On November 10, 2004, Mr. Zheng’s wife, Mrs. Jiang Meili, went to visit Mr. Zheng in Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison along with several other family members. During the visit, Mr. Zheng reported he had been visited several times by Mr. Miao Xiaobao, the director of Changhai’s Judicial Bureau and Prisons Bureau, who had informed him that if he were to admit his wrongdoing, Mr. Zheng would have his 3 year sentence shortened by 1 year. Mr. Zheng refused to admit any wrongdoing. He also told his visitors that he was being forced to serve his sentence in the prison’s high security section, despite his light sentence. When Mr. Zheng began telling his wife to encourage the displaced persons to continue with their struggle against the development projects guards ended the visit and carried Mr. Zheng away.
Mr. Zheng, who as a lawyer had been involved in the defence of economic and social rights of persons displaced as a result of Shanghai’s urban development projects, was arrested on June 6, 2003 and charged with “illegally providing state secrets to entities outside of China”. Observers, including Mr. Zheng’s wife, were banned from his hearing on August 28, 2003 on claims the case involved state secrets. Since his sentencing on October 28, 2003, Mr. Zheng has been barred from seeing his lawyer and thus has been unable to file the paperwork to appeal his sentence before the Shanghai Supreme People’s Court. Mr. Zheng’s wife has attempted to file this paper work for him, but the court has thus far not acknowledged it. Mr. Zheng’s requests to phone his family have also been denied throughout his imprisonment.
LRWC is concerned about the way Mr. Zheng is being treated and the severe violations of his rights. LRWC has written the Chinese Ministry of Justice requesting Mr. Zheng be granted immediate access to his lawyer and be guranteed the right to file an application to appeal to the Shanghai People’s Court, among other things.
Letter Written November 15, 2004 by Monique Pongracic-Speier