Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Chinese police raid activist lawyer's house, arrest him

AP , SHANGHAI

A Chinese activist lawyer, who has been held under house arrest since his release from prison last month, has been detained by police in Shanghai, a New York-based rights group said yesterday.

Zheng Enchong's (鄭恩寵) wife, Jiang Meili (蔣美麗), was also briefly taken into police custody late on Wednesday, Human Rights in China said in a statement.

More than a dozen policemen burst into Zheng's Shanghai home on Wednesday evening demanding that Jiang report to a police station on suspicion of "impeding officials of state organs in execution of their duties," Human Rights in China said.

The police searched Zheng's home and confiscated documents and a computer owned by Jiang's brother, the group said.

Later in the evening, more police and state security officials arrived and summoned Zheng to the police station, accusing him of committing the same offense, Human Rights in China said.

Jiang has since returned home, but Zheng remains in custody, it said.

The report could not immediately be confirmed. Calls to Zheng's home went unanswered yesterday morning and his lawyer could not be reached.

Zheng was released from jail last month after serving three years for allegedly revealing state secrets. Since his release, he has been detained at home under constant police surveillance and prevented from meeting any visitors, Human Rights in China said.

Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor with long experience in China, said four or five police officers barred him from entering Zheng's apartment building when he tried to meet with him during a visit to Shanghai last month.

"I have never met Zheng but admired him from afar for his courage, ability and tenacity," said Cohen, who has acted as adviser in several prominent cases including that against Zhao Yan (趙岩), a researcher for the New York Times who is facing charges of leaking state secrets.

"It's a genuine shame that the Shanghai Bar has done nothing to protest his [Zheng's] mistreatment,'' he said.

Chinese authorities have refused to release details of their case against Zheng. His trial and appeal were closed to the public.

In keeping with the secrecy surrounding Zheng's case, officers at local police stations refused comment, saying they were not authorized to speak to foreign media. A woman at the Shanghai city police bureau said she was unclear about the case and said a written inquiry should be submitted through the city's Foreign Affairs Office.

Authorities have told Zheng that despite his release he was subject to a "deprivation of political rights" for one year. They warned him not to speak to the media.

But Zheng, who has insisted on his innocence, remained defiant. He said he was determined to report cases of corruption and human rights violations.

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