Prison Authorities Issue Warning to Wife of Human Rights Activist Zheng Enchong

By Shen Hua, Radio Free Asia
February 6, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: February 6, 2006 12:00 am

Jiang Meili, wife of the imprisoned Shanghai lawyer Zheng Enchong, recently received a letter from the authorities of the Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison, explaining why Zheng Enchong was denied a meeting with his family and warning Jiang Meili not to “defame and slander” the Tilanqian Prison. Lawyer Zheng Enchong had offended quite a few of the privileged for representing Shanghai residents who were evicted from their homes to make way for development. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2003.

On the first day of the lunar new year Jiang Meili, Zheng Enchong's wife, received a letter sent by registered mail, which explained why Zheng Enchong was deprived of the monthly 30-minute meeting with his family. Zheng has been denied meeting with his family since December 2005. The letter reads that Zheng Enchong was “uncooperative,” refused to answer “the thought education test question,” and refused to “abide by 'the prison law,'” and thus was not allowed to meet with his family.

Jiang Meili told a reporter that “the thought education test question” as claimed by the prison authorities was in fact to force Zheng Enchong to admit his wrongdoing.

“They have been attempting to force Lawyer Zheng to admit his crime since his imprisonment. I suspect that it is another setup. Perhaps it would do him no good to work on this test question, so he refused to answer it,” said Jiang Meili.

Jiang Meili believed that the real reason why Zheng Enchong was not permitted to have a meeting with his family was that he had been awarded a “Human Rights Award” from the German Association of Judges. Consequently, the authorities took vengeful action against Zheng.

So far Zheng has been imprisoned in the Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison. In the letter, the prison authorities charged Jiang Meili for “defaming and slandering the Tilanqiao Prison” since “she was biased by the partial words of the third party,” and then they claimed to preserve their right to take legal action against Jiang Meili for her “corresponding responsibility.”

Jiang Meili said that the Tilanqiao Prison would take her to court so that Zheng Enchong could testify for her to expose “who was right and who was wrong to the world.”

According to Jiang Meili, Zheng was unyielding and kept writing indictments. Then, what veiled secrets of the Shanghai privileged class did he know? Why did they keep cracking down on him? Former Shanghai lawyer Guo Guoding revealed some of the situation that he was aware of.

Guo said, “At that time the eight blocks of land in the eastern part of Jing'an District in Shanghai involved only one item. According to Shanghai city government policy, Zhou Zhengyi, known as the “richest tycoon in Shanghai,” had to pay four billion yuan (US$ 500 million) for the land purchase. However, the Jing'an District Committee gave this profitable land to Zhou Zhengyi for free.”

“Well, think about this. China's officials, particularly during the final days of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), use this way of sacrificing the national interest to satisfy the greedy merchant. Then the greedy merchant distributes part of his acquired interests to all of the officials involved in the project,” continued Guo.

“In my estimation, 90 percent of the Shanghai city government officials might have been bribed. That's why they cooperated to fight against those who dared to expose the facts,” concluded Guo.

The three-year sentence of Zheng Enchong, who was charged with “leaking national secrets,” will end this June. Jiang Meili only hopes that her husband comes home safe and sound.