Shanghai Activist and Citizen Lawyer Feng Zhenghu DetainedComments Off on Shanghai Activist and Citizen Lawyer Feng Zhenghu Detained
Shanghai Activist and Citizen Lawyer Feng Zhenghu Detained
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, June 6, 2008) – On June 5, Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎), a Shanghai rights activist and self-taught “citizen lawyer”, was administratively detained for ten days for “using other means to deliberately disrupt social order”. It is believed that Feng is being punished for chronicling hundreds of cases of allegations of wrongful decisions by Shanghai courts and distributing a document about the cases to government officials.
According to Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, a Hubei-based human rights organization, Feng was taken from his home at 9:30 a.m. on June 5 by police from Shanghai Public Security Bureau (PSB) Yangpu Subdivision. Police searched Feng’s home and confiscated his computers. Feng is now detained at the Shanghai PSB Yangpu Subdivision Detention Center.
Police also summoned Feng’s friend, Chang Xiong (常雄), searched his home and confiscated Chang’s computer. Chang was later released. Police told Chang that he was summoned for participating in the ‘planning, distribution and mailing of “A Testimony to Shanghai’s Judicial Injustice: A Collection of Cases of Individuals who File Petitions Following Dissatisfaction with Shanghai Courts’ Arbitration (Volume 1)” (上海司法不公正的见证–不服上海法院裁判上访申诉案件汇编第一集). Police said that the publication was “slanderous” against government and judicial authorities.
Authorities should immediately release Feng or charge him with a recognizable crime for which there is evidence valid and credible in a court of law.
Authorities have not presented any evidence to support the claim that Feng’s publication is ‘slanderous’. CHRD believes that Feng is being detained for his peaceful activities of assisting Shanghai petitioners, many of whose properties have been forcibly demolished, and documenting cases of judicial incompetence and distributing such information. Feng’s rights to freedom of expression and to defend human rights have been infringed. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (to which China is a signatory) and in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. The right to defending human rights is guaranteed in the Declaration to Protect Human Rights Defenders, which China endorsed in 1999.
Feng was imprisoned between 2000 and 2003 for a commercial publication on Japanese companies in Shanghai. Feng described his imprisonment as ‘unjust’ and following his release, he became a vocal human rights activist. Feng began to document and compile cases of individuals with similar experiences and who are petitioning higher authorities to seek redress for what they consider wrongful judgements by Shanghai courts. In January 2008, Feng published A Testimony to Shanghai’s Judicial Injustice and sent copies of it to government officials including members of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
Feng has been repeatedly harassed by the authorities in recent months. On May 22, for example, at Shanghai Pudong Airport, Feng was prevented from boarding a flight to Japan by border police of the Shanghai Municipal Immigration Management Bureau who received “orders from the relevant authorities”.