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Imprisoned Petitioner Xu Zhengqing Denied Family Visits

July 5, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that petitioner Xu Zhengqing, sentenced to three years in prison in October 2005, has been denied his right to family visits because he refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing or wear a prison uniform.

Xu Zhengqing is a longtime petitioner who has been subjected to constant persecution by the authorities as a result of his outspoken views. In its indictment against Xu, the Shanghai Putuo District Procuratorate alleged that while attempting to commemorate deceased former leader Zhao Zhiyang in Beijing on January 29, Xu caused disorder on a public bus and later on a train while being forcibly escorted by police back to Shanghai. Xu was tried on September 13, 2005 on a charge of “disrupting public order,” and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on October 17. An appeal hearing at Shanghai’s No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court on January 20, 2006 upheld the original verdict and sentence. Sources say that following his failed appeal, Xu told his defense lawyer that he would refuse to wear a prison uniform, because he felt that doing so was tantamount to an admission of guilt. Following his appeal, Xu was transferred to Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison in February, and he has been allowed no visits from his family since then.

Sources say Xu’s parents have repeatedly been denied access to visit him in prison, and their inquiries with the Shanghai Municipal Letters & Petitions Office, Public Security Bureau and other government departments have met with no response. Recently Xu’s parents went again to Tilanqiao Prison and requested a meeting with the warden, but guards barred them from entry. Eventually a prison petitions officer surnamed Yang came out and spoke to Xu’s parents, reportedly telling them that Xu’s family visits had been canceled because of his recalcitrant attitude towards admitting guilt and wearing a prison uniform. However, the petitions official reportedly also told Xu’s parents that Xu is not being held in solitary confinement, and agreed to pass on their letter to Xu. Xu’s parents have still received no reply from Xu.

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