CHINA—Shandong human rights defender, Ma Shiping, was arrested by the local police for sending a newspaper report from the Chinese Epoch Times (ET) to Wang Zhonglin, the Party Chief of Tengzhou City Committee, Shandong Province. Local media worker Qi Chonghuai, was also harassed by the police for providing Ma's contact to The Epoch Times .
The Chinese Epoch Times report was about the life of a soldier's family member who was beaten by a government official in Shandong Province. “Ma Shiping is an upright person,” Qi Chonghuai, a correspondent of Legal System Morning Post (Fazhi Zaobao) in Shandong Province, told an ET reporter. “He's a local warrior for exposing the corruption. Thus, all the officials and committee members of Tengzhou City are afraid of him,” Qi said.
Ma sent the report to the Party Chief, hoping the committee would solve the problem exposed in the Epoch Times report. Not long afterwards Ma went missing. Ma's friends looked everywhere only to find he had been detained on June 16 and is now facing a jail sentence. Now the local people are trying very hard to rescue him and hope The Epoch Times will expose the news to the public since other Chinese national media will not be able to report it.
Ma's friend told the ET reporter that Ma is a retired soldier. He has always defended disadvantaged groups against injustices so he is quite influential among the local people. Ma's wife received a Criminal Detention Document on June 19 stating that Ma is at Tengzhou City Detention Center currently, and is going to be sentenced. All of his friends are worried about him. Some of his friends have been and continue to be harassed and are under surveillances from the city Public Security Bureau (PSB).
Qi told the ET reporter that two plainclothes criminal investigation policemen from Tengzhou City appeared in his office in Jinan City at 4:00 p.m. on June 19. They were rude and irrational. They demanded Qi come to the police office with them but Qi declined. So they called the local police office and asked them to summons Qi. The local police office could not do it because they did not have the document from Tengzhou City PSB.
In Qi's office, the two policemen began their interrogation, by yelling, “Who provided the lead to The Epoch Times newspaper? How could The Epoch Times report the news? Who's the reporter? What's your relationship with Ma?”
Qi told them, “Ma is my friend. I provided the news story to The Epoch Times . And I'll provide more to The Epoch Times tomorrow, including what you've done today.” They took his words down and threatened him, “You'll be in trouble if you do so.” Qi said that they seemed to know clearly that The Epoch Times is an overseas medium. Qi told the ET reporter that his telephone, cell phone, and computer are now being monitored.
The ET reporter called Tengzhou City PSB several times on June 20 but was told to call the propaganda department, and when he did no one answered the phone. The reporter then called Tengzhou City Committee, and was told their leader was not available and he was in a meeting.