China: Activist Feng Zhenghu Victim of Enforced Disappearance

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China: Activist Feng Zhenghu Victim of Enforced Disappearance

LONDON - The Chinese government should
immediately reveal the whereabouts of the prominent human rights
defender Feng Zhenghu, who was detained by security forces in Beijing
on 15 February. Since then, authorities have not identified where he is
being held or on what charges.

"Feng is a victim of enforced disappearance and as such is
particularly vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment," said Roseann
Rife, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Deputy Director. "The
Chinese authorities should immediately allow him to meet his family and
lawyers; he should either be released immediately or charged with a
recognisable crime."

Feng Zhenghu was detained in Beijing by seven Shanghai police as he
was accompanying a victim of forced eviction to a meeting with a
lawyer. The police forced him into a car outside the Guobin Hotel near
Buwai Dajie. Feng Zhenghu was taken back to Shanghai on 16 February. He
was able to call his brother on the telephone on the way to Shanghai
but has not been heard from since.

Feng Zhenghu's family went to a police station near their home in
Shanghai on 20 February and asked for information about his his
whereabouts but were given no answer. On 12 March, nearly one month
after Feng Zhengfu was taken away, Shanghai internal security police
(guobao) requested his wife's cooperation to prevent him from meeting
or helping petitioners in the future. The internal security police
officers accepted his family's request to send some clothes to him.
However, in violation of China's Criminal Procedure Law, they refused
to inform the family of Feng Zhenghu's whereabouts and what charges he
was facing. 

"It is a disgrace that Chinese law enforcement agencies disobey the
law in such a blatant manner", said Roseann Rife. "According to Chinese
legal procedure Feng Zhenghu should have access to a lawyer and his
family should know where and why he is detained."

Feng Zhenghu's abduction follows the detention of human rights
lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has not been heard from since 4 February, when
he was taken away from his Shaanxi home by more than 10 security
agents. His family fled China earlier this year because of the
continued harassment and intense surveillance the entire family was
experiencing.

"Given the horrible torture that Gao Zhisheng experienced during his
detention in 2007, he may be in grave danger now," said Roseann Rife.
"The Chinese authorities should reveal the whereabouts of Gao Zhisheng
and Feng Zhenghu and ensure they are not being subjected to any forms
of torture or ill-treatment at the hands of state agencies or non-state
actors."

Background

Feng Zhenghu, 54, was the director of the China Enterprise Research
Centre which published articles in 1989 as the army started to enter
Beijing predicting a possible crackdown on the pro-democratic movement.
After that, Feng Zhenghu was questioned and ordered to leave the
research centre.

In 2001, he was convicted of "illegal business activity" and
sentenced to three years' imprisonment. Since his release in 2004, he
has been writing economic critiques, focusing on the malpractice of the
local government and forced evictions. Many Shanghai petitioners who
suffered consequences of the economic development approached Feng
Zhenghu and asked for his help to seek justice. He documented their
cases and helped them find lawyers to lodge lawsuits.

Gao Zhisheng was convicted of "inciting subversion, after a closed
trial, and sentenced to a three-year prison sentence, suspended for
five years as well as a one year subsequent deprivation of political
rights in December 2006. He has been kept under constant surveillance
since he was sentenced, in a manner that goes far beyond what is
allowed in Chinese Criminal Law for those serving suspended sentences
and has been forcibly removed from his home at least twice during this
period and placed under detention where he has experienced
ill-treatment and torture.

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