Former Los Angeles Chinese Community Leader Jailed in China

January 13, 2013 Updated: October 1, 2015
State Councilor Liu Yandong (L), when she was head of the United Front, with Vincent Hu (R). The picture was taken when his relationship with the Chinese authorities was less strained. He is now in jail facing torture after a bad business deal, according to family. (Epoch Times Photo Archive)

LOS ANGELES–A Chinese American businessman, who used to host Chinese officials visiting the United States, is now locked up in a Chinese jail, where he faces torture. Chinese authorities don’t recognize his American citizenship and are denying U.S. consular officials from visiting him. His son is calling for his release.

Vincent Hu was praised by Chinese state media as a “patriotic overseas Chinese community leader” and “a philanthropist,” yet overnight Hu was arrested on allegations of being involved in organized crime, and according to his lawyer, Wan Shihua, is being interrogated and tortured in jail.

Hu, 54, also known as Hu Weisheng and Vincent Hu, carries an American passport and is a permanent resident of Hong Kong. He is the president of a real estate company in Huizhou and the CEO of a fruit wholesale company in Foshan, Guangdong province. 

On July 22, 2012, authorities dispatched 300 armed police to raid offices owned by Hu. Officials said 43 people, including Hu, were arrested on allegations of kidnapping, blackmail, arson, smuggling, and operating illegal gambling operations. 

Hu has since been detained, with Chinese authorities refusing to recognize his American citizenship and denying U.S. Consular officials from visiting him. Hu’s son, Kenny Hu, only found out about his father’s situation later through the attorney. 

Kenny Hu stands in front of the American flag. Hu is now working full time for the release of his father. (Jenny Liu/The Epoch Times)

On Dec. 30, Kenny Hu held a rescue rally for his father with the help of Los Angeles-based Chinese Human Rights Protection. Hu said his father is a businessman of high integrity. He also said that according to his attorney, who had visited his father in prison, his father was being tortured by police to force him into signing a confession.

“The police would place a prepared statement of confession before him, and beat him until he signed it. His 40-odd employees also received the same treatment,” Kenny Hu said at the rally.

Kenny Hu graduated with a PhD from Chicago Medical School last year, but has since quit his job to focus on rescuing his father. He also sold his house in Los Angles to cover his father’s legal expenses.

Currying Favor

Zhang Zihao, a former chairman of the Los Angeles Chinese Association, told The Epoch Times that Vincent Hu was a founding member of the National Association for China’s Peaceful Unification, established in Los Angeles in November 2004, a group that promotes the reunification of Taiwan with mainland China. Zhang also said that Hu “raised Chinese flags to court favor with the Communist government in China.”

According to members of the Chinese American community in Los Angeles, Hu raised the first Chinese communist flag in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in March 2005, stirring up a storm of controversy in the Chinese American community..

Kenny Hu said he was not aware of this particular incident, but acknowledged that his father often hosted Chinese officials visiting the United States, and that he did some of these things to court and gain favor with Chinese authorities.

“It wasn’t because he agreed with the approaches of the Chinese Communist Party. He only wanted to make things simpler when he went to China,” Hu said. “It was for the good of his family, relatives, and hometown.”

According to Kenny Hu, his father is a philanthropist who has donated 70 percent of his assets, worth about 20 million yuan (around $3 million), to charity.

An article in Chinese state-run People’s Daily Online from April 2012 said that in 1998 Hu and his two brothers donated 3.6 million yuan (approximately USD$600,000) to build a school in Huizhou to honor their father. In 2004, Hu organized eight Chinese Americans to invest 250 million yuan (approximately USD$40 million) in their hometown in China.

‘Now, Who Can Save You?’

Kenny Hu said the charges against his father are all bogus and are retaliation from a corrupt police official. He said his father has been in a long-running dispute with a local police official named Lin Qiang over the ownership of a fruit wholesale market in Foshan. According to Hu, Lin had his father arrested in 2002 and jailed for 11 months because his father refused to give in.  

“They battled it out in a lawsuit that has lasted 10 years,” Hu said. “In February 2012, my father finally won and regained control of the market. As a result, Lin bribed police in Huizhou and had my father arrested on allegations of gang activities.” 

Hu said that Lin once told his father: “Why didn’t you listen to my orders when you were in the United States? Now, who can save you? Even Obama or Xi Jinping won’t be able to help you. I, Lin Qiang, am the law [here].”

Li Zhuang, a Chinese lawyer who was imprisoned for 18 months and had his license revoked after his clients were coerced into falsely accusing him, told Chinese Human Rights Protection, “The Chinese regime’s local officials often abuse their power. Hu’s situation is a typical case of this.”

Kenny Hu said that since childhood he has known that the Chinese communist authorities don’t respect human rights. “Now I know that the Chinese Communist regime doesn’t follow the law,” he said. “They accuse my father of being a gang member, but the Chinese regime is actually the biggest gang of all.”

Read the original Chinese article.

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