BEIJING — A Chinese lawyer jailed after helping Shanghai residents seek compensation for evictions may have been beaten up again in prison, Amnesty International said on Thursday, adding it feared for his safety.
Zheng Enchong is serving a three-year sentence at Tilanqiao prison in Shanghai. He was convicted of “illegally obtaining state secrets” in a closed-door trial in October 2003 (refer to the Epoch Times original article published in 2003 The Significance of the Zheng Enchong Case .)
“Amnesty International believes that Zheng Enchong may have been beaten, and the refusal of the authorities to permit contact with his relatives raises concerns about his safety and the state of his health,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Prison officials barred Zheng's family from seeing or speaking to him when they tried to visit on Wednesday, the London-based human rights watchdog said. His family has not had any contact with him since the last visit on Nov. 12.
A prison official telephoned the family on Dec. 10 to inform them that Zheng had violated unspecified prison rules and that the family's monthly visit would be suspended indefinitely, Amnesty said.
During a family visit on March 9, Zheng told relatives he had been beaten after asking for paper to write a letter to the central government, listing the names of Shanghai residents who had died after the authorities forcibly relocated them, it said.
Zheng had requested his family ask authorities to transfer him to a prison outside Shanghai, as he was afraid he would not survive his sentence in Tilanqiao Prison, Amnesty said.
“Amnesty International fears he is at risk of further torture and ill-treatment,” the group said.
Zheng had helped Shanghai residents with a lawsuit accusing the city government of colluding with real estate tycoon Zhou Zhengyi, once one of China's richest men but who was himself found guilty of stock market fraud and falsifying documents.