Tsang faces flak over dissident sent to China

HANDOVER: The head of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party and others urged the Hong Kong chief to investigate an incident that led to the arrest of Zhou Yongjun in China


Wed, Oct 14, 2009 - Page 5

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) was under increasing pressure yesterday to investigate the case of a former Tiananmen Square dissident sent over the border into China to be arrested.

Zhou Yongjun (周勇軍), 42, a student leader in the 1989 democracy movement who is now in the process of becoming a US citizen, has been held for a year in China after being picked up in Hong Kong.

He faces fraud charges in mainland China after being found allegedly using fraudulent identity documents in September last year to enter Hong Kong from Macau.

At a press conference on Monday, his lawyer said that Zhou, who was jailed following the 1989 demonstrations and then left China for the US, had been tortured and denied family visits since his arrest last year.

Tsang was facing renewed pressure yesterday to investigate the case, which a leading lawmaker said was an illegal extradition.

Speaking on government-run radio station RTHK, Albert Ho (何俊仁), chairman of the Democratic Party, said the case “constitutes a very serious infringement” of Zhou’s rights.

Ho said Zhou had been picked up by immigration officers, put into a van and driven across the border to mainland China against his will, even though there is no agreement for cross-border extraditions.

Ho appealed to Tsang to make available police records of the incident and to press for Zhou’s release, warning that the case could open the door to politically motivated cross-border transfers.

Zhou came to Hong Kong in September last year with the intention of visiting his elderly parents in China, using a Malaysian national’s passport.

Zhou’s girlfriend Zhang Yuewei (張月衛) said his family only learned of his arrest and detention in Sichuan seven months after he was placed in custody in mainland China.

Zhou, one of the most prominent of the 1989 student demonstrators, was pictured kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People during the Tiananmen Square protests pleading for political reforms.

Asked about the case by reporters on Monday evening, however, Beijing-appointed Tsang would only say that he could not comment on individual cases.

Zhou is said to be facing charges including defrauding the Hang Seng Bank, accusations believed to relate to his use of a bogus identity to attempt to enter China.