says that Zheng has been summoned by officials nearly 20 times, and his house searched twice in the past two and a half months.

“In 2003, he filed a major legal case exposing how government officials conspired with Zhou Zhengyi, ‘the richest man in Shanghai,’ to illegally confiscate homes for demolition. Since that time, Zheng Enchong has been continually harassed and persecuted by Chinese officials. He was sentenced to three years in prison for ‘illegally providing secrets to overseas entities.’ The charge related to two faxes regarding workers’ protests that Zheng was accused of sending to Human Rights in China, a non-profit organization. Zheng has also been beaten by authorities four times, so badly that he now has difficulty walking.”

Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid and a friend of Mr. Zheng and his family, said: “As an internationally well-known Christian human rights lawyer, Attorney Zheng has always defended the poor and vulnerable. The repeated harassment and torture against such a conscientious rights defender demonstrates the Shanghai authorities’ total disregard to citizens’ basic human rights. We encourage the international community to continue to press the Chinese authorities to stop these hideous acts and to hold the abusers accountable.”

ChinaAid calls on the international community to contact the Chinese Ambassador and urge that the violence against Zheng Enchong end, and that the government respect and uphold human rights according to the Chinese Constitution and international agreements:

Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760

Please contact: Katherine@ChinaAid.org  with questions or requests for further information.

Washington contact, Jenny McCloy, 202-213-0506, Jenny@ChinaAid.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Chinese Bookstore Owner Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Posted by radiofreechina on June 14, 2009

Also fined nearly $22,000; “illegal business” printed Bibles for free distribution

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. (ANS) — A Beijing court recently found Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan guilty of “illegal business operation” and sentenced him to three years in prison and a 150,000 yuan (US$21,975) fine.

According to a story by Compass Direct News, sources said Shi’s store operated legally and sold only books for which he had obtained government permission, and that his Holy Spirit Trading Co. printed Bibles and Christian literature without authorization but only for free distribution to local house churches.

Compass said Shi, 38, had been released on Jan. 4, 2008 due to insufficient evidence for the same vague charge of “illegal business operation,” but he was arrested again two month later, on March 19. Contrary to Chinese law, authorities have denied all but a few visits from his lawyer and family, held him without charges for most of his time in jail, and initially withheld medication for his diabetes.

Compass reported that the court ruling seems to have allowed time that Shi has spent in jail to count toward his sentence, a source said, as his prison term was described as running from Nov. 28, 2007, when he was initially arrested, to Nov. 27, 2010.

Others in a printing company who stood trial with Shi appeared to have received similar sentences. A written judgment is expected within 15 days to allow time for an appeal to be filed, said Ray Sharpe, a friend of Shi.

“Absent an appeal, it is also possible that Shi could be allowed a sort of medical parole, due to his diabetic condition,” Compass reported Sharpe said. “Hopefully, he could then be allowed to stay in a hospital under a sort of house arrest.”

He said that Shi did not yet know whether he would appeal, adding that the process could take up to a year.

Compass said friends and business acquaintances of Shi have described him as a model citizen of China, saying that he has inspired them to love China by his patriotism and love for his homeland. They said he is known for selfless sacrifice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised rural Christians and minority children.

For much of his incarceration, Compass said Shi’s wife Zhang Jing and their two daughters, 12-year-old Shi Jia and 8-year-old Shi En Mei, have not known where he was being held. The family has been under nearly continual surveillance, limiting their ability to make contact with people who could assist them.

Compass reported sources said Zhang has worried about her husband’s condition and that she has taken on leadership duties at their church, where Public Security Bureau officials have intimidated the congregation with regular visits. Some members have left the church because of the intimidation, sources said, and Zhang is said to have suffered anxiety and stress that have led to depression.

Their two daughters have been ostracized at school for being the children of a prisoner, sources said.

Sources told Compass that Shi has lost more than 44 pounds since his second incarceration, dropping to less than 130 pounds. They added that he has suffered from blisters because of unsanitary conditions in prison, as well as tinnitus that at times causes his ears to ring so loudly that he cannot sleep.

Compass reported Chinese officials claim that the Nanjing Amity Printing Co. (Amity Press), the only government-approved Bible publisher, produces enough Bibles to meet the needs of the Chinese church, which various religious freedom organizations dispute. The groups complain that Amity prints a large share of its Bibles for export, and those sold domestically are not available to many Christians.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »