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Lawyer Zheng Enchong’s Wife Petitions Government over Prison Abuse

February 6, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Jiang Meili, the wife of imprisoned lawyer Zheng Enchong, has written a letter to Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao appealing for their intervention in Zheng’s prison conditions.

According to HRIC’s sources, Jiang Meili was allowed to visit Zheng Enchong at Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai’s Hongkou district for less than twenty minutes on February 3. During the visit, Zheng told his wife that he was being kept in solitary confinement, and his physical and mental health had deteriorated to a shocking degree since he was sentenced on October 28, 2003, to three years in prison on charges of “illegally providing state secrets to entities outside of China.” When asked if he was being mistreated, Zheng replied, “There are many, many things I am unable to tell you.”

Zheng’s family members have also been subjected to constant harassment since his arrest in June. In an incident in November, Jiang Meili was illegally detained while visiting Beijing to confer with Zheng’s lawyer, and was forcibly escorted back to to Shanghai. Since then, family members have been followed by police vehicles around the clock. In straitened financial conditions since Zheng’s arrest, Jiang has had difficulty keeping up with house payments, but has not been allowed to obtain Zheng’s signature to sell their home, and is in a state of constant worry that she and her daughter will end up on the streets.

In her letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao (appended in full to the Chinese press release), Jiang Meili insists that her husband is no criminal, and that his legal representation of people displaced in urban redevelopment schemes, and his exposure of the corrupt dealings between tycoon Zhou Zhengyi and local officials, were all in service to social justice and the rule of law. Jiang implores Hu and Wen to use their influence to obtain an appeal trial for Zheng in hopes of overturning his wrongful conviction, and in the meantime requests that Zheng might be released from prison on medical parole to prevent further deterioration of his health.

HRIC deplores the abusive treatment of Zheng Enchong in prison. “We lend our full support to Jiang Meili’s request that Zheng be granted an appeal in this travesty of justice,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “In the meantime, prison officials should cease their abusive treatment of Zheng, and should take steps to address his current health problems.”

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