The Case Of Zhou Yongjun

(InMediaHK)  Press Conference: June 4 Student Leader Zhou Yongjun Illegally Transferred to Mainland Public Security by Hong Kong authorities.  October 12, 2009.

June 4 student leader Zhou Yongjun tried to enter Hong Kong in late September 2008, but he was taken by Hong Kong police to the mainland authorities without any legal procedures. Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend in the United States, and Lawyer Jim Li Jinjin together with Hong Kong solicitor Albert Ho Chun-yan to hold a press conference today (Monday, 12 October 2009) to demand Chief Executive Donald Tsang to investigate the incident about Hong Kong police illegally transferred Zhou to mainland public security.

Since 30 September 2008, Zhou was secretly detained for seven months. Zhou's family members only received the notification of Zhou's formal arrest from the Suiling City Public Security Bureau in Sichuan on 8 May 2009. Zhou was accused of "defrauding" Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong. In early August 2009, the Shehong County Procuratorate in Sichuan Province charged Zhou with this offence. Zhou's case is now waiting for the Shehong County Court's hearing. This is the third time Zhou was arrested after the democratic movement in 1989.

Zhou's US girlfriend Zhang Yuewei and US lawyer Jim Li Jinjin will release a report about the arbitrary detention of Zhou Yongjun by the Chinese authorities which has recently been submitted to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. They will also release two letters which they submit to Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang and the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate to express their discontent with the improper detention of and prosecution against Zhou. Hong Kong solicitor Albert Ho Chun-yan will demand the Hong Kong police to release the record about the police investigation of Zhou and the document which proved Zhou's release by the Hong Kong police.

=====

Open Letter to HK leader Donald Tsang

September 18, 2009
His Excellency Donald Tsang

The Chief Executive of the Government

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Hong Kong
Re. Open Letter to Call for Awareness of the On-Going Forfeiture of Hong Kong
s Administrative and Judicial Independence to Beijing

In Re. Matter of Zhou Yongjun

Dear Mr. Tsang:

We, the undersigned, a group of Chinese and American Human Rights Campaigners, are here to express our deep concern over the fate of Mr. Zhou Yongjun, one of the most prominent student leaders of the 1989 Tian An Men Square prodemocracy Movement.

Mr. Zhou has been held in custody behind bars, virtually incommunicado, by the government of the Peoples Republic, mostly because the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, under your administration, volunteered the service of extradition of Mr. Zhou, a prisoner of conscience, to the Central Government in Beijing, without even summary judicial proceedings. As the whole world watches, the Hong Kong governments police action assists Beijings on-going, and accelerating human rights abuses targeting political dissidents in and out of China, and has set a bad precedent in forfeiture of Hong Kongs judicial and administrative independence, having seriously compromised the fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

In September, 2008, Mr. Zhou entered Hong Kong from Macao. He was intercepted, detained, and held incommunicado by your government. Shortly afterwards, the Government of Hong Kong, under your administration, secretly and promptly turned Mr. Zhou into the hands of Beijing government, knowing the latter is an internationally condemned murderer and persecutor of Tian An Men Square prodemocracy activists. This serious development occurred one year ago and has come to light only recently. Such a violation of all well recognized international protocols may have shocked all hearts of the international human rights community. We, the undersigned resolutely condemn such an outrageous offense and affront to freedom loving people all over the world. In the wake of such a disgraceful betrayal, we the undersigned call for the international community to launch an immediate investigation into this serious development.

We are here to call for awareness; for the international community to pay close attention such an indecent and disgraceful police cooperation between the government of the P.R.C. and the current Government of Hong Kong, the former British Colony, in their dirty trade of extradition of political prisoners demanded by Beijing in return for forfeiture of Hong Kongs administrative and judicial independence.

We are here to call for the Hong Kong Governments immediate self-restraint from continuing such ignominious deals with Beijing, and for it to take all necessary steps to remedy the grave consequences of such lapses in procedure. We are here to appeal to people, the voters of Hong Kong, to stand up and speak out, in urging the government of Hong Kong to preserve its administrative and judicial independence.

Respectfully signed by:

____________________________________

Ye Ning, attorney and human rights campaigner

____________________________________

Li Jinjin, attorney and chair of China's Judicial Watch

____________________________________

Zhang Yuewei, family member of Zhou Yongjun

____________________________________

John Kusumi, founder of China Support Network

=====

Zhou Yung Jun's Indictment (English translation)

Peoples Procuratorate of Shehong County, Sichuan Province

Indictment

No. SPCL (2009) 097

Defendant Zhou, Yongjun, a./k./a. Zhou, Yazhou, male, born on September 15, 1967 in Pengxi County, Sichuan Province. Zhou is an ethnic Han Chinese, and his identification number is 11010819670915631X. He received undergraduate education and his recorded address in his household registration book is Unit 3-5, 39 South St., Chicheng District, Pengxi County, Sichuan. On April 10, 2009, he was detained by Shenzhen municipal Public Security Bureau as a suspect of committing fraud. On May 8, 2009, he was arrested by Suining municipal Public Security Bureau, with the order of arrest approved by Suining Peoples Procuratorate.

The investigation of this case was completed by the Public Security Bureau of Suining, and it was determined that defendant Zhou, Yongjun is suspected of committing the crime of fraud. The case was referred to Suining City Peoples Procuratorate on July 7, 2009 to review for public prosecution. The City Procuratorate appoints this County Procuratorate for prosecution. This Procuratorate received the case, questioned the defendant according to the law, has heard the opinions and defense of the defendant and his representative, and reviewed all the materials pertaining to the case.

It has been determined according to the law:

On May 8, 2008, Defendant Zhou, Yongjun fraudulently used the name Wang Xingxiang to have sent a letter in to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank, requesting the bank to transfer 4 million Hang Kong Dollars in Account 239-082258 (0002) belonging to Wang Xingxiang at the said bank into Account 031027915031 at HSBCs Australian Branch. On May 19, 2009, Defendant Zhou, Yongjun once more fraudulently used Wang Xingxiang to have requested via a letter to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank for a wire transfer of 2 million Hong Kong dollars from Account 239-082258 (0002) at the said bank into Account 89730410 at Citibanks Hong Kong Branch. On May 24, 2009, since the Defendant Zhou Yongjun saw the said two transfers were unsuccessful, he once again fraudulently used the name of Wang Xingxiang to send postal letters to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank, requesting that the bank send 4 million Hong Kong dollars in Account 239-082258 (0002) at the said bank into Account 031027915031 at HSBCs Australian Branch and also requesting that the said bank to transfer 2 million Hong Kong dollars from the said account into Account 89730410 at Citibanks Hong Kong Branch. Since the signatures did not match with the record, the requests were denied.

On October 1, 2008, Defendant Zhou Yongjun used a Malaysian passport with Wang Xingxiangs name, attempted to enter Hong Kong, and was detained by Hong Kongs Immigration Affairs Bureau.

The evidence admitted in support of the said facts includes: physical evidence, correspondence, expert opinions, testimonies from witnesses and the defendants personal confession, etc.

This Procuratorate has determined that Defendant Zhou Yongjun has committed fraud of public or private property, and the amount is considered very significant. The fraudulent acts has constituted the crime under Article 266 of Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China and the defendant is found to commit the crime of fraud. The expected outcomes were not fulfilled due to causes unrelated to his original intent, which conforms to Article 23 of Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China and should be considered criminal attempt. The facts pertaining to his crime are clear and recognized with the sufficient evidence and the defendant shall be prosecuted for his crime of attempted fraud. Pursuant to Article 141 of Criminal Procedural Law of the Peoples Republic of China, the case shall be prosecuted according to the law.

Hereby

Peoples Procuratorate of Shehong County, Sichuan Province

Assistant Procurator: Hongzhi Li
Assistant Procurator: Mingzhe Lan
August 3, 2009

=====

Zhou Yung Jun's Family Impact Statement

We Haven't Seen Zhou Yung Jun (Majer) for One Year Already; We're Quite Worrying about His Health

XXfrom Yung Jun's families, written by fiancée Yuewei Zhang

Yung Jun left Los Angeles for China Last year to visit his disabled father and his earthquake-hit hometown, on his 41st birthday, September 26, 2008. Then immediately, he went missing and we couldn't hear from him at all! About two months later in November, 2008, we were relieved to learn that he was arrested secretly in Hong Kong by the Chinese police and then was secretly transferred to Shenzhen and put in secret custody. However, the Chinese police denied that they held him. As we learned about Yung Jun's situation on the inside from released inmates, we realized that he was experiencing a replay, quite similar to the last time in 1998, when he was secretly arrested and the Chinese government tried to block all the information about him, until they found a pretext to charge him with a crime. For example, in his 1998 arrest, he was charged with "Secretly Entering China as a non-Chinese citizen." In May of 2009, he was charged with fraud as a Chinese citizen, a crime that he never committed.

Based on Chinese government officials' harrassment, threats, and intimidation for our family (since the end of November, 2008), we knew that Yung Jun was in custody again, but we had no way of knowing his condition (dead or alive?) inside the prison. So we began to write to all levels of the Chinese government repeatedly begging them to release Yungjun. Three months, four months, five months passed with no answer -- until seven months passed, there was no reply! Until April of 2009, we heard from another released inmate that Yung Jun was held in secret custody in Shenzhen Yantian Detention Center under the name Wang Hua, a name given to him by the jailers, we suddenly realized that Yongjun might be killed or murdered inside as Wang Hua, and we would never see him again. However, the Chinese government still denied that they held Yongjun and threatened Yongjun's relative who went to the detention center looking for Yongjun. Helplessly and hopelessly, we had to cry for help from God, from the media and human-rights-protecting groups and people, from the U.S. government. Ridiculously, we got Yongjun's Arrest Warrant from them--the Chinese government--on May 13, 2009. Then we retained Mr. Mo Shaoping, a well known human rights attorney. But soon thereafter, we received a lot of pressure to fire Mr. Mo.

Under the pressure, Yongjun had to dismiss Mo. In the time since Yongjun's whereabouts were disclosed, we haven't been allowed to visit him. We learned from the released cellmates that Yongjun suffered migraine, chest pain, and extremities pain in Suining Detention Center. And back in November of 2008, Yongjun was even hit and beaten so much by the jailers that he had a swollen face and a limp for a long time while he was held at Shenzhen Second Detention Center and Shenzhen First Detention Center; in Shenzhen Yantian Detention Center, Yongjun went on a hunger strike to request to talk with us or an attorney, but all his requests were refused; every time Yongjun was rolling about on the ground with severe stomachache or just shrinked in a corner, the jail doctor would give him shots to make him calm down. Yongjun's sister is herself a government employee and had called international attention to Yongjun's case. She has received warnings and she has to keep silent about Yongjun's case.

It will be Yongjun's 42nd birthday soon, and we don't know how he will celebrate it in China on September 26. He loves his family and his motherland China, however, this motherland, ostensibly an oriental big "DEMOCRACTIC AND LAWFUL" country has treated him with three imprisonments and cruel tortures within 20 years. Yongjun has been just a hot-blooded youth working hard to seek democracy and freedom. What's wrong with this? It's nothing wrong!

Since 1989, Yongjun suffered both mental tortures and physical injuries in the Chinese prisons and the serious consequences. We're quite worrying about his health. We really miss him now, however, we're not allowed to see him. His 80-year-old upright parents need him, and his children need him more. We've been looking forward to his return to the U.S.A.

I am, hereby, expecting everybody here present who loves and supports democracy, freedom, human rights and world peace to keep an eye on Yongjun's third imprisonment by the Chinese government.

Thank you very much,

Yuewei Zhang on behalf Yongjun's children, parents, sisters and brothers
9-18-2009

Letter to Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Navanethem Pillay
United Nations Office at Geneva (OHCHR-UNOG)
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211, Geneva 10
Switzerland

October 6, 2009

Dear Ms. Pillay,

We respectfully request an urgent action and expedited determination of arbitrary detention in the case of ZHOU Yung Jun, also spelled as Zhou Yongjun. Mr. Zhou is a famous Chinese political dissident exiled to the United States. Zhou was the first Tiananmen Square student leader elected to lead the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities, the group which was then occupying Tiananmen Square.

Hence, Zhou was a key figure in the student uprising that led to the June 4, 1989 massacre when the army used live ammunition to retake Tiananmen Square. Zhou was a political prisoner from 1989-1991, and again from 1998-2001.

He has now become a political prisoner for a third time. The particulars of his case are found in our submission, and his case has had press coverage in the world news. On May 13, 2009, Western news wires reported the formal arrest of Zhou, based on an arrest warrant dated May 8, 2009 citing suspected fraud. His detention was kept secret by the Chinese government for more than seven months prior to mid-May, 2009. On Sept. 4, 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that Zhou will soon go on trial for the trumped up charge of attempted financial fraud.

We must point that the within report will disclose the arbitrary actions that not only have occurred in the Peoples Republic of China, but also, based on a finding that Zhou was detained at Hong Kong airport by the Hong Kong immigration authorities and sent to the police authorities of the Mainland China, have occurred in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Zone of the PRC that should remain the self-governance, judicial independence, and common law tradition based on the Sino-British agreement.

On September 18, 2009, our group, the Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yung Jun (co-founded by the pro-democracy China Support Network, with Zhou family members and more supporters), held a New York City press conference to call attention to the document in your hands as we submit the case of Zhou Yung Jun to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

We hope that you will review our submission that follows, beginning with the model questionnaire that is the standard form of a new case submission for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. We would appreciate receiving notices of progress, steps and status changes in this case, and of course we stand ready to assist you with research if further information is required.

Please note that, you should have received a prior communication (on or about 08/27/2009) in this matter from Yuewei Zhang, the mother of Fiona Laong, the daughter of Zhou Yongjun. She is now a part of our group here, and this submission should replace her prior appeal for your help.
Thank you sincerely,

/s/ Jim Li, Esq., Director of China Judicial Watch
/s/ John P. Kusumi
Director emeritus, the China Support Network
for the Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yung Jun

Enclosed:

Authorization letter by the daughter of Zhou Yung Jun
Model Questionnaire
Case report with Appendix in English
Case report with Appendix in Chinese

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM THE MODEL QUESTIONNAIRE

I. IDENTITY

1. Full name in Chinese: Pi? ]Zhou Yongjun in Chinese pinyin^
2. Family name: Zhou
3. First name: Yung Jun (spelled when registered as refugee status in the United States, which is now the official name)
4. A/K/A: Yazhou Zhou; for the benefit of those in the English speaking world, Zhou chose to also be known as Majer Zhou.

5. Sex: male
6. Birth date, or age at the time of detention: September 26, 1967 (The Chinese authorities currently uses the identification of Yazhou Zhou with date of birth of September 15, 1967).
7. Nationality/Nationalities: stateless, but a legal permanent resident in the U.S. and the naturalization application is pending before the United States Department of Homeland Security

8. Identity document (if any): U.S. Permanent Resident Card, issued by: U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Feb. 4, 1993, No.: A071889900
9. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Best known as a political dissident, a former student leader in the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing, China in 1989

10. Address of usual residence: 1227 S. Del Mar Ave., San Gabriel, CA 91776 USA

II. ARREST

1. Date of arrest: 09/28/2008
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Hong Kong
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: Hong Kong port of entry forces

4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? Not at that time.

5. Authority who issued the warrant or decision: More than seven months later, an arrest warrant was issued by the Suining Public Security Bureau of Sichuan Province, P.R.C. (dated 05/08/2009)

6. Relevant legislation applied (if known): There is no legal basis for this arrest and detention.

III. DETENTION

1. Date of detention: 09/28/2008
2. Duration of detention (if not known, probable duration): 12 months already; still in custody; trial pending

3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Sichuan Suining Detention Center (Sichuan Province of the P.R.C. is holding Zhou on orders from higher up.)

4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention):
a. Secret detention In Hong Kong, 2 days; then transfer to
b. Secret detention at Shenzhen Second Detention Center, 7 days; then transfer to
c. Secret detention at Shenzhen First Detention Center, 49 days; then transfer to
d. Secret detention at Shenzhen Yantian Detention Center with an alias Wang Hua assigned by Chinese police, 6 months; then transfer to
e. Public detention Center at Sichuan Suining Detention Center 4 months

5. Authorities that ordered the detention: The family believes that the Hong Kong and Shenzhen detentions were at the behest of the Ministry of Public Security. After transfer, the authorities responsible are now the Sichuan Suining People's Procuratorate.

6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: They cite suspected attempted financial fraud.

7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Seen in an attachment, the official indictment of Zhou cites Article 266 of Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China.

IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to be arbitrary:

In September 2008, Zhou attempted a return to China from exile, out of concern for the declining health of his aging parents and the effects in his hometown of the Sichuan earthquake, which ravaged that area early in 2008.

Using a false Malaysian passport that Zhou purchased from an immigration company, Zhou went to Macao and tried to enter Hong Kong. At that point, Hong Kong police questioned him about an allegedly fraudulent letter that was written to Hang Seng bank by a person named Wang Xingxiang, which happens to be the name on the false passport that Zhou presented.

Zhou has made it clear that he did not author the letter in question. The bank had declined to transfer money in reply to the letter, because it had discerned that the signature did not match its records. After questioning, Hong Kong police concluded that Zhou was not the man in whom they were interested.

Zhou was then notified that immigration still needed to verify his identity, and that he was not allowed to enter Hong Kong, nor return to Macao nor the US. HK immigration authorities held him at the border for 48 hours, from September 28-30, 2008. In the words of Zhou, Later they said sorryto me that they misidentified me and turned me back over to immigration.

Hong Kong immigration authorities experienced some mercurial lark and turned Zhou over to authorities of the Peoples Republic of China. This was arbitrary arrest, not supported by any provocation, nor legal basis, nor any shred of due process of law. With no proceedings, no official decision, no chance for review, hearing, representation, or appeal, Zhou found himself moved to a small hotel in Shenzhen.What Zhou experienced may accurately be called an extrajudicial kidnapping.

To have a case against him in the Mainland is arbitrary because, since Zhou did not set foot in Mainland China for several years prior to these charges V and he was intercepted before ever reaching the Mainland V it is physically impossible that Zhou committed a crime in China. Furthermore, the Mainland authorities lack jurisdiction to prosecute the case that they have brought against Zhou. If a Hong Kong bank were victimized, such a case would be for Hong Kong authorities to prosecute, not the Mainland. Hence, their criminal indictment of him in Sichuan province is a ruse and a pretext to hold Zhou in this case of political persecution.

V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken:

From his arrest in late September, 2008, for over seven months until mid-May, 2009, the Chinese government denied that they held Zhou. This secrecy made it impossible for Zhous family to use Chinas legal system. They were denied recourse, visitation, and communication with Zhou. The family learned some information from other prisoners who were released and passed along messages from Zhou.

During the secret detention interval, Zhou's family wrote many letters to all levels of Chinese government, demanding release of Zhou, to no avail. The letters were met with harassment, threats, and intimidation that officials directed against Zhous family.

Once the secrecy was over, the family retained the services of a famous attorney, Mo Shaoping of Beijing. The government then placed enormous pressure on the family to dismiss the attorney and to hire a more local attorney in the Suining area of Sichuan province. The more local attorneys have been fearful to take a case of a political nature.

The family has turned to international media and to the China Support Network, where we formed the alliance that authors this document; and, prepared this submission for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, among other activities intended to raise pressure in this case.

VI. Full name and address of the person(s) submitting the information (telephone and fax number, if possible):

Date: 09/21/2009

Signers and contact info:
John P. Kusumi
The China Support Network
1035 S. Main St., #230
Cheshire, CT 06410 USA
1 (203) 640-2715
mailto: jpk@usacommons.net

Jim Li, Esq.
China Judicial Watch
401 Broadway, #1705
New York, NY 10013 USA
1 (212) 334-7200
fax: 1 (212) 334-0322
mailto: lawyerli3@verizon.net

Yuewei Zhang, parent and on behalf of the prisoners daughter, Fiona
1229 S Marguerita Ave,
Alhambra, CA 91803 USA
1 (626) 497-5687
mailto: wwwzhou7@gmail.com




(Nolan Chart)  News conference scolds China and Hong Kong.  By John Kusumi.  September 20, 2009.

A coalition co-founded by the China Support Network held a New York City news conference on Friday (September 18, 2009) to highlight the case of political prisoner Zhou Yongjun, who is a prominent figure from China's Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising of 20 years ago. Zhou was the first elected president of the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities, the force which occupied Tiananmen Square during the run up to the infamous massacre of June 4, 1989. In that occasion of mass murder on global television, the Chinese Communist Party used its army and live ammunition to clear Tiananmen Square, killing about 3,000 unarmed protestors on the way in.

Zhou was captured and jailed from 1989-1991. International pressure led to his release, after which he emigrated to the United States. In the U.S., he obtained legal permanent residency, and became the father of two children who are U.S. citizens. In 1998 he attempted a return to China, and was captured and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released somewhat early in 2001 because the Chinese government was bidding for Beijing to win host city status for the 2008 Olympics. His early release was a token gesture to display human rights improvement for the benefit of the International Olympic Committee.

In 2002 he returned to the United States and settled in California. Almost one year ago, in September 2008, he again attempted to return to China, out of concern for the declining health of his aging parents and the effects in his hometown of the Sichuan earthquake, which ravaged that area early in 2008.

Using a false Malaysian passport that Zhou purchased from an immigration company, Zhou went to Macao and tried to enter Hong Kong. At that point, Hong Kong police questioned him about an allegedly fraudulent letter that was written to Hang Seng bank by a person named Wang Xingxiang, which happens to be the name on the false passport that Zhou presented.

Zhou has made it clear that he did not author the letter in question. The bank had declined to transfer money in reply to the letter, because it had discerned that the signature did not match its records. After questioning, Hong Kong police concluded that Zhou was not the man in whom they were interested.

Zhou was then notified that immigration still needed to verify his identity, and that he was not allowed to enter Hong Kong, nor return to Macao nor the US. HK immigration authorities held him at the border for 48 hours, from September 28-30, 2008. In the words of Zhou, "Later they said
sorry' to me that they misidentified me and turned me back over to immigration."

Hong Kong immigration authorities experienced some mercurial lark and turned Zhou over to authorities of Mainland China. This was arbitrary arrest, not supported by any provocation, nor legal basis, nor any shred of due process of law. With no proceedings, no official decision, no chance for review, hearing, representation, or appeal, Zhou found himself moved to "a small hotel in Shenzhen." What Zhou experienced may accurately be called an extrajudicial kidnapping.

The story inside China proceeds as we have seen in the world news. On May 13, 2009, Western news wires reported the formal arrest of Zhou, based on an arrest warrant dated May 8, 2009 citing suspected fraud. His detention was kept secret by the Chinese government for more than seven months prior to mid-May, 2009. The China Support Network scooped the news wires by writing about this case a month earlier, in mid-April, 2009. On Sept. 4, 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that Zhou will soon go on trial for the trumped up charge of attempted financial fraud stemming from the Wang Xingxiang letter.

At this point, it is observable that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions have and continue to occur in Mainland China. However, we must not lose sight of the point that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions occurred on the part of Hong Kong immigration authorities in September, 2008. If the present story were a movie, it would be a double feature, with two examples of script writing that should be denounced for barely plausible story lines.

The coalition formed by CSN, called RAZY (Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun), held a news conference in New York City on September 18, 2009. Two Chinese dissident attorneys spoke about the two sides of this "double feature" human rights abuse case.

Attorney Li Jinjin spoke about the fact that Mainland Chinese authorities have no jurisdiction over this case
V even if we suppose (for the sake of argument) the allegations were true. (Any attempted fraud on a Hong Kong bank is in the jurisdiction of Hong Kong authorities to prosecute. Because Zhou had not yet set foot on Chinese soil, he cannot have committed any crime in Mainland China.)

Attorney Ye Ning spoke about the ominous and precedent-setting violations by Hong Kong authorities. Such treatment is a new experience for Chinese dissidents. The case report notes, "Normally a non-HK resident refused entry to Hong Kong would be sent back to his place of origin, i.e. the place from which he travelled to Hong Kong."

In recent memory this has happened to other Chinese dissidents -- Wuer Kaixi and Yang Jianli have attempted to enter Hong Kong, and they have been put onto planes that returned them to Taiwan.

Also at the press conference, John Kusumi for the China Support Network and Yuewei Zhang for the families of Zhou Yongjun denounced and decried the whole double feature atrocity.

Back up materials released at the newser included a case report and copies of China's arrest warrant for Zhou, its indictment of Zhou, an interview with Zhou, an opinion from the attorneys at Beijing's Mo Shaoping law firm, and an open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Also within the materials was a family impact statement from Yuewei Zhang, the fiance of Zhou Yongjun and mother of his daughter Fiona.

The actual news in the news conference may be the formation of the Alliance and the fact that it is submitting all of the above materials to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Alliance happens to feel that it is a slam-dunk case and hence that we can anticipate a U.N. determination of arbitrary detention.

The other actual news from the news conference is the open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is supposed to exist with administrative and judicial independence from China's central government, under the principle of
one country, two systems.' Hong Kong has no legal basis to perform a secret rendition of a Chinese dissident to Mainland China.

Of course, the geopolitical climate in today's world may have been tipped to favor secret renditions, due to the bad example and precedent set by the administration of a leading global superpower, which will remain nameless. (Perhaps the nation with the bad example should be called the Republic of Balagua. Thereby, the name is changed to protect the guilty superpower.) Bad example notwithstanding, the practice remains gangsterism without a legal leg to stand on
V and, it is a challenge to the fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

An ominous bad precedent has been set in Hong Kong's handling of this case, and the open letter to Donald Tsang notes that it assists human rights abuse in China; forfeits Hong Kong's administrative and judicial independence through "indecent and disgraceful" police cooperation with Mainland China; is a violation of all well recognized international protocols; and is a disgraceful betrayal. The signers call upon Hong Kong for self-restraint and remedy; calls for the international community to launch an investigation of this "serious development"; and calls upon Hong Kong people to stand up and speak out for the administrative and judicial independence of Hong Kong.

All presenters at this news conference became signatories to the open letter for Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang.

Related posts:
Prepared remarks for 9/18 news conference
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/prepared-remarks-for-918-news.html

Zhou Yongjun's Case Report, by attorney Li Jinjin
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-case-report-by-attorney.html

Zhou Yongjun's Arrest Warrant (English translation)
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-arrest-warrant-english.html

Zhou Yongjun's Indictment (English translation)
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-indictment-english.html

Zhou Yongjun's Jailhouse Interview (English translation)
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-jailhouse-interview.html

Zhou Yongjun's Defense Attorney's Memo (English translation)
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-defense-attorneys-memo.html

Zhou Yongjun's Family Impact Statement
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/zhou-yongjuns-family-impact-statement.html

Hong Kong Chief Executive Scolded in Open Letter
http://chinasupport.blogspot.com/2009/09/hong-kong-chief-executive-scolded-in.html





(Info.gov.hk)  October 12, 2009.

Government statement on Mr Zhou Yongjun's case
**********************************************

     In response to media enquiries on the case concerning Mr Zhou Yongjun, a government spokesman said today (October 12): "We do not comment on individual cases. The Immigration Department has the responsibility to uphold effective immigration control.  The department handles all entry applications in accordance with the law and immigration policy, having due regard to individual circumstances. In general, a passenger whose travel document does not meet the entry requirements will be repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin."

Ends/Monday, October 12, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:25


(South China Morning Post)  Inquiry urged into HK's role in dissident's arrest.  By Eva Wu.  October 13, 2009.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is facing demands to investigate the government's alleged unlawful handing over of a former dissident student leader to the mainland a year ago.

Zhou Yongjun , who is being held in Sichuan awaiting court proceedings, was a student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.

Asked whether he would launch an investigation, Tsang said last night that he could not comment on individual cases.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, the lawyer representing Zhou in Hong Kong, said he planned to take legal action against the government. Ho described Zhou's case as posing the biggest challenge to the "one country two systems" principle laid down in the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution.

Zhou's partner Zhang Yuewei , accompanied by Ho, handed a petition to Tsang accusing the government of breaking the Basic Law, and demanding an inquiry.

Zhou, 42, who had been living in the United States, travelled to Hong Kong from Macau on September 28 last year on a Malaysian passport which bore the name Wang Xingxiang. He had intended to visit his father, who suffered a stroke, on the mainland. In May, seven months after he was seized, Zhou's family was told that he had been arrested on fraud charges and was detained by Sichuan authorities.

According to a written record of a meeting with two mainland lawyers in Sichuan in late May, Zhou said he was detained on arrival in Hong Kong and then secretly handed over to Shenzhen authorities two days later.  According to a statement issued by Sichuan authorities, Zhou tried to use the name Wang to make money transfers from Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong. "Zhou Yongjun was stopped by the Hong Kong immigration when he tried entering Hong Kong with a fake Malaysian passport," the statement said.

A Hong Kong government spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the case. "In general, a passenger whose travel document does not meet the entry requirements will be repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin," the spokesman said.

Ho said that Zhou - unlike other dissidents who were denied entry to Hong Kong - had been treated differently as he was not sent back to his place of origin. "It was entirely different from how others were treated," Ho said. "I worry that it was the central government that gave the order in this case. This would seriously harm the `one country two systems' [principle]."

Ho noted that there was no agreement with the mainland on handing over of wanted people, and demanded that the Hong Kong government explain why Zhou was handed over to Shenzhen authorities.

Zhang, 33, the mother of Zhou's 18-month-old daughter, told a press conference yesterday that she had come to the city from Los Angeles "to demand the Hong Kong government give back my child her father".  "Zhou Yongjun went missing in Hong Kong and it was the Hong Kong government which sent him back to the mainland," she said.


(Reuters)  HK accused of role in jailing of Chinese dissident.  October 12, 2009.

A former dissident leader was unlawfully handed over to Chinese police by authorities in Hong Kong, resulting in his arrest and detention for nearly a year on fraud charges, activists and his partner said on Monday.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, enjoys a high degree of autonomy and a separate judicial system under its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, but critics say the case of Zhou Yongjun sets a worrying precedent.

Zhou, a former student leader from the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in Beijing, travelled to Hong Kong from Macau last September under a false identity, but was held and transferred by Hong Kong officials to police in the South China city of Shenzhen, his girlfriend and lawyer told reporters.

"Zhou Yongjun went missing in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong government sent him to China, leading to him being detained till now," said Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend.

Extradition of individuals from Hong Kong to China remains rare, while the Basic Law obliges authorities to "safeguard the rights and freedoms" of all those in the city.

"This possibly constitutes a very serious infringement of (Zhou's) rights, which is guaranteed in the Basic Law," said Albert Ho, the head of the Democratic Party who has lobbied Beijing-backed leader Hong Kong Donald Tsang to make available police records into Zhou's case and to press for his release.

"He was taken back against his will to China for trial or investigation," Ho added.

Without a valid Chinese passport, Zhou had travelled to Hong Kong with the intention of visiting relatives in China on a Malaysian national's passport last September, a month after the Beijing Olympics when Hong Kong authorities tightened immigration and barred prominent China critics from the city.

The Hong Kong government responded to the incident in a statement by saying anyone with an invalid travel document would be "repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin".  It wasn't made clear, however, why Zhou was not sent back to Macau or the United States where he is normally resident.

Zhou's fate remained unclear to his family for nearly seven months until they were formally told of his arrest and detention by authorities in Suiling city in China's Sichuan province.

Zhou now faces charges including "defrauding" Hong Kong's Hang Seng Bank. His supporters accuse the authorities of a political motive in trying him in a county court in Sichuan, rather than in Hong Kong, where the alleged offence took place.


(Associated Press)  Tiananmen dissident family presses for his release.  By Jeremiah Marquez.  October 12, 2009.

Family and lawyers of an exiled leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests pressed for his release Monday, nearly a year after he was sent to a mainland Chinese jail while trying to return to his homeland.

Zhou Yongjun, a permanent U.S. resident on track to become a naturalized citizen, was trying to enter Hong Kong in September last year when he was stopped by local officials and handed over to mainland Chinese authorities.

He is being held in a detention facility in his home province of Sichuan in western China, where one of his attorneys said he has been tortured and denied family visits.

"I am here with our little girl to look for Daddy," said Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter. "It's Hong Kong's government who sent him to mainland China."

Zhou, now 42, was among the most prominent figures in the 1989 student-led demonstrations in Beijing that were violently suppressed. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people are believed to have been killed when troops stormed into central Beijing June 3-4, 1989, on orders to break up the protests.

But China has never acknowledged its crackdown, discussion of which is still taboo, and restrictions on those who took part in the protests remain harsh.

In April 1989, Zhou captured global attention by kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People along one side of Tiananmen Square in a plea for China's communist leaders to acknowledge student calls for political reforms and an end to corruption.

On Monday, Zhou's girlfriend carried a portrait of him as she marched with other supporters to Hong Kong's government headquarters. They called on Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang to explain why Zhou was turned over to Chinese officials, a possible violation of the territory's laws, and asked for help securing his release.

"Zhou was sent to China without legal basis," said Jim Li, one of Zhou's attorneys. "Hong Kong is responsible."

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997, but the territory retains separate political, legal, economic and immigration systems from the mainland. It also lacks a deportation and removal treaty with mainland China.

"They are totally disregarding the obligations under the law," Albert Ho, a Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker who is helping with Zhou's case, said of Hong Kong authorities. "It seems the government is acting on the direction from China."

Hong Kong's government refused to comment on Zhou's case specifically. In general, its immigration department returns visitors whose travel documents do not meet requirements back to their "place of embarkation or origin," the government said.

Zhou and his family live in Los Angeles.

Zhou was imprisoned for two years after Chinese leaders crushed the pro-democracy movement. He then left China for New York.

He was planning to enter China from Hong Kong on his latest visit, in hopes of seeing his elderly parents, his supporters said. He tried to visit China once before, in December 1998, but was arrested in Shenzhen and spent more than two years in a labor camp. He returned to the United States in 2002.


(Agence France Presse)  Transfer to China of dissident unlawful: Hong Kong lawmaker.  October 12, 2009.

A student leader of the 1989 democracy protests in China who has been detained for over a year was handed over to mainland authorities by Hong Kong unlawfully, a Hong Kong lawmaker said Monday.

Hong Kong does not have a rendition treaty with mainland China so should not have transferred dissident Zhou Yongjun to the Chinese city of Shenzhen in September last year, Albert Ho, head of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, told AFP.

Zhou was stopped by Hong Kong officials while returning to China after years spent in the United States.

He was a leader of a student group involved in the Tiananmen Square protests that ended in an army crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands in 1989.

"We are pressing for the government to explain why it sent him (Zhou) to the mainland," said Ho, who is acting as a lawyer for Zhou and his family. Ho said he was also asking to see police records for Zhou's case.

Zhou, who is being held in a detention facility in his home province of Sichuan, has been charged with defrauding Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank, Ho said.

Zhou's girlfriend and supporters held a press conference in Hong Kong Monday to highlight his case.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it could not comment on individual cases but that its immigration department "handles all entry applications in accordance with the law and immigration policy having due regard to individual circumstances".

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 but was allowed to operate a separate legal and administrative system.


(DPAHong Kong leader faces flak on Tiananmen dissident handed to China   October 13, 2009.

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang was under increasing pressure Tuesday to investigate the case of a former Tiananmen Square dissident sent over the border into China to be arrested.

Zhou Yongjun, 42, a student leader in the 1989 pro-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 2008 to enter Hong Kong from neighbouring Macau.

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

Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang was facing renewed pressure Tuesday to investigate the case, which a leading lawmaker said was effectively an illegal extradition.

Speaking on government-run radio station RTHK, Albert Ho, chairman of the Democratic Party, said the case 'constitutes a very serious infringement' of Zhou's rights. Ho said that 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 2008 with the intention of visiting his elderly parents in China, using a Malaysian national's passport. He has no Chinese visa since fleeing to the US.  Girlfriend Zhang Yuewei said that Zhou's 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 Monday evening, however, Beijing-appointed Tsang would only say that he could not comment on individual cases.  Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under a 'one country, two systems' agreement, after 150 years of British colonial rule. The city has a separate legal and political system and a mini- constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and political freedoms. There is no formal rendition agreement with China.

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.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of students were killed by Chinese troops in June 1989 when the pro-democracy movement was brutally crushed in the streets around Tiananmen Square.

(Radio Free Asia)  Lawyer Calls for Probe   October 12, 2009.

The attorney and girlfriend of a Chinese dissident who is a permanent U.S. resident have called on Hong Kong officials to investigate why he was detained and transferred to police in southern China last year.

Lawyer Li Jinjin urged Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang on Monday to explain how Zhou Yongjun, 42, had disappearedin Hong Kong in September 2008.  Li asked why Zhou, a permanent U.S. resident and on track to become a naturalized citizen, was secretly sent to China from Hong Kong. He also criticized the Hong Kong government for assisting a dictator regime to persecute freedom fighters.

At a news conference, Albert Ho, chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, urged Tsang to make available police records of Zhous case and request his release as soon as possible. This is a possibly serious infringement of Zhou Yongjuns rights, which are guaranteed in the Basic Law,Ho said.

Former student leader

Zhou was a prominent student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement in Beijing. In April of that year, Zhou was seen around the world in photos kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in a plea for Chinas communist leaders to heed student calls for political reforms. Zhou was arrested in the massive crackdown on student protesters that followed in June 1989 and was jailed for two years. He subsequently lost his enrollment status as a student as well as his registration as a Beijing resident.

In 1992, Zhou fled to Hong Kong and then traveled to the United States. He moved to New York City and eventually settled in Los Angeles, where he lived with his girlfriend, Zhang Yuewei, and young daughter.

At Mondays press conference Zhang Yuewei asked for public support in the investigation of Zhous case. Following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan of last year, Zhou Yongjuns 80-year-old parents longed for their son as their health was failing and his father had a stroke,she said.

Zhang said Zhou had tried unsuccessfully to bring his parents to the United States or Canada to meet with them. She said Zhous application to the Chinese consulate for a passport was rejected and an application that his sister submitted on his behalf was also turned down. Desperate to see his parents before they died, he finally boughta passport,Zhang said.

Last September, Zhou travelled to Hong Kong from Macau using a false identity, but was detained and transferred by Hong Kong officials to police in Shenzhen in Chinas southern Guangdong province.

Charges of fraud

Zhous whereabouts were unknown until authorities formally told his family about his arrest and detention by authorities in Chinas southwestern Sichuan province last May. Authorities in Sichuans Suining city said Zhou had been accused of financial fraud,charges which Zhou denies. One of Zhous lawyers has said his client has been tortured in detention and has been denied family visits.

It is unclear why Zhou wasn't sent back to MacauXhis port of origin into Hong KongXor to the United States.

Hong Kongs immigration department typically returns visitors whose travel documents fail to meet requirements back to their place of embarkation, according to the government. Authorities in Hong Kong declined to comment on Zhous case.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 but retains separate political, legal, economic, and immigration systems. Hong Kong lacks a deportation and removal treaty with China.

Zhou tried to visit China once before in December 1998 but was arrested in Shenzhen and spent more than two years in a labor camp. He returned to the United States in 2002.


(Radio Australia)  Hong Kong authorites under fire over extradition case    October 15, 2009.

Presenter:Sen Lam
Speakers: Legislator Albert Ho, head of Hong Kong Democrats

HO: No there has been no rendition agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland after and before the handover. But in this particular instance it appears to us according to the information available that Mr Zhou was stopped in Hong Kong, refused entry but instead of being sent back to the place of origin or the port of embarkation was sent back to the mainland without his consent or agreement. So that is extremely alarming to the people of Hong Kong.

LAM: Did the Hong Kong police explain why he was sent back and handed over to Chinese authorities?

HO: Up to now there has been no explanation to the public because the government has been saying that there wouldn't be any comment on individual case on the grounds of privacy. But recently I as a lawyer have received instructions to act for Mr Zhou himself and his family. So I'll be seeking information directly from the government to clarify the situation. But this is quite obvious to me that according to the personal instructions given Mr Zhou was obviously sent to China, that's mainland China without him being alerted to the situation nor with his consent or agreement given before he was sent across the border.

LAM: Have the Hong Kong authorities responded to your queries regarding this case?

HO: As I've said there has yet, there's no direct clarification. But there has been information leaked out from the government saying that because at that time he was using a false passport issued by the Malaysian authorities and he did not himself identify himself as Zhou Yongjun but instead using another name. So there were reasons to believe there was probably somebody illegally came to Hong Kong from the mainland. But of course this sort of explanation although not directly coming from the government was totally unacceptable. Normally as I understand it the government would have taken the person using a false passport to court for prosecution and then his identity would first be found out before he would be sent back to any place where he came from.

LAM: Albert Ho would you say though that generally the Basic Law in Hong Kong has been observed by the Hong Kong administration and also by Beijing?

HO: Yes in general. I would even say that in the past I was not quite aware of any case where the government directly as people suspected in this case violated the Basic Law by sending suspects across the border without his consent and agreement.

LAM: And just briefly what can you tell us about Zhou Yongjun's whereabouts in China?

HO: Initially he was sent to Shenzhen, which is the city neighbouring Hong Kong. But recently we were told that he was camped in Sichuan, a western province where he was under prosecution for committing a fraud against a bank in Hong Kong.


(South China Morning Post)  How HK handed over a dissident  By Fox Yi Hu.  October 18, 2009.

A Chinese US resident arrives in Hong Kong from Macau on a Malaysian passport under an assumed name, is told there is a "problem", then, after two days' detention, is put in a car by immigration officers, whisked across the border and handed over to mainland authorities.

Weeks pass with no word of his whereabouts, until his partner and the mother of their 18-month-old daughter receives phone calls and an e-mail from a former Shenzhen prison inmate saying he is in a jail there. Prison staff deny it, then four months later a former inmate of another Shenzhen jail says he has seen him there - under another name. Still officials deny the man is there.

Sounds like the opening chapter of a thriller or the first scene of a film noir? It's not.

It's the story of Zhou Yongjun, a dissident leader of the 1989 Tiananmen student uprising, according to his familiy and to a statement he gave a lawyer while imprisoned in his native Sichuan .

In the eyes of Zhou's Hong Kong lawyer, it is the biggest challenge to the "one country, two systems" formula since the handover.

To a leading immigration consultant in the city it is unlawful, inexplicable and without precedent.

To Zhou's girlfriend and the mother of his child, Zhang Yuewei , it is a frightening conspiracy to abuse his human rights.

Neither Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen nor his government will comment on the case.

Zhang, 33, who flew to Hong Kong last week to publicise Zhou's plight, spoke of the family's painful search to establish Zhou's whereabouts following his disappearance.

She last saw Zhou, 42, a US green card holder who runs an employment service, on September 26 last year. "He insisted on going because he wanted to visit his family. His father has had a stroke and is partially paralysed, and his mother has heart disease. We had a quarrel over it," she recalls. (Zhou, who escaped to the US in 1992, three years after the bloody crackdown that ended the Tiananmen protests, returned to the mainland - via Hong Kong - in 1998 and was jailed for three years for entering the country illegally. He returned to the US in 2002.)

Much of her knowledge about what has happened to him since has come from the lawyer who met him in a jail in Sichuan - where he faces court proceedings for a crime allegedly committed in Hong Kong.

She said Zhou had tried in vain to obtain a mainland visa, before buying a Malaysian passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang from a travel agent in Los Angeles, where the couple live. On September 28, he travelled from Macau to Hong Kong on the Malaysian passport.

Immigration officers suspected his passport was forged and police held him at the Sheung Wan ferry terminal for 48 hours before handing him back to immigration officers. Zhang said the officers told Zhou they needed to verify his identity, but then put him in a car and drove him straight to a small hotel in Shenzhen.

Zhou told his mainland lawyer: "I thought it was OK to go to Hong Kong. But the Hong Kong immigration said the passport was problematic. I did not reveal my real identity to the Hong Kong police."

Zhang said she received calls and e-mails in late November and early December from a former inmate of a Shenzhen prison. "The person gave an accurate description of Zhou and his family background. He said Zhou was kept in the Shenzhen No 1 Jail," she said. Zhou's sister, who works as a judge in Sichuan, flew to Shenzhen to visit the jail. Staff denied he was being held there.

In March, a former inmate of another jail, in Shenzhen's Yantian district, tipped off Zhou's family that he was being held there. He also gave an accurate description of Zhou. According to the informant, while in the Yantian jail Zhou was forced to change his name to Wang Hua. "When I learned they had changed his name, I realised it was highly dangerous," Zhang said. "What if he were executed? How would we know?"

In May, more than seven months after he was allegedly delivered into mainland custody by Hong Kong immigration staff, Zhou's family was told he had been arrested on fraud charges and was being detained by the authorities in Sichuan. According to an indictment by prosecutors in Shehong county, Zhou had tried to transfer money from an account at Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong to two banks, in the city and in Australia, using the false name Wang Xingxiang.

Immigration consultant Richard Aziz Butt said the Hong Kong government's handling of Zhou was unlawful. The Immigration Ordinance stated that anyone found in possession of or using a false instrument (such as a fake passport) should be prosecuted by a court of law. If the Immigration Department was uncertain about Zhou's identity, it should have sent him to Macau or Malaysia, Butt said. Indeed, a government spokesman said: "In general, a passenger whose travel document does not meet the entry requirements will be repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin."  Butt said: "I can't understand why they sent him back to the mainland. I have never before seen a case handled like this in Hong Kong. It makes a mockery of our judicial system."

The Immigration Department said it would not comment on individual cases.

For Zhang, now back in Los Angeles, the fight for justice continues (Zhou's Hong Kong lawyer, Albert Ho Chun-yan, plans to sue the government). So does the wait to see him again - one his family shares. "His mother has asked whether she will be able to see him again before she dies," Zhang said.


(Asia Times)  Hong Kong law under Beijing's shadow.  By Kent Ewing.  October 23, 2009.

Where is Zhou Yongjun? A key figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising against the Chinese government, the 42-year-old dissident simply disappeared after traveling from Macau to Hong Kong on September 28 last year and hasn't been seen since. Zhou, who now lives in the United States and holds a Green Card entitling him to work there, was reportedly traveling on a forged Malaysian passport under a false name with the hope of visiting his family on the mainland.

Hong Kong authorities apparently seized him on his arrival from Macau. After that, his story turns into a dark mystery whose uncovered secrets could have profound implications for the "one country, two systems" formula that has governed the former British and Portuguese colonies of Hong Kong and Macau since their return to Chinese rule in 1997 and 1999, respectively. China
s then paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, first uttered that famous dictum in 1984.

At the time, Deng was immersed in negotiations with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher over the future status of Hong Kong, which was controlled by Britain for more than 150 years. The concept was again invoked in talks with the Portuguese, who formally colonized Macau in 1887 after establishing a trading post there 330 years earlier, and is a cornerstone of the autonomy guaranteed in the current constitutions of the two territories.

Those constitutions pointedly agree to honor the different economic, political and legal systems operating on the mainland and in Hong Kong and Macau. While in Macau this has largely meant supporting a casino boom that has turned a formerly sleepy Portuguese enclave into the Las Vegas of Asia. In Hong Kong it has been tied to the city's fledgling democracy and long-standing tradition of rule of law.

Now, 12 years after the handover, democratic progress has stalled in Hong Kong, and Zhou's case raises serious questions about the independence and integrity of the city's legal system.

Zhou's girlfriend, Zhang Yuewei, who lives with Zhou in Los Angeles, flew into Hong Kong last week to air her allegations of Zhou's illegal detention. According to Zhang, Zhou has been in prisons on the mainland since Hong Kong immigration authorities bundled him into a car, drove him across the border and handed him over to officials in the city of Shenzhen.

All this, she says, she learned from telephone calls and e-mails from a former inmate in a Shenzhen prison where Zhou was also detained. She claims a second informant, a former inmate at another Shenzhen jail, told Zhou's family that he had been forced to change his name to Wang Hua.

The family, who live in the city of Suining in southwestern Sichuan province, has since been told that Zhou was transferred to a prison in Sichuan, where he faces charges of financial fraud.

So far, Hong Kong officials refuse to discuss the case.

According to the Dui Hua Foundation, a human-rights group, at least 30 people involved in the 1989 uprising are still in prison in China. The student-led demonstrations were crushed on June 4 of that year when Deng ordered the Chinese military to clear Tiananmen Square. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed in the crackdown.

Of Zhou's decision to return to China, Zhang told the Hong Kong media, "He insisted on going because he wanted to see his family. His father has had a stroke and is partially paralyzed, and his mother has heart disease."

If true, the allegations made by Zhang, the mother of Zhou's 18-month-old daughter, would represent the most damning indication yet that the so-called autonomy, legal and otherwise, of Hong Kong and Macau is a sham that can be easily suspended at the command of the central government.

Let's forget for the moment, if Zhang's story is borne out, the stupidity of Zhou's actions. Yes, it is a crime to carry a forged passport under a false name, and Zhou had already been jailed for three years on the mainland in 1998 for entering the country illegally via Hong Kong. Prior to that, he had lived in the US since he fled China in 1992.

Foolish as he was to try again to return to China, however, the crime he reportedly committed occurred in Hong Kong, not on the mainland. Given the legal guarantees of Hong Kong's constitution, called the Basic Law, Zhou's case should have been handled by local authorities, which arguably broke the law if they handed him over to their mainland counterparts in Shenzhen. Standard immigration procedure in a case like Zhou's is to send the guilty party back to his point of embarkation.

There would be no legal justification for handing Zhou over to the mainland, although there certainly could be a strong political incentive for such a move - and there's the rub that places Hong Kong's vaunted independence and autonomy in an increasingly dubious light.

Other high-profile, post-handover legal cases have also put the Basic Law to the test, including those of notorious Hong Kong gangster Cheung Tze-keung, known as "Big Spender", and convicted murderer Li Yuhui, both of whom committed crimes in Hong Kong but were apprehended and executed on the mainland; there is no capital punishment in Hong Kong.

While those cases may have raised important questions in the legal field, however, they elicited little public sympathy. Zhou's case could be different. First, there is the possible further legal snafu of Zhou being apprehended in Hong Kong and subsequently delivered to mainland police by local authorities. Then there are the political implications of the case. And, finally, the chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, lawyer Albert Ho Chun-yan, has signed on as the dissident's legal representative in Hong Kong, and he plans to sue the Hong Kong government on Zhou's behalf.

Silence by Hong Kong officials, from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on down, will not make this case go away; indeed, it only adds to the international perception that the city's autonomy is slipping away.

At the same time, it doesn't help Hong Kong's international image that, just as Zhou's story is making headlines, the wife of an unsavory friend of Beijing, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, has been welcomed back into the city after receiving diplomatic immunity for an alleged assault she committed seven months ago on a British photographer.

Freelance photographer Richard Jones, who was snapping pictures of Grace Mugabe as she left the five-star Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel, charges that Zimbabwe's first lady flew into a rage and ordered her bodyguard to hold him while she struck him repeatedly. Jones suffered cuts and bruises on his head and face, which he says were caused by the diamond rings the first lady was wearing.

Mugabe left the city without being charged and, two months later, the city's Department of Justice announced that it would not pursue the case because she had been granted diplomatic immunity.

Then, last February, two bodyguards for the Mugabes' daughter, Bona, who attends a university in Hong Kong, were accused of attacking two other photographers as they attempted to take photographs of her emerging from her luxury residence. Again, officials decided not to prosecute, although they are investigating whether the two guards were working in the city illegally on tourist visas.

For most ordinary citizens, Hong Kong's justice system purrs along 12 years after the handover. For cases that are sensitive to Beijing, however, justice can be denied.




(ESWN Comment on October 13, 2009)

You read the above western media coverage.  Do you have questions? 

Here is a simple one: What kind of pro-democracy work was Zhou Yongjun engaged in that caused the Chinese Communists to persecute him?  You won't find out from reading the above.  The only discussion is in relationship to what happened back in 1989.

Here is a more complicated question that you may not have picked up:  Zhou Youngjun used a forged passport under the name of Wang Xingxiang, which coincided with the name of the principal in a case of attempted financial fraud in Hong Kong.  How much of a coincidence could there be?  Or was it no coincidence at all?  Of all the names that can be used for a forged passport, why Wang Xingxiang?  Could there be something special about that name?  Was Zhou Yongjun aware of the special nature of that name?

If you know Chinese and you care to spare some time to investigate, you will find a lot more about the background. 

The below are selected translations from the Chinese-language reports that can easily be found on the Internet.  It is mind-boggling, but that does not mean that the sum total is conclusive by any means.  Much of the stuff comes from the presentations/interpretations of persons with 'ulterior motives' but the essential 'facts' are there.  The case is most certainly not as simple as it was made to appear in the reports above.


(Standoff at Tiananmen)  People of 1989: Zhou Yongjun.

In the very early days of the 1989 student movement, the tiny and conservative University of Political Science and Law became the first school to march into Tiananmen Square and lay a wreath for Hu Yaobang. Zhou Yongjun, an undergraduate student from the school, participated in the march. He soon became a visible leader in the emerging movement. At the end of Hu Yaobang's funeral, he was one of the three students who staged an emotional kneeling petition on the stairs of the Great Hall of People.

When Liu Gang called a clandestine meeting to form the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation, the school sent the largest group of students in attendance. Largely based on that strength, Zhou Yongjun narrowly beat out Wuer Kaixi to become the first president for this new organization.

Zhou Yongjun's reign did not last long. He was immediately thrown under the unbelievable pressure on whether to persist on with the demonstration on April 27, when he finally succumbed and canceled the event in the wee hours of April 27. It did not matter. The most glorious demonstration happened anyway. Zhou Yongjun was left behind and lost his position as the president of Beijing Autonomous Federation.

He continued to work for the organization and helped organize another big demonstration on May 4. However, he made another mistake that day when he announced the end of class strike without a clear resolution within the leadership. In that aftermath, he was expelled from the organization altogether. But he stayed involved in the movement and participated in the student hunger strike.

In the latter stages of the movement, Zhou Yongjun drifted away from students and helped to establish the Workers Autonomous Federation in which he played a significant role in its propaganda work and media operation. During the night of the massacre, he was at Tiananmen Square and helped organize what resistance they could manage.

Zhou Yongjun was arrested in mid-June and stayed in jail for almost two years. After his release, he escaped the country and made his way to exile in Hong Kong and then the US. In 1998, he went back to China apparently for underground activities and was jailed for another three years.

In 2002, Zhou Yongjun managed to return to US. He then became deeply involved in a cult-ish sect practicing Qigong (
い\), perhaps attempting to forge an unusual alliance.

There had been persistent rumors that he had disappeared during a personal trip to Hong Kong in late 2008.  Most recently, the China Support Network reported that they had confirmed Zhou Yongjun's arrest for "financial fraud" by the Chinese government. The details of his current situation is however still lacking.


(Wikipedia)  Zhang Hongbao.

Zhang Hongbao (?Щ?) (born January 5, 1954 in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China,[1] - died July 31, 2006, Arizona, USA) was the founder and spiritual leader of Zhong Gong, which is based on qigong. He was also a wealthy businessman, and a self-proclaimed leader of the Chinese democracy movement.

Early life

Zhang came from Harbin, and had spent part of his youth during the Cultural Revolution in a state farm in Heilongjiang. In 1987, he founded Zhong Gong, a movement which claimed 34 million followers, 120,000 employees, 30 life cultivation bases, and 100,000 branchesat its peak.

Zhang had diverse business interests, although his empire was centered on the Kylin Group, which was made up of some 60 companies headquartered in Tianjin. The group reportedly employed 100,000 workers, mostly in qigong-related education, publication and health-product ventures.

Unlike Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong, who disavowed political ambition, Zhang Hongbao positively embraced it.

A close disciple defected from the group and wrote a scathing exposé alleging that Zhang was a fraud and had illicit sex with followers. Sima Nan alleges that Zhang is a rapist and may even be responsible for the murder of some former followers. The Chinese Government issued a warrant for his arrest on June 7, 2000, and a statement calling for his return to face four counts of rape between 1990 and 1991, and two counts of using forged travel documents between 1993 and 1994. The 10 year old rape charge is difficult to verify, and one observer notes that over 40 Chinese dissidents have been charged with sexual crimes in 1999/2000, a way China neutralises opponents of the regime without raising human-rights concerns.

Life in the United States

Zhang disappeared from public view in 1995 in light of increased criticism of Zhong Gong. Zhang together with his associate and companion, Yan Qingxin, arrived in the American protectorate of Guam in February 2000 without a visa, and applied for political asylum in the United States. Zhang's application was supported by Trent Lott and Jesse Helms, was granted protection residence by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeal in June 2001, reversing a previous ruling.

Zhang was arrested in March 2003 at his Pasadena mansion in connection with allegations made by his housekeeper, He Nanfang. Zhang was charged with four felonies, including kidnapping assault and false imprisonment with a deadly weapon.. If convicted, Zhang would lose his protection status, and be expelled from USA.

In April, the China Federation Foundation (CFF) was founded with money from Zhang, and led by a dissident named Peng Ming. This group wanted to form an alternative government for China through the violent overthrow of the Communist government.. Zhang claimed that he planned this for many years, not for creating conditions for formal political asylum to avoid being expelled if convicted.

In what may be a power struggle within the democratic China movement, Zhang subsequently fell out with other dissidents, including Yan Qingxin, his domestic partner for 12 years. Until September 2001, Yan was Zhong Gongs first lieutenant and "helped build the organization into a powerful entity that made billions of dollars". Yan filed a lawsuit on June 26 in Pasadena Superior Court accusing Zhang of assault, battery and false imprisonment, and asked for damages of US$23 million. Yan's sister, Qi Zhang, also a Chinese dissident, filed a suit in Pasadena in July 2003, accusing Zhang of crimes including racketeering and slander. In total, from 2003 to 2005, Zhang was hit by an avalanche of 20 - 40 civil lawsuits with accusations from other plaintiffs. The arrest of Zhang led to division in the democracy movement.

In the end, the felony charges in the He Nanfang case were reduced to one charge of battery, a misdemeanor, to which Zhang pled no contest on April 22, 2005. On February 28, 2006, Zhang won a criminal case, and soon other lawsuits against him were lost or were successively withdrawn. Only one civil case and a labor compensation case remained.

Death

He had become a non-person the mainstream Western media. Zhang's death, in a car accident" in the United States at the age of 52, was a non-event which went unreported. At a highway intersection in northern Arizona, his car was crushed by tractor-trailer truck travelling towards it at 60 miles per hour on July 31, 2006.. Both he and his female driver, who was also his secretary, died.

There were many talks of a conspiracy in the Chinese media. His friend and close associate Zhou Yongjun said that his death "left many unanswered questions".

After Zhangs death due to the internal friction, Zhong Gong almost disappeared from the public eye.

(World Chinese)  Zhang Hongbao: My Resumé


(Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America)

Recently, some people inside the United States ran newspaper ads calling Zhang Hongbao, now in custody of U.S. authorities for his illegal entry into the United States, a victim of China's persecution. Zhang has been a fugitive for many years. The Chinese law enforcement authorities are going after him not because he was once the leader of Zhong Gong, but because he has committed heinous crimes against Chinese citizens. No amount of spinning can whitewash his criminal past. And no one should suggest that by politicizing Zhang Hongbao's case, Zhang Hongbao should continue to escape justice. As of today, the Embassy will make available some legal documents pertaining to the case in its web site: www.china-embassy.org.  

Findings Report on Zhang Hongbao's Activities by
Beijing Public Security Bureau

July 25, 2000

Zhang Hongbao, male of Han Nationality, was born on January 5, 1954.  From Harbin, Heilongiiang Province by origin, he has his permanent residence registered at 9 Jichang Donglu, Zhendong District, Haikou, Hainan Province. On a forged ID Card (No.612128530808613), Zhang
s identity is Wang Xingxiang, male of Han nationality born on August 8, 1953.

In October 1990, the Beijing Public Security Bureau received reports by Li (female, native of Chifeng, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, born on October10, 1949) accusing Zhang Hongbao of raping her twice on June 16, 1990.  The police started investigation immediately.  As a result, the police discovered not only a lot of evidence pointing at the claimed raping, which proved the validity of the accusation by the victim, but with the investigation going further and deeper, they also found out evidence pointing at other raping cases by Zhang Hongbao.  These include: raping of old-aged Zhang (Female, native of Ya
an, Sichuan Province, born on May 13, 1935) by coercive means in November 1990; raping of minor Liao (female, native of Liupanshui, Guizhou province, born on April 26, 1974) by using knock-out incense on January 5, 1991; and raping of disabled Zhang (Female, native of Suining, Sichuan province, born on May 31, 1974) under the guise of treating her disease. In these cases, Zhang Hongbao is suspected of having breached Article 236 of the Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China for his grave violation of the human rights of the victims and of having committed the crime of rape.  With the approval of the First Division of the Beijing Peoples Procuratorate, the Beijing Public Security Bureau issued a warrant of arrest of Zhang Hongbao on June 7, 2000.

The criminal investigators found that in order to escape from the legal responsibility, Zhang Hongbao settled in Pucheng County of China
s Shaanxi Province in April 1993 on a forged identity and acquired an ID with an assumed name of Wang Xingxiang through deceptions (ID Card No. 612128530808613).  In December of the same year, he moved his domicile to Foshan, Guangdong Province and acquired a Chinese passport (No. 0719701) with that forged identity.  He exited China from Baiyun Airport of Guangzhou on June17, 1994. With the above-mentioned activities, Zhang Hongbao has gravely violated the relevant provisions of Articles 280 and 322 of the Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China and is suspected of committing the crime of illegal crossing of border (boundary) and the crime of document forgery.  With the approval of the Peoples Procuratorate of Pucheng County, Shaanxi Province, the Public Security Bureau of Pucheng County issued a warrant of arrest of Zhang Hongbao on July 25, 2000 (Pu Gong No. C 2000 101).

Zhang Hongbao is currently detained in Guam after his illegal entry into the United States.

July 25, 2000
Beijing Public Security Bureau


(Tianhua Culture)  Interview with President Zhang Hong Bao of China Shadow Government  By US Diamond News reporter Zhou Jiajun.  September 30, 2003.

A year ago, Zhang Hong Bao, the founder of Zhonggong, moved to L.A. from Washington D.C. Recently he announced at a press conference that, China Shadow Government came into being and he was elected as the President. Its operation starts the day it was established. This is another overseas Chinese government, following the establishment of Chinese Federal Governmentwhich was announced by Peng Ming in May in San Francisco this year. This event was echoed in the USA, and it caused very strong reactions in Chinese communities.

Zhonggong (Chinese Life and Wisdom Enhancing Qigong) which was founded by Zhang Hong Bao in 1987 in Beijing developed very quickly, due to very good societal effects. Since its first day, Zhonggong has set up more than 3000 enterprises in China and has attracted 38 million followers within more than ten years. Since Zhang Hong Bao poses an opposite political position to CCP government, and Zhonggong was developing quickly, CCP government takes it as a threatening force. In 1999, while CCP government was suppressing Fa Lun Gong, it announced Zhonggong as
a political group that has the tendency of anti-revolution, at the same time, it issued an arresting warranty to Zhang Hong Bao. In the beginning of 2000, Zhang came to USA. After over a years ordeal, Zhang was granted political asylum by the US government.

Zhang is a Chinese political dissident with international influence. He is very capable, a very charismatic leader. He set up the
China Shadow Governmentin USA. What is his motivation? Any plan? What effect will it be on the US-China relationship? With these questions, the reporter went to Zhangs residence and had an interview with him the other day. The following is the record of the interview, just an objective Q &A, with no prescriptions and comments:

Q: Since the news of the establishment of your China Shadow Government came out, there has been a strong reaction in the Chinese communities in Northern America. Different people have different perspectives. When you were interviewed by L.A. 1300 Channel, obviously the
call inshowed that the opposing forces and their preparation are taking the upper hand. Here, my first question is, you were specialized in Qigong, in developing longevity. Why did you come to US to set up the China Shadow Government (CSG) which opposes CCP government?

A: I founded Zhonggong in China, just to help people enhance their health, physically and mentally. Yet, Zhonggong was developing quickly which could not be tolerated by the tyrannical CCP. We were persecuted cruelly. For a long time, I have been systematically studying the translational Chinese methods to manage a country. I found that the Marxism and Leninism, which were regarded as the basis of People
s Republic of China, were the real sources of social illnesses of China. As a result, I published my study in articles of Key Points of My Political Objections, and Theory of Re-organizing Countries. This way, I am not allowed to survive in China. Now, we set up CSG for reasons as follows: 1. It abides by US laws and it is legally registered. 2. Ive finished the related preparation in theories and in practice. 3. The changes in the CCP leaders and the calling of Chinese society for political reform offered the opportunity. 4. CCP may amend its Constitution next year and we shouldnt miss this opportunity. Some say I set up CSG because of the lawsuits. That is not true. CSG was registered in November of 2002 and these lawsuits didnt happen until mid-March this year. If some say, these related lawsuits were designed to distract me from my work, Im afraid it is true. But, they will not affect the CSGs normal operation in general.

Q: why is it called CSG? What is its English name? What is its nature and goal?

A: One basic position of CSG is, we admit the political fact on the two sides of Taiwan Strait. The two governments are both existing political entities, and both are legal governments. We respect this fact. Our goal of setting up CSG, at least at present, is not to overturn CCP government. Our goal is to supervise the government as a party out of office, to promote political reform, push the society to progress, to set up a democracy. We call it CSG, just to show our relationship with CCP government is like the shadow and the figure. Whatever they do, however they do, we will follow them like a shadow to supervise, disclose, call, promote and oppose whatever is relevant. Our goal is just to supervise the party in power to manage the country according to the law, to promote political reform, push China to progress. CSG
s English name is China Shadow Government. It locates in Washington D.C., and its headquarters are in L.A.

Q: What are the major departments in CSG?

A: Right now, we have the Administrative Bureau of the Presidency. We are going to set up 8 to 10 committees. They are Committees of Personnel Supervision, of Culture and Education, of Mass Media, of Diplomacy, of Finance, of Military, of Legislation, of Technology and of National Security, etc. The basic functions of these committees are to observe, to get to know and to supervise the related ministries in CCP government, so as to put forward our motions and by way of modern communication equipments and multi-media to let more Chinese people know what is going on. Some asked, how does your CSG push China to progress? I think, by asking questions and offering motions and communicating them to the people, we are promoting and we are pushing the progress. To democratize China will be a long tough journey. It will not become reality overnight either by violence and sabotage or by gradual peaceful evolution. We must work relentlessly, to wake up the people, to rely on and guide Chinese social forces to push China to democracy.

Q: Any reaction from CCP government? I heard you are working on amending the Constitution?

A: I prefer low-key style. I
ve moved to LA from Washington D.C. for over a year now and never planned to go public. This time Im framed, thats why Im forced to accept some interviews with some media. Some say, the founding of CSG has never caused any reaction from China yet. This is not true. I can tell you, the highest level in CCP has contacted me through certain ways to try to find out about my real thoughts at present. I am not very optimistic about the amending of the Constitution next year. But I still put forth my eight motions. They are: 1.Remove the item of Marxism and Leninism as the basis of Peoples Republic of Chinafrom the Constitution. This is the root of Chinese problems. 2. Establish a protection system for the Constitution, to ensure the practice of the Constitution. 3. Practice partiespolitical system and regular elections for the party in power. End the one party dictatorship and Chinese style party leader hereditary system. 4. Establish personnel retirement system, to root out the modern monarchy in the Chinese style of ruling behind a curtain and ruling until death at the throne. 5. Establish specific goals in modernizing China, including in aspects like politics, economy, culture, management, military, and offering the liberty in speech, organizing, gathering, moving, and double citizenship, etc., to meet the international standards. 6. Practice the system which allows both public and private properties to exist. 7. Introduce the government operation system which has three distinctively different and independent parts: legislative, executive and judicial powers. 8. Establish the social administrative system which emphasizes legality, morality, and emotions. China needs not only a democratic Constitution, but also should gradually set up a moral system that fits in Chinese culture.

The first five of the eight motions that are mentioned above, hit the dead knots in current Chinese politics; the last three hit the key points in current Chinese politics. These are all inevitable issues. It is just a matter of when to solve them, how many steps to take to solve them and who will solve them.

Q: May I venture to ask such a question,
What is your CSGs major economic source?

A: Our CSG is an enterprise that deals in political and cultural products and services. This definition helps us to do what we want to do and at the same time helps us protect ourselves well and it will not cause any diplomatic trouble for US government and President Bush. I am majored in law and administration; I know how to operate our government. Our major economic source is not from other peoples financial aid; it is mainly from our own operation. We specialize in health-enhancing industry, including education, medicine, health-enhancing retreats, tourism retreats and research bases, we also do financial investment. We make money by selling our own products and services and financial investment, legally and reasonably, to support our expenditures in every functional department. At present, we dont accept any outside financial help and we dont have economic difficulties.

Q: I heard Zhonggong has the basic rules of
Three No-es and Three Yes-es. Have you changed these rules?

A: We do. The three No-es are, no involvement in politics, not aiming at profits, no religion. The three Yes-es are, yes, we establish our industry by law; yes, we manage our industry by law; yes, we protect our industry by law. These rules are not changed. Yet, the situation is changing; we do need to practice these rules with flexibility. For example, our three Yes-es rule was based on laws. But, the CCP tyrannical ruling is not based on law. Personal power is beyond law and people can be put to death just by certain people
s will. Zhonggong didnt do anything illegally, how come it was painted as antirevolutionary politically? Thats why our three Yes-es rule remains the same, but to practice it, we need a politically democratic environment. Its the same with the three No-es. One of the differences between Zhonggong and Fa Lun Gong is, Zhonggong is not a religious group; it is an enterprise specializing in health-enhancing products. It is not aiming at overturning CCP. Politics was not the original aim when Zhonggong was founded. I personally started to set up CSG, only because we didnt want to be involved in politics yet politics wont leave us alone. It is even working at killing us. We are forced to rebel, to supervise the current Chinese government with our CSG to push it to democracy. Only when we exist in a democratic society, we can focus on our specialty. This idea of mine and the matter of setting up CSG were supported by Zhonggong organization and 38 million followers.

Q: What
s your most profound impression about US since you came here three years ago?

A: To me, this is a sensitive question. I have been in a calm state of mind in facing USA for the three years here. The moment I entered US from Thailand, I was imprisoned in Guam for 444 days. My application for political asylum was seriously obstructed by CCP
s Embassy in USA, though was finally passed. Yet, CCP didnt relax its harassment. For over a year, all kinds of lawsuits were filed against me, certainly took up a lot of my energy. Please think about it, it can get as worse as 9 lawsuits were filed against me in one month. If its not designed by certain people, its just impossible. I have majored in law and I have been appointed as the senior advisor for academic group in Chinese Supreme Court. I know laws and I obey laws. I also studied US laws systematically. I found that in US laws there is no law to sentence the accuser to the punishment facing the person he falsely accused. In another word, suppose you are an innocent person, and somebody accused you falsely and you won in the end. Your innocence is assured, but the law doesnt look into the legal responsibility of your accuser. The forces that are framing me are taking advantage of this loophole of US legislation and have been imposing a lot of lawsuits onto me. On the other hand, press freedom is very good, yet the fact that it has no limitations also harms innocent people. Before I had the July 20 press conference, almost all the reports concerning me were negative; some were personal attacks and slandering. Ever since the press conference, the reports in the media became relatively objective and true. Yet, after all, my deepest impression about US is, US laws are fair. Relying solely on evidence is the only sure way to avoid an unjust case. Therefore, I am very confident that Ill win all these related lawsuits that are designed by some people, because I know those people who have been framing me cant produce any real evidences.

Q: Are you planning to go back to China or work in US?

A: US is a really democratic and free country. Choosing US as our place to develop our cause is ideal. Of course, we have very deep roots in China. Our 38 million followers are in China, they are the assurance of the success of our cause. I believe, to make great achievements, you have to overcome great difficulties; to make small achievements, the difficulty you have to overcome is relatively small; and to do nothing is of course no difficulty to overcome. I have been prepared for huge difficulties. My wife and I have separated. I am a single man in USA. I have nothing to worry; I am only focusing on promoting for political democratization in China, realizing my dream of a democratic China.


(World Journal)  Zhou Yongjun: Wang Binzhang was Entrapped  January 18, 2005.

In L.A., members of :Wang Binzhang Incident Investigative Group; who numbered more than 20 people, published a Part II of :Interim Report on Wang Binzhang Incident;, pointing out all the suspicious points concerning Wang・s entrapment by CCP. The report author Zhou Yongjun said, he welcomes the people whose names were mentioned in the report to openly refute it, even to set up investigation on him. The point is to find out the truths, so as to stop CCP applying the tricks on other people.

Zhou Yongjun wrote down his investigative process in the Part I of :Interim Report on Wang Binzhang Incident; a year ago, and pointed out that :Wang Binzhang was not kidnapped, but entrapped.; As for the schemer and executor of the entrapment, the most suspicious are Zhang Qi who was arrested together with Wang, and her sister Yan Qingxin.

Right before the two year anniversary of Wang Binzhang・s life sentence by CCP, Zhou Yongjun published his Part II of the :Interim Report on Wang Binzhang Incident;, pointing out that he had been visiting the Golden Triangle of Southeastern Asia, and investigated in north Vietnam and acquired more evidences in the past year.

New evidences are: before Wang Binzhang left for Vietnam, people were told that Yan Qingxin gave him financial aid of $50,000; but the fact is, there was a $100,000 sum involved. Zhang Qi claimed to be a democratic movement activist, and Wang Binzhang・s fiancé, but she not only didn・t try to rescue Wang, but also refused to use the money Wang left behind to rescue Wang. Zhang Qi who is under political asylum protection could return to US easily, but also could get in and out of China with a breeze. What Zhang Qi and her people described about the details of the entrapment incident were different from the geographical and climatic features in Beilun River area. Besides, they never mentioned the baggage left in Mangjie. Wang Binzhang・s connections and activities in the Golden Triangle were also different from the claims of some people.

Zhou Yongjun said, in order to rescue Wang, Wang・s parents almost ended up selling their home, luckily helped out by democratic movement activists. And, the Vietnamese government said, there wasn・t such a kidnapping case happened in broad day light in Mangjie, citing the evidence that :Wang Binzhang and his friends didn・t register in any hotel in Guangning province, north Vietnam;.

Zhou Yongjun also pointed out, last June, he visited former KMT soldiers who accommodated Wang Binzhang in the Golden Triangle, and found that some people claimed that Wang Binzhang wanted to organize an armed uprising and was betrayed by KMT special agent, because he was trying to :re-establish Republic of China;Kall these were complete lies, designed to distract people from CCP・s involvement.


(YouTube)  National Press Club news conference.  2005.

@


(BoxunYan Qingxin, Zhang Qi, and Liu Junguo suffered a Humiliating Defeat  May 28, 2006.

[Zhong Ying, a news critic of Legal Consultant, issued the following report from Los Angeles on May 25] On May 5, with the defeat of Liu Junguos appeal, the civil litigation launched by Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi, with Liu Junguo as their legal counsel, against Zhang Hongbao, as well as Zhou Yongjun, World Journal, Tsingdao Daily, China Daily and Omnitalk.com came to a conclusion. The court ruled against Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi, who have to pay the reparation of $610,000. On behalf of Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi, Liu Junguo has acknowledged the reparation to the court. Right now, the litigation has entered the last phase of post-judgment implementation.

In 2005, Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi sued Zhang Hongbao, Zhou Yongjun, World Journal, Tsingdao Daily, China Daily, and Omintalk.com for defamation against these two sisters, i.e. Zhou Yongjun, in his investigation report on the case of Wang Bingzhang
s induced arrest, exposed Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qis involvement in the induced arrest of Wang Bingzhang, and the news agencies listed above immediately carried reports or pasted reports on this incident. Zhang Hongbao was targeted as a major defendant in this litigation because in Yan Qingxins view, Zhang Hongbao had supported Zhou Yongjun in the latters effort to find out the truth about Wang Bingzhangs induced arrest.

At that time Zhang Hongbao was beset by a series of lawsuits, including the criminal case, civil case and labor indemnity case filed against him by He Nanfang, the civil case filed against him by Yan Qingxin, the civil case filed against him by Zhang Qi, the civil case filed against him by Liu Junguo, and the civil case filed against him by Ye Ning. Based on an overall strategic consideration and a careful weighing of pros and cons of these lawsuits, Zhang Hongbao decided to disentangle himself from the lawsuit launched by Yan Qingxin and Zhang Yi, so that Yan Qingxin, Zhang Qi, and Liu Junguo would have a direct confrontation with the news media. This move would help make the outlines of the case more clear and the judge would find it easier to reach a decision, conducive to a defeat of Yan Qingxin, Zhang Qi and Liu Junguo in their confrontation with the news media. In the meantime, Zhang Hongbao would be able to concentrate his efforts on the criminal case and civil case filed against Zhang by He Nanfang under the direction of CCP.

Now it appears clear that Zhang Hongbaos strategy of slipping out of a predicament like a cicada sloughing its skin did work well. The judge ruled that Liu Junguos case was a frivolous lawsuit, and Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi were ordered to pay to China Daily the compensation for attorney fee, court cost and other expenses in the amount of $610,000. Including the payment to World Journal and Tsingdao Daily, the total indemnity was more than $1.8 million. This strategy in litigation resulted in a complete collapse of Yan Qingxin, Zhang Qi, and Liu Junguo.

According to reliable information, because of the background of the current stockholders of World Journal and Tsingdao Daily, they gave up their claims of more than $1.2 millions against Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi, contingent on Liu Junguos withdrawal of the lawsuit on behalf of Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi. However, China Daily with Taiwan background was determined to fight to the end in its litigation with Yan Qingxin, Zhang Qi, and Liu Junguo. The appellate court finally ruled that Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi pay to China Daily an amount of $610,000 in litigation expenses. On May 15, on behalf of Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi, Liu Junguo acknowledged their indemnity to the court.

The end of this litigation signified a conclusion on the American side regarding the case of Wang Bingzhang
s induced arrest as well as a judgment on the American side regarding Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi; at the same time, the result of this litigation demonstrated the equitability of the American judicial system, delivering a good lesson to Liu Junguo who have kept brandishing their banner of litigation flightily. Before an awarding ceremony in honor of Wang Bingzhang held by the magazine of Huanghua Garden, Liu Junguo had once threatened that he would take legal actions against whoever dared to say something unfavorable concerning Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi. People who did not know Liu Junguo well were really taken aback by his threats.

Over the past three years of litigation, however, especially during the lawsuit targeted against Zhang Hongbao and Zhonggong, Liu Junguo has suffered repeated setbacks: his application for restraining order was overruled by the judge; his claim was ruled as a frivolous one; he was forced to withdraw some lawsuits; and this time the court ruled that he has to pay the indemnity of $610,000. During the legal battle that has lasted for three years, either party has demonstrated its wisdom in strategies and tactics. On the one hand, Zhang Hongbao has displayed the qualities of composure, flexibility, well-orchestrated strategies, the ability to use other forces to attack the main enemy and to reap the benefits of play off one person against another; Yan Qingxin, Zhang Qi and Liu Junguo, on the other hand, has fought without a plan, antagonized people around them, alienated even their original friends, and finally found themselves completely isolated, mired in infamy and defeat in the end.

The case of Yan Qingxin and Liu Junguo versus Zhang Hongbao, a relatively more conspicuous case taking place in the circles of the overseas Chinese in recent years, has given us a good lesson, for it not only sheds some light on the background, strength, and wisdom of both parties in the litigation, but also provides an insight into the current operation and undercurrent regulations of the U.S. judiciary system and the advantages and power enjoyed by the American news media in the event of litigation.


(China Matters)  World of Shadows.  July 26, 2006.

Zhang Hongbao is the Chinese leader of the world・s second largest qigong (:spiritual exercise;) sect, Zhong Gong. He resides in comfortable exile in Pasadena, thanks to a vigorous campaign for asylum in the United States that gained the support of Trent Lott and the late Jesse Helms, and attracted worldwide attention.

In addition to his status as a spiritual leader, Zhang styles himself president of the :China Shadow Government;, claiming the power to rally tens of millions within China to his cause.

A Chinese democracy activist, John Kosumi of the China Support Network, once wrote hopefully, :What Wei Jingsheng [the signature dissident and rallying point for the democracy movement in the 1980s] had once been to Deng Shaoping, Zhang Hongbao had become to Jiang Zemin.;

Then, in 2003, Zhang was indicted on five felony counts related to a beating he allegedly inflicted on his housekeeper. He insisted the charges were a facet of an effort by the Chinese government to destroy him and his movement.

Indeed, Zhang faced the genuine peril of deportation from the United States and return to China for almost certain incarceration and possible execution when he went on trial in Pasadena in 2005.

However, Zhang・s peril raised little furor in Chinese dissident circles, from the US government, or from conservative confront-China circles that would normally welcome a chance to raise America・s consciousness as to the importance of confronting tyranny and supporting freedom of religious expression in China.

The sordidness of the alleged offense, Zhang・s diminished credibility as a principled dissident, and the marginalization and division of the Chinese democracy movement in America determined that the matter would be handled as an ordinary criminal case resolved discretely at the local intersection of justice, money, and high-powered legal representation.

In contrast to the extensive worldwide coverage Zhang・s asylum case in 2000 attracted, the assault case was only covered in depth by local papers such as the Pasadena Star-News and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which devoted several articles to the case. The Los Angeles Times and the AP covered it sporadically, reporting the resolution of the case on March 1 by a plea-bargain.

Zhang Hongbao pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor, paid a nominal fine, and went free, receiving credit for one day already served in LA county jail.

According to the LA Times (Jason Felch, :Chinese Dissident Avoids Deportation in Alleged Beating;, Los Angeles Times print edition, March 1, 2006), Zhang・s attorney, Mark Garagos, stated that Zhang was :ecstatic;.

This must be considered hyperbole, since Zhang was unable to gain acquittal and is now teed-up for a civil suit pursued by the housekeeper, Nan Fang He.

In fact, she and her lawyers may be pleased that Zhang and at least some of his wealth are safely in the United States and vulnerable to a civil judgment, instead of enmeshed in a prolonged appeal and deportation fight.

The case offers a window on the world of a Chinese qigong sect that seem to be bare-knuckle business and personality cult rolled into one, with a leader whose public posture is a mishmash of religiosity, dissidence, alleged illegality, and political grandstanding.

The Chinese democracy movement appears in the story as little more than collateral damage, and a footnote to the powerful forces roiling China・s economically vibrant but politically unevolved society.

Zhang gained notoriety and wealth in the early 1990s during China・s qigong craze as the master of the Zhong Gong sect (its full name is Zhonghua Yansheng Yizhi Gong or :Chinese Gong for Health Improving and Intelligence Enhancing).

In an atmosphere of heightened anxiety and enthusiasm amid the profound social dislocation of the post-Mao era, interest in qigong flourished among young and old in China・s cities.

The qigong craze was fanned by the emergence of qigong masters promising physical and mental well-being to those who followed their prescriptions for meditation and exercise. Admiring and credulous profiles of the masters, who claimed unique achievements and even special powers, appeared in the state-controlled media.

A transitory government willingness to tolerate new and more independent forms of popular expression, combined with the partial de-regulation of the economy, led to the emergence of movements that achieved a high level of organization and national reach.

Zhang Hongbao・s Zhong Gong・s movement grew quickly in this environment, both as a sect and an aggressive national business enterprise known as Tianhua (Kylin) Culture, that sold qigong-related products.

At the height of its influence, Zhong Gong claimed 34 million followers, 120,000 employees, 30 life cultivation bases, and 100,000 :branches;, and a reach within China only exceeded by Fa Lun Gong.

Zhong Gong differentiated itself from the larger and better-known Fa Lun Gong by promising its adherents that they could tap external as well as internal energies, thereby acquiring :special abilities; (te-yi) such as psychokinesis and ESP.

Zhang Hongbao・s charismatic leadership was apparently a large factor in the sect・s success. In the words of one qigong practitioner:

In 1988 another very important qigong master, Mr. Zhang Hongbao, added to the practice of qigong some more excitement. He attracted a large group of followers who called him their "zong shi" ("great master"). K Basing his project in Beijing, he organized many classes for qigong learning and charged high tuition. His method was obviously efficient in eliciting ESP and greatly inspired the learner's interest; thus his version of qigong was quickly propagated. Because of the adaptation of the clan system, a personality cult centering around Zhang Hongbao prevailed. In all areas of China, people were seen wearing Zhang Hongbao badges, just as people had worn Mao Zedong badges during the Cultural Revolution. It was said that Zhang Hongbao once held a news conference in the People's Hall.

K

In 1990 I met practitioners who attended Zhang Hongbao Qigong's classes. I found out how much they worshipped him. Before the ceremony of acknowledging the master, some even practiced repeatedly how to kowtow and asked onlookers to see if their postures were sincere enough. Learners of Zhang Hongbao Qigong liked to wear Zhang Hongbao badges, for they believed this was a way to connect themselves to their master's energy, which could increase their gong and bless and protect them. I have met many of them in different places. Their god was their master, and their belief was qigong.

When the Chinese government cracked down on Fa Lun Gong, Zhong Gong, and other qi gong sects in 1999, Zhang fled China, resurfacing in Guam, where he was detained and began a struggle for political asylum.

He was able to enlist the support of various Chinese democracy movement organizations, and also retain the legal services of Robert Shapiro, of OJ Simpson fame.

Reflecting the positive image of Zhang and his activities in the United States, Shapiro talked about his successful efforts to gain political asylum for Zhang on Larry King in June 2001 :

SHAPIRO: I represented one of the largest leaders of Chinese dissident group in the People's Republic of China. His name is Zhang Hongbao. And he has a group called the Zhong Gong, very similar to the Falun Gong, which is an exercise meditation group. He had one other element to it. He had an economic element, which dealt with health and well being.And the People's Republic of China became very, very concerned that these groups would eventually have political power. So they outlawed in 1999 the Falun Gong as an evil cult.And they were doing the same thing with the Zhong Gong. And he was threatened with all types of political persecution, including death. So he left China. And he went around the world, and he ended up in Guam, entering illegally with a fake passport. And he was detained by the United States government. And he sought political asylum.For 13 months, he was in custody when I came into the case. Because his political asylum application -- which should have been granted, because clearly, he was...

KING: He was under threat.

SHAPIRO: ... he was under threat -- the judge said, "I'm going to grant this." And then, the People's Republic of China sent letters to the United States government, saying that he is wanted for 20 rape cases. The judge, obviously, became very concerned, and asked that the State Department and the Library of Congress look into this. Both then...

KING: Wow.

SHAPIRO: ... and came back with an analysis which said, probably the charges that have been filed on their face are fraudulent. They are certainly very suspicious. And this is a common tactic that is done by the Chinese Communists for political dissidents.In any event, he is denied asylum before I come into the case. But he's granted wrongful withholding; that is, he can't be sent back to China. Both sides appeal. And he asks for release on bond. He's not going to go anywhere, because they're going to kill him if he goes back to China; that's the last place he would go. And for some reason, the United States government, at that time, would not acquiesce to the release.

KING: So what did you do?

SHAPIRO: I came into the case, and I went to Washington. And I started talking to political leaders. And eventually, we were able to get the support of then Majority Leader Trent Lott, who sent the letter to Attorney General Ashcroft.

KING: And?

SHAPIRO: And as a result, two days after the United States plane was released from China, Zhang Hongbao came back to Washington that night, so...

KING: He's a free citizen now?

SHAPIRO: He's here. Both sides are still appealing. But it's very clear to me that he will remain here. He's anti-Communist, pro- American. And quite frankly, it's one of the best things I've ever done, as you're aware.

KING: You're proud of this.

SHAPIRO: Yeah, very proud of it.

The opinion Mr. Shapiro refers toXa brisk dismissal of Chinese jurisprudence and the legal and evidentiary basis for the charges against Zhang--was prepared by The Directorate of Legal Research of the Law Library of Congress. It can be viewed on a portion of the Zhong Gong website entitled Zhang Hongbao in Blast Furnace, which collects documents and reports concerning his fight for asylum.

On Mr. Shapiro・s webpage, he lists his efforts on behalf of Zhang (referred to as :Mr. Hongbao;) as one of his signature accomplishments.

In testimony before Congress in 2005, China scholar Patricia Thornton described the mobilization of Chinese democracy activists on Zhang Hongbao・s behalf:

For example, when Zhong Gong leader Zhang Hongbao began a hunger strike to press for his release from detention in Guam while awaiting transfer to the US, several overseas Chinese dissident organizations-- including the Free China Movement, the Chinese Democracy Party and the Joint Conference of Chinese Overseas Democracy Movement-- rallied to his cause, organizing a press conference to draw attention to his plight. After winning his bid for political asylum in the US, Zhang returned the favor by joining forces with the banned Chinese Democracy Freedom Party, and by establishing an organization designed to push for the release of political dissidents from mainland Chinese jails. The virtual links between Zhong Gong and other overseas organizations, most notably Liu Siqing's Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, were quite close in the past.

Unsubstantiated scuttlebutt asserted that Zhang, in contrast to the avowedly apolitical Fa Lun Gong, supplied financial support for Chinese dissident organizations in America.

Zhang apparently managed to come to America with sufficient wherewithal not only to pay for Robert Shapiro・s legal services, but to acquire a large house in Pasadena and live comfortably there, despite the fact that he was presumably cut off from his followers, businesses, and income within China.

But in 2003, Zhang Hongbao・s quiet life in America unraveled .

First, on March 15, 2003 came the alleged assault on Nan Fang HeXreportedly in response to a flareup concerning her shortcomings in supervising some contractors on the grounds of Zhang・s residence.

Then came Zhang・s arrest:

According to the police report, the housekeeper told officers that after bashing her head against a chair, Zhang told her: "If you tell the police, I will kill your whole family. If you tell your daughter, I will have her killed first."

After the incident, Zhang, along with two of his students, locked He in a room, according to the police report. Eventually, the housekeeper escaped, running to the street where she wandered bloody and dazed for hours before flagging down a taxi, the report said.

Shortly thereafter, Mdme. Yan Qingxin, Zhang's onetime domestic partner and erstwhile number 2 in the Zhong Gong movement, filed a civil suit claiming Zhang not only beat her but breached an agreement promising her half of the profits from Zhong Gong's operations during their 12-year relationship.

Damages demanded: $23 million.

Zhang obtained legal representation from Mark Geragos, a Los Angeles celebrity lawyer famous for his participation in high-profile criminal cases (Michel Jackson, Gary Condit, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson). Geragos・ brother Matt is handling Zhang Hongbao・s defense against the civil suits.

The affair evolved into a blizzard of allegations, counter-allegations, and countersuits. Matters became so heated that the court granted restraining orders requiring Zhang to stay away from Nan Fang He, her family, and even her attorney for ten years.

On Internet message boards, Zhang・s partisans reported in the January 11, 2004 Pasadena Star-News :

One complaint alleges Zhang's housekeeper "maliciously punctured' the forehead of one of the guru's followers with a thorn, spoiling her chances for marriage.

Zhang, 50, of Pasadena, is the exiled founder of Zhong Gong, a Chinese spiritual wellness movement that once was reported to have as many as 38 million followers.

He was arrested in March for allegedly beating and falsely imprisoning his housekeeper, Nan Fang He, while his disciple Lisha Wu allegedly offered no assistance.

Zhang is awaiting trial on felony charges related to the case. If he is convicted, he could be deported to China where he faces criminal charges that could result in his execution, according to experts on the Chinese pro-democracy movement.

Wu's complaint alleges Nan Fang He punctured Wu's forehead while moving a plant at Zhang's Pasadena residence in September 2002. The facial injury "influence beauty directly,' Wu's complaint says. "I haven't married. It's easy to imagine the psychological pressure I endured.'

Zhang・s counterattack escalated with his announcement of the formation of the China Shadow Government in the summer of 2004, which he explicitly linked to his legal travails.
As an adherent of Zhong Gong explained in a post whose Chinese title evokes the rebellious heroes of the famous Chinese martial arts novel On the Water Margin (:Zhang has been forced to go up Liangshan;):

To this point, Zhang and Zhonggong are in great crisis, the situation is extremely severe and critical. The leader Zhang
・s fame is greatly damaged, so is Zhonggong・s. Zhang is facing the trial in USA, so is Zhonggong, even including the International Zhonggong General Assembly. Once any kind of conviction was sentenced to Zhang and Zhonggong, Zhang won・t be able to work on the global development of Zhonggong and spreading Chinese culture, Zhonggong followers in the whole world and Zhonggong overseas organizations will not be able to survive and develop.

What
・s worse, Chinese Communist government will get an excuse by way of taking advantage of US legal conviction to practice a new wave of persecution in mainland China where thousands of Zhonggong followers have been trying to seek justice for Zhang and Zhonggong. Or, CCP government will make use of US legal convictions to replace Zhang with Yan Qingxin, so as to take Zhonggong under its complete control. The motivation behind the facts that Yan Qingxin and her accomplices are so bold, so crazy in trying to push Zhang into a court is, therefore, very clear.

In such a situation, can Zhang survive? Can Zhang find a way out?

All these incidents are telling people one truth: so long as the tyrannical CCP government exists, Zhonggong can never develop, not even survive. Zhang is finally forced to openly rebel.

Aug. 8, 2003, Zhang officially announced to go public again in L.A., US. He takes it as his personal responsibility that China deserves a democratic social system and announced the official start of China Shadow Government. In his public announcement, he accepted people
・s unanimous election result and became the President of China Shadow Government.

It is quite understandable to regard the formation of the China Shadow Government as primarily an attempt to burnish Zhang Hongbao・s dissident credentials and acquire domestic American political leverage in the face of his legal difficulties and the danger of deportation to China that they threatened.

Zhang Hongbao and his followers have sought to rebut the inference that the China Shadow Government was formed in response to the criminal and civil suits against Zhang, pointing out that it was :registered; eight months prior to the announcement in August 2003. They also make the contradictory assertion that Zhang・s legal problems are politically inspired and the Shadow Government is an inevitable act of self-defense.

It is difficult to find evidence of the China Shadow Government・s activities beyond a series of communiqués and reports posted on the Chinese-language section of the Zhong Gong website www.Tianhuaculture.com and translated into English on www.World-Chinese.com.

Primarily, the pronouncements of the Shadow Government seem to paint a dark picture of vainglory and personal grandiosity verging on megalomania.

A statement on the Zhong Gong website asserts:

:CCP leaders have always viewed Zhang Hong Bao as the biggest political rival.

(1) Deng Xiao Ping said Zhang Hong Bao is a remarkable character; entrusted Jiang Zemin at his deathbed to remember Zhang as the biggest challenger of CCP ruling.;

Other postings declare that the Chinese government was prepared to enter into a $4 billion trade agreement with the U.S. to get Zhang Hongbao returned to China.

The statements of Zhang・s followers indicate that he is regarded not merely as a dissident but as a charismatic leader and man of destiny:

When a great man is entrusted with a great mission, he often has to undergo bodily hardships, physical sufferings, and mental trials. The vicissitudes in the past years have sublimated Mr. Zhang Hongbao・s true feelings for the Chinese people and his sense of mission as a fighter to promote democracy in China. In his noiseless, intense struggles against both open and hidden enemies, in both open battles and skirmishes, Mr. Zhang has acquired his unique character of sang-froid and composure that enables him to handle numerous exigencies. K

This is truly an epoch-making event. History has picked Mr. Zhang Hongbao for a great mission. The Chinese people and all the people around the globe who care about democracy in China are looking forward to a magnificent answer sheet that Mr. Zhang Hongbao will submit to history!

Within and beyond the émigré community, Zhang・s recent writings have not done much to reinforce a picture of him as a realistic, reliable, or persuasive political force.

A sampling from the Shadow Government・s September 22, 2005 report CCP・s Post-Nuclear Super Weapons and Its Geostrategic Goal provides a taste.

The documents predict a war of conquest by China against the United States timed for a triumphal inauguration of Chinese hegemony at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Should the United States will be conquered before the Olympics, Jiang Zemin will be able to turn the Olympics into the gathering of all powers of the world, of which he will be the head, and realize his dream of :great leader in the great country;.

The post-war management of this large-scale modern war will require at least one (1) to one and one-half (1-½) years. By this reckoning, the war will start a year before Olympics in 2008, that is to say, it should start at the change from 2006 to 2007 (this war will not be postponed unless there is supreme strategy). The war shouldn
・t last more than 70 days, leaving a little over one year for post-war management, to get ready for the Olympic Games.

Zhang goes on to describe three classes of superweapons he believes the Chinese are pursuing in order to destroy the United States per this timetable.

The first is a space-based weapon designed to disrupt electrical power.

The second is the power to induce powerful earthquakes and tsunamis, which he speculates was tested in the catastrophic Indian tsunami of December 26, 2004, pointing out, :The time was the commemoration day of Chinese Communist Party・s chief, Mao Zedong・s birthday.; He goes on to declare, :The Indian Ocean tsunami is telling the world that a deadly weapon on much higher scale has been born and has succeeded in its drill!;

In the third area, Zhang Hongbao returns to his area of expertise: qigong and the paranormal.

His remarks are worth quoting at length, not because of their strategic or political character, but because they illuminate a pattern of thoughtXtraditional qigongXthat has deeper roots and a wider and more dedicated circle of adherents in China than the democracy movement.

C. Supernatural ability will definitely be used as lethal weapons for world domination. K

For example: it is proved in Chinese almost thirties years supernatural abilities research that the application of supernatural abilities were not confined by space and time. The effect of doing within ten meters is the same as doing one hundred thousand meters far away. Therefore, supernatural ability persons can cut people・s hair thirty meters away, if the distance is three hundred thousand meters away, can the hair be cut? If using invisible scissors to distantly cut the hair, can he distantly cut the enemy head・s throat?

Take another example; if using
:essence fire; to distantly burn other・s hair, can he remotely burn the eyes of enemy head or of sophisticated weapon operator?

Take an extra example; if using
:invisible scissors; to remotely cut an apple, can he remotely cut the enemy leader・s head who refused to surrender?

Take a further example, if he can transport at his please numerous ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign coins and golden fishes to the appointed places and person
・s body, can he transport chemical weapons to enemy・s commanding office or enemy・s senate or representatives house and directionally put these chemical weapons to the body of enemy head or relative persons?
If releasing energy to change the water into ice, can he remotely freeze person・s heart, blood or brains?


If using
:astonishing essence fire from five elements; to burn the testing instrument, can he burn enemies・ computer operating system?

These inferences make people absolutely terrified but they are not most fantastic tales. Because there is people who plan to use these supernatural abilities in military affairs to contend the world domination. The public testing already proved the energy level of these supernatural abilities. Why not applied them in military affairs horizontally?

It・s easy to snigger at the idea of sinister qigong X-Men confounding Communist China・s foes with remote haircuts, frozen brains, and showers of goldfish.

One can also imagine that statements such as these, in the tradition of an esoteric and autocratic cult, have struck a fatal blow to Zhang・s credibility as the leader of a pro-democracy dissident movement.

A stripping-away of Zhang・s political support in the dissident community has resulted, with his close ally, the China Support Network, distancing itself from Zhang personally and the Shadow Government itself.

However, the Chinese version of Zhang・s article, with its pictures and fluent, confident prose, recapitulates key events of the qigong craze that filled many Chinese with excitement and wonder, and brings home the extensive appeal--and official patronage--that qigong and belief in the paranormal enjoyed in China in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Qigong beliefs, typified by Fa Lun Gong but also by Zhong Gong, were prevalent among the educated urbanites and, most disturbingly for the Chinese Communist Party, among many Party apparatchiks.

Qigong masters were brought to Beijing for successful demonstration of their powers before military and scientific experts, usually under the auspices of a Party leader who had a personal interest in the matter.

The Chinese Communist Party, which claims a monopoly on legitimate organized public expression, came to view the reach, organization, and fervor of the qigong sects with deep alarm once the initial fascination with this new popular movement had worn off.

The result was the 1999 crackdown that curtailed Fa Lun Gong and sent Zhang Hongbao into exile.

Fa Lun Gong has openly eschewed émigré political activism beyond seeking support from religious and human rights group and foreign governments to secure freedom of religious expression and the personal safety of its practitioners within China.

Zhong Gong has taken an overtly political stance, with decidedly mixed results.

It remains to be seen whether the qigong movements will serve as an effective adjunct to pro-democracy dissent, despite their superficial resemblances to the millenarian cults, overseas networks, and secret societies that contributed to the overthrow of China・s last imperial dynastyXthe Qing--by progressive forces in 1911.

In some ways the qigong movement looks less than a repudiation of Communism than a redirection of its totalitarian impulses. Master teacher replaces Great Helmsman; qigong teachings push aside Marx, Lenin, and Mao; and the sect takes the place of the party.

Instead of abandoning the idea of one-party rule and replacing it with democracy, confused and threatened Chinese elites have turned to a revived nativist cultural and political identity that is not subservient to the West, and does not threaten the autocratic institutions that still govern China.

A biographical sketch of Zhang Hongbao by a follower offers an interesting perspective on the future master・s formative years, spent toiling as a forcibly rusticated youth on a state farm :in China・s ice-bound northern land; near Russia・s Siberian border:

[Zhang] became a legendary figure in that region because he was able to recite The Communist Manifesto and Dialectic Materialism and Historical Materialism, which is a text of hundreds of thousands of words. In the state-owned farm-reclamation systems of Helongjiang Province, he was widely known for his ability to :promulgate the original works of Marxism-Leninism without having to consult the texts.; With his unique critical perspective, however, he soon discovered the fatal loopholes in Marx/Lenin・s doctrines and embarked on his transition from a blind worshiper of Marxism/Leninism towards a critic of Marxist theory.

Zhang・s repudiation of Marxism did not lead him to democracy.

Instead it plunged him into the world of a millionaire qigong masterXa world of shadows that outsiders seek to penetrate at their peril.

There does not appear to be a natural fit, either between Zhong Gong and the democracy movement, or between a chauvinistic, esoteric, and authoritarian sect and the American support for religious freedom and open societies meant to challenge the Chinese Communist regime.

In any case, the situation surrounding the Zhang Hongbao case illustrates the difficulties that arise when the aspirations of a democratic movement and the exigencies of a nativist religious sect collide.

The date for Nan Fang He・s civil suit has not been set.


(Boxun)  September 1, 2006.

Zhang Hongbao, the founder of Zhong Gong, died in a auto accident at 7:42pm on July 31, 2006.  Zhang Hongbao's good friend Zhou Yongjun said that his death "has left too many open questions behind."

On August 31, the International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc. and other affiliated organizations held a press conference in Los Angeles on August 31.  The meeting was chaired by Zhang's good friends Zhou Yongjun and Liu Yinquan.  Zhou believed said that Zhang's death "has left too many open questions" and he has asked the police to investigate the true nature of the incident.  Liu believed that the Chinese Communists have been up to their tricks again and he called for them to stop all their overseas espionage activities.

It was a month ago when Zhang Hongbao died.  His friends and relatives found out only just a couple of data ago.  According to information, the local Arizona police had contacted the Pasadena police to contact the family and friends.  Eventually the police located the former colleague and friend Zhou Yongjun who had been the secretary-general of the Chinese Anti-Political Persecution Alliance (for which Zhang Hongbao had been the chairman).  Zhou and Zhang had worked together for more than two years.  When Zhou got the news, he could not believe it unless he can actually see the scene and the body.  So he brought a power-of-attorney form that Zhang Hongbao had previously prepared and went with Chinese Anti-Political Persecution Alliance deputy secretary-general Liu Yinquan to the scene of the incident.

The incident took place at the intersection of Routes 89 and 160 in Tuba City, Arizona.  At the press conference, Liu Yinquan showed photos of the location: "The place is wide open without anything to obstruct vision."  Everybody could see a STOP sign very clearly.

Liu said that the Lincoln automobile that Zhang was traveling in was a bullet-proof vehicle.  According to three eyewitnesses at the scene, Zhang's car made a stop at the sign and then suddenly dashed onto the expressway, where it was hit head on by a 40-foot-long tractor-trailer.  The collision resulted to the deaths of Zhang Hongbao and the driver Jenny Wu.

Zhou Yongjun said: "I have warned Mr. Zhang Hongbao three times before not to travel in that car.  But in the end that was where trouble occurred."  According to Zhou Yongjun, that car had three accidents during the period in which he worked with Zhang Hongbao but there were no serious consequences.  "Ms. Wu came to the United States when she was five years old.  She had worked for Mr. Zhang Hongbao for four years.  Mr. Zhang does not understand English, so he is not going to turn away a dedicated Zhong Gong believer who can help him as a translator.  However, she was not a good driver.  We once invited Mr. Zhang Hongbao to a function and she drove the car into the wall."

He asked the police to investigate the background of Jenny Wu, including her activities, contact records and whereabouts during the two weeks before the traffic incident.

During the press conference, a reporter asked about why Zhang Hongbao has run into so much trouble in the United States.  Zhou Yongjun said: "The bottom line is that the Chinese Communists were up to their tricks.  Mr. Zhang was hit with 49 civil lawsuits plus a criminal case in the United States.  These cases are more or less related to the Chinese Communists.  When I heard the news of his death, my first reaction was that the Chinese Communists had murdered him deliberately."

He said, "Above all, the Chinese Communists are scared about people of faith.  Such people are not afraid to fight for freedom of faith and democracy no matter how much time and money it costs them.  This is what the Chinese Communists are most afraid of.  Of course, this also ties in with the rampant presence of the Chinese Communist agents overseas.  I have not been able to get a good sleep this week after I got the news.  Ever since the police notified me, I could not sleep.  I had to get out of bed and patrol the courtyard every time that I thought I heard something."


(Boxun)  The fight over the body and estate of Zhang Hongbao.  By Zhang Zhongchun.  December 10, 2006.

Zhong Gong leader Zhang Hongbao died at a traffic incident on July 31, 2006 in Arizona.  The driver Wu Jia'en also died at the scene.  Zhang Hongbao and the Zhong Gong organization that he founded has more than 50 million American dollars in assets.  Since he did not leave a will behind, many people are contesting the control of both his physical body as well as the assets.

1. Coconino County of Arizona.

On October 30, 2006, the county's appointed trustee Raena Honan was approved by the Arizona State Supreme Court to handle the estate of Zhang Hongbao.  Her mandate will continue until September 6, 2009.  All expenses related to the disposal of the estate will be paid out of the estate.  The first phase will be about the assets located within the United States.  The second phase will expand to the overseas assets.  If Zhou Yongjun, Zhang Zhongcun and Liu Yinquan cooperate with the local government, it will be easy to locate the overseas deposits which can be retrieved by the United States government as part of the estate.  The overseas deposits of Zhang Hongbao are either under his name or pseudonyms.  When that time comes, all of Zhang Hongbao's overseas assets will be gone.  Fortunately, Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan refused to be traitors.  However, Zhou Yongjun has indicated clearly that he wants to cooperate with the United States local government to betray the cause.  Coconino county is wary of Zhou Yongjun because Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan have shown to them that Zhou is an untrustworthy scoundrel.

2. The family of Zhang Hongbao

The family of Zhang Hongbao's only son Zhang Jiao reside in China.  They have been forced by the Chinese Communists to take actions that are detrimental to the Zhong Gong organization.  That is understandable in that situation.  Even if they don't have any direct motives, they may end up taking over all the assets of the Zhong Gong organization with the assistance of lawyers appointed by the Chinese Communists, and then they will promptly dissolve the Zhong Gong organization.

3. Yan Qingxin and Liu Junguo

They have set their eyes on the Zhong Gong assets for a long time.  Over the past three years, they have seized more than 4 million US dollars by deception already.  They are now bent on getting the 12.8 million US dollars deposited in Hong Kong.  They have also set their eyes on becoming the future leaders of the Zhong Gong organization.  Alternately, they are already to set up a new organization without the overseas Zhong Gong senior officials.

4. He Nanfang

He has caused a great deal of harm against Zhang Hongbao and the Zhong Gong organization after Zhang's arrival in the United States.  After Zhang Hongbao died, she began a round of legal actions against Zhang Hongbao and the Zhong Gong organization.  She asked for 5 million US dollars in damages at first, which was increased to 10 million dollars on September 28, 2006.   This is a case in which a live person is suing a dead person.

5. Hua Xiazi

Hua Xiazi came up with a will in which she was designated the fiancee of Zhang Hongbao.  On November 13, 2006, she appeared in front of the Arizona Supreme Court to tell a teary tale of her romance with master Zhang Hongbao.  "In 2001, the Master arrived in the United States.  We fell in love with each other immediately and we were set to marry.  If it were not for the detestable Yan Qingzin and Liu Junguo and their legal harassment and the interference by Zhou Yongjun, we would have consummated our marriage already."  She provided the court with the relevant documents and video tapes to show that her status was fiancee was not fabricated.  She also provided the will that she claimed Zhang Hongbao gave her.  In court, Hua Xiazi accused Yan Qingxin, Liu Junguo and Zhou Yongjun of being blackmailers as well as the suspected murderers of Zhang Hongbao.  She demanded the court to give her all of Zhang Hongbao's assets.

6. Zhou Yongjun

Over the the past three years, Zhou Yongjun has been getting money out of Zhang Hongbao and the Zhong Gong organization.  He is now positioning himself as the replacement leader for the Zhong Gong organization.  In other words, all Zhong Gong cadres have to report to him and obey his orders and commands.  This drew the wrath of all the Zhong Gong students.  He claimed that <The decision on how to deal with emergencies> that he illegally made up is the will of Zhang Hongbao, in which "Zhou Yongjun was said to be courageous, decisive, capable, moral, trustworthy and pious and therefore a rare talent in times of extraordinary hardship."  In practice, this made Zhou Yongjun the successor.  The will also asked Zhou Yong not to be ostentatious in dealing with the body of Zhang Hongbao.  Zhou Yongjun has said many times that he wants to cooperate with Coconino county and the lawyer of Zhang Jiao.  He has managed to illegally take over Tianhua Seminary and steal vast amounts of valuable information and cash so that he can continue to fight the others.  On September 20, 2006, he took the forged will and other modified material to petition the California Supreme Court Probate Court to ask for control of the estate of Zhang Hongbao.  At the same time, he filed reports with the FBI, the local prosecutor's office and the local police that Zhang Zhongchun, Liu Yinquan and Yan Qingxin had illegally entered the Tianhua Seminary and committed theft and vandalism.  Zhou Yongjun is better than Hua Xiazi whose forged will was crude and easily discredited.  Zhou Yongjun's forged will is more credible: the signature of Zhang Hongbao is authentic and the will was printed in the office of the Tianhua Seminary.  The production and delivery process of the will appears to be impeccable but the truth has been exposed by Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan.

So what is going to happen when these six sides all attack?

If Zhang Hongbao was only qcquainted with Zhou Yongjun in the United States, then the battle for the Zhong Gong organization would be over already with victory going to Zhou Yongjun.  But as long as Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan are in the United States and work together, Coconino and Zhou Yongjun will find it hard to secure victory.  Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan have said that they will never give up no matter how Zhou Yongjun threaten or cajole them.  But in order to lead the battle, they needed an authorization.  After due deliberation, the Zhong Gong organization elected Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan as the fully authorized representatives.  Zhou Yongjun is taking a last stand.  If he wins, he will gain wealth; if he loses, he might end up in jail.  But Zhou Yongjun said that since he has been to jail twice before already, another jail term won't matter; besides, American jails are more pleasant than Chinese jails.

On December 6, 2006, Zhou Yongjun showed up at the Arizona Supreme Court in Flagstaff.  Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan showed up at 10am too, to the surprise of Zhou Yongjun.  At the previous November 13 hearing, the Zhong Gong organization was not represented and the family of Zhang Hongbao had not yet found a lawyer to represent them.  So that hearing was attended only by Zhou Yongjun, Hua Xiazi and Coconino county.

Zhou Yongjun was intent on gaining victory at the December 6 meeting and he made a lot of preparations.  These little tricks were foreseen by Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan.  Their strategic options were planned as follows.  If the lawyer representing the family of Zhang Honghao attends this hearing, they will join their voices to block Coconino county, concentrate their attack on Zhou Yongjun and force out Yan Qingxin, Jean Chang and Hua Xiazi.  If no one is representing the family of Zhang Hongbao, they will work with Yan Qingxin and Hua Xiaxi, bring Zhou Yongjun down and force Jean Chang out.

The actual situation was that Yan Qingxin did not attend the December 6 hearing, Jean Chang continued to stay away and the son of Zhang Hongbao was represented by the lawyer Jeffrey M. Manley.  Manley is an American who was ill-prepared for the case at this hearing.  He lacked understanding about the details of the case.  He was not even sure who he was representing.  Zhou Yongjun and Hua Xiazi were almost able to get him excluded from court.  But Manley told the judge that he had only received the power of attorney on December 2.  Manley believed that the case was a simple matter in which the client wanted to claim the body of his deceased father.  He never imagined that there was a disputed estate in which many principals have devised plots and schemes to gain control.  Fortunately, Zhang Zhongchun identified the friends and the enemies to Manley and gave him valuable information so that he can counter-attack Zhou Yongjun.

The lawyer for Coconino County said that a simple traffic accident in which a man died has drawn in many principals who are contesting the estate of the deceased.  There are so many different wills with completely different and conflicting content.  If the deceased really had a will, one should be enough!  The lawyer said that she was amazed because she had never seen such a situation in the history of Coconino county!

In his testimony, Zhang Zhongchun stated directly that Zhou Yongjun had forged the will of Zhang Hongbao.  In addition, Zhou Yongjun illegally recorded a conversation with the mother of Zhang Hongbao and then edited the conversation by computer in order to fool the judge.  The incontrovertible proof was that Zhang Hongbao had fired Zhou Yongjun on April 27, 2005.  So even if Zhang Hongbao wrote a will on June 6, 2006, he could not have given anything to someone whom he fired a year ago.  It was also disclosed that Zhou Yongjun had filed a petition at the California Supreme Court's Probate Court to take control of the estate of Zhang Hongbao as well as all the assets of the Zhong Gong organization.

The hearing continued for another day.  During the four sessions, the various parties debated rigorously.  The judge assigned the right to handle the body of Zhang Hongbao to his son Zhang Jiao who was represented by the lawyer Jeffrey M. Manley.  Zhang Zhongchun and Liu Yinquan concurred with this decision on behalf of the Zhong Gong organization.  They also stated that the organization is willing to assist the family to handle the body of Master Zhang Hongbao.


(CA.findcase.com)  Yan vs. Chinese Daily News.  July 12, 2007.

July 12, 2007

QINGXIN YAN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLANTS,
v.
CHINESE DAILY NEWS, INC. ET AL. DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS


APPEALS from orders of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. C. Edward Simpson, Judge. Affirmed in part and reversed in part. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. GC035112).

Law Office of John Derrick, John Derrick; Inter-Pacific Law Group, Inc., and Arthur J. Liu, for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Llp, Donald R. Brown, Henry C. Wang, Yi-Chin Ho, and Lara M. Krieger, for Defendants and Respondents.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cooper, P. J.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

The Chinese Daily News was sued for libel and related causes of action arising out of a newspaper article concerning the kidnapping of Bingzhang Wang. The Chinese Daily News prevailed in its motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) statute, and was awarded attorney fees. In two consolidated appeals, appellants argue (1) that the court erred in granting the anti-SLAPP motion because they established a probability of prevailing on the merits and (2) that the attorney fees award was not reasonable.

We conclude that appellants fail to show a probability of prevailing on the merits because the allegedly defamatory article is privileged under Civil Code section 47.*fn1 We also hold that the attorney fees award is not supported by substantial evidence. We affirm the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion and reverse the order granting attorney fees.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Parties

One appellant, Qingxin Yan, and one defendant, Hongboa Zhang (who is not a respondent in the current appeal), founded the Zhong Gong movement. Yan describes them as former business and domestic partners. When their relationship ended, a flurry of litigation commenced. The other appellant, Qi Zhang, is the sister of Qingxin Yan and describes herself as the girlfriend of Bingzhang Wang.

According to appellants, Bingzhang Wang, Qi Zhang, and Yue Wu (a nonparty) were abducted in Vietnam and taken into China. Bingzhang Wang, who was sentenced to life in prison, remains incarcerated in China. Qi Zhang and Yue Wu were released.

Also according to appellants, Hongboa Zhang employs Yungjun Zhou. Zhou prepared two reports about the kidnapping of Bingzhang Wang. Included in Zhou's lengthy report is the conclusion that "Yan Qingxin and Zhang Qi are still the major suspects in Wang Bingzhang's entrapment and arrest." Zhou summarized the second report at a meeting that appellants describe as a press conference, which was attended by Lian Yi Wang, a reporter for the Chinese Daily News (CDN). CDN, the only respondent in this appeal, published a story related to Bingzhang Wang's kidnapping.

Lian Yi Wang's Article Published in the Chinese Daily News

The allegedly defamatory article is short and we quote it in its entirety. (The names in the article are listed last name first.)

"On the 17th, approximately two-dozen members of the local Anti-Political-Persecution Alliance of China, Inc. announced the arrival of the second volume of `Wang Bingzhang incident stage report' and raised their suspicions that Wang Bingzhang was abducted and arrested by the Chinese Communist Party. Zhou Yongjun, the author of the report, stated that he would welcome objections from all the mentioned and even welcome a personal investigation of himself. He said that finding the truth is the only way to prevent the Communist Party from adapting the same scheme to others.

"A year ago, Zhou Yongjun presented his investigation process in the first volume of the Wang Bingzhang incident stage report. At the same time, he also claimed that Wang Bingzhang was set up and arrested rather than kidnapped. Also he suggested that Zhang Qi, who had been arrested with Wang Bingzhang at the same time, and her sister Yan Qingxin, were the two most likely suspects in planning and executing this entrapment. This time, on the eve of the second anniversary of Wang Bingzhang's life in prison sentencing, Zhou Yongjun presented the second volume of the investigation report. In it, he pointed out that he spent the last year visiting the Golden Triangle in the Southeast Asia and commissioned an investigation in Northern Vietnam to gather more evidence. The newly offered evidence includes: people believed that Yan Qingxin had only provided support of US$50,000 before Wang Bingzhang's trip to Vietnam, but actually there was an additional US$100,000. Zhang Qi, a self-proclaimed pro-democracy activist and Wang Bingzhang's fiancée, not only showed no effort in rescuing Wang but also refused to use Wang's money to pay for the rescue mission. With the political asylum status, Zhang Qi had come back to the US successfully and visited China again. The geology and climate of the Beilun River as described by Zhang Qi in the kidnap plot do not match the reality. Also, it does not make sense that the parties never mentioned the luggage left in Mong Cai. Wang Bingzhang's activities in the Golden Triangle and personal relationships were also different from the descriptions by some people. Zhou Yongjun said that Wang's parents were on the verge to sell their house to raise money for Wang Bingzhang's rescue and that now they depend on the financial support of the pro-democracy activists. In addition, evidence such as the response from the Vietnam government which reads `in Northern Vietnam Quang Ninh Province, there was no hotel registration record showing that the three including Wang Bingzhang and Zhang were ever there' points out that a kidnapping in broad daylight has never happened in Mong Cai.

"Zhou Yongjun also said that when he was at the Golden Triangle in June last year, he visited the Guomintang veterans who hosted Wang Bingzhang. He said that the rumor that Wang Bingzhang was planning a military revolution and was betrayed by the Guomintang special agents because he wanted to `rebuild the Republic of China' was nothing but a farfetched rumor meant to distract people from the Communist Party's plot."

Trial Court Proceedings

Appellants alleged causes of action for libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress against CDN. Each cause of action was based on the publication of the article. According to appellants, the article was tantamount to an accusation that they engaged in criminal conduct because it asserts that they are the main suspects in Bingzhang Wang's kidnapping.

In their anti-SLAPP motion, CDN argues that "[t]he article accurately describes what Zhou said at the meeting, and attributes all of the statements to Zhou." CDN also argued, among other things, that the article is privileged under section 47.

The trial court granted CDN's anti-SLAPP motion and awarded the newspaper attorney fees. The court dismissed all claims with respect to CDN.

Appellants timely appealed from the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion and from the separate order awarding CDN attorney fees. The parties agree that Qi Zhang, Bingzhang Wang, and Yue Wu are well known in the Chinese community and that the abduction of Zhang, Wang, and Wu has been reported on extensively. Appellants separately appealed from an order awarding CDN attorney fees and the two appeals were consolidated.

DISCUSSION

I. The Article Is a Privileged Publication

The threshold issue is whether the article is a privileged publication under section 47, subdivision (e). If it is, appellants cannot carry their burden of demonstrating a probability of prevailing on the causes of action alleged against CDN, each of which is based on the article. (1-800 Contacts Inc. v. Steinberg (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 568, 584 [plaintiff has burden to make a prima facie showing of facts that would merit a favorable judgment].) Because appellants conceded the article arose from activities protected by the anti-SLAPP statute, we need not consider that requirement.

Section 47 provides: "A privileged publication or broadcast is one made: [¶] . . . [¶] (e) By a fair and true report of (1) the proceedings of a public meeting, if the meeting was lawfully convened for a lawful purpose and open to the public, or (2) the publication of the matter complained of was for the public benefit." Appellants argue section 47 does not apply because (1) the article described a press conference, not a public meeting; (2) the article focused on the written report, not the presentation at the meeting; and (3) the article was not "fair and true." None of these arguments has merit.

First, appellants' argument that because Zhou presented his findings at a "press conference," there was no public meeting within the definition of section 47 is contrary to our Supreme Court's holding in Kilgore v. Younger (1982) 30 Cal.3d 770 (Kilgore). The Supreme Court expressly concluded that a press conference fell within the ambit of the public meeting described in section 47. (Id. at p. 796.) Although as appellants argue, in this case the press sat in one room and the public sat in another room, the rationale of Kilgore is not contingent on the seating arrangement. In Kilgore, the public was invited "by way of the media." (Id. at p. 776.) Similarly, here, the public was invited "by way of the media," even though members of the public were also present and seated in a different room.

Second, appellants make much of Lian Yi Wang's citation to Zhou's written report in the following passage: "This time, on the eve of the second anniversary of Wang Bingzhang's life in prison sentencing, Zhou Yongjun presented the second volume of the investigation report. In it, he pointed out that he spent the last year visiting the Golden Triangle in the Southeast Asia and commissioned an investigation in Northern Vietnam to gather more evidence." (Italics added.) Lian Yi Wang then summarized what is described as "evidence," but it is not clear whether this summary is from the written report or Zhou's oral presentation, or both.

Assuming that the article summarized the evidence in the report, CDN does not lose the protection of section 47. In Kilgore, the press conference described a report that identified Kilgore as owning and operating " `a wire service in the Los Angeles area that provides information on sporting events to bookmakers in California and throughout the United Sates.' " (Kilgore, supra, 30 Cal.3d at p. 774.) The report was distributed to the news media at a press conference. (Id. at p. 775.) Then the newspaper stated that Kilgore was among the persons listed in the report with no indication that Kilgore's name was specifically identified at the press conference. Here, just as in Kilgore, the report was the subject of the public meeting. Indeed, (when making a different point) appellants underscore the evidence that the content of the report was consistent with the content of the public meeting. Therefore, the reference to the contents of the report - the very subject of the public meeting - does not remove the article from the protection of section 47.

Finally, appellants argue that the article was not a "fair and true" representation of the report. (This is where appellants highlight evidence that the report and public meeting were consistent.) Appellants, however, apply the wrong standard. Once the correct standard is applied, the article is "fair and true" even though it is not a complete summary of the report or a precise description of the report.

"The media's responsibility lies in ensuring that the `gist or sting' of the report-its very substance-is accurately conveyed. [Citation.] Moreover, this responsibility carries with it a certain amount of literary license." (McClatchy Newspapers, Inc. v. Superior Court (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 961, 975-976.) Instead of applying the foregoing standard, appellants fault CDN for (1) deleting the word "probably"; (2) using the phrase "showed no effort" instead of "failed to be on the frontline in rescuing"; (3) failing to identify Shi Lei as a third suspect; (4) using the term "evidence" instead of "allegation"; (5) referring to Qi Zhang as "a self-proclaimed pro-democracy activist"; (6) failing to make clear that Zhang also was suspected of participating in the kidnapping.

Although the article could have been more complete and more precise, appellants have not shown the article is inconsistent with the "gist" of the report. CDN was entitled to "a certain degree of flexibility/literary license. . . ." (Reader's Digest Assn. v. Superior Court (1984) 37 Cal.3d 244, 262, fn. 13.) CDN was neither required to quote the report verbatim nor to include every detail of the lengthy written report.*fn3 The article provides a brief summary of the gist of the report. The information that is allegedly defamatory to appellants is contained in the report in addition to the article.

II. The Attorney Fees Award Must Be Reversed

CDN initially sought $232,405 in attorney fees and subsequently requested $254,995. CDN's motion indicated that Donald R. Brown worked 79.8 hours, Henry C. Wang worked 85.9 hours, Yi-Chin Ho worked 369 hours and Lydia Mendoza worked 60.8 hours. Their respective rates were $510, $410, $385, and $190. Declarations attached to the motion described the experience of the attorneys and law student and some of the tasks they performed. No further printout of time or explanation for these hours was provided. In a footnote, CDN stated, "Due to concerns about privilege, the News has submitted a comprehensive summary rather than the actual bills themselves. Should the Court prefer to examine the actual bills, the News will make them available either in camera or with appropriate redactions." In a declaration, Brown opined that the rates charged were similar to those charged by other large firms in the Los Angeles area.

The court appointed Judge John Ouderkirk, retired, as a referee because the trial court judge could not determine a reasonable amount of attorney fees based on the documents provided in the motion and did not "want to pull a number out of the air." Judge Ouderkirk recommended that fees be awarded in the amount of $251,365. In a report, he explained that respondent's counsel produced redacted billing sheets. Counsel for CDN agreed to allow the referee to review the entire file. The referee spent six hours reviewing the bills. He concluded the rates charged by the attorneys were reasonable and the hours charged by the attorneys were reasonable, for a total of $240,116.50. The referee further indicated that $11,249 was a reasonable amount of expenses. The referee discounted the work of Mendoza, a summer associate. The trial court found that the referee did a thorough job in determining the amount of fees and adopted the recommendation.

A. No Substantial Evidence Supports The Fee Award

"The standard of review on issues of attorney's fees and costs is abuse of discretion. The trial court's decision will only be disturbed when there is no substantial evidence to support the trial court's findings or when there has been a miscarriage of justice. If the trial court has made no findings, the reviewing court will infer all findings necessary to support the judgment and then examine the record to see if the findings are based on substantial evidence." (Finney v. Gomez (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 527, 545, fns. omitted.) Arguably, this deferential standard of review is inapplicable here because it is based on the principle that the " `experienced trial judge is the best judge of the value of professional services rendered in his court.' " (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler, supra, 22 Cal.4th at p. 1095.) Here, the referee, who had no familiarity with the case, determined the reasonableness of attorney fees. However, we need not further consider the appropriate standard of review because even under the deferential standard, the attorney fee award must be reversed.

The party seeking fees "should submit evidence supporting the hours worked and rates claimed." (Hensley v. Eckerhart (1983) 461 U.S. 424, 433; see also Asbestos Claims Facility v. Berry & Berry (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 9, 24 [conclusory factual assertions insufficient], disapproved on another ground in Kowis v. Howard (1992) 3 Cal.4th 888, 896.)*fn4 The evidence should allow the court to consider if the cases are overstaffed, if the hours were reasonably expended and how much time was spent on particular claims. (Hensley v. Eckerhart, supra, 461 U.S. at p. 433; ComputerXpress, Inc. v. Jackson, supra, 93 Cal.App.4th at p. 1020.)

A few cases hold that substantial evidence supports a fee award even absent itemized billing reports. For example, in Weber v. Langholz (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1578, 1587, the court found a declaration containing the number of hours (between 90 and 103) and a description of the work done sufficient for the trial court to "make its own evaluation of the reasonable worth of the work done in light of the nature of the case. . . ." (Ibid.) Therefore, although generally, "a fee request . . . should be documented in great detail," in that "particular case," which involved the award of summary judgment, the record contained substantial evidence to support the $21,000 attorney fee award. (Ibid.)

In Steiny & Co. v. California Electric Supply Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 285, the court stated, "[a]n attorney's testimony as to the number of hours worked is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records." (Id. at p. 293.) The Steiny court cited to Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553 for that proposition. In Martino, the court considered an award of $40,000 in attorney fees. It found the evidence insufficient to support such an award because "[t]he only evidence presented in support of the motion for attorney fees was the attorney's request for a flat fee for `services rendered.' No documents, such as billing or time records, were submitted to the court, nor was an attempt made to explain in more than general terms, the extent of services rendered to the client." (Id. at pp. 559-560.) In reaching this conclusion, the Marino court stated that "[i]n California, an attorney need not submit contemporaneous time records in order to recover attorney fees. . . ." (Id. at p. 559.) CDN relies heavily on this statement.

Although providing contemporaneous records may not always be possible, it is the preferred practice. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler, supra, 22 Cal.4th at p. 1096, fn. 4.) It allows the losing party and the court to consider the necessity of the work done and the reasonableness of the time spent. For example, in Macias v. Hartwell (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 669, another case involving an anti-SLAPP motion, the court considered an award of $44, 445 (less than one-fifth the amount awarded in this case). (Id. at p. 671.) The court found that the trial court "reviewed the itemized billings and limited the award for fees to the anti-SLAPP motion." (Id. at p. 676.) It held that substantial evidence supports the reasonableness of the fee award. (Id. at p. 676.) By reviewing the itemized billing, the trial court was able to limit the award of fees to those generated in bringing the anti-SLAPP motion and the appellate court found the fee award to be supported by substantial evidence.

In Maughan v. Google Technology, Inc. (2006) 143 Cal.App.4th 1242, a more recent case, the prevailing party in an anti-SLAPP motion sought $112,288 in attorney fees. (Id. at p. 1248.) The trial court awarded $23,000 in fees. (Id. at p. 1245.) The court discounted the fee request based on its analysis of how much time it believed attorneys should spend on an anti-SLAPP motion. (Id. at p. 1249.) The appellate court upheld the award finding that the trial court adequately relied on its own experience in handling similar cases; there was no discovery and few court hearings, and that the " `time sheets attached to the motion are somewhat vague in their descriptions of what precisely defense counsel was doing for the claimed amount of time.' " (Id. at p. 1251.)

Although, declarations filed by attorneys may, in certain cases, constitute substantial evidence to support an attorney fee award, here there was no evidence to support the substantial attorney fee award. The trial court concluded that it could not ascertain a reasonable fee award for the anti-SLAPP motion without "pull[ing] a number out of the air." The declarations state the total number of hours worked and identify certain tasks but fail to provide any link between the time and the tasks, making it impossible to determine if the time spent was reasonable. Here, in contrast to Weber, the trial court made clear it could not determine the reasonableness of the request based only on counsel's declarations. Although detailed time reports may not be necessary in every case, here the trial court was relegated to "pull[ing] a number out of the air." None of the information reviewed by the referee is included in the record and therefore none is subject to our review. The record evidence does not show that the attorney fee award of over $250,000 is reasonable.

B. The Procedure Deprived Appellants of the Opportunity to Meaningfully Challenge the Fees

The trial court ordered the parties to a referee because the motion for attorney fees did not contain adequate support. The referee apparently had the opportunity to review redacted and unredacted bills. In contrast to the referee, appellants were never provided the opportunity to review CDN's actual bills. This procedure deprived appellants of the opportunity to meaningfully challenge the attorney fees requested.

CDN's argument underscores this very problem. It argues that appellants' challenges were speculative. "All that they [appellants] came forward with were boilerplate objections about duplicative billing and excessive hours, and suggestions of arbitrary reduction in attorney time." Based on the information CDN provided appellants, they could raise only speculative challenges because CDN failed to provide specifics and provided only boilerplate descriptions of work completed. Appellants could not challenge the reasonableness of the attorney time because it is impossible to determine the time any CDN attorney spent on any particular task or whether every task billed was related to the anti-SLAPP motion. Significantly, the referee found that appellants "have failed to present any admissible evidence that the fees were unreasonable or that the work performed was unnecessary, duplicative or otherwise improper," without acknowledging that appellants were hamstrung in their ability to make that showing.

Here, CDN declined to provide itemized bills "due to concerns about privilege." In other contexts "[w]hen a party asserting a claim invokes privilege to withhold crucial evidence, the policy favoring full disclosure of relevant evidence conflicts with the policy underlying the privilege. Courts have resolved this conflict by holding that the proponent of the claim must give up the privilege in order to pursue the claim. Where privileged information goes to the heart of the claim, fundamental fairness requires that it be disclosed for the litigation to proceed." (Steiny & Co. v. California Electric Supply Co., supra, 79 Cal.App.4th at p. 292; see also Wellpoint Health Networks, Inc. v. Superior Court (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 110, 128.)

In the context of attorney fees requests, courts have found redacted bills sufficient in order to allow a party to preserve the attorney client privilege. (See e.g. Farber v. Bay View Terrace Homeowners Assn. (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th 1007, 1014.) However, CDN was required to provide enough information for appellants to meaningfully assess if the case was overstaffed and if the hours were reasonably expended. Providing access to the bills only to the referee, who reviewed some but not all of them, deprived appellants of a fair procedure.

Finally, CDN seeks fees incurred in this appeal. There were two consolidated appeals. CDN prevailed in the appeal from the order granting its anti-SLAPP motion. It is entitled to fees incurred in that appeal. (Morrow v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 1424, 1446.) The amount of fees is to be determined by the trial court upon a noticed motion. (Ibid.) CDN did not prevail in the appeal from the order awarding attorney fees and is not entitled to appellate fees for that appeal.

DISPOSITION

The order granting CDN's anti-SLAPP motion is affirmed and CDN is entitled to attorney fees for that appeal. The order awarding CDN attorney fees is reversed. Each party to bear her or its own costs on appeal.

We concur: RUBIN, J., FLIER, J.


(Boxun)  August 2, 2007.

We recently checked the corporate registry in the state of California and we found that Zhou Yongjun has illegally registered the International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc.  We have taken decisive action to ask the corporate registry to rectify the situation.

The founder of the International Zhong Gong Headquarters Incorporated, Zhang Hongbao, had hired Zhou Yongjun as a temporary worker in August 2003.  Later, he found that this person did not meet the requirements and was also likely to be a Communist agent.  The International Zhong Gong Headquarters relieved Zhou Yongjun of his duties in September 2003.  In 2005, Zhang Hongbao had reported to the FBI's Los Angeles office that Zhou Yongjun was a Communist agent.

...

International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc.
August 1, 2007.


(Boxun)  August 2, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun and his mistress have moved into the Tianhua Seminary, the former home of Master Zhang Hongbao, for several months already and taken over the assets there.  He has recently applied to the probate court to legally take control of all of the master's assets.  The only thing that he failed to accomplish was to use the forged will to seize the body of the late master and destroy it.

Zhou Yongjun, male, address: 1227 S. Del Mar Avenue San Gabriel, Ca 91776.  Between 2003 and 2005, he was the secretary-general of the Chinese Anti-Political Persecution Alliance.  Because he stole company assets and documents and because he was suspected of being a Chinese Communist agent, the chairman Zhang Hongbao recommended his dismissal.  As a result, Zhou Yongjun was bitter and plotted to take revenge against Master Zhang Hongbao.

The so-called will that Zhou Yongjun presented to the court -- <The decision on how to deal with emergency events> -- was forged.  The suspicious points are the following:

1. Since 2004, Master Zhang Hongbao had signed his name with "bao" as in "treasure" and not "bao" as in "fortress."  Since the will used the "bao" as in "fortress," it must be fake.

2. Master Zhang Hongbao is the President of the Chinese Shadow Government, the chairman of the International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc, the chairman of the Chinese Anti-Political Persecution Alliance and the chairman of the Tianhua Seminary, with more than 38 million followers and many workers.  His will cannot possibly say to "Not hold any memorial service, not set up a mourning hall, not hold a farewell ceremony" as quoted in the <Decision> document.  He could not have forbade his family, friends, followers, colleagues and workers to say farewell to him.  While he was still alive, he had talked to us about wanting to hold a solemn memorial service should he pass away.

3. The master has a son, a mother, siblings, lovers and friends.  He has co-directors in his companies.  How could he give his will to a neighbor with whom he is not familiar?  The master stayed in Pasadena for more than four years and he seldom interacted with his neighbors.  He is a leader in opposing the Chinese Communists who want to persecute him.  Therefore, he lived in fear and isolation and seldom met with strangers.  How can he get close to a neighbor in a place where he did not even visit regularly?

4. The master did not know English and the white man John Munson who held the will did not know Chinese.  How did they communicate?  If they cannot even communicate, how did they become close friends?  If they are not close friends, how can the master give him the will?  Why didn't he give it to his close friends such as Liu Yinquan, Mo Fengjie, Zhang Zhongchun and others?

5.  The master knew that John Munson does not understand Chinese.  How can he give a will written in Chinese to him?  Since John Munson does not understand Chinese, how did he learn that the master was dead?  Besides the master never told anyone about his new name: Donald Wang.  So how did John Munson find out?  If he did not even know that name, how could he find out that the master was dead?

6.  The followers referred to Zhang Hongbao as "the master-father" and not the "master-teacher."  When Zhang Hongbao addressed the followers, he did not refer to himself as the "master-teacher."  So why did the will say "your master-teacher will always be with you"?

7. Zhou Yongjun had been fired.  Why would master Zhang Hongbao give everything to him in the will?

8. The will referred to Zhou Yongjun as the "special assistant."  Zhou needs to produce the document which appointed him as special assistant.

9. By stating that Zhou Yongjun was the "special assistant," it showed that he had no other duties.  If Zhang Hongbao would not let Zhou Yongjun in on the activities at the International Zhong Gong Headquarters, the Chinese Shadow Government, the Chinese Anti-Political Persecution Alliance and the Tianhua Seminary, why would he hand over all these entities to him?  Why give everything over to him?  If he wanted to give everything to him, he should at least let him get on the boards of these entities.

10.  The final paragraph said that the will "should be sent to Zhou Yongjun only after my death has been confirmed."  But there are contradictions with what was said before.  The first instruction was: "In the event of an emergency in which I am no longer able to make decisions, then this letter represents my final decision.  If I should meet with any emergency situation in which I cannot deal with the affairs for which I am responsible for presently, then all affairs should be placed in the hands of Zhou Yongjun."  The second instruction was: "In the event that I pass away, all funeral arrangements will be handled by Zhou Yongjun.  Everything should be as simple as possible.  There shall be no memorial service, no mourning hall and no farewell ceremony."  There is a vast difference between these two instructions.  The first instruction refers to a situation in which the master is kidnapped and taken back to China or else he has suffered a grave incapacitating injury.  The second instruction refers to funeral arrangements.  In both instructions, the master said that the authority shall be handed over to Zhou Yongjun.  So why did the will say at the end that Zhou Yongjun will receive the will only in the event stipulated in the second instruction?  What happens if the event stipulated in the first instruction occurs?  Should the will be sent to Zhou Yongjun?  The master is known for his meticulous thinking, so how can he make such a mistake?  These questions prove that the will is forged.  Zhou Yongjun murdered the master, forged the will and seized the assets.  All Zhong Gong students should expose him using every possible means, including suing him in court.  If they can't win in court, they have to eradicate him.


(Boxun)  March 31, 2008.  ["The following information is furnished by a netizen.  Boxun is unable to verify the information."]

Banking news from Singapore: The case of Zhou Yongjun forging the signature of Zhang Hongbao to steal several million US dollars in Singapore is under investigation.  Zhou Yongjun is on the run.  The American government has issued an international warrant for his arrest.  Zhou Yongjun will be facing criminal charges, including forging a signature to steal money as well as the previous charges of aggravated assault and issuing threats with firearms.

The details about Zhou Yongjun are:
Name: Yung Jun Zhou
Date of birth: September 26, 2009
California ID: D7711459
Green card number: A 071-889-900


(Boxun)  November 16, 2008.

According to informed sources, Zhou Yongjun has tried everything within his means to get near the gatekeeper Wang Yuling for the Tiahua Seminary ever since the death of Zhang Hongbao.  In September 2007, Zhou obtained the key to the Seminary from Wang.  Zhou searched the Seminary and took all the cash, bank information and confidential files that belonged to Zhang Hongbao and the Zhong Gong organization.

In order to obtain the several million American dollars in bank deposits which Zhang Hongbao had set up under the name of Wang Xingxiang, Zhou Yongjun used illegal means to fabricate identification papers for Wang Xingxiang and forged Zhang's signature to withdraw the money (Zhou spent as much as one month practicing Zhang's signature).  After Zhou Yongjun'a evil deeds were exposed here at Boxun, he has fled to places around as the United States, Canada, Malaysia and elsewhere.  His whereabouts are unknown.  In November 2008, someone reported at Boxun that Zhou Yongjun had disappeared mysteriously in Macau near the end of September.

The estate of Zhang Hongbao was turned over by the Los Angeles Probate Court to the custody of the Los Angeles County government in April 2008.  The progress of this case has drawn the attention of democratic activists inside and outside China, the Zhong Gong practitioners and all those who support the democracy project for China.


(Boxun)  May 13, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun's father is a retired prosecutor who suffered a stroke several years ago.  His mother is not in good physical health.  As they got older, they became worried that they may never see their son again.  Therefore they kept asking him when he was coming back each time they spoke on the telephone.  Zhou Yongjun tried to get his parents to move to the United States, but he did not succeed.  Therefore, he became very frustrated.  On September 26, 2008, Zhou Yongjun left the United States without telling anyone.  His sister was the last one to speak to him directly on that day.  At the time, Zhou Yongjun was at the airport.  He did not tell his sister that he was trying to return to China.  Zhou Yongjun spoke to his family in the United States the last time also on that day.  He told them that he was going away on a business trip that might last more than 20 days.

When his friends did not get any news about him, they posted on the Internet that Zhou was kidnapped in Macau.  Later, Zhou's cellmates sent news about that Zhou was detained in the passageway of the Luowo customs area (on the border between Hong Kong and China).  He was later held as prisoner #20 in cell 19 at the Number One Detention Centre in Shenzhen.  However, the detention centre did not list the name of Zhou Yongjun.

The cellmate came out and contacted the sister of Zhou Yongjun.  This cellmate was able to provide the telephone number of Zhou's American lawyer friend Ye Ning and the telephone phone of his family in California.  This cellmate also provided certain details about Zhou's personal history and detention.  The sister of Zhou Yongjun went from Sichuan to Shenzhen on November 19, 2008.  After speaking to the cellmate in person, she believed that Zhou Yongjun was being held in the Number One Detention Centre in Shenzhen.  At the same time, Zhou Yongjun's family received secret phone call(s) and letter(s) about his detention.

Zhou Yongjun's sister went to the Number One Detention Centre in Shenzhen and demanded to meet with detainee Number 20.  The receptionist Chen Yuxia denied that there was a detainee Number 20.  Upon being asked more questions, Chen Yuxia said that she has to check with the office.  When she came out, she denied the presence of detainee Number 20 again.

In mid-December, another cellmate of Zhou Yongjun came out and told the family that Zhou has been transferred to Cell 18 in the Lantian district detention centre under the name "Wang Hua."  According to the cellmate, people who shared the cell were told that "Zhou Yongjun is a political prisoner" who should be left alone during their stay.  Upon learning that Zhong Yongjun was "Wang Hua," the family asked an uncle in Shenzhen to visit.  Once again, he was told that there was no such person.

Zhou Yong's retired father, his sister and his family in America wrote letters to the National People's Congress, the State Council, the Ministry of Public Security and the Shenzhen public security bureau, but received no reply from anyone.  Zhou's father was threatened and suffered a heart attack.  His life was saved after 17 days at the hospital.  Zhou's isster was also warned and threatened about her efforts to locate Zhou Yongjun.


(AFP)  US dismayed by reported arrest of China protest leader.  May 13, 2009.

The United States voiced concern Wednesday over China's reported arrest of a student leader of the 1989 democracy protests. "We are disturbed by reports that prominent Chinese human rights activist Zhou Yongjun has been charged with fraud after months of detention in China," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters. "It is our understanding that contrary to Chinese legal procedure, Mr Zhou's family was not officially informed until May 13," Kelly added.  "The embassy in Beijing has raised our concerns with the ministry of foreign affairs. "We are calling on the government to ensure that all legal and administrative decisions against him are conducted in a manner that is both transparent and consistent with Chinese law and international human rights norms," Kelly said.

Zhou's family was told of the charges against him Wednesday by police in southwestern China, more than seven months after he was reportedly seized trying to return after years in the United States, his brother Zhou Lin said.  Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students' Autonomous Union, one of the most visible groups in the protests at Tiananmen Square, which ended on June 4, 1989 in an army crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands. "They told us the charges concerned fraud. But we are still unclear on the situation. We are waiting for more information," Zhou Lin told AFP by telephone. Zhou was charged in the family's home city of Suining in Sichuan province. He said Zhou had a US "green card" denoting permanent residence status there -- a fact likely to make his arrest a touchy issue with Washington.

A spokeswoman at the US embassy in Beijing said earlier it had raised Zhou's case with China's foreign ministry but she had no further comment.


(AFP/AP via Taipei Times)  Tiananmen student leader arrested on fraud charges.  May 14, 2009.

A student leader of the 1989 democracy protests in China has been arrested on fraud charges, his brother said yesterday, as authorities brace for the 20th anniversary of the demonstrations. Zhou Yongjun (Pix) was a leader of the Beijing StudentsAutonomous Union, one of the most visible groups in the protests at Tiananmen Square, which ended on June 4, 1989, in an army crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands.

Zhou
s family was told of the charges against him yesterday by police in southwestern China, more than seven months after he was reportedly seized while trying to return from the US, his brother Zhou Lin (PL) said. They told us the charges concerned fraud, but we are still unclear on the situation. We are waiting for more information,Zhou Lin said by telephone. He said his brother was charged in the familys home city of Suining in Sichuan Province. He said Zhou has a US green carddenoting permanent residence status there, a fact that could make his arrest a potential source of friction with Washington.

A spokesman at the US embassy in Beijing said it had no comment on the case
at the present time.

Zhou, now 41, has lived in the US for many years, his brother said. Zhou was seized by authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen on Sept. 30 as he tried to enter China to visit his family, according to reports by the China Human Rights Defenders, a network of domestic and overseas activists. Zhou Lin said he did not know how his brother could have committed fraud in China given that he had been out of the country for so long.

Several telephone calls to police headquarters in Suining went unanswered.


(The Independent Review)  Transcription of conversation between Zhou Yongjun and lawyer Mo Shaoping.

Date: Monday, May 25, 2009
Place: Detention Center, Suining city, Sichuan province
Interviewers: Lawyer Mo Shaoping, lawyer Chen Zerui
Transcriber: Lawyer Chen Zerui
Interviewee: Zhou Yongjun

Mo: Are you Zhou Yongjun.
Zhou: Yes, I am Zhou Yongjun.

Mo: I am lawyer Mo Shaoping from Beijing.  This is lawyer Chen Zerui.
Zhou: I have heard about lawyer Mo.  But I am not sure that you are indeed lawyer Mo.

Mo: Your family asked me to the your lawyer.  You sister sought me out, but your father signed the letter of authorization.  You see if this is your father's signature.
Zhou: It should be.

Mo: If you agree, you sign on the power-of-attorney here.
Zhou: But I feel that my family cannot afford to hire a big-time lawyer like yourself.  I don't want my father to be forced to sell his hours.

Mo: Ho, ho.  Your case has a political background.  I don't charge a single cent in a political case.  So you don't have to worry.  If you agree, you sign and we can continue.  Did you study at the Politics and Law University?  What did you major in?
Zhou: I studied political science.

Mo: Are you familiar with contemporary law in China?
Zhou: I basically know it, but the law has been amended a lot.  I don't know about many of the detailed articles of law.

Mo: You read this power-of-attorney and you sign it.
Zhou: I have to be sure about your fee schedule before I decide.

Mo: You don't have to worry.  Your case is special.  I will offer you special treatment.
Zhou: I studied politics at the Politics and Law University.  While overseas, I have heard about the many human rights lawyers in China.  I did not imagine that Lawyer Mo can come here.

Mo: Let me introduce your legal position at this point.  According to the current <Criminal Prosecution Law>, you are still just a criminal suspect.  Although your arrest has been approved, your case is still being investigated by the public security people.  Therefore you are merely a suspect, not a defendant.  From the moment when you were detained, the public security unit can only hold you for 37 days.  Now that the procuratorate has approved your arrest, the  public security unit can hold you for two months.  After two months, further detention will have to the approved by a higher level of the People's Court for an extra month.  If further detention is still required, then the provincial court will have to approve for another two more months if this was a major case.  Unless the case moves into prosecution, the procuratorate must file charges within at most one and half months.  During this period, there are two more chances to extend the investigation, each for one more month.  If the evidence is still insufficient, the procuratorate may decide not to prosecute.

[The detention center director enters suddenly]

Zhou: Good!  Director, Captain Xie is here today.  Captain Xie said that I can read the letters from the outside.  You can give them to me.
Director: I don't have any letters that were sent to you.

Mo: Let us continue.  I am acting as your lawyer during the investigation.  Your family can appoint me on your behalf.  The responsibility of us lawyers is to prove that you are innocent, or less guilty, or free from any punishment.  The responsibility that the law confers on laws is different from that for the police, procuratorate or the court.  We can also file charges or complaints on your behalf.  For example, if you were tortured directly or indirectly for confession, you can ask your lawyer to complain against the relevant departments.
Zhou: I understand.

Mo: Were you tortured for confession?
Zhou: No.  But I was enticed to confess.  Let me present my case to you in three minutes.

Mo: You are awesome.  You can present your case to me in three minutes?  Ho ho, I can't even explain it.
Zhou: My case has political factors.  I went from Macao to Hong Kong on September 28, 2009 using a Malaysian passport.  They are saying that the passport is fake.  I bought the passport from a immigration assistance company.  I had no problems entering Taiwan or Macau.  The name on my passport was not Zhou Yongjun.  It was a total surprise for me to be detained in Hong Kong.

Mo: Do you have an American green card?
Zhou: I got my green card in February 4, 1993.  I did not want to become an American citizen.  After 9/11, the US immigration laws got stricter.  So I applied to become a citizen in 2002.  The review period was quite long.  When I left the United States last year, only the oath remained in the process.  So my status is almost a "national."  But I still miss my home because my parents are both in China.  I wanted to return last year after the earthquake.  I applied for a passport through my sister Zhou Shufen last year.  She wasted a lot of effort without success.  Then I wanted to obtain a travel visa through the Chinese consulate, but I failed too.  The Chinese government treats this case as a political matter much more so than a criminal case.  On September 28, I used my Malaysian passport to travel from Macau to Hong Kong.  I didn't think that there would be a problem going to Hong Kong.  But the Hong Kong customs department thought that there was a problem with the passport.  I did not disclose my true identity to the Hong Kong police.  The Hong Kong Immigration Department gave me a notice at noon on September 30 that I would not be allowed to enter.  I stayed at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier police station for 48 hours.  At the time, I was ill and seeking treatment.  Then they apologized and said that they got the wrong person.  A car came and took me to a small hotel in Shenzhen where they presented me with a detention notice under the name on my passport.  I did not tell them what my true identity was.  Around November 7 or 8, the Suining police came to Shenzhen.  Two older and one young police officers came, one of whom I actually knew.  They interrogated me on Saturday and Sunday in the presence of the Shenzhen police.  On November 27, they transferred to the Yantian Detention Center under the name of "Wang Hua."  I had already told them that I was Zhou Yongjun.  They wanted me to sign as "Wang Hua" but I refused.  I signed "Zhou Yongjun."  After arriving in Yantian, I wrote many letters to my family and I asked them to mail for me.  When they refused, I went on a hunger strike.  They did not interrogate me.  Things dragged on until April this year.  The detention center director told me that the senior people asked for me to be held there.  The Shenzhen police then came to ask me about my identity and situation again.  After confirming everything, they issued a notice of detention to me.  On May 4, I arrived in Suining.

Mo: Yes.  Your family members have told me that.  After the person who was in jail with you came out, he told your family about it.
Zhou: The Shenzhen police also went behind my back to my hotel room in Macau and took all my luggage.  They lost my properties during the investigation.  The list of items was missing.  Each time that I was moved to a different detention center, a new list should be compiled.  But the first list prepared by the immigration authorities in Hong Kong should be clear.  You can see that I don't have my bank cards, credit cards, computer and other documents.  As for the suspected fraud case, the only clue was the transcript of my interrogation in the Hong Kong police station.  I made the mistake of keeping a copy of the transcript for myself.  The Hong Kong police ask the subjects whether they wish to retain a copy.  If I had declined, none of the other things would have happened later.  During the interrogation, the Hong Kong police showed me a photocopy of a letter.  The letter had been sent from overseas to the Hang Sang Bank in Hong Kong.  They said that the signed name was identical to the name on my passport.  This letter has nothing to do with me.  I didn't write it.  I have never seen it before.  Besides the bank would never transfer money solely on the basis of a letter.  I denied to the public security unit that I had anything to do with the letter.

Mo: Is that the only case that you are involved in?
Zhou: Yes, this is the only case that involves fraud.

Mo: Was what you just told me the same thing that you told the investigators?  Is there any discrepancy?
Zhou: The same.  There has not been any change.  I have been saying that all along.

Mo: That is to day, you never saw that letter before?  That letter has nothing to do with you whatsoever?
Zhou:  No.  I have never seen that letter.

Mo: You are suspected of fraud.  Under Chinese criminal law, fraud means to fabricate or conceal facts to mislead the victim to hand over their assets.
Zhou: I never did that.  The Hong Kong police did not think that I had a problem.  The mainland police are after this case for political reasons.

Mo: According to what you say, you did not disclose your true identity to the Shenzhen police.  According to the relevant regulations, the period of detention is indefinite if the suspect cannot be positively identified.  The period of detention only begins when the suspect has been identified.
Zhou: The Suining police went to Shenzhen after November 10th.  But that time, they had established my identity.  As for why they detained me, it is due to the political factors that I talked about.

Mo: Alright.  That's it for today.  You take care of your health.  If you want to see us, you can inform Captain Xie.  He will relay the message.  How is your health?  Do you need your family to bring you anything?
Zhou: My health is good.  My heart isn't so good.  I still have some of the money that my sister brought me last time.  I don't need anything else.

Mo: Many of your overseas friends and media are interested in the case.  Do you have anything to say to them?
Zhou: I am very grateful them!  When I came back this time, I feel that China is very different than before.  It has progressed a lot.  Many overseas people prefer to use their previous viewpoints to look at China.  I hope that they can come back and take a look.  Although I have lost my freedom and staying in a jail, I still hope that they can live well.

Mo: Good.  That's it.  Please sign the power-of-attorney.  Take care.
Zhou.  Good.  Thanks!


(China Human Rights Defenders)  May 26, 2009.

On the morning of May 25, renowned criminal defense lawyer Mo Shaoping met with Zhou Yongjun in the Suining detention center in order to understand the case.  Afterwards, the lawyer presented his views to the police and requested bail for Zhou.

...

Zhou Yongjun had previously applied many times to visit his family in China but was always turned down.  On September 30, 2009, he attempted to return via Shenzhen but was arrested by the Chinese customs police.  The reason was that he had used a Malaysian passport that he obtained under the name of Wang Xingxiang through an intermediary agent.  This time, he entered Macau first and then proceeded to Hong Kong.  In Hong Kong, the police interrogated Zhou Yongjun about the case of a man named Wang Xingxiang who had requested the Hang Sang Bank to transfer 200 million Hong Kong dollars to a Citibank account.  Zhou was released by the Hong Kong police after he professed ignorance about the letter.  However, he kept the document that the Hong Kong police gave him after the interrogation.  When Zhou Yongjun entered Shenzhen, the customs officials found the document and detained him.  On November 27, 2008, Zhou Yongjun finally admitted his true identity to the Shenzhen police.  The Shenzhen police then contacted the Suining police to confirm Zhou's identity.  During the course of events, the Shenzhen police even wanted to detain Zhou Yongjun under a pseudonym but he refused.  In May 2009, he was sent to Suining.  The Suining detention center notified the family of Zhou Yongjun on May 8 that he had been formally arrested but without stating the reason.  On May 11, the sister of Zhou Yongjun learned that Zhou had been arrested for "financial fraud."

After meeting with Zhou Yongjun, lawyer Mo Shaoping thought that there were problems with how the police have handled the case:

(1) The Shenzhen police learned about the true identity of Zhou Yongjun on November 27 last year, but they still held him for almost half a year without taking the appropriate judicial steps or notifying his family.

(2) The "financial fraud" by Zhou Yongjun was never actually carried out.  The sole basis was the fact that the names were similar and besides the bank would not have transferred the money solely on the basis of a letter.  The Hong Kong police did their investigation and came up with this conclusion.  However, the Shenzhen police still insisted that there was "financial fraud."

(3) The police who handled the case have ignored the question of jurisdiction.  First of all, the case should have been handled by the police in the place where the fraud took place -- in Hong Kong and not in mainland China.  Secondly, there are no victims of fraud here.  If there is a victim, the local police where the victim is located should take charge.  Thirdly, Zhou Yongjun was born in Suiling but the local government there has refused to give him a passport and let him return.  When Zhou Yongjun came back before, he was sentenced to labor reform.  This means that the Suining police does not regard Zhou Yongjun as a local citizen.  So how can the Suining police still handle his case as if he were a local citizen?


(International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc)  July 23, 2009.

Mr. Zhang Hongbao has been regarded as the biggest potential political opponent with the regime of the Communist Party of China by Jiang Zemin, therefore Mr. Zhang and his Zhang Gong organization have suffered from incessant political persecution seriously. From 2003 to July 2006, Jiang Zemin's subordinates in US had made up to 46 politically vexatious lawsuits against Mr. Zhang and Zhong Gong Organization.  Furthermore, they started a crushing strike on Zhong Gong organization after Mr. Zhang passed away in an unexpected traffic accident.

Through a secret deal between the Chinese Government and the US Government, Los Angeles County took over and sealed up all the estates of Mr. Zhang and Zhong Gong organization including over forty thousand dollars in the bank account and two estates located in Los Angeles and in Texas.  The county sold everything that belongs to International Zhong Gong Headquarters Inc. and some stuff in Tian Hua Xiu Yuan without any authorization, and the
politically vexatious lawsuits are going on at the courts.

In Hong Kong, the bank account savings of close to sixty millions US dollars under Mr. Zhang and his organization have been sealed up by the court as belonging to an "economic criminal and gangland organization" ...

The frozen assets of the Zhong Gong organization in Hong Kong are:

Savings under Zhang Hongbao (Wang Xingxiang)s accounts:
SCB 570-2-146652-9 HK$8,398
      570-6-907957-6 HK$112,101,537
      570-6-908725-0 HK$32,891,855
      570-6-914536-6 HK$12,784,134
HSBC 622002368888 HK$109,502,629
HSB 239-082258-888 HK$13,248,225

Savings under Yan Qingxin (Tian Jing)s accounts (with restrictions):
SCB 570-6-914762-8 HK$35,703,337
      570-6-909689-6 HK$12,710,190
      570-6-912348-8 HK$10,878,501
      570-2-146653-7 HK$4,481,435
      570-2-146014-8 USD 296
      570-1-019662-2 NZD 573
HSBC 508038296888 HK$16,705,329
BOC 7092610084225 HK$30,135
      1958611286938 HK$15,277
      1960320040479 HK$700,356
BA 146783 HK$27,593
DBS 210217725 HK$24,501
CITIBANK 13619039 HK$3,282

Savings under Zhang Hongbao (Wang Xingxiang) and Yan Qingxin (Tian Jing)s joint account (with restrictions):
SCB 001-69196-01-01 HK$96,310,304


(Indictment Document)  August 3, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun's Indictment (English translation)
People
s Procuratorate of Shehong County, Sichuan Province

Indictment

No. SPCL (2009) 097

Defendant Zhou, Yongjun, a./k./a. Zhou, Yazhou, male, born on September 15, 1967 in Pengxi County, Sichuan Province. Zhou is an ethnic Han Chinese, and his identification number is 11010819670915631X. He received undergraduate education and his recorded address in his household registration book is Unit 3-5, 39 South St., Chicheng District, Pengxi County, Sichuan. On April 10, 2009, he was detained by Shenzhen municipal Public Security Bureau as a suspect of committing fraud. On May 8, 2009, he was arrested by Suining municipal Public Security Bureau, with the order of arrest approved by Suining People
s Procuratorate.

The investigation of this case was completed by the Public Security Bureau of Suining, and it was determined that defendant Zhou, Yongjun is suspected of committing the crime of fraud. The case was refered to Suining City People
s Procuratorate on July 7, 2009 to review for pending prosecution. The Procuratorate appoints this court for prosecution. This court received the case, questioned the defendant according to the law, has heard the opinions and defense of the defendant and his representative, and reviewed all the materials pertaining to the case.

It has been determined according to the law:

On May 8, 2008, Defendant Zhou, Yongjun fraudulently used the name Wang Xingxiang to have sent a letter in to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank, requesting the bank to transfer 4 million Hang Kong Dollars in Account 239-082258 (0002) belonging to Wang Xingxiang at the said bank into Account 031027915031 at HSBC
s Australian Branch. On May 19, 2009, Defendant Zhou, Yongjun once more fraudulently used Wang Xingxiang to have requested via a letter to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank for a wire transfer of 2 million Hong Kong dollars from Account 239-082258 (0002) at the said bank into Account 89730410 at Citibanks Hong Kong Branch. On May 24, 2009, since the Defendant Zhou Yongjun saw the said two transfers were unsuccessful, he once again fraudulently used the name of Wang Xingxiang to send postal letters to Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank, requesting that the bank send 4 million Hong Kong dollars in Account 239-082258 (0002) at the said bank into Account 031027915031 at HSBCs Australian Branch and also requesting that the said bank to transfer 2 million Hong Kong dollars from the said account into Account 89730410 at Citibanks Hong Kong Branch. Since the signatures did not match with the record, the requests were denied.

On October 1, 2008, Defendant Zhou Yongjun used a Malaysian passport with Wang Xingxiang
s name, attempted to enter Hong Kong, and was detained by Hong Kongs Immigration Affairs Bureau.

The evidence admitted in support of the said facts includes: physical evidence, correspondence, expert opinions, testimonies from witnesses and the defendant
s personal confession, etc.

This court has determined that Defendant Zhou Yongjun has committed fraud, and the amount is considered very significant. The deeds have violated the statutes stipulated Article 266 of Criminal Law of the People
s Republic of China, and have committed the crime of fraud. The expected outcomes were not fulfilled due to causes unrelated to his original intent, which conforms to Article 23 of Criminal Law of the Peoples Republic of China and should be considered criminal attempt. The facts pertaining to his crime are clear and recognized, the evidence sufficient, and his criminal liabilities should be prosecuted under the crime of attempted fraud. According to the statutes in Article 141 of Criminal Procedural Law of the Peoples Republic of China, the case should be prosecuted according to the law.

Hereby

People
s Procuratorate of Shehong County, Sichuan Province

Acting Inspector: Hongzhi Li
Acting Inspector: Mingzhe Lan
August 3, 2009


(Radio Free Asia)  Student Leader in Fraud Trial.  September 4, 2009.

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan are preparing to try a former leader of Chinas 1989 student movement, a U.S. resident, for economic fraudafter he tried to visit his ailing father in 2008.

Zhou Yongjun was a student at the Chinese University for Political Science and Law at the time of the student protests and ensuing military crackdown on June 4, 1989. He was among a group of students who knelt in front of the Great Hall of the People on April 22 to present a list of demands to Chinas leaders after the death of moderate premier Hu Yaobang.

I am not sure of the exact date, but I heard it would be the 19th or the 20th of this month,an employee who answered the phone at the Shehong County Peoples Court said. The time has already been decided.

But Zhous lawyer, Chen Zerui, said the court had already set many temporary dates. They set Aug. 25, and before than Aug. 23. No sooner than they set it, they change it again. They have the power to do this within the guidelines, however,he said.

Evidence held

Chen said the court had withheld some documents from him, and would not let him photocopy them, meaning that he had no way to fully grasp the case against Zhou. We have some of the evidence, but there is some evidence that is only listed by title, with no content,said Chen, who called on the court to let him see all the evidence against Zhou.

The court should make evidence available to the defense attorney now that we are in the trial stage,Chen said. Plus, they are supposed to supply photocopying facilities. They have not done so. I have never come across this before.

Chen, assistant to top Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, was appointed only in late August after Zhous family tried to hire Mo to defend him in May.

Police responded by telling the family Zhou wished to appoint a local lawyer rather than Mo, but none could be found who would take the case.

U.S. resident

Zhous sister Zhou Shufen, herself a court official, said the case had generated a huge amount of political pressure for her. I really cant talk about this right now,she said. I dont even dare to ask about my brothers case myself.

Zhou, who is a permanent resident of the United States with two children, was detained in the wake of the June 4 crackdown and released in 1991 following international political pressure for the release of student leaders. He arrived in the United States in 1992, and was granted permanent residency. Seeking to return to China to visit his sick father, Zhuo was arrested last year in Shenzhen after repeated requests for an official permit to return to China were turned down by the Chinese embassy in the United States.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department confiscated his passport and then told him there were some people who wanted to talk to him in mainland China,Chen said. They took him to Shenzhen.Chen dismissed the fraud charges against Zhou.

Signal case

This is a trumped-up charge: there has been no fraud. I have seen the letter written while he was in the custody of the Hong Kong police. [Zhou] denies that he wrote this letter.

Zhous cases highlights the situation of dozens of Chinese political activists who have been allowed to leave China and sought asylum in the United States, but are now unable to get permission to return to visit relatives.

U.S.-based dissidents attended a conference Tuesday in New York calling on Beijing to allow former June 4 activists to return home. Participant Yang Jianli said any movement from the Chinese authorities on the issue of exiled dissidents would be a breakthrough. Its not just about returning to China. There are also a lot of our friends inside China who arent allowed to leave,Yang said.

New Year push

New Zealand-based Chinese dissident Wang Ningze has called on fellow exiled Chinese to rush immigration barriers in a campaign entitled I want to go home for Lunar New Year.; :If we had freedom of movement in both directions, there would be greater communication on both sides, and I think that Chinas progress would be quicker and more widespread as a result.

Legal affairs expert Xiang Xiaoji said that preventing Chinese nationals overseas from returning home violates Chinas Constitution and international law.


(China Support Network Blog)  Zhou Yongjun's Defense Attorney's Memo   September 19, 2009.

Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm
The Southwest Yard Zhong Shan Park, Beijing, 10031 P.R. China
Tel/Fax: 86-10-66058311 Email: shaoping@public.bta.net.cn

Attorney
s Memorandum
June 4, 2009
To: Suining Bureau of Public Security, Sichuan Province
Cc: Economic Investigation Branch
Branch Leader: Desheng Xie; Police Officer: Bo Wang:

We are the attorneys from Beijing
s Mo Shaoping Law Firm, representing Yongjun Zhou, who is the suspect of an alleged fraud case handled by your bureau. We are retained by Mr. Zhous family, which was confirmed by Mr. Zhou himself. After the retaining, we met with Yongjun Zhou and acquired information about the case. Here we offer our opinions as to this case based on our knowledge about this case and relevant laws for your reference.

I. Regarding the jurisdiction

We believe the Public Security agency of mainland China has no jurisdiction over this case.

1. The Public Security agency of mainland China has no jurisdiction pursuant to the principle of locality jurisdiction

According to the information provided by Yongjun Zhou, which was confirmed by the police officers handling this case, the basic facts relevant to this case are: When Yongjun Zhou entered Hong Kong from Macau, the Hong Kong police suspected him of being involved in a money laundering scam. The police presented to Mr. Zhou a letter addressing Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank from overseas when he was interrogated. The letter was pursuant to a demand for transfer of money from Hang Seng Bank, and the signor of this letter is the same as the name in English spelling present on Yongjun Zhou
s passport: Wang Xingxiang. It is quite clear that the act and its consequence of this case did not happen within the boundaries of mainland China. Pursuant to The Peoples Republic of China Criminal Law(Criminal Law), Section 6, This law is applicable to all who commit crimes within the territory of the PRC except as specially stipulated by law K.When either the act or consequence of a crime takes place within PRC territory, a crime is deemed to have been committed within PRC territory,which is the principle of locality jurisdiction, and The Basic Law of the Peoples Republic of China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Section 2 says, The Peoples Congress authorizes Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to have high level of autonomy, owns the power of administrative management, legislating and independent judiciary and final review,Chinas Criminal Law is not applicable to this case and Chinas Public Security agency has no jurisdiction over this case.

2. The agency of Public Security of China has no jurisdiction pursuant to the principle of personam jurisdiction.

Yongjun Zhou obtained his green card in the United States on February 4, 1993, and has lived in the United States for 16 years. Considering his Chinese passport had expired, Yongjun Zhou repeatedly applied for the Chinese passport with China
s consulate general in the United States. He also asked his family to help him get a Chinese passport in China. However, his requests were declined, which should be deemed as the denial of his Chinese citizenship by the Chinese government. Without alternative, Yongjun Zhou applied for the U. S. citizenship with the U.S. Immigration and got it granted. According to Yongjun Zhous family, the U.S. Immigration has mailed the notice for taking oathto Yongjun Zhous home in the United States. Pursuant to The Peoples Republic of China Nationality Law, Section 6, the Chinese citizen living in foreign countries should be deemed to lose his/her Chinese citizenship when he/she voluntarily applies for or acquires foreign citizenship,Yongjun Zhou, who lived in the foreign country for a long time and voluntarily applied for United States citizenship, has no longer had his China citizenship. Pursuant to Criminal Law, Section 7, the crime committed by the Chinese citizen outside China shall be governed by this law. However, the crime subject to the imprisonment for less than three years shall not be prosecuted under this law. The crimes committed by the employees of The Peoples Republic of China and servicemen shall be governed by this law,which is personam jurisdiction principle, the Public Security agency of mainland China cannot exercise its jurisdiction over this case. Here, we need to bring your attention to the Rule Related to Cases Involving Foreigners,issued by Foreign Affairs Ministry, The Supreme Court, the Supreme Procuratorate, the Public Security Ministry and Justice Ministry, on June 20, 1995, Section 2, Subsection 1 (1) as to the administrative detainment, criminal detainment, judicial detainment, detainment questioning and investigation, arrest, surveillance, bailment, attachment of passport and expulsion within limited time of a foreigner,K.public security agency, state security agency, peoples prosecutor, the court and other related agencies should report the case, its handling and the way to handling media to its superior agency within 48 hours after taking the abovementioned measures and also inform the foreign affairs agency.And Section 3, subsection 4(7) If no valid ID that could be used to identify the dead or the citizenship of the suspect under bailment, surveillance, detainment questioning and investigation, detainment and arrest,K.the handling agency should inform the foreign embassy or consulate general via inquiry,your bureau should report this case to your superior and notify the foreign affair agency of the government at the same level. In the same time, the relevant agency should notify the United States embassy or consulate general pursuant to the Vienna Treaty regarding Consulate Relationships.

3. The agency of Public Security of China has no jurisdiction pursuant to the principle of protection jurisdiction.

As stated above, the victim of this case should be Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank or other overseas individual or organization, neither a Chinese citizen nor China as a country. Therefore, pursuant to Criminal Law, Section 8,
Foreigners who commit crimes against a Chinese citizen or China as a country, subject to imprisonment for more than three years, could be governed by this law, except for that such act is not punishable pursuant to the law of the locality where the crime is committed,which is the principle of protection jurisdiction, the agency of Public Security of mainland China has no jurisdiction over this case.

II. Regarding the evidence in this case

We believe there is insufficient evidence to charge Yongjun Zhou with fraud.

As stated above, the basic facts relevant to this case are: When Yongjun Zhou entered Hong Kong from Macau, the Hong Kong police suspected him of being involved in a money-laundering scam. The police presented to Mr. Zhou a letter addressing Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank from overseas when he was interrogated. The letter was pursuant to a demand for the transfer of money from Hang Seng Bank and the signor of this letter is the same as the name in English present on Yongjun Zhou
s passport: Wang Xingxiang. There is no other evidence to show that Yongjun Zhou had something to do with this letter or Yongjun Zhou was involved in the fraud. According to Yongjun Zhou, he obtained this Malaysian passport from an immigration service company. Although the name on the passport is the same with the name of the signor of that letter, he did not write such a letter and did not see this letter before. Therefore, we believe, without any other corroborating evidence, it cannot be ascertained that Yongjun Zhou is the person who wrote this letter. It is also worth noting that, according to Yongjun Zhou, after verifying the above, the Hong Kong police not only released Yongjun Zhou but also apologized to him. It indicates that the Hong Kong police, who have the jurisdiction over this case, have already excluded Yongjun Zhou as the suspect!

III. Regarding the procedure used in this case

We believe there is a grave problem of overtime detainment.

Yongjun Zhou was detained by Shenzhen police in early October 2008, when Yongjun Zhou did not disclose his real identity. On November 7 or 8, 2008, Suining City, Sichuan Province Bureau of Public Security sent police to meet with Yongjun Zhou in Shenzhen. According to Zhou, some of the police from Suining City Bureau of Public Security know him from before and at that time Yongjun Zhou had disclosed his real identity to Shenzhen Police. Thus, his real identity could be ascertained no later than November 8, 2008. Pursuant to
The Peoples Republic of China Criminal Procedural Law(Criminal Procedural Law), Section 128 (2), The number of days of the detainment should be counted starting from the day when the real identity of the suspect is ascertained if the suspect refuses to disclose his/her name and address,Yongjun Zhou has been detained 144 days more than that allowed by the law, starting from November 8, 2008, the day when his real identity was disclosed, to May 8, 2009, the day when the Suining PeoplesProcuratorate granted the arrest of him, subtracting 30 days, the longest for criminal detainment, and 7 days, the days for the review by the Peoples Procuratorate, pursuant to Criminal Procedural Law. Pursuant to Criminal Procedural Law, Sections 75 and 96, the suspect, defendant and his/her legal representative, relative or the attorney or other defender retained by him/her have the right to demand the release of the suspect or defendant or cancellation of the surveillance or household watch if the court, prosecutor or Bureau of Public Security detains them for longer than that allowed by the lawand the suspect may retain his/her attorney to provide legal counsel, complain or appeal after he/she is detained or interrogated for the first time,we will complain on behalf of Yongjun Zhou to Shenzhen Police for their overtime detainment of Yongjun Zhou.

Considering the above, we believe:

1. The Agency of Public Security of Mainland China has no jurisdiction over this case pursuant to Criminal Law, Sections 6, 7 and 8 regarding the jurisdiction of the criminal cases;
2. There is insufficient evidence to charge Yongjun Zhou and his case should not stand;
3. There is a grave problem of overtime detainment of Yongjun Zhou.

Yongjun Zhou was the first president of Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities during the [Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989]. Due to the 20th anniversary of the June 4 event, his prominent case may receive great attention from the international community. We hope that your bureau will enforce the law in compliance with the law, ascertain the case as soon as possible and dismiss the case.

Regards,
Shaoping Mo, Attorney
Zerui Chen, Attorney
Beijing
s Mo Shaoping Law Firm


(China Support Network Blog)  Zhou Yongjun's Jailhouse Interview (English translation)    September 19, 2009.

Date: May 25, 2009, Monday

Location: Detention Center, Suining, Sichuan

Interviewers: Attorney Shaoping Mo; Attorney Zerui Chen [also transcriber]

Interviewee: Yongjun Zhou

Mo: Are you Yongjun Zhou?

Zhou: Yes. I am Yongjun Zhou.

Mo: I am Attorney Shaoping Mo from Beijing. This is Attorney Zerui Chen.

Zhou: I have heard of Mr. Mo. However, I am not sure that you are really he.

Mo: We are entrusted by your family to be your attorney. It is your father who signed the agreement. Please see if it is your father
s signature.

Zhou: It should be.

Mo: Please sign it if you agree.

Zhou: But I don
t think my family could afford to pay a great attorney like you. I dont want my father to sell his house for me.

Mo: Oh. Your case has something to do with politics. We haven
t charged your family one cent for this special case as of right now. Dont need to be worried. Please sign it if you agree. Lets continue. Were you a student of China University of Political Science and Law? What is your major?

Zhou: Political Science.

Mo: Are you familiar with China
s current law?

Zhou: I know the basics, but the law changes constantly, the specifics of which I don
t know.

Mo: Please check the agreement and sign it.

Zhou: I first have to make sure how much you charge us.

Mo: You don
t need to be worried about it. Your case is special and I will treat it in a special way.

Zhou: I learned politics at China University of Political Science and Laws. I heard about human rights attorneys in China when I was overseas. I never thought that you would be my attorney.

Mo: Let me give you a rundown about your current legal status. Pursuant to
Criminal Procedural Law,you are still a suspect. Although you have been arrested, you are still in the hands of the Public Security Bureaus investigation. You are a suspect rather than a defendant. From the date you were detained, you would be detained for 37 days at most. Since you were authorized to be arrested by the prosecution, the Public Security Bureau could detain you for two more months. After then, they have to obtain the authorization from the superior prosecution to detain you for one additional month. If your case is important and complex and the Public Security Bureau wants to detain you for longer, the Public Security Bureau has to obtain the authorization from the provincial prosecution in order to make your detainment extended for two more months. Then the case goes to the prosecution for their review. The prosecution has to make the decision on indictment in one and half a months, during which there are two chances for supplemental investigations, one month each chance. If the evidence is not sufficient, the prosecution may make the no-indictment decision. There was so-called being relieved of indictment, under law which is outdated. If they cannot find sufficient evidence, the only decision they can make is no-indictment.

[The director of the detention center came in unexpectedly.]

Zhou: Good! Director Xie is also here. Mr. Xie told me that I could see all my incoming letters. Please give them to me.

Director: I don
t have any letters for you.

Mo: Oh, let
s continue. We are your attorneys when you are under investigation so your family can engage us on behalf of you. Our job is to provide evidence to prove your innocence, lesser offence or being eligible to be relieved of criminal penalty. The authority law entrusted to the attorney is different from authorities given to the Public Security Bureau, prosecution and court. We can file complaints for you if you were coerced to confess by harsh interrogation or the law enforcement violated the law. We have this authority.

Zhou: I see.

Mo: Are you tortured to confess?

Zhou: Well, I was kind of entrapped to confess. Now, let me take three minutes to give you a clear introduction of this case.

Mo: You are good; you can take only three minutes to give us a clear introduction? Oh, even I cannot do it.

Zhou: This case is political. I went to Hong Kong from Macau on September 28, 2008, with a Malaysian passport, which they said was falsified. I bought this passport from an immigration service company, with which I went to Taiwan and Macau without any problem. The name on the passport is not Yongjun Zhou. It is quite accidental that I was detained in Hong Kong.

Mo: Do you have a U.S. green card?

Zhou: Yes, my green card started from February 4, 1993. I haven
t been naturalized. Since 9/11 the hurdle of immigration was getting higher. I applied for citizenship in 2002. It took a longer time. At the time I left the U.S., I was ready to be a citizen except for an oath taking. Therefore, I am only a national [permanent resident], a quasi-citizen.But I was very much homesick because my parents are in China, especially when the big Sichuan earthquake occurred last year. I tried to get a passport via my sister Sufen Zhou, but she tried in vain. Later I applied for a visa through Chinas consulate general but was refused. The Chinese government took this matter politically rather than criminally. On September 28, I went to Hong Kong from Macau with the Malaysian passport. I thought there should be no problem with going to Hong Kong. However, the customs officers of Hong Kong found a problem with my passport. I did not disclose to them who I was. At noon of September 30, the Hong Kong Immigration office gave me a notice of denial of entry. I stayed at the police station at Hong Kong-Macau entry for 48 hours, when I was sick and treated. Later they said sorryto me that they misidentified me and turned me back over to immigration. The immigration said they needed to verify my identity before letting me go. Then I was sent to a small hotel in Shenzhen by a vehicle, where I was shown a notice of detainment, on which the name shown on the passport was listed. I did not tell them my real name. On November 7 or 8, someone from Suining Public Security Bureau came to Shenzhen. Two of them came, one elder and another younger, one of whom was known to me. They interrogated me continuously on Saturday and Sunday, with Shenzhen police aside. On the 27th, they transferred me to Yantian detention center and forcefully changed my name to Hua Wang. I had told them of my real identity, but they wanted me to sign Hua Wang as my name, to which request I disagreed. I signed my name as Yongjun Zhou. Since November 27, I wrote many letters to my family and asked the police officers to forward. I went on a hunger strike when they refused to forward them for me. However, they refused my requests. They did not interrogate me any more and such situation continued until April. Later, the director told me that someone from superior authorities demanded them to detain me here. Thereafter, Shenzhen police came again to verify something, after which they showed me a notice of detainment. Later, I was moved to Suining on May 4.

Mo: Yes, your family told us all already. Your former cellmate told your family after he was released.

Zhou: Shenzhen Public Security police went to the hotel room in Macau where I lived and took away my belongings without my permission, against my will. They lost my belongings in the process. The list of attached belongings was lost because a new list was issued every time I was transferred. However, Hong Kong Immigration is in possession of an original list of attached belongings. It was shown on that document that my bank cards, credit cards, computer and documents were all gone.

As to the financial fraud case, the only reason for my investigation was something in the transcript of the interview conducted on me by Hong Kong police. My mistake is that I brought with me one copy. It was Hong Kong police who gave me such a copy. If I had not brought it with me, probably nothing would have happened. Hong Kong police showed me a copy of a letter, addressing Hong Kong Hang Seng Bank from an overseas address. They said the name on the letter is the same as that on my passport, and the letter demanded Hang Seng Bank to transfer 2 million Hong Kong dollars to an account with Citibank. I have nothing to do with this letter. I did not write the letter and I
ve never seen it. I denied involvement related to this letter when I was in the Public Security Bureau. I have nothing to do with it. (So they detained me.)

Mo: This is the only matter you are involved in?

Zhou: As to the financial fraud, this is the only reason why they accuse me.

Mo: Is what you told me here consistent with what you told the police? Any changes?

Zhou: Consistent. There is no change in the story; I have said it as it is consistently.

Mo: That is to say, you did not see this letter before, and you had nothing to do with this letter?

Zhou: No. I
ve never seen this letter.

Mo: You are suspected of committing criminal financial fraud. Pursuant to the Chinese law, the financial fraud is to make false representation or conceal material facts to induce others to rely on them to dispose of property.

Zhou: I did not do it. Hong Kong police did not think I had a problem. However, the Mainland police continued to pursue this case because it is related to politics.

Mo: According to what you said, you failed to disclose your identity to Shenzhen police. Pursuant to the law, the dates of the detainment would not be counted if the identity was not verified. The dates of the detainment would be counted from the date when the identity could be verified.

Zhou: Suining police came to Shenzhen in mid-November and they should have known my identity by then at the latest. As to why they detained me, the only thing I can say is for political reasons.

Mo: Okay, this is all for today. Please take care of your health. If you want to see us, you may tell Mr. Xie. How is your health? What do you want your family to send to you?

Zhou: My heart has a problem. Last time my sister mailed me some money [On May 8 the police called Zhou
s sister to deposit money for him]. I still have them now; I dont need anything else.

Mo: Your friends overseas and the media paid attention to your case. What do you want to say to them?

Zhou: I thank them very much! Although I am in jail now without any freedom, I wish them living a happy life.

Mo: Ok. Please sign the agreement. Take care!

Zhou: Yes. Thanks!


(China Support NetworkHas the principle of "one country, two systems" been forgotten, or abandoned?  September 20, 2009.

A coalition co-founded by the China Support Network held a New York City news conference on Friday (September 18, 2009) to highlight the case of political prisoner Zhou Yongjun, who is a prominent figure from China's Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising of 20 years ago. Zhou was the first elected president of the Autonomous Students Federation of Beijing Universities, the force which occupied Tiananmen Square during the run up to the infamous massacre of June 4, 1989. In that occasion of mass murder on global television, the Chinese Communist Party used its army and live ammunition to clear Tiananmen Square, killing about 3,000 unarmed protestors on the way in.

Zhou was captured and jailed from 1989-1991. International pressure led to his release, after which he emigrated to the United States. In the U.S., he obtained legal permanent residency, and became the father of two children who are U.S. citizens. In 1998 he attempted a return to China, and was captured and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released somewhat early in 2001 because the Chinese government was bidding for Beijing to win host city status for the 2008 Olympics. His early release was a token gesture to display human rights improvement for the benefit of the International Olympic Committee.

In 2002 he returned to the United States and settled in California. Almost one year ago, in September 2008, he again attempted to return to China, out of concern for the declining health of his aging parents and the effects in his hometown of the Sichuan earthquake, which ravaged that area early in 2008.

Using a false Malaysian passport that Zhou purchased from an immigration company, Zhou went to Macao and tried to enter Hong Kong. At that point, Hong Kong police questioned him about an allegedly fraudulent letter that was written to Hang Seng bank by a person named Wang Xingxiang, which happens to be the name on the false passport that Zhou presented.

Zhou has made it clear that he did not author the letter in question. The bank had declined to transfer money in reply to the letter, because it had discerned that the signature did not match its records. After questioning, Hong Kong police concluded that Zhou was not the man in whom they were interested.

Zhou was then notified that immigration still needed to verify his identity, and that he was not allowed to enter Hong Kong, nor return to Macao nor the US. HK immigration authorities held him at the border for 48 hours, from September 28-30, 2008. In the words of Zhou, "Later they said
sorry' to me that they misidentified me and turned me back over to immigration."

Hong Kong immigration authorities experienced some mercurial lark and turned Zhou over to authorities of Mainland China. This was arbitrary arrest, not supported by any provocation, nor legal basis, nor any shred of due process of law. With no proceedings, no official decision, no chance for review, hearing, representation, or appeal, Zhou found himself moved to "a small hotel in Shenzhen." What Zhou experienced may accurately be called an extrajudicial kidnapping.

The story inside China proceeds as we have seen in the world news. On May 13, 2009, Western news wires reported the formal arrest of Zhou, based on an arrest warrant dated May 8, 2009 citing suspected fraud. His detention was kept secret by the Chinese government for more than seven months prior to mid-May, 2009. The China Support Network scooped the news wires by writing about this case a month earlier, in mid-April, 2009. On Sept. 4, 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that Zhou will soon go on trial for the trumped up charge of attempted financial fraud stemming from the Wang Xingxiang letter.

At this point, it is observable that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions have and continue to occur in Mainland China. However, we must not lose sight of the point that absurd and ridiculous (arbitrary) actions occurred on the part of Hong Kong immigration authorities in September, 2008. If the present story were a movie, it would be a double feature, with two examples of script writing that should be denounced for barely plausible story lines.

The coalition formed by CSN, called RAZY (Rescue Alliance for Zhou Yongjun), held a news conference in New York City on September 18, 2009. Two Chinese dissident attorneys spoke about the two sides of this "double feature" human rights abuse case.

Attorney Li Jinjin spoke about the fact that Mainland Chinese authorities have no jurisdiction over this case
V even if we suppose (for the sake of argument) the allegations were true. (Any attempted fraud on a Hong Kong bank is in the jurisdiction of Hong Kong authorities to prosecute. Because Zhou had not yet set foot on Chinese soil, he cannot have committed any crime in Mainland China.)

Attorney Ye Ning spoke about the ominous and precedent-setting violations by Hong Kong authorities. Such treatment is a new experience for Chinese dissidents. The case report notes, "Normally a non-HK resident refused entry to Hong Kong would be sent back to his place of origin, i.e. the place from which he travelled to Hong Kong."

In recent memory this has happened to other Chinese dissidents -- Wuer Kaixi and Yang Jianli have attempted to enter Hong Kong, and they have been put onto planes that returned them to Taiwan.

Also at the press conference, John Kusumi for the China Support Network and Yuewei Zhang for the families of Zhou Yongjun denounced and decried the whole double feature atrocity.

Back up materials released at the newser included a case report and copies of China's arrest warrant for Zhou, its indictment of Zhou, an interview with Zhou, an opinion from the attorneys at Beijing's Mo Shaoping law firm, and an open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Also within the materials was a family impact statement from Yuewei Zhang, the fiance of Zhou Yongjun and mother of his daughter Fiona.

The actual news in the news conference may be the formation of the Alliance and the fact that it is submitting all of the above materials to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Alliance happens to feel that it is a slam-dunk case and hence that we can anticipate a U.N. determination of arbitrary detention.

The other actual news from the news conference is the open letter to Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is supposed to exist with administrative and judicial independence from China's central government, under the principle of
one country, two systems.' Hong Kong has no legal basis to perform a secret rendition of a Chinese dissident to Mainland China.

Of course, the geopolitical climate in today's world may have been tipped to favor secret renditions, due to the bad example and precedent set by the administration of a leading global superpower, which will remain nameless. (Perhaps the nation with the bad example should be called the Republic of Balagua. Thereby, the name is changed to protect the guilty superpower.) Bad example notwithstanding, the practice remains gangsterism without a legal leg to stand on
V and, it is a challenge to the fundamental freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

An ominous bad precedent has been set in Hong Kong's handling of this case, and the open letter to Donald Tsang notes that it assists human rights abuse in China; forfeits Hong Kong's administrative and judicial independence through "indecent and disgraceful" police cooperation with Mainland China; is a violation of all well recognized international protocols; and is a disgraceful betrayal. The signers call upon Hong Kong for self-restraint and remedy; calls for the international community to launch an investigation of this "serious development"; and calls upon Hong Kong people to stand up and speak out for the administrative and judicial independence of Hong Kong.

All presenters at this news conference became signatories to the open letter for Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang.


(Radio Free Asia)  Lawyers Appeal Over Dissident.  September 21, 2009.

Lawyers and Chinese civil rights activists are planning to lodge formal complaints with the United Nations and the Hong Kong government over the detention of former 1989 student democracy activist Zhou Yongjun on charges of economic fraudafter he tried to visit his ailing father in 2008.

A number of lawyers and civil rights activists said they were planning to lodge formal complaints over Zhou
s detention, especially as it took place in Hong Kong, where freedom of speech and the rule of law were promised protection by Beijing.

If the Hong Kong authorities can just hand him over to China, then where are Hong Kongs freedoms?New York-based lawyer Li Jinjin said. It seems to have turned into just another part of communist China.

Authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan are preparing to try Zhou, a former leader of Chinas 1989 student movement, with trying to cheat money out of a Hong Kong bank account.

Zhou was a student at the Chinese University for Political Science and Law at the time of the student protests and ensuing military crackdown on June 4, 1989. He was among a group of students who knelt in front of the Great Hall of the People on April 22 that year to present a list of demands to China
s leaders after the death of moderate premier Hu Yaobang.

Charge rejected

Li said court documents charged Zhou with using the pseudonym Wangxingxiang to write a letter demanding payment of several million Hong Kong dollars from an account at the Hang Seng bank. However, he rejected the charges, saying that they didn
t match police statements on Zhou from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong authorities are having nothing more to do with this case, which just goes to show that there is nothing to link Zhou Yongjun with this case,Li said. So why does the Chinese government want to detain him? Its clearly the case that the Chinese government is detaining him like this because of Zhous history.

Zhou, who is a permanent resident of the United States with two children, was detained in the wake of the June 4 crackdown and released in 1991 following international political pressure for the release of student leaders. He arrived in the United States in 1992 and was granted permanent residency. Seeking to return to China to visit his sick father, Zhuo was arrested last year in Shenzhen after repeated requests for an official permit to return to China were turned down by the Chinese embassy in the United States.

Passport held

According to his Chinese-appointed lawyer, the Hong Kong Immigration Department confiscated his passport and told him there were some people who wanted to talk to him in mainland China, and then took him across the border to Shenzhen. Li said Zhou was initially held at the No.1 Detention Center in the southern city of Shenzhen, and later transferred to the Shenzhen Yantian Detention Center.

Zhou
s U.S.-based partner Zhang said police had already visited Zhous home in Sichuan and threatened his father. The police have been around to Yongjuns family home and told his father that his case has to do with politics,she said. They said his crimes were quite serious.They said his family shouldnt post anything about this on the Internet, nor any anti-Communist or counter-revolutionary writings.

Many postponements

Zhang said police had also threatened the old man, who fainted during their visit.
For example, they warned that people could disappear,and so on,she added.

Zhou
s China-based lawyer, Chen Zerui, said the court had already set many temporary dates for his trial, but kept postponing them, often an indication that police lack enough evidence to proceed. He also said the court had withheld some documents from him and wouldnt let him photocopy them, meaning that he had no way to fully grasp the strength of the case against Zhou. Chen, assistant to top Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, was appointed only in late August after Zhous family tried to hire Mo to defend him in May.

@
RFA

@
NDTV

(Lim Lip Eng's blog)  A China dissident holding a Malaysian passport - a typical case of kautimism.  September 22, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun, a former student leader of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement and the first student leader elected to lead the Autonomous Students' Federation of Beijing Universities, has been arrested for the 3rd time by the Chinese government since the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. It was reported in today・s Sin Chew Daily and on OpEdNews an internet news portal that Zhou was detained using a Malaysian passport which bore the name Wang Xingxiang by the Chinese authority while in his attempt to enter China in September, 2008.

In this case, several answers from Malaysian immigration department are immediately obvious. Is Zhou・s Malaysian passport genuine? How did he obtain it? Does Wang Xingxiang exist? Are Zhou and Wang Malaysians? If the Malaysian government fails to explain these questions, I have no doubt our country will again and for the 3rd time find itself blacklisted in the next years US State Department Trafficking in Persons report.

(Sun2Surf)  Malaysian passports in great demand  September 24, 2009.

Malaysian passports are in demand among syndicates overseas, the China Press reported today.

A former immigration director-general said an international Malaysian passport, be it a fake or one that has been tampered with, can fetch up to US$10,000 (RM35,000). "Malaysian passports are particularly in demand because Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth and holders of such passports can travel without much hindrance in most parts of the world." Speaking to the daily, the former D-G, who was not named in the report, said it is hard for the authorities to get rid of syndicates selling fake Malaysian passports as they are mobile and do not have fixed bases.

An agent for visa service told the daily Malaysian passports sold by syndicates are usually genuine passports that have been tampered with to match the new holders' identities. "It is not common for these syndicates to take all the trouble of producing fake passports. They usually source genuine passports from burglars. They need only tamper with the pictures and particulars of the holders. This is why it is not easy to detect such hanky-panky." The agent said such passports can be bought in the black market in any part of the world.

On Tuesday, Chinese authorities charged Zhou Yongjun, a prominent figure of Chinas Tiananmen Square pro-democracy uprising in 1989, with financial fraud. It came to light that Zhou, a political prisoner in exile in the US, was arrested last year for trying to sneak into Hong Kong with a Malaysian passport under the name Wang XingXiang. It was believed that the Hanyu Pin Yin (spelling based on the Mandarin phonetic system) name on the passport was a giveaway.


@


(Times Online)  Tiananmen student protester Zhou Yongjun faces third jail term after Hong Kong arrest  By Jane Macartney.  November 19, 2009.

A student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests has been put on trial and faces a third prison term in China after he was handed over to the Chinese police by the authorities in Hong Kong.

Activists and pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong have demanded an explanation from the government of the territory as to why Zhou Yongjun was handed over to the Chinese police after trying to enter on a false Malaysian passport.

Mr Zhou, 42, who has lived in the United States since seeking asylum there in 1992 and who has permanent residency, was put on trial on charges of fraud just a day after President Obama wrapped up a state visit to China.

His lawyer, Chen Zerui, said that the fraud charges against his client were without foundation. He said: "According to the accusations made by the prosecution... he could be sentenced to ten years or more in prison." Amnesty International has denounced the case as politically motivated.

The onetime activist captured global attention in 1989 when he and two other students knelt on the steps of the Great Hall of the People beside Tiananmen Square to plead with Communist leaders to acknowledge student calls for political reforms and an end to corruption. His latest arrest marks the third time Mr Zhou has been held.

However, the circumstances surrounding how he was returned this time to the custody of police in mainland China remain a mystery and have caused a furore in Hong Kong. Lacking a valid Chinese passport, Mr Zhou travelled to Hong Kong from the United States via Macao with the intention of visiting his parents in China on a Malaysian national's passport in September last year. He was picked up by Hong Kong immigration authorities for travelling on a false passport and then handed over to mainland officials,

Legislator Albert Ho of the Hong Kong Democrats has said: In this particular instance it appears to us according to the information available that Mr Zhou was stopped in Hong Kong, refused entry but instead of being sent back to the place of origin or the port of embarkation was sent back to the mainland without his consent or agreement. So that is extremely alarming to the people of Hong Kong.

Britain handed back the colony to Chinese rule in 1997 under the principle of one country, two systems. Activists have argued that the handling of Mr Zhou calls into question that principle.

Mr Zhou faces charges of financial fraud involving a bank in Hong Kong, but his supporters say that the charges were a pretext to punish him for his years of rights activism. His girlfriend, Zhuang Yuewei, said: I know from the lawyers that he's on trial today, but the whole process has been kept secret. This came out of the blue."

She told Reuters from her home in Los Angeles: "Holding the trial at this time was to show the U.S. President ... The Chinese Government maybe believes that it has the power and cash to go up against the United States and international society."

Mr Zhou was arrested in 1990 on ''counterrevolutionary'' charges and released without prosecution the following year. He fled to the United States via Hong Kong in 1992. He was sentenced to three years in labour camp for illegal border-crossing after returning to China in 1998 on a visit to his parents. He returned to the United States in 2002 and stayed there until trying to visit his parents in China last year.


(Reuters)  China tries dissident from U.S. after Obama leaves   By Chris Buckley.  November 19, 2009.

A student leader of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement who has long lived in the United States went on trial in China on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama finished a visit that raised human rights.

Zhou Yongjun faces fraud charges at the trial in Shehong County in southwest Sichuan province, his lawyer and a long-time girlfriend told Reuters.

Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students' Autonomous Union in the 1989 protests that ended in a bloody army-led crackdown in the streets around Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He later obtained a green card from the United States, giving him residential rights, but not full citizenship.

"I know from the lawyers that he's on trial today, but the whole process has been kept secret," Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend, said from Los Angeles where she lives. She said Zhou's immediate family had also told her of the trial.

Zhou, 42, faces charges of financial fraud involving a bank in Hong Kong, but Zhang and other supporters say the charges were a pretext to punish him for his years of rights activism.

He was handed to Chinese police by authorities in Hong Kong, leading to his detention for nearly a year, Zhang and Hong Kong rights activists said last month.

Lacking a valid Chinese passport, Zhou traveled to Hong Kong with the intention of visiting relatives in China on a Malaysian national's passport in September last year.

"Holding the trial at this time was to show the U.S. President," Zhang said in a separate email. "The Chinese government maybe believes that it has the power and cash to go up against the United States and international society."

Zhou vigorously denied the charges, said his lawyer, Chen Zerui. "Of course, he pleaded innocent and spoke out to the court in his own defense," Chen said of Zhou, speaking by phone. "He believes the whole case is without any foundation."

In his public comments throughout his four-day visit to China, Obama raised general hopes for broader human rights in Communist Party-ruled China, but avoided raising specific cases. It was unclear, however, whether he raised such cases in his closed-door meetings with China's leaders.

But China's ruling Communist Party appears in no mood to make concessions to dissidents and human rights critics, even with pressure from the West. Because Zhou is not a U.S. citizen, Washington has scant formal power to intervene, and Chinese authorities have no obligations to tell the United States of any developments.

The court did not give a verdict on Thursday. If found guilty, Zhou could face a sentence of up to 10 years or longer in jail, said Chen.  China's courts come under Communist Party control and rarely find defendants innocent.


(The Guardian)  Tiananmen Square protest leader goes on trial in China.  By Tania Branigan.  November 19, 2009.

A long-term US resident and former leader of student protests in Tiananmen Square went on trial in China this morning, one day after Barack Obama concluded his visit to the country.

Zhou Yongjun is accused of fraud charges involving a bank in Hong Kong, his lawyer and his girlfriend told Reuters. She and other supporters said they believed the charges were a pretext to punish him for years of activism. Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students Autonomous Union and was jailed for two years following the bloody suppression of the 1989 protests.

"I know from the lawyers that he's on trial today, but the whole process has been kept secret," Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend, said from Los Angeles where she lives. She said Zhou's immediate family had told her of the trial in Shehong county, in the south-western Sichuan province.

In an email to Reuters, she added: "Holding the trial at this time was to show the US president ... the Chinese government maybe believes that it has the power and cash to go up against the United States and international society."

Obama raised human rights concerns with senior leaders during his trip, and spoke publicly about why America believed rights such as political participation were universal, but some campaigners had hoped he would go further.

Zhou, 42, was handed over to mainland authorities by Hong Kong officials in September last year. It is thought he had hoped to visit relatives using a Malaysian passport.

Although Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, it has separate political, legal, economic and immigration systems from the mainland. Hong Kong's government refused to comment on Zhou's case. Visitors whose travel documents do not meet requirements were usually returned to their "place of embarkation or origin", the government said.

Zhou has a US green card giving him residential rights in the US but not full citizenship V meaning the US has little formal power to intervene. Zhou's lawyer, Chen Zerui, told Reuters: "Of course, he pleaded innocent and spoke out to the court in his own defence.  "He believes the whole case is without any foundation."

Chen told the Associated Press that the passport Zhou was using was in a name on a money laundering watchlist, but that the defendant said he had obtained the passport through an immigration agency and had simply been the victim of bad luck.

According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the name is a pseudonym used by the deceased leader of a meditation group banned by China and authorities suspected Zhou of attempting to access funds frozen after the leader's death. Bank officials say they spotted a suspicious request for a transfer of funds.


(Associated Press)  China's courts come under Communist Party control and rarely find defendants innocent.  By Christopher Bodeen.  November 19, 2009.

An exiled former leader of the 1989 student pro-democracy movement went on trial on financial fraud charges Thursday in southwestern China, a case highlighted by his controversial handover to the mainland from Hong Kong.

No verdict was announced at the end of Zhou Yongjun's five-hour hearing in the Sichuan province city of Shehong, his lawyer, Chen Zerui, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Chen said the judge in the case said a verdict would be announced "at a chosen date."

Zhou captured global attention in 1989 by kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People beside Tiananmen Square in a plea for China's communist leaders to acknowledge student calls for political reforms and an end to corruption.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people are believed to have been killed in the army's crackdown on the demonstrations. Many veterans of the movement who were not exiled continue to suffer government harassment.

Zhou had been living in exile in the United States, but was arrested in August 2008 while attempting to enter Hong Kong and was sent to a jail on the mainland a month later.

Supporters say he was planning on returning to mainland China to visit his elderly parents and they accuse Hong Kong's government of violating its own laws in sending him to the mainland.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997, but the territory retains separate political, legal, economic and immigration systems from the mainland. It also lacks a deportation and removal treaty with mainland China.

Chen said the charges against Zhou stem from a complaint by Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank about a suspicious request for the transfer of funds out of an account registered to Wang Xingxiang. The signature on the transfer form did not match that of the original account holder and the name Wang Xingxiang was placed on a money laundering watch list, Chen said.

Zhou was detained while attempting to enter Hong Kong on an apparently fake passport bearing the name Wang Xingxiang. The name is a pseudonym used by the deceased leader of a meditation group banned by China, according to the Hong Kong-based group the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. The group said authorities suspected Zhou of attempting to access funds in the bank account that were frozen after the leader's death.

Chen said Zhou denied the fraud charge, arguing that he had obtained the passport through an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles, and was merely the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity.

Officials at the Shehong court reached by phone refused to comment or give their names.

Hong Kong's government refused to comment on Zhou's case. Visitors whose travel documents do not meet requirements are usually returned to their "place of embarkation or origin," the government said.

Zhou was a United States permanent resident on track to become a citizen, but did not ask to be returned to the U.S. because of an outstanding warrant issued there for his arrest, according to the information center, which has a well-established reputation for accuracy in reporting on human rights violations and political developments in mainland China. It did not say why the warrant had been issued.

Zhou's lawyer denied the existence of any warrants for his client in the U.S.


(Reuters)  China tries dissident from U.S. after Obama leaves   By Chris Buckley.  November 19, 2009.

A student leader of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement who has long lived in the United States went on trial in China on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama finished a visit that raised human rights. Zhou Yongjun faces fraud charges at the trial in Shehong County in southwest Sichuan province, his lawyer and a long-time girlfriend told Reuters.

Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students' Autonomous Union in the 1989 protests that ended in a bloody army-led crackdown in the streets around Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He later obtained a green card from the United States, giving him residential rights, but not full citizenship.

"I know from the lawyers that he's on trial today, but the whole process has been kept secret," Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend, said from Los Angeles where she lives. She said Zhou's immediate family had also told her of the trial.

Zhou, 42, faces charges of financial fraud involving a bank in Hong Kong, but Zhang and other supporters say the charges were a pretext to punish him for his years of rights activism. He was handed to Chinese police by authorities in Hong Kong, leading to his detention for nearly a year, Zhang and Hong Kong rights activists said last month.

Lacking a valid Chinese passport, Zhou traveled to Hong Kong with the intention of visiting relatives in China on a Malaysian national's passport in September last year.

"Holding the trial at this time was to show the U.S. President," Zhang said in a separate email. "The Chinese government maybe believes that it has the power and cash to go up against the United States and international society."

Zhou vigorously denied the charges, said his lawyer, Chen Zerui. "Of course, he pleaded innocent and spoke out to the court in his own defense," Chen said of Zhou, speaking by phone. "He believes the whole case is without any foundation."

In his public comments throughout his four-day visit to China, Obama raised general hopes for broader human rights in Communist Party-ruled China, but avoided raising specific cases. It was unclear, however, whether he raised such cases in his closed-door meetings with China's leaders.

But China's ruling Communist Party appears in no mood to make concessions to dissidents and human rights critics, even with pressure from the West. Because Zhou is not a U.S. citizen, Washington has scant formal power to intervene, and Chinese authorities have no obligations to tell the United States of any developments.

The court did not give a verdict on Thursday. If found guilty, Zhou could face a sentence of up to 10 years or longer in jail, said Chen.  China's courts come under Communist Party control and rarely find defendants innocent.


(InMediaHK)  Lightning-fast Trial of Zhou Yongjun on the morning of November 19, 2009.

[...]

Judge: Zhou Yongjun was detained past the legally permissible period. However, that was because Zhou Yongjun's true identity had not been established before March 26, 2009.

Lawyer: In early November 2008, the police had figured out Zhou Yongjun's true identity.  Zhou Yongjun had acknowledged himself that he is Zhou Yongjun.  I ask for the the public security officers from Suining county (Sichuan province) who went to Shenzhen to extradite him to testify in court.

Judge: You have not informed me whose those police officers were, including their names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.

Lawyer: How would I know which police officers they were?  The public security bureau ought to have a record.

Judge: I am not going to discuss this further with you!

Lawyer: The mainland public security bureau does not have jurisdiction in this case.  They have also detained Zhou Yongjun well past the permissible period.

Judge: That was because the public security bureau had not completed their investigation.

Lawyer: According to the law, persons cannot be arbitrarily arrested and detained when it is unclear whether they have committed any crimes.  They should be arrested and detained only after an investigation is completed.

Judge: I am not going to discuss this further with you!

Judge: The evidence is that the signature on the letter in the fraud case is identical to the the name in the passport of Zhou Yongjun.

Lawyer: The Hong Kong police had compared the handwriting and concluded that Zhou Yongjun did not write that letter.

Judge: The public security bureau has determined after examination that Zhou Yongjun wrote that letter.

Lawyer: I demand that the Hong Kong police officer who took the statement from Zhou Yongjun be allowed to testify in court.

Judge: Hong Kong has a different legal system than we do.  There is no need to make them appear her.

Lawyer: I insist that the Hong Kong police officer testity.

Judge: You haven't told me which Hong Kong police officers ... their names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.

Lawyer: I don't know.  Zhou Yongjun does not know either.  The Hong Kong Immigration Department should know.

Judge: I am not going to discuss this with you!

Outcome: The court will pronounce a verdict at a later day.

[ESWN Comment:

Here are some key bullet points of what I have collected here so far:

The frozen assets of the Zhong Gong organization in Hong Kong alone are:

Savings under Zhang Hongbao (Wang Xingxiang)s accounts:
SCB 570-2-146652-9 HK$8,398
      570-6-907957-6 HK$112,101,537
      570-6-908725-0 HK$32,891,855
      570-6-914536-6 HK$12,784,134
HSBC 622002368888 HK$109,502,629
HSB 239-082258-888 HK$13,248,225

Savings under Yan Qingxin (Tian Jing)s accounts (with restrictions):
SCB 570-6-914762-8 HK$35,703,337
      570-6-909689-6 HK$12,710,190
      570-6-912348-8 HK$10,878,501
      570-2-146653-7 HK$4,481,435
      570-2-146014-8 USD 296
      570-1-019662-2 NZD 573
HSBC 508038296888 HK$16,705,329
BOC 7092610084225 HK$30,135
      1958611286938 HK$15,277
      1960320040479 HK$700,356
BA 146783 HK$27,593
DBS 210217725 HK$24,501
CITIBANK 13619039 HK$3,282

Savings under Zhang Hongbao (Wang Xingxiang) and Yan Qingxin (Tian Jing)s joint account (with restrictions):
SCB 001-69196-01-01 HK$96,310,304

These facts lead to this central question: Why would Zhou Yongjun show up in Hong Kong with a forged Malaysian passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang, who is his former employer and the president of the 'subversive' Chinese Shadow Government?  If he really wanted to see his ailing parents, wouldn't he use a different name (or any other name) than a known wanted national-security-risk person?  Why did he go from Macau to Hong Kong in order to reach Sichuan, instead of directly proceeding from Macau to Zhuhai to Sichuan?

Those are very obvious questions to me when I compiled the information on the case of Zhou Yongjun.  None of this extremely significant information is evident in the two cited reports above.

However, some western media have noticed part of the connection, though not the whole picture (namely, the relationship between Zhou Yongjun and the "deceased leader of a meditation group banned by China"):

(Associated Press)  China's courts come under Communist Party control and rarely find defendants innocent.  By Christopher Bodeen.  November 19, 2009.

Chen said the charges against Zhou stem from a complaint by Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank about a suspicious request for the transfer of funds out of an account registered to Wang Xingxiang. The signature on the transfer form did not match that of the original account holder and the name Wang Xingxiang was placed on a money laundering watch list, Chen said.

Zhou was detained while attempting to enter Hong Kong on an apparently fake passport bearing the name Wang Xingxiang. The name is a pseudonym used by the deceased leader of a meditation group banned by China, according to the Hong Kong-based group the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. The group said authorities suspected Zhou of attempting to access funds in the bank account that were frozen after the leader's death.

Chen said Zhou denied the fraud charge, arguing that he had obtained the passport through an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles, and was merely the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity.

(The Guardian)  Tiananmen Square protest leader goes on trial in China.  By Tania Branigan.  November 19, 2009.

Chen told the Associated Press that the passport Zhou was using was in a name on a money laundering watchlist, but that the defendant said he had obtained the passport through an immigration agency and had simply been the victim of bad luck.

Zhou's lawyer, Chen Zerui, told Reuters: "Of course, he pleaded innocent and spoke out to the court in his own defence.  "He believes the whole case is without any foundation."

According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the name is a pseudonym used by the deceased leader of a meditation group banned by China and authorities suspected Zhou of attempting to access funds frozen after the leader's death. Bank officials say they spotted a suspicious request for a transfer of funds.

Of all the names that an immigration agency would have such "bad luck" as giving Zhou Yongjun, how likely by random chance is it the name of his former employer and a famous wanted criminal/national security risk in China?  Wang Xinxiang is not a common name in China.  Zhou Yongjun is known to have worked for Zhong Hongbao and he is contesting the estate which included financial assets registered under the original name of Wang Xingxiang.  He cannot be unaware that Wang Xingxiang is Zhang Hongbao, the late president of the Chinese Shadow Government.

If given a forged passport under the name of Wang Xingxiang by the immigration agency by random chance, how could Zhou Yongjun not perceive the risk?  He has to know that Wang Xingxiang is the real name of his former boss, the late president of the Chinese Shadow government and a wanted fugitive in China.   Why not use a name such as Wang Jun or Li Hong of which there must be tens of thousands of others in China if his sole purpose was to slip into China to see his parents without being noticed?  There is no way out of this other than supposing that he intentionally asked the "immigration agency" to prepare a passport under that specific name and entered Macau and then Hong Kong while being fully aware of the risks!

Addendum:  There is a digression effort that attempts to turn this case into one about whether Hong Kong can transfer a person to mainland China for trial when the alleged crime took place in Hong Kong.  This is an apparent violation of Hong Kong law.  Now I agree that this is true -- but only if the correct facts are being presented.  But as I showed above, there already is evidence of the concealment of the relationship to Wang Xingxiang/Zhang Hongbao.  Do you trust the assertion about the transfer?  I cite here a report from China Human Rights Defenders on May 26, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun had previously applied many times to visit his family in China but was always turned down.  On September 30, 2009, he attempted to return via Shenzhen but was arrested by the Chinese customs police.  The reason was that he had used a Malaysian passport that he obtained under the name of Wang Xingxiang through an intermediary agent.  This time, he entered Macau first and then proceeded to Hong Kong.  In Hong Kong, the police interrogated Zhou Yongjun about the case of a man named Wang Xingxiang who had requested the Hang Sang Bank to transfer 200 million Hong Kong dollars to a Citibank account.  Zhou was released by the Hong Kong police after he professed ignorance about the letter.  However, he kept the document that the Hong Kong police gave him after the interrogation.  When Zhou Yongjun entered Shenzhen, the customs officials found the document and detained him.

Would that change your assessment?  Of course, I don't know whether this or Zhou Yongjun's version or some other version is true.]


(Telegraph)  Tiananmen Square protest leader put on trial  By Malcolm Moore.  November 20, 2009.

Zhou Yongjun, 42, faces a third prison term in China after being handed over to the mainland by the police in Hong Kong.

Mr Zhou, who has lived in the United States since seeking political asylum in 1992, was arrested last September.

His subsequent transfer to the authorities in China, who have accused him of travelling on a false passport, has ignited fury in Hong Kong, which remains regulated by British law.

Mr Zhou's lawyer, Chen Zerui, said the charges were without foundation. Mr Zhou emerged into the spotlight when he and two other students knelt on the steps of the Great Hall of the People to plead with Communist party leaders to bring about reforms and end corruption.

He was arrested in 1990 on counter-revolutionary charges but was released without trial the following year. In 1998 he was given three years of reform through labour for crossing into China illegally to visit his parents.


(Radio Free Asia)  Obama Leaves, Activists Tried    November 20, 2009.

Hard on the heels of a state visit to China by U.S. President Barack Obama, authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have begun the trial of a former 1989 student leader and will shortly sentence an activist who tried to help victims of last year's devastating earthquake.

Authorities in Sichuan's Shehong county began the trial of U.S. resident and former leader of Chinas 1989 student movement Zhou Yongjun for economic fraudafter he tried to visit his ailing father in 2008, just one day after Obama ended his three-day trip.

"This case definitely exists," Zhou's lawyer Chen Zerui said. "But there is no evidence whatsoever to show that Zhou Yongjun is directly connected to it."

Zhou was a student at the Chinese University for Political Science and Law at the time of the student protests and ensuing military crackdown on June 4, 1989, in which hundreds died.

He was among a group of students who knelt in front of the Great Hall of the People on April 22 to present a list of demands to Chinas leaders after the death of moderate premier Hu Yaobang.

Lawyer appointed

Chen, assistant to top Beijing-based lawyer Mo Shaoping, was retained only in late August after Zhous family tried to hire Mo to defend him in May.

He said he had already called into question some of the evidence presented by police.

"I have asked for a suitable agency to review the evidence based on handwriting," he said, adding that he had also found holes in the legal procedures used to bring the case against Zhou.

Zhou's relatives, who attended the trial, said he didn't look himself.

"He seemed in low spirits and his voice was very faint," said a brother-in-law surnamed Ye. "We wondered if he was sick."

"It has been such heartache for our family. Zhou disappeared for about a year, and we were all very worried. His parents are old, and they are extremely distressed," Ye said.

Zhou, who is a permanent resident of the United States with two children, was detained in the wake of the June 4 crackdown and released in 1991 following international political pressure for the release of student leaders.

He arrived in the United States in 1992, and was granted permanent residency.

Zhous case highlights the situation of dozens of Chinese political activists who have been allowed to leave China and seek asylum in the United States, but are now unable to get permission to return to visit relatives.


(Agence France Presse)  China puts US-based Tiananmen leader on trial.  November 21, 2009.

A student leader of Chinas 1989 Tiananmen Square protests who was a long-time US resident was put on trial yesterday for fraud, his lawyer said, just a day after a visit by US President Barack Obama.

Zhou Yongjun, 42, was tried by a court in the southwestern province of Sichuan, lawyer Chen Zerui said, on charges that Amnesty International has denounced as politically motivated.Speaking by phone from Sichuan, Chen said the fraud charges had no foundation. He said it was not known when a verdict against Zhou would be announced by the court in the city of Suining, Zhous hometown.

Zhou was a leader of the Beijing StudentsAutonomous Union, one of the most visible groups in the protests at Tiananmen Square, which ended on June 4, 1989 in an army crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands.

Human rights groups said he was seized by authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen on September 30 last year as he tried to enter China to visit his family after living in the United States since 1992.

According to the accusations made by the prosecution... he could be sentenced to ten years or more in prison,Chen said.

The fraud allegations centre around three letters allegedly sent to a bank in Hong Kong from Canada asking for a large transfer of money, according to Chen. He argued that China did not have jurisdiction in such a case, and said he had raised the issue of Zhous illegal detention for over a year.

An official at the court, who refused to be named, confirmed that the trial took place yesterday, but said he had no further details.

The trial comes just one day after Obama finished his maiden visit to China, where he raised the issue of human rights, saying the United States believed in fundamental rights for all people, including ethnic and religious minorities.

Zhou has a green carddenoting permanent residence status in the United States. In May, a State Department spokesman in Washington said the US government was disturbedby the initial reports that Zhou would face charges and had raised the issue with Beijing.

Relatives of Zhou questions about the case to Zhous legal counsel. His brother Zhou Lin told AFP in May he did not know how his brother could have committed fraud in China, given that he had been out of the country for so long.


(South China Morning Post)   Dissident HK handed to mainland jailed 9 years   

Questions over the implementation of "one country, two systems" have been raised by the jailing of a former student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests by a Sichuan court after he was handed over to the mainland by Hong Kong immigration authorities.

The Shehong County People's Court sentenced Zhou Yongjun, 42, to nine years in jail on Friday after convicting him of attempted financial fraud and fining him 80,000 yuan (HK$90,840), the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.

One of Zhou's lawyers, Chen Zerui, said his case stemmed from a complaint by Hang Seng Bank about a suspicious request to transfer overseas HK$6 million from a Hong Kong account registered to Wang Xingxiang, whose name was on the phony Malaysian passport Zhou used to try to enter Hong Kong. The signature on the transfer form did not match that of the original account holder and the name was placed on a money-laundering watch list. He said Hong Kong police had found no evidence linking Zhou to the transfer request during 48 hours of questioning following his arrival from Macau on September 28, 2008, and comparing his signature with that on the transfer form. He said Zhou was then passed back to Hong Kong immigration authorities, who handed him over to the mainland after he declined to reveal his true identity.

Another of Zhou's lawyers, Mo Shaoping, said there were jurisdictional concerns about the case, because the alleged fraud was committed in Hong Kong and the alleged victim was Hong Kong-based Hang Seng Bank. "Firstly, it has to do with the location where the alleged crime was committed," Mo said. "It was allegedly committed in Hong Kong and Sichuan has no jurisdiction over that. Hong Kong is a special administrative region. Under 'one country, two systems' none of the mainland judicial authorities have the right to handle a Hong Kong lawsuit." He said that if Hong Kong immigration authorities wanted to turn Zhou away, the proper procedure would have been to send him back to Macau; there was no reason to send him to a third location, Shenzhen. "If they have doubts about his identity, they should send him back to Macau, where he came from, instead of sending him to Shenzhen," Mo said. Zhou's human rights had also been violated, with Shenzhen authorities having detained him for seven months without notifying his family in the US or Sichuan, he said.

Speaking from Los Angeles, Zhang Yuewei, Zhou's girlfriend and the mother of their two-year-old daughter, said the Hong Kong government had violated the "one country, two systems" formula by sending him to the mainland.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan believes Zhou's sentence is related to his background as a student leader during the Tiananmen protests in 1989. Ho, a member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, said the Hong Kong government had not provided details of Zhou's case, including his 48 hours of questioning by Hong Kong police, even though he had asked for such information months ago on behalf of Zhou's legal team. "The Hong Kong government might have political considerations behind this arrangement," Ho said. "If we had been able to obtain this information, it might have helped Zhou's plea."

Zhou, from Sichuan, captured global attention in 1989 by kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People beside Tiananmen Square with two other students and pleading for top Beijing leaders to acknowledge student calls for political reform and the stamping out of corruption. Zhou managed to get out of the mainland in 1993 and moved to the United States. He returned in 1998 to visit his elderly parents after his mother fell ill, and was sentenced to three years in a labour camp in Mianyang, Sichuan.

His name made headlines again after Hong Kong immigration authorities handed him over to Shenzhen authorities in September 2008 for using the phony passport bearing the name of Wang Xingxiang. The name was a pseudonym used by Zhang Hongbao, founder of a mainland qi gong organisation known as Zhong Gong, to open bank accounts overseas. Zhang was wanted by mainland police for rape, illegally collecting money and other charges from the early 1990s. He fled to the United States in 2000 and died in a car accident on July 31, 2006.

Zhou's girlfriend said he denied the fraud charge and that he was the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity. She said he had obtained the fake passport through an immigration agency - a practice common among exiled dissidents, many of whom found themselves stateless when Beijing refused to renew their passports. A Hong Kong police spokesman said the force would not comment on an individual case. A spokeswoman for Hang Seng Bank also declined to comment, as did the Hong Kong government.

Chen said Zhou had decided to appeal.


(Times Online)  Chinese democracy leader Zhou Yongjun jailed for fraud  By Jane Macartney.  January 21, 2010.

A former student leader of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement has been sentenced to nine years in jail, the latest in a series of tough prison terms to be handed down by the Chinese authorities. The arrest of Zhou Yongjun aroused widespread controversy in Hong Kong, whose police handed him to their counterparts in mainland China after he tried to enter the former British colony from the United States on a false Malaysian passport.

A court in the southwestern city of Shehong has convicted Mr Zhou, 42, of attempted fraud for a transaction attempted in Hong Kong. One of his lawyers, Mo Shaoping, said his client had faced a minimum sentence of ten years given the large amounts of money involved but was given a lighter sentence because he never took possession of the money. Mr Mo told The Times: In our view he should not have been put on trial in China for this so-called fraud since it involved a bank in Hong Kong and the whole case was alleged to have taken place in Hong Kong.

Mr Zhou has denied the charges and will appeal. The former activist won global attention in 1989 when he and two other students knelt on the steps of the Great Hall of the People next to Tiananmen Square to plead with Communist leaders to acknowledge their calls for political reforms and an end to corruption. Hundreds were subsequently killed in a brutal crackdown by the Chinese government, which sent tanks on to the streets of Beijing.

Details of the charges against Mr Zhou are vague, as is common in China・s opaque legal system.

The case stems from a complaint by the Hang Seng bank in Hong Bank about a suspicious request for the transfer of funds out of an account registered to Wang Xingxiang X the name in Mr Zhou's fake passport. The signature on the transfer form for HK$6 milllion (£550,000) did not match that of the original account holder and the name Wang Xingxiang was placed on a money laundering watch list.

Mr Zhou said he was the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity. He says he obtained the fake passport through an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles who often find themselves stateless after Beijing refuses to renew their passports. He has lived in the United States since seeking asylum there in 1992 and holds permanent residency. He was put on trial in November, a day after President Obama ended a state visit to China.

Mr Mo argued that it was strange for a court in China to try someone for a crime that took place in Hong Kong. He added that police in Hong Kong believed that the signature under dispute was not in the writing of Mr Zhou. He wondered how the Chinese court could have reached a different conclusion V especially since the signature was written in English. Amnesty International has said it believes the case is politically motivated.

It is the third time since 1989 that Mr Zhou has been imprisoned by the Chinese authorities. The circumstances surrounding his most recent return to the custody of Chinese police remain unclear, but his case has caused a furore in Hong Kong.

Albert Ho, of the Hong Kong opposition Democratic Party, has complained that instead of being returned to his port of origin or of embarkation, Mr Zhou was transferred to the mainland without his consent. He said: That is extremely alarming to the people of Hong Kong.

Britain handed back the colony to Chinese rule in 1997 under the principle of one country, two systems, which gave the territory more political and economic freedoms than the mainland. Activists have argued that Mr Zhous case calls into question that principle.


(Telegraph)  Chinese democracy activist jailed for 9 years    By Peter Foster.  January 21, 2010.

Zhou Yongjun attained fame as one of the students who knelt on the steps of the Great Hall of the People beside Tiananmen Square in a symbolic plea to China's communist leaders to reform. He fled to America in 1993 but was arrested in August 2008 while attempting to enter Hong Kong on a forged Malaysian passport on a trip to see his ailing father after being refused visas by the Chinese authorities, his lawyer said.

His case caused huge controversy last year when his lawyers alleged that the Hong Kong authorities had illegally handed over Zhou to Chinese police on the mainland despite there being no extradition treaty between the two. Zhou was convicted on financial fraud charges relating to attempts to transfer funds out of a Hong Kong bank account registered to Wang Xingxiang - the name in Zhou's fake passport.

Hong Kong's Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said Zhou was tried and convicted last Friday in the southwestern city of Shehong. He was also fined 80,000 yuan (£7,200). Zhou denied the fraud charges, saying he was a victim of mistaken identity and intends to appeal his conviction, the lawyers added.


(Associated Press)  Former China democracy movement leader sentenced to 9 years in prison on fraud charges.  By Christopher Bodeen.  January 21, 2010.

A former Chinese democracy movement leader who was controversially handed over to mainland China from Hong Kong has been sentenced to nine years in prison on the charge of attempted fraud, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Zhou Yongjun was sentenced last Friday in the southwestern city of Shehong after an initial hearing on Nov. 19, Chen Zerui told The Associated Press. He was also fined 80,000 yuan ($11,700), but planned to appeal his conviction, Chen said. A duty officer reached by phone at the court confirmed Zhou's conviction, but said he had no knowledge of the sentence or other details.

Zhou captured global attention in 1989 by kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People beside Tiananmen Square in a plea for China's communist leaders to acknowledge student calls for political reforms and an end to corruption. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people are believed to have been killed in the army's crackdown on the demonstrations. Many veterans of the movement who were not exiled continue to suffer government harassment.

Zhou had been living in the United States since smuggling himself out of China in 1993, but was arrested in August 2008 while attempting to enter Hong Kong on a phoney Malaysian passport bearing the name Wang Xingxiang. Supporters say he was planning on returning to mainland China to visit his elderly parents and accuse Hong Kong's government of violating its own laws in sending him to the mainland.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 but maintains its British colonial era legal system and lacks a deportation and removal treaty with mainland China.

Details of the charges against Zhou remain murky, as is common in China's opaque legal system. Chen says the case stems from a complaint by Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank about a suspicious request for the transfer of funds out of an account registered to Wang Xingxiang - the name in Zhou's fake passport. The signature on the transfer form did not match that of the original account holder and the name Wang Xingxiang was placed on a money laundering watch list, according to Chen. He said the amount of the attempted fraud was listed as $6 million Hong Kong dollars ($773,000), but declined to give other details of the case or Zhou's defence.

Zhou denied the fraud charge, saying he was the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity. He says he obtained the fake passport through an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles who often find themselves stateless after Beijing refuses to renew their passports.

Hong Kong's government refuses to comment on Zhou's case. Visitors whose travel documents do not meet requirements are usually returned to their "place of embarkation or origin," it has said in the past.


(South China Morning Post)  A story behind dissident's assumed name   By staff.  January 22, 2010.

What's in a name? If that name is Wang Xingxiang, the answer seems to be quite a lot.

US-based mainland dissident Zhou Yongjun tried to enter Hong Kong in September 2008 with a fake passport using that name. Last week he was jailed by a mainland court for nine years for attempted financial fraud.

Wang Xingxiang was also the real name of Zhang Hongbao, founder of the banned Zhong Gong qi gong organisation on the mainland, who died in mysterious circumstances in a car accident in the United States in 2006. Zhang reportedly left behind assets worth at least HK$300 million, since frozen in Hong Kong bank accounts. Alarms were raised when Hang Seng Bank noticed a suspicious request to transfer overseas HK$6 million from a Hong Kong account registered to Wang. The attempt was foiled because the signature was incorrect, and Wang's name was placed on a money-laundering watch list.

Zhou, using a phony Malaysian passport bearing the name Wang Xingxiang, was intercepted by Hong Kong immigration authorities when he tried to enter from Macau. They handed him over to mainland officials after he declined to reveal his true identity. That extraordinary rendition has been criticised by Zhou's lawyers, with one of them, Mo Shaoping, saying his case should have been dealt with in Hong Kong where the alleged fraud was committed.

Is Zhou an innocent victim caught up in the intrigues of a massive fraud case? His girlfriend says that as a Tiananmen dissident, he was unable to return to the mainland and obtained a fake passport through a US immigration agency. Being given Wang Xingxiang as his fake name was just "bad luck". But observers say it is highly unlikely that Zhou got the name by chance.

A closer look at the two men's backgrounds suggests a close connection. Zhou was at one point an assistant to Zhang when they were both living in exile in the US. When Zhang died, Zhou was the spokesman who released the news of his death and claimed his former boss was killed by Chinese agents. Moreover, Zhang's enormous estate has been contested by various parties, including the Zhong Gong organisation and Zhou. Zhang's followers in the US publicly denounced Zhou, claiming he had attempted to forge Zhang's will and seize his property after his death.

Some rights activists believe Zhou's sentence was related to his background as a student leader in the Tiananmen protests in 1989, but given the complex background and the many facts still shrouded in mystery, others have cast doubt on the link.

Zhang claimed Zhong Gong had up to 38 million followers before it was banned by the central government along with Falun Gong in 1999. He was also the self-proclaimed president of China's "shadow government", which aimed to foster democratic reforms on the mainland and reportedly funded exiled dissidents.


Apple Daly Action News

@


(South China Morning Post)  Tell us why dissident was handed over    January 23, 2010

A mainland court's nine-year jail sentence for exiled dissident Zhou Yongjun does not close the file as far as this city is concerned. Zhou was tried in Sichuan on what appears to be a purely Hong Kong matter, highly unusual in itself. That he was handed over by Hong Kong officials calls for an explanation. Yet how Zhou - a former student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 - ended up in the hands of mainland authorities remains largely a mystery.

Inevitably, given Zhou's dissident background and his apparent connections to a banned mainland sect, questions have arisen about the motives behind his arrest and transfer to the mainland. On the face of it, the case raises concerns about the operation of one country, two systems, and whether our city's autonomy on immigration matters has been compromised. Nearly a year-and-a-half after the chain of events began, the Hong Kong government's continued silence does nothing to lay these worries to rest.

Irrespective of whether Zhou has any case to answer, he can hardly be said to have been dealt with fairly. In that regard the lack of transparency in the mainland's justice system is no help. We know little detail of the court case apart from Zhou's conviction for attempted financial fraud and that he was fined 80,000 yuan (HK$91,000) as well as being jailed, according to his lawyer.

What we do know is that in September 2008 he was refused entry to Hong Kong after arriving from Macau on a fake Malaysian passport and detained for two days by immigration authorities. During that time Hong Kong police questioned him about what the Hang Seng Bank (SEHK: 0011, announcements, news) regarded as a suspicious request to withdraw HK$6 million from an account registered to Wang Xingxiang - the name on the fake passport. Police did not lay charges. Normally, at this point, someone who tried to enter the city with suspicious travel documents would either be prosecuted in Hong Kong or sent back to where they came from. In Zhou's case that would have been Macau. Alternatively, he could have been returned to the United States where he holds the right to live and work. Instead, it seems that after he declined to reveal his true identity - and perhaps his US residential status - officials put him in a car and drove him to Shenzhen, where he remained in custody. Zhou's partner Zhang Yuewei says she was told of the sequence of events by his lawyers in Sichuan. There is a need for the government to clarify this.

There is no rendition agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland. Perhaps the mainland was regarded as his place of origin. We can only guess because officials have not revealed their reasoning, saying only that the government does not comment on individual cases. Given that this case raises wider concerns, that has only fuelled suspicion. If a Hong Kong citizen were held in London over an alleged offence committed in Britain, but then handed over to the French police and prosecuted, convicted and jailed there, we would rightly expect an explanation. If the alleged fraud was committed in Hong Kong, a separate legal jurisdiction to the mainland, why was Zhou tried in a Sichuan court? On what evidence was he convicted? Who supplied it?

Zhou's lawyers say he will lodge an appeal. It may be futile, but the issues raised by the affair extend beyond his fate.

Our government should explain the legal basis for sending him - or anyone else - to the mainland. From what is known so far, there would appear to have been a very serious breach of what we understand one country, two systems to mean.


(Kelowna.com)  The strange tale of the Chinese dissident student leader, the Qigong master and $50 million    January 25, 2010.

There is outrage in Hong Kong that the territory's rule of law and judicial independence are under threat from Beijing after Tiananmen Square student leader Zhou Yongjun was handed over to Chinese police without any legal process.

A week ago, a court in China's Sichuan province sentenced Zhou, who is 42 and has served two prison sentences arising out of his involvement in the 1989 pro-democracy uprising, to nine years in prison for attempted fraud. But there seems to be more to this story than the erosion of the guarantees given by Beijing to Hong Kong before China regained sovereignty in 1997 that the territory would keep its British civil institutions under the "one country, two systems" rubric.

Of particular interest are perplexing and unexplained links between Zhou and a man named Zhang Hongbao, who made a fortune in China by marketing his own brand of Qigong exercises before fleeing to the United States in 2000, where he set up a putative Chinese government in exile. Zhang and his female secretary-driver were killed in a somewhat mysterious car crash in Northern Arizona in July 2006.

What remains unclear is whether the Chinese authorities were keen to get hold of Zhou because of his activities as a student dissident or his links to Zhang or both.

On the surface, Zhou has an honourable record as a student dissident. He was arrested after the suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and was jailed for over two years until Beijing bowed to international pressure and allowed him to emigrate to the U.S.  In America, he had legal permanent residence, but not yet citizenship when, in 1998, he returned to China to try to see his aging parents in Sichuan. Zhou was captured and sentenced to three years in a labour camp. He was released early in 2001 as Beijing put on a show of improving its human rights record in order to cajole the International Olympic Committee into giving it the 2008 Summer Games. Zhou returned to the U.S., but in September 2008 again attempted to return to China to see his parents out of concern for their condition after the massive Sichuan earthquake.

Now the story gets strange. Zhou says he bought from an immigration company a false Malaysian passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang. He then went to Macau, the former Portuguese colony gambling centre in China's Pearl River Delta, and from there went to Hong Kong. Why he would go from Macau to Hong Kong instead of straight to Sichuan is an unanswered question, though the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities seem to believe it involved money.

You see, the name Wang Xingxiang in Zhou's false passport is also the real name of the dead Qigong master and leader of the comic opera Chinese government-in-exile, Zhang Hongbao. And there's a lot of money -the equivalent of well over $50 million V sitting in a Hang Seng bank in Hong Kong in the name of Wang and his mistress, Yan Qingxin.

Now, despite Zhang/Wang having been dead for two years, the bank had recently received several letters from him asking for the money to be transferred to banks overseas. This the bank declined to do because the signature on the letters was not right. But the bank apparently alerted the Hong Kong police because when Zhou turned up from Macau carrying a passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang, it was this that they wanted to question him about.

Zhou was able, however, to convince the police he had not written the letter to the bank, but they told him that Hong Kong's immigration department still needed to verify his identity. He was held by Hong Kong immigration for two days, from Sept. 28-30, 2008.

Then the immigration officials did something which has caused all the furore in Hong Kong. They handed Zhou over to Chinese authorities, who whisked him to detention in Sichuan. There were no legal proceedings, no hearing, no chance for review, nothing. Just a quick push over the border into the waiting arms of the People's Armed Police. And then, for seven months from Sept. 2008 until mid-May in 2009, the Chinese authorities denied to his frantic parents that they had Zhou in custody. When he was finally put before a court a week ago, the charges of fraud related to Zhou's alleged attempts to get the money from Zhang/ Wang's accounts.

A mystery, which is exercising people in Hong Kong concerned about the case, is why these charges would be brought in China when the alleged offence occurred in Hong Kong.

Another odd thing is that Zhou briefly worked for Zhang in the U.S. Among the people demanding a slice of the enormous assets of Zhang's frozen estate before the American courts are his wife, his mistress, his housekeeper and Zhou.


(New York Times)    Lawyer Says Hong Kong Mishandled Dissident・s Arrest    Edward Wong    January 25, 2010.

The longtime girlfriend and the lawyer of an exiled Chinese dissident who was sentenced recently by a court in Sichuan Province on financial fraud charges both said in interviews that they were appealing the ruling.

The complex case of the dissident, Zhou Yongjun, has raised questions about whether Hong Kong authorities handed him over to the Chinese police in violation of the :one country, two systems; form of governance.

Mr. Zhou・s lawyers said last week that Mr. Zhou had been sentenced on Jan. 15 to nine years in prison by a court in the city of Shehong. He was also fined $11,700.

Mr. Zhou, 42, from Sichuan, was a prominent student protester in the days leading to the June 1989 massacre around Tiananmen Square, when soldiers killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians. Mr. Zhou fled to the United States in 1993 and became one of many stateless exiles.

In September 2008, he was apprehended by Hong Kong police and handed over to the mainland when he tried to enter Hong Kong with a fake Malaysian passport under the name of Wang Xingxiang. Before handing him over, the Hong Kong police questioned Mr. Zhou about a fraud investigation related to a Hong Kong bank account under the name of Wang Xingxiang.

:The local Chinese court has no jurisdiction over this case,; said Mo Shaoping, the head of the law firm representing Mr. Zhou, adding that there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Zhou of financial fraud. (The fraud conviction was related to the bank incident, not the fake passport, Mr. Mo said.)

In addition, the Hong Kong police violated Mr. Zhou・s rights by handing him over to the police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen without explanation, Mr. Mo said. Before that, the police held him for seven months in Hong Kong without bringing charges against him, Mr. Mo added.

The Hong Kong legal code was set up by British colonialists and is far different from that of the mainland, falling under the :one country, two systems; form of governance that China promised after Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. Hong Kong has no extradition agreement with mainland China. The Hong Kong government has declined to comment on the case, but some Hong Kong politicians have taken up Mr. Zhou・s cause.

Mr. Mo said Hong Kong law dictates that Mr. Zhou, when caught at the border with a fake passport, should have been sent back to Macao, where he was entering from, or to the United States, where he is a permanent resident and is close to getting American citizenship. The Chinese government stripped Mr. Zhou of full citizenship when he fled the mainland and has refused to reinstate it, Mr. Mo said.

The financial fraud investigation began when Hang Seng bank, based in Hong Kong, told the authorities that someone had forged a signature to try to transfer money from a bank account registered under the name of Wang Xingxiang, the same name on Mr. Zhou・s fake passport.

Zhang Yuwei, Mr. Zhou・s long-time girlfriend in Los Angeles and the mother of their 21-month-old daughter, said that Mr. Zhou had been given his fake passport by an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles who want to travel, and that the overlap in the names was an unfortunate coincidence.The South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, reported last week in an article without a byline that Wang Xingxiang was another name used by Zhang Hongbao, the founder of a spiritual movement called Zhong Gong that was among several such groups banned on the mainland in 1999. The groups all practiced qigong, a form of meditation and exercise; Falun Gong is the most famous of the groups. Mr. Zhang died in a car accident in the U.S. in 2006.

Mr. Mo said the Hong Kong police had concluded that Mr. Zhou was not the one who faked the signature on the funds transfer form given to Hang Seng bank. The requested transfer was reportedly about $772,000.

:We・ll fight to the end,; Ms. Zhang, the girlfriend, said in a telephone interview. :Yongjun was treated unfairly. His parents want to go to Beijing to petition, but they・re too old.;


(Yazhou Zhoukan)  The mystery of the kidnap case of Zhou Yongjun.  February 7, 2010.

... In late September 2008, Zhou Yongjun wanted to go back to mainland China.  Lacking legal documents, he purchased a passport belonging to Wang Xingxiang in Malaysia and used that passport to enter Macau.  From Macau, he took the ferry to Hong Kong and wanted to go to mainland China.  The Hong Kong Immigration Department found out that the person holding the Wang Xingxiang passport may be involved in a fraud case with the Hang Seng Bank.  So Zhou was intercepted and a handwriting analysis was requested.  According to what Zhou Yongjun's mainland lawyer Chen Zerui told <Yazhou Zhoukan> about what Zhou Yongjun told him personally in prison, he was taken from the Immigration Department to the Police Station and underwent many handwriting analyses.  Finally, the police confirmed that the signature of Wang Xingxiang made by Zhou Yongjun did not match the Wang Xingxiang signature in the three forged letters in the bank fraud case.  Chen Zerui said: "Zhou Yongjun said that the police took him into a car in which were people who claimed to be from the Immigration Department.  Zhou thought that he was being taken back to the Immigration Department building.  But the car went north until it reached a parking lot at night.  Three was a door.  When the door opened, several plainclothes mainland public security bureau officers came out.  The Hong Kong Immigration Department people told Zhou Yongjun: 'You go!  They want to take you away!'  Zhou said that he turned around and cursed the Immigration people.  He entered that door and ended up in Shenzhen territory."

... In the case of Zhou Yongjun, there is a point of suspicion about whether he voluntarily returned to mainland China.  According to Zhou Yongjun's girlfriend Zhang Yuewei, Zhou Yongjun was "kidnapped" back to mainland Chinese.  But the word "kidnap" did not appear in the notes of the mainland Chinese lawyers.  Zhou Yongjun only said that he got into the car which went to Shenzhen.  The Immigration Department people turned him over to the public security bureau.  The reporter asked Chen Zerui: "Did Zhou Yongjun voluntarily want to go back to mainland China and the Immigration Department turned him over to the public security security?"  Chen Zerui replied: "Zhou Yongjun did not discuss that."

Hong Kong (HKSAR), February 3, 2010.

Following is a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon James To in the Legislative Council today (February 3):

Question: According to recent media reports, Mr Zhou Yongjun, a leader of the June 4th democracy movement, was arrested and detained by the Hong Kong Police Force upon arrival in Hong Kong from the United States via Macao in September 2008.He was then removed by the authorities to the Mainland where he was detained.

Recently, he was convicted by a mainland court of the offence of "financial fraud" and was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment. 

The reports cited the Government's response that visitors who did not possess valid travel documents and were refused entry would usually be repatriated to their places of origin and, before removal, the person concerned had the right to indicate the destination to which he wished to be removed or to lodge an appeal against the removal.

In this connection, will the Government inform this Council: (a) of the Police's reasons for arresting and detaining Mr Zhou Yongjun; (b) of the Government's justifications and legal basis for removing Mr Zhou Yongjun to the Mainland; before removing Mr Zhou Yongjun, whether the authorities had allowed him to indicate the destination to which he wished to be removed, or to lodge an appeal against his removal; and (c) whether Mr Zhou Yongjun was removed to the Mainland at the request of the mainland authorities; whether, in deciding to remove Mr Zhou Yongjun to the Mainland, the authorities had considered that he might be subject to political prosecution because of his capacity as a leader of the June 4th democracy movement?

Reply: President, In connection with the case in question mentioned by the Member of the Legislative Council, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) had, on various occasions, explained in detail the immigration control policy of the Immigration Department (ImmD) and the general repatriation arrangements. For details, please refer to my remarks during the Legislative Council's Motion of Thanks debate on the Policy Address 2009 last October and the topical discussions at the Panel on Security meeting held on November 3. Whereas I believe that the Member who raised the question is well aware of our stance, I shall reiterate that the HKSAR Government will not comment on individual cases nor disclose any personal data relating to the case in question.

Without prejudice to this principle, I can only address the three parts of the question in policy context and explain the general arrangements:

(a) The Hong Kong Police Force will only arrest and detain a person for the purpose of crime prevention or investigation, and on the basis of the powers conferred by the relevant laws.

(b) The Immigration Department has the responsibility to uphold effective immigration control. The Department makes landing refusal decisions or repatriation arrangements in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong, prevailing policy and established procedures, and all information of the case available at the material time. In general, passengers who cannot produce authentic and valid travel documents will be refused permission to land.  The Immigration Department will act in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance to verify and repatriate the persons to their places of origin. Before effecting repatriations, immigration officers will clearly inform the persons who have been refused landing the places they will be repatriated. The persons concerned can make requests regarding the destinations or lodge appeals against the repatriations.

(c) The HKSAR Government abides by the rule of law and the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. Law enforcement agencies will not effect repatriations without legal basis arbitrarily and in contravention of the prevailing immigration policy and control measures. As pointed out in part (b) of the reply, The Immigration Department will, based on the circumstances of the cases and whether the persons concerned have made any requests, make the landing refusal decisions and arrange repatriations independently. There is no question of interventions from other authorities or political considerations. President, allow me to stress once again that during the courses of making the repatriation decisions and arrangements, The Immigration Department will clearly inform the persons who have been refused landing the places they will be repatriated. The persons concerned can object to the arrangements, make requests regarding the destinations or even lodge appeals.


(South China Morning Post)  Minister denies HK knowingly handed over dissident.  By Fanny W.Y. Fung and Phyllis Tsang.  February 4, 2010.

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong has rejected accusations the government knowingly handed former student leader Zhou Yongjun to the mainland, where he was jailed for nine years.

Lee also denied having made any serious mistakes in the handling of the incident.

The minister would not elaborate further, saying he could not reveal information about the case to the Legislative Council. However, a person with direct knowledge of the case said immigration officers did not know Zhou's real identity when they repatriated him and that Zhou did not state that he had residency in another country when officers told him that he would be sent to the mainland.

Lee was responding to questions by Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan. Ho is also Zhou's solicitor in Hong Kong.

Zhou, who had been living in the United States for years, was found to be using a fake Malaysian passport while travelling to Hong Kong from Macau on September 28, 2008. The passport bore the name of Wang Xingxiang, who died in 2006.

Immigration officers handed him over to Shenzhen officials, who arrested him. He was charged with attempting to transfer HK$6 million from Wang's Hang Seng Bank account. Last month he was sentenced by a Sichuan court to nine years' jail.

The case raised questions about the implementation of "one country, two systems", since Zhou was handed to the mainland to face trial for events that allegedly happened in Hong Kong.

Ho asked Lee: "Why did the Hong Kong government not request to transfer the suspect so that he would be put on trial here?"

Lee responded that what happened to visitors after they were handed on to another jurisdiction was beyond the control of Hong Kong authorities.

Asked whether the government had sent Zhou to the mainland knowing who he was, Lee replied: "This accusation is against the facts."

He also said the department had provided information relevant to the case to Ho's law firm on request. "I do not understand why Mr Ho still makes such an accusation."

While saying he could not comment on individual cases or reveal personal information to Legco, Lee said that when the department denied travellers entry it would clearly inform them where they would be sent. People concerned could object to that, make requests regarding the destination or even lodge appeals.

"But very often, those people are very unco-operative. They refuse to answer questions, refuse to reveal their real identity and do not keep their real identity documents in their luggage," he said.

Officers would try to ascertain their place of origin by searching their luggage, observing their appearance and listening to their language, the minister said.


(InMediaHK)  Letter from Zhou Yongjun to Albert Ho and Li Jinjin.  March 10, 2010.

Dear Attorney Ho and Attorney Li:

I am Yungjun Zhou, writing you from Suining County Detention Center, Sichuan Province, China. Thank you for your help and the God-giving passion you showed to me. The following is the rundown of my stopping by Hong Kong.

I arrived at HongKong Macau Ferry Terminal from Macau on September 28, 2008, around 10 a.m. I was stuck in the waiting room for more than seven hours, during the time, the officials from Immigration Department made inquiry of me and I demanded them to let me come back to where I was from, which they said was not the way they handled such matters. Around 6 p.m. I received the Notice of Rejection. However, I could not leave and was to be interviewed in the headquarters. A few minutes after 8 p.m., I was sent to an office building where I was booked, fingerprinted and photographed. I asked to hire an attorney. They said I would be allowed to hire one soon. After taking the routines, I was sent away to Pier Point Detention Center around 10 p.m., when I could not find any attorney. On September 29, I got a list of attorneys. However, my calling was closely watched and restricted. Because it was on holidays, either my phone calls were not through or the attorneys I contacted were not willing to come. In the morning of September 30, finally, an attorney on the phone agreed to see me. However, just before the attorney's arrival, I was taken away from Pier Point Detention Center back to Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal. On the way there, one young official told me that I was Someone not welcome by Hong Kong. I was thinking that it would be the day they let me go back to where I was from.

In the immigration office at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, I was interrogated by four police officers, two males and two females. Two of them were very much like mainland police in terms of appearance, language and behaviors. I felt surprised at the beginning. After communications I finally understood I was mistaken as someone they were looking for. I reiterated to them I had nothing to do with the matter concerning them. The officials from the HK immigration office urged them for several times: the police had to make a decision before the expiration of 48 hours of detention. The leading officer, a female, talked with her superior on cell phone for many times. They decided to keep me longer for further investigation, which I was willing to cooperate to help them to find out the truth about it and to ascertain what happened. They took me to the office building of Hong Kong Police Department, where I was interrogated from 4 p.m. to 1 a. m. Around 1 a.m. I was taken to Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal police department to spend the night. Due to the incomplete paperwork, I was not accepted by the officer on duty. I sat under the cold air conditioner until 4 a.m. Around 2:30 a.m., one female officer brought in a young woman without proper ID. The young woman said she graduated from Beijing University and was looking for a job in Hong Kong. Seven or eight officers on duty gathered around to see how this :Beijing University Beauty; looked like. One officer sorted out my belongings and asked if I could speak in Cantonese. I smiled and said that I was able to understand Cantonese. The officer who sent me there said to him: :You・d better speak with him in English or Mandarin.; The officer on duty turned around saying to me: :You can speak English, Mandarin and Hong Kong language, very easy to find a job here. It is so hard to learn Mandarin!;

On the morning of October 1, the National Day, I was sick and asked for a medical treatment. Around 10 a.m., an engineer came to repair the electronic-controlled gate of the detention room. Around the noon, a doctor came to examine me. Around 2 p.m., I was taken to a hospital, which took about half an hour. There were a lot of people there; I spent much time to wait for the treatment and taking my medicine. I was diagnosed as acute enteritis. Around 6 p.m., while I was waiting to take the medicine, the female officer who interrogated me called the officer accompanying me and asked to talk with me immediately. She told me on the phone:;Our investigation is over and we will not file any charge against you. We let you go right away. Can you stoping waiting there for the medacine and come back as soon as possible?; I said yes while I was receiving the medicine.

Back to Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal Police Office, four officers who interrogated me were all there. They asked me to have a fast dinner and then finish the paperwork. I said 'I don't need dinner, let us do the paperwork right now'. While doing the paperwork and sorting out my personal belongings, I heard the younger officer talking with an officer on duty in Cantonese. He said I might be an :element of democratic movement.; Hearing this I asked that female detective half-jokingly: :Had you notified the mainland police? It is likely they are waiting for me in Macau when I arrive there.; She responded: :You should have known that Hong Kong had returned to China. Mainland is just like a father of Hong Kong. We have to do something even if we don・t like.; I thought since I had to go back where I came from, I・d better to think about the next step after leaving Hong Kong and board the ship.

It was minutes past 8 p.m., and dark after I left Hong Kong Macau Perry Terminal Police Station. They asked to get on a vehicle. I said the pier was merely 100 meters away and I could walk there. They told me it was not safe walking in the night and they would take me there by car. I got on a mid-size bus, where there were six or seven guys in plainclothes. One of them told me that they were from the Hong Kong Immigration Department. I found the bus going in a wrong direction soon after it started off. He said they needed to bring me to the headquarters for more information. I told him that I had gone to the headquarters. He responded by saying we would go to another headquarters.

The bus went on the highway for more than half an hour. I believed it got somewhere in New Territory by looking at the scenes. I asked him: :Are we going to San Uk Ling?; He said: :We have an office building in San Uk Ling.; About seven or eight minutes later, the bus exited from the highway to a flat place. In the front there was an ordinary brick-made wall in which one small gate was open, where stood seven or eight men. A man in the bus, who was very thin, took my passport and asked me to get off. Upon getting foot on the ground, they pushed me forward suddenly saying: :they're waiting to talk with you.; Those seven or eight men came forward and pushed me in through the small gate by holding my arms. Listening their talking in standard Mandarin, I realized I got in grave trouble. I tried to turn around and made my protest to no avail. In this way, I was dragged into Shenzhen by kidnapping.

Thank you for your care.

Yungjun Zhou
3 March 2010


(South China Morning Post)  The twisted tale of a flawed dissident    By Kristin Jones.  March 20, 2010.

When spiritual sect leader and businessman Zhang Hongbao was killed in a car crash east of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in July 2006, his body lay unclaimed for months.

In Denison, Texas, Zhang's three-level house with a spiral staircase and a view of Lake Texoma, a 153 kilometre reservoir in the flatlands bordering Oklahoma, sat empty.

Food rotted in his refrigerator, and field mice took up residence in his Lincoln Town Car.

John Munson, a slow-talking real estate agent and the developer of the lakeside property, says Arizona police found his name on a cheque after the accident and called him. For a time, no other friend or relative could be found.

But in the autumn of 2006, a man named Zhou Yongjun showed up in Texas, bearing a bottle of VSOP Cognac and an invitation for Munson to dine with him.

The late Zhang, he revealed, was known to millions on the other side of the globe as the leader of the Zhong Gong spiritual movement, banned on the mainland since 1999.

Zhou was a close friend and disciple, he told Munson. He convinced the property developer to let him stay in the lake house, and to hand over all the letters and documents there.

"We didn't really trust him," says Munson. "But on the other hand, we couldn't find anyone who could tell us what to do."

In January, Zhou was sentenced to a nine-year prison term for fraud, accused of using a false name, Wang Xingxiang, to attempt to illegally transfer millions of dollars from accounts in Hong Kong. Wang Xingxiang was a pseudonym once used by Zhang.

Zhou's sentence sparked controversy in Hong Kong over the government's alleged mishandling of the case. Zhou was detained in Hong Kong, accused of committing a crime in Hong Kong - and yet held incommunicado in a mainland prison for several months before being convicted by a mainland court.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who is acting as Zhou's lawyer in Hong Kong, calls the case a dire challenge to the "one country, two systems" principle.

At the heart of his supporters' outrage over Zhou's treatment is his documented history as a pro-democracy activist. A student leader in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, he was twice before jailed on the mainland for political reasons.

But Zhou is not a saint, his friends acknowledge. Over the course of two decades in exile in the United States, he showed that he could be headstrong and impatient. He was a risk-taker who sometimes made alliances that others saw as distasteful.

One such alliance was with Zhang Hongbao, a lightning rod who seemed to have made as many enemies as disciples during his lifetime.

Munson thought Zhang was strange. He would disappear for months and then reappear at inopportune times like holidays to make demands through an interpreter.

But he tried to be solicitous. He once supplied a crane so that Zhang could lift gold-lacquered furniture and a washer and dryer to the upper levels of the mansion.

In Texas, Zhou began a battle for control of Zhang's estate that took him to court in Arizona and California. And some wonder whether his bid for Zhang's assets may have brought him to Hong Kong.

In a small office above a Korean barbeque in Flushing, Queens, a poster calling for the release of Zhou Yongjun sits propped among piles of documents. The office belongs to Ye Ning, a lawyer and a long-time compatriot in the fight for democracy on the mainland. Ye remembers when his friend Zhou first arrived in the United States in 1993 and settled in an apartment nearby.

"Zhou Yongjun was a very handsome, energetic, vigorous young boy" when they met for the first time, says Ye, who is several years older. "He has a pragmatic sense of how to promote the pro-democracy movement inside China. He's not a thinker, but an activist."

When asked why he thinks Zhou travelled to Hong Kong, Ye is silent for a moment. He folds his hands in front of his face and looks down at his desk before peering up again.

"I want to preserve his legacy," Ye says, finally.

Zhou's legacy as a pro-democracy leader, earned at Tiananmen Square and locked in through his prison time, gave him a place among New York-based dissidents in the 1990s.

Lawyer Li Jinjin picked Zhou up from John F. Kennedy Airport when he first arrived in New York. Li remains one of his strongest advocates.

The two men had been leaders in the Beijing Workers' Autonomous Federation during the 1989 protests. They had last seen each other while handcuffed wrist-to-wrist in a jeep that transferred them from one prison to another as they were jailed for counter-revolutionary activity.

Zhou quickly found a home and a role for himself among the dissidents in New York. He shared an apartment with another former Tiananmen Square activist in upper Manhattan, and later moved to the growing Chinese neighbourhood of Flushing.

He co-founded the Party for Freedom and Democracy in China and was active in events to commemorate June 4 and to call on the US to put political pressure on Beijing. A charismatic public speaker, his friends say Zhou made an energetic contribution to the movement in exile.

Zhou's wife, whom he had married shortly after his release from prison, soon joined him in New York. They had a son.

But if the pro-democracy movement provided Zhou with a support system and a measure of respect and authority in the dissident community, it did not make him rich.

While some of his fellow activists thrived in the US as lawyers and businessmen, Zhou seemed to struggle, says Ye. Working odd jobs, Zhou sometimes had difficulty making ends meet for his young family.

"He had more hardship than most," said Ye, who recalls his wife complaining that Zhou did not provide for their son.

Zhou did achieve a period of relative prosperity, said Li, as the founder of Chinese-language magazine that steered clear of political controversy. He even had an office in the World Trade Centre, Li said.

But that era ended abruptly when he tried unsuccessfully to sneak back into the mainland in 1998. Without a passport, he was detained in Guangzhou. After disappearing for several months, he managed to smuggle a letter to his wife revealing that he was being held in a labour camp in Sichuan province . He was not released until 2001 and Zhou's decision to risk jail by returning to China perplexed his friends.

"I have no idea why he went to China," said Li, who speculated that it was because he missed his family.

Ye knew Zhou as a renegade, who sometimes tried to convince him to venture back to China with him, despite the risks. He believed Zhou was trying to organise fellow student leaders from 1989 still in the country.

On Zhou's return to New York in 2002, his wife and son were not there to meet him. He later told a reporter for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that his marriage had been a casualty of his imprisonment. Still, he seemed undefeated. He showed Ye a photo of himself he somehow managed to sneak out of the labour camp. His legs were rails, though he said he was not treated as poorly as the Falun Gong prisoners. Zhou had made himself a leader among the inmates, he said.

It was a precarious time for dissidents abroad. Some of the energy from the early days of the movement had drained away as China's economic boom eroded the power of Beijing's critics. Zhou's release from jail came just months before Beijing won its bid to host the Olympic Games. And the Falun Gong, a cohesive force which had aligned itself with the pro-democracy cause abroad, appeared utterly defeated.

And with child support to pay, Zhou needed money.

Zhang Hongbao was known to be a complicated character. The Chinese government accused him of serial rape and murder. But he was rich. Zhang and his long-time partner Yan Qingyan built a successful business as well as a spiritual movement in China in the 1990s. Zhong Gong had its own schools and a hospital before catching the attention of mainland authorities, who banned it along with the more popular Falun Gong sect.

Zhang also had a network of disciples. Zhang claimed to have 38 million followers. Many of these disciples believed he possessed supernatural powers.

Zhang and Yan fled China in 1994, says Arthur Liu, who is now married to Yan and acts as her lawyer. When they left, says Liu, Zhang set up accounts using a passport he purchased, in the name Wang Xingxiang.

He eventually made his way to Guam, where US immigration authorities detained him in 2000. Beijing demanded that he be extradited to the mainland.

Ye Ning and other dissidents in the US set aside doubts about his character to petition for his release.

"We thought the Zhong Gong spiritual movement could be grassroots support for the pro-democracy movement in China," said Ye. "For its network and financial reasons, I thought it was a strategic asset."

Any hope for an alliance soured quickly, however, once Zhang was granted political asylum in the US in 2001. He soon reneged, says Ye, on a promise to donate US$4 million to the cause. He settled into a large house in Pasadena, California, and appointed himself the leader of a Chinese shadow government.

His reputation took another hit in March 2003 when he was arrested for detaining and beating his housekeeper.

Zhou's friends do not remember when the struggling activist met Zhang.

John Kusumi, a Connecticut-based activist who is spearheading the campaign for Zhou's release from prison, believes he was "following the money" when he moved to Pasadena to work for Zhang in 2003.

"He thought that was the route to get funded as an activist," says Kusumi. He notes that as a member of Zhang's Anti-Political Persecution Alliance of China, Zhou remained active in pro-democracy activities, speaking at a press conference in Washington in 2005 to urge the European Union to maintain its arms embargo against Beijing. "I had no doubt that [Zhou] was still on the case of Chinese democracy."

Zhou's work at Zhang's behest brought him into the crosshairs of some of the Zhong Gong master's critics. Several of them sued him for defamation for statements accusing them of being Communist agents - a charge that flies frequently among dissidents in the US.

One such lawsuit, filed in March 2005 by Zhang's then estranged partner Yan, referred to the Zhong Gong master by the pseudonym he had used when he left China: Wang Xingxiang. Zhou was also named in that lawsuit.

The former student leader wrote his own account of his work for Zhang in documents he filed in Arizona and Los Angeles courts after the Zhong Gong master's death. His aim was to gain control over the administration of Zhang's estate.

He began working for the Zhong Gong master in January 2003, Zhou wrote in a statement submitted to an Arizona court, as a "special adviser and assistant".

In particular, his job was to "investigate and recover" US$2.2 million "which was stolen by" Yan, according to a document he provided to the court.

"Hongbao Zhang is my master, mentor and fatherly friend," he wrote in a statement. "For quite a period of time I had the opportunity to converse with him for three hours everyday and we were very close."

At the centre of Zhou's petition to administer Zhang's estate was a document that came by way of Denison, Texas.

The document, a letter written in Chinese and translated for the benefit of the court, was signed by Zhang Hongbao and dated less than two months before his death.

Calling Zhou "courageous and competent" as well as "faithful, loyal, filial, righteous", the document leaves the administration of the Zhong Gong duties to him.

"After preparing this letter," it concludes, "I will entrust my neighbour in Texas to keep it and he shall mail it to [Yongjun] Zhou."

Munson's name appears as the source of the document provided to the Arizona court. But he says he doubts its authenticity.

"I never saw that letter before [Zhou] showed up," Munson says.

In April 2007, the Texan real estate agent received notice from a Los Angeles County probate court - where the dispute over Zhang's estate still simmers - instructing him to stop sending all of the dead man's important documents to Zhou.

"The court found that the letter [Zhou provided to the court] was not a legal will, and that it had no legal effect," wrote the Los Angeles county general counsel, in a letter also sent to the Chinese consulate. "Since Zhou has no standing in the Zhang estate, we urge you to stop having any contact with him."

Zhang Yuewei began dating Zhou while visiting California on business in 2005. She did not know about his political background, she says, until she started receiving warnings from the Chinese government to cut off contact with him.

Then she Googled him.

The 34-year-old had grown up believing what she had learned in school, that students had killed police at Tiananmen Square in 1989, at the instigation of foreign agents. When she read that Zhou was a leader in the protests, she was terrified.

"My head went blank," she says. "I felt dizzy."

It took her months to come to the slow and painful realisation that she could not return easily to her job and life in China. She came to believe she would be punished because of her association with him.

Even after she found out about his past as a political dissident, Zhou kept his girlfriend in the dark about his activities with people like the pro-democracy activist John Kusumi, as well as Zhang Hongbao. He wanted to protect her, she said.

Their daughter was born in April 2008.

A month later, a massive earthquake hit Sichuan province, where Zhou grew up. His parents were unharmed. But fearful of the tremors, they had been sleeping outside. Zhou, rattled, called them daily, his girlfriend says.

He had always been homesick, but this was unusual.

He begged Zhang Yuewei to take their daughter to visit his parents in China - sometimes saying he would go, too.

That summer, he seemed thrilled to show her a fake passport he had bought from an agent in San Francisco. In English letters, the name read: Wang Xingxiang. The man had promised that the name was clean, he told her.

Zhou did not mention that it was Zhang Hongbao's former pseudonym, a name that appeared alongside his own in a 2005 lawsuit.

And if he knew from his research into his former boss' financial affairs, he certainly did not say that Zhang had once used this name to set up bank accounts in Hong Kong.

In fact, he gave no details of his plans when he left Los Angeles on September 26, 2008, his birthday. He said only that he was going abroad.

Zhou disappeared for several months. It was not until November that his family learned he had been jailed on the mainland. In May 2009, they received his arrest warrant. His indictment revealed that Zhou was accused of sending letters in May 2008 using the name Wang Xingxiang to Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong requesting the transfer of HK$6 million. He was convicted and sentenced in January.

Most of Zhou's friends dismiss the idea that there could be any truth to the central government's charges that Zhou was attempting financial fraud.

"I cannot imagine that," says Li, his advocate in New York. "He's an intelligent person."

Li notes that the mainland government has never linked the fraud case to the name of the late Zhong Gong master.

"If this case was related to Zhang Hongbao," says Li, "it would be a burden for the Chinese government to say that".

Ye has a more nuanced assessment of the case.

As a critic of Zhang Hongbao, Ye filed one of the many lawsuits against the Zhong Gong master and his "special adviser" Zhou. But that's all in the past, he said.

More recently, he and Zhou would sit and plot the future of the movement to bring political change to China. When he visited New York in recent years, Zhou stayed in unlicensed hotels in Flushing, Queens for US$30 a night.

He may have been struggling, says Ye. Or he may have been saving his money for the revolution.

Ye has no doubt that Zhou's true purpose lies with the movement.

"If he went to Hong Kong for money," says Ye, "it was also for another cause".


(Hong Kong Journal)  The Strange Case of Zhou Yongjun.  By Thomas E. Kellogg.  January 2011.

On the morning of September 28, 2008, a middle-aged ethnic Chinese man of seemingly unknown national origin and identity arrived in Hong Kong. Traveling on a false Malaysian passport under the name Wang Xingxiang, this man, when confronted, refused to state his real name. The other items in his possession V including bank cards and credit cards V also bore the name Wang Xingxiang; there was nothing else on his person that could establish his true identity.

This man was questioned by Immigration authorities, who were unable to wrestle his name or virtually any other information from him. He was also interviewed by the Hong Kong police, who apparently suspected him of involvement in attempted bank fraud. On the evening of October 1, this man was transferred from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. He was then held incommunicado in Shenzhen for seven months, after which time he was transferred to Suining City in Sichuan Province. It was only in May 2009 that it became publicly known that this man, whose real name is Zhou Yongjun, was in fact in Chinese custody. In November 2009, Zhou was tried by a court in Sichuan province for bank fraud, and sentenced to nine years in jail in January 2010. He remains in jail in Sichuan to this day.

The case of Zhou Yongjun is a strange one. Zhou, a student activist in Tiananmen Square, spent roughly 18 months in detention for his involvement in the 1989 student protests. After his release, Zhou fled China, and sought and received political asylum in the United States. Around 2002, he became involved with the exile spiritual leader Zhang Hongbao, the founder of the Qigong group Zhong GongXnot related to the better-known Falung Gong. Many have speculated that Zhou・s ties to both overseas democracy activists and exile Qigong groups heightened the Chinese government・s interest in him, and that these ties are very much related to his transfer from Hong Kong to China. 

The murkiness of his case, and, more recently, revelations which have heightened suspicions that he was in fact involved in bank fraud, have obscured the very real concerns over Hong Kong・s autonomy and the integrity of :one country, two systems; that are raised by his treatment in Hong Kong. During his roughly four days in Hong Kong, Hong Kong authorities took decisions on his case that, while apparently not illegal, are nonetheless inconsistent with established practice. Since Zhou・s detention in Guangdong has become known, the Hong Kong SAR government has repeatedly refused to provide information on its handling of the case, instead resorting to bland restatements of government immigration policy and blanket refusals to comment on individual cases.

The Zhou Yongjun case is the first of its kind. As far as is known, since the 1997 handover, the Hong Kong government has never been involved in handing over to Chinese authorities an exile activist who could reasonably fear persecution based on prior political activism. The government・s handling of the case needs to be seen in the context of recent cases of seemingly political decisions by Hong Kong Immigration, to keep various persons, many of them exile dissidents and political activists, from entering Hong Kong. 1Troublingly, the Zhou Yongjun case seems to have taken that process one step further. 

Since the initial public disclosure of Zhou・s detention in Sichuan, significant circumstantial evidence has emerged that suggest that Zhou may well have attempted to enter Hong Kong in order to engage in bank fraud. Yet the possibility that Zhou may well have had nefarious ends in mind does not exonerate the SAR government, if indeed political considerations or inappropriate contacts with mainland authorities played a role in its deviations from standard practice in Zhou・s case. The protections offered by the rule of law and Hong Kong・s autonomy under the one country, two systems formula exist not just for the innocent but also for the guilty.

Who is Zhou Yongjun?

A native of Pengxi County in Sichuan Province, Zhou Yongjun, now 43, was a student majoring in political science at China University of Political Science and Law when the student protests broke out in the Spring of 1989. Zhou was a sometime leader of the student protests. His claim to fame was that he was one of three students to kneel on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in an attempt to present a petition of student demands to senior Party leaders on the day of Hu Yaobang・s funeral, April 22, 1989. The protests were forcibly quashed by the government in the early morning hours of June 4, 1989. Zhou was detained in mid-June, and held for over a year without trial. He was released in January 1991. 2 Zhou fled China in June 1992, and arrived in the United States in February 1993.

Zhou・s first incarnation in the United States was as exile political activist, a not-uncommon role for Chinese who ended up in the United States or Europe after the Tiananmen Square protests. For the next few years, Zhou remained active in exile politics, based mostly in New York.

In December 1998, Zhou attempted to sneak back into the mainland and was detained in Guangzhou. After being held in Guangzhou for six months, Zhou was transferred to Sichuan, where he was sentenced to three years of reeducation through labor, a form of administrative detention most often used in China to deal with petty crimes. He was released in 2002, and allowed to return to the United States soon after his release.

It was after his return to the United States that Zhou・s story begins to intersect with that of Zhang Hongbao. And it may be that connection, even more than his 1989 student activism, that led Zhou to Hong Kong in 2008, and also led the Chinese government to take a stronger interest in him.

Zhang Hongbao was one of the first charismatic Qigong masters to emerge at the onset of China・s Qigong boom in the mid-1980s. He created his own form of Qigong, which he called Zhong Gong V a Chinese abbreviation of the full name, which means Chinese Qigong to Nourish Life and Increase Intelligence V and lectured on its precepts to ever-larger audiences in Beijing throughout the second half of the 1980s. 3By 1990, Zhang had achieved a certain level of fame: a 1990 biography, emphasizing his spiritual powers and teachings, sold more than ten million copies.

Zhang was determined to turn his public profile and army of devoted followers into a revenue machine. In the words of David Ownby, a leading Western expert on Qigong in China, Zhang was :the Donald Trump of the Qigong world.; 4 In the early 1990s, Zhang set up a nationwide network of Zhong Gong centers, which engaged in both Qigong training and practice, and the selling of related products, including writings and recordings on Qigong, medicine, and tea. His followers numbered in the millions, and the nationwide pyramidal scheme he set up ensured a large and steady stream of revenue into his coffers. Zhang was also careful to cultivate good relationships with Communist Party officials, and, at that time at least, expressed no interest in any sort of political agenda.

:It was a real moneymaking thing,; said Ownby, who teaches at the University of Montreal. :He applied a marketing logic pretty much from the beginning.; 5

Zhang・s Zhong Gong was by no means the only game in town: hundreds of other Qigong masters, many of them heading their own organizations, vied for followers alongside Zhong Gong. The most famous of these was Falun Gong, headed by the controversial spiritual leader Li Hongzhi. Whereas Zhong Gong was highly centralized and profit-driven, Falun Gong, especially in its early years, was highly decentralized. It focused less on money V there were no formal admission fees, and anyone could join V and more on the spiritual side of Qigong. 6 Its membership skyrocketed after its founding in 1992, and its tens of millions of adherents included not just average Chinese but also close relatives of senior central government officials.

The Party Grows Wary

Such rapid growth could not but catch the eye of wary Communist Party officials, and many within the Party urged vigilance against what they saw as an emerging threat. :Over time, there were detractors,; said Ownby. :There were people who thought this was getting out of hand.;

Friction between the Party and Qigong groups increased throughout the 1990s. Li Hongzhi left China in 1995, after hearing rumblings of discontent in official circles over his activities. Media attacks on Falun Gong in particular became a regular occurrence after that. In June 1996, for example, the Guangming Daily published a piece calling Li a :swindler; and referring to the groups practices as :feudal superstition.; 7Dozens of similar pieces followed in newspapers across the country.

Falun Gong adherents did not take these public attacks lying down, and tensions between the two sides continued to escalate. The famous protest staged by thousands of Falun Gong followers in front of Zhongnanhai, the seat of China・s government, in April 1999, was only the largest of a series of demonstrations. As it turned out, it was also the straw the broke the camel・s back: any lingering sympathy that Falun Gong may have had within the government evaporated, and the government moved to suppress the group.

The ensuing crackdown by the government swept up not only Falun Gong but also other Qigong groups, including Zhong Gong. Travelling under an assumed name, Zhang fled China in 1994, turning up in Guam in July 2000. He claimed political asylum, and came to the United States soon thereafter. 8 He seems to have brought at least some of the fortune he amassed in China during the 1990s with him.

It is not known exactly when Zhang Hongbao and Zhou Yongjun connected for the first time in exile, or why Zhou, an exile political activist, wanted to get in touch with a quasi-spiritual figure like Zhang. In court documents filed after Zhang・s death, Zhou indicated that he moved to California to work with Zhang in January 2003, identifying himself as a :special adviser and assistant.; 9

Whatever the timing of the initial contact and the reasons behind it, Zhou・s integration into Zhang・s exile Zhong Gong world seems to have been quite extensive. Zhou described Zhang as :my master, mentor and fatherly friend,; and recalled their hours-long daily conversations. 10 :We were very close,; Zhou wrote. Life in Zhang Hongbao・s exile world was not for the faint of heart: Zhang fought bitterly with his estranged former second-in-command Yan Qingyan, and he continued to be dogged by allegations of violent illegal behavior. In 2003, Zhang was charged with assaulting his housekeeper, He Nanfang; he later pleaded no contest to a lesser charge. 11Yet despite all of the turbulence, Zhou stayed by Zhang・s side. When Zhang was killed in a car accident in Arizona in July 2006, it was Zhou who spoke at a hastily-arranged press conference, seeming to imply foul play in Zhang・s death.

Zhou was also a party to the dispute over the rather large estate that Zhang left behind. At the time of his death, Zhang・s holdings included real estate and cash, some of it in bank accounts in several different countries. 12 Zhou・s decision to travel to Hong Kong took place against a backdrop of the increasingly acrimonious and high-stakes fight over all that Zhang had left behind.

It is the legal documents stemming from the fight over Zhang・s estate V as well as the paper trail from prior litigation involving Zhang, Zhou, Yan and others in the exile Zhong Gong circle V which most strongly indicate that Zhou could not have been ignorant of the significance of the name Wang Xingxiang.

Wang Xingxiang is the alias that Zhang Hongbao used when he left China in the mid-1990s. He continued to use that name on various bank accounts that held funds that he had amassed while still in China. Wang Xingxiang is openly identified as Zhang・s alias in several court documents, including on some documents in litigation to which Zhou was a party. And that same name appears on the Hong Kong bank accounts that, many believe, Zhou traveled to Hong Kong to access.

Zhou Yongjun・s Hong Kong Sojourn

On September 26, 2008, Zhou left his home in California for Asia. He told his girlfriend, Zhang Yuewei, with whom he had a six-month-old daughter, very little about his plans; after his arrest and detention in China became known, Zhang Yuewei publicly claimed that Zhang was in Hong Kong en route to Sichuan to visit his parents.    13

On September 28, Zhou arrived in Hong Kong from Macau. His false passport, bearing the name Wang Xingxiang, was uncovered, and he was taken into custody by Hong Kong Immigration officials. During his time in custody, Zhou was questioned by the Hong Kong police over a case of alleged bank fraud involving bank accounts in Hong Kong under the name Wang Xingxiang. The questioning by Hong Kong police took place both in an immigration office at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and at a Hong Kong Police Department office.

The bank fraud inquiry related to attempts to extract funds from various bank accounts, both in Hong Kong and elsewhere, in the name of Wang Xingxiang, which, as noted above, was an alias of Zhang Hongbao. In May 2008, roughly four months before Zhou Yongjun・s arrival in Hong Kong, an individual claiming to be Wang Xingxiang sent fax transmissions bearing an address in Canada to a Citibank branch in Hong Kong, requesting transfer of two million Hong Kong dollars (roughly $250,000 by current exchange rates) to an account in British Columbia, Canada. 14Zhou・s entry into Hong Kong on a passport bearing the same name at least facially connected him to the case. 15

According to Zhou・s account of his time in custody, one of the Hong Kong police officers who had interrogated him informed him by phone in the evening of October 1 that he would not be prosecuted and that he would be released. Zhou, who had been transferred to a hospital for medical treatment, was asked to return to the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal police station immediately. :Our investigation is over and we will not file any charges against you,; Zhou says the officer told him. :We let you go right away. Can you stop waiting there for the medicine and come back as soon as possible?;   16

At a few minutes after 8pm on October 1, again according to Zhou・s account, Zhou was put in a minibus with seven or eight men who, he was told, were Hong Kong Immigration officials. He apparently thought he would be driven from the Ferry Terminal police station to the ferry itself, but it soon became clear that they were headed to another destination entirely. Zhou claims that he was driven for roughly thirty minutes up through the New Territories into Shenzhen, after which time the car stopped and he was handed over to a group of mainland officials. Zhou・s time in Hong Kong had come to an end

At the very least, Zhou・s treatment by Chinese authorities after his return highlights the potential dangers of returning persons with sensitive political backgrounds to the mainland. Once Zhou was handed over to Chinese authorities, his rights were repeatedly violated. Although he openly disclosed his actual identity to his Shenzhen jailers very early in his confinement there, he was nonetheless given no access to an attorney or to members of his family. 17 In violation of Chinese law, he was held in incommunicado detention in Shenzhen under the name Wang Hua for seven months. Zhou・s US-based lawyer, Li Jinjin, has alleged that Zhou was tortured by Chinese authorities while in custody in Shenzhen.

It was only after he was transferred to a detention center in Suining City in Sichuan in May 2009 that the authorities formally acknowledged custody of Zhou, initiated the criminal process and allowed him some access to an attorney and family members. Both the investigation of Zhou・s case and his subsequent trial were marred by procedural violations all too common to :political; cases in China.

Analysis: Questionable Moves on Both Sides
 
There are many aspects of Zhou・s case which raise serious questions. First and foremost, if it was clear that Zhou had traveled into Hong Kong on a false passport, why did Hong Kong authorities choose not to prosecute him for passport fraud? According to several Hong Kong immigration lawyers, it is standard practice for the Hong Kong SAR government to prosecute individuals who show up in Hong Kong using false documents, in order to discourage others from doing so.

:This man・s case is unusual,; said Philip Dykes, a leading Hong Kong lawyer and human rights advocate. In a case like this, Dykes suggested, :you would have expected a prosecution.;   18

:They always prosecute,; another lawyer with extensive experience in immigration cases said, noting that the minimum sentence in such cases is usually eighteen months.

Yet, in Zhou・s case, the Hong Kong authorities declined to prosecute. As senior Hong Kong officials have pointed out after Zhou・s case came to light, the power to prosecute for passport fraud is in fact discretionary, 19 and it must be said that no violation of Hong Kong law has emerged in the SAR・s handling of Zhou・s case. But why did the SAR government depart from standard operating procedure in its handling of Zhou・s case? Would not the evidence linking Zhou to bank fraud V discussed in more detail below V strengthen, rather than weaken, the argument in favor of prosecution?

Many observers, Zhou・s lawyers among them, have questioned why Hong Kong Immigration chose to return Zhou to the mainland, rather than Macau, where he had come from, or the United States, his place of residence. Others, including Legislative Councillors Margaret Ng and Leung Kwok-hung, also known as Long Hair, have asked whether Immigration officials informed Zhou that he would be returned to the mainland, and obtained his consent to return. 20 As of this writing, the SAR government has not made clear whether Zhou was told that he was being returned to the mainland; it has generally declined to comment on the specifics of Zhou・s case.

It should be noted that there are one or two key discrepancies between Zhou・s own account of his time in Hong Kong and the story told by the relevant Hong Kong Immigration documents. Most crucially, Zhou suggests that he never revealed his name or the fact that he is originally from mainland China. The Immigration Department・s Record of Interview for Zhou, which begins at 11.12pm on September 30, and ends at 1am on the morning of October 1, does not suggest that Zhou revealed his identity, but it does state that he initially informed immigration officials of his actual place of birth, Sichuan province. Other immigration forms generated by Hong Kong Immigration also state that Zhou identified his place of birth as Sichuan, and that this was the basis for Zhou・s removal to the Mainland. 21

If true, this would suggest a more solid factual basis for the Hong Kong government・s decision to return Zhou to the mainland than has previously emerged. As many have pointed out, standard practice would be to return an individual either to his place of residence or his place of origin. If Zhou・s current place of residence was genuinely unknown, then it would make sense to return him to the mainland.

Yet while certain moves by the Hong Kong authorities deserve further scrutiny, Zhou himself also made choices that are difficult to understand. For example, Zhou・s decision not to reveal his actual identity remains a curious one. If, as his own account of his return to the mainland suggests, he began to suspect that he was being transported back to China, why did he not disclose his actual identity, and request deportation to the United States, his place of residence? Surely doing so would have made it much more difficult for Hong Kong immigration officials to send him back to China. It is at least possible that Zhou thought he could ride the entire episode out by keeping his mouth shut; he may have believed that, once the Hong Kong authorities tired of him, he would be put on a plane back to California. Yet doubt must have crept into his mind as he was being driven northward. Zhou・s silence as he was being driven to Shenzhen remains one of the key unanswered questions of the affair, one that begs elaboration by Zhou himself.

The Hong Kong Immigration file on Zhou・s case also casts further doubt on Zhou・s claim that he was unaware of Zhang・s use of the alias Wang Xingxiang, and also provides some circumstantial evidence connecting Zhou to the case of bank fraud for which he was tried and convicted. According to Hong Kong Immigration documents, Zhou was carrying a various credit and bank cards in the name of Wang Xingxiang; it is unlikely that someone who picked up a false passport with, as Zhou claims, a randomly-assigned name, would also go through the trouble of having bank cards created in that same name. Zhou was also carrying a business card of Zhang Hongbao・s, which, one assumes, Zhou would not have wanted to carry into the mainland with him for security reasons. Also, the date of birth listed on Zhou・s fake Malaysian passport, August 8, 1953, corresponds with the date of birth on Zhang Hongbao・s fake mainland Chinese ID card in the name of Wang Xingxiang.   22

These additional facts, when combined with revelations first uncovered by the South China Morning Post about Zhou・s extensive connections with Zhang, further undermine the credibility of Zhou・s claim that he did not know that Zhang Hongbao used Wang Xingxiang as an alias, and that he was given the fake Malaysian passport in that name at random. In sum, it is difficult to believe that it could have been a (for Zhou) unlucky coincidence. One is left to wonder: if it is in fact the case that Zhou obtained a forged passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang, why did he do so?

And yet, as more and more circumstantial evidence mounts of Zhou・s involvement in attempted bank fraud comes to light, the Hong Kong authorities・ decision to return him to the mainland becomes even more difficult to understand. If, as seems to be the case, the Hong Kong police had in their possession evidence that strongly suggested Zhou・s intent to engage in illegal activity in Hong Kong, why did they not prosecute him? At the very least, why not begin prosecution for his use of a false passport, a seeming open-and-shut case, and continue to investigate Zhou・s possible involvement in bank fraud?

What Next?

Even if one views the facts of Zhou・s case as suggestive of foul play on the part of Zhou, its outcome is nonetheless troubling. Zhou was held for months in incommunicado detention, and was denied a fair trial. His ability to speak on his own behalf, and to shed light on some of the more perplexing aspects of his case, is limited. Perhaps most importantly, his girlfriend and young daughter have no access to him in China. 

What, if anything, can be done? Options are severely limited. When appropriate, the US will arrange for US citizens convicted of crimes in foreign countries to serve their sentence in the United States. Such transfers can only take place with the consent of the prisoner him or herself, and do not include the right to a new trial in America. In fact, reconsideration of the original verdict, no matter how flawed, is generally off the table.

Such an option would be an attractive one for Zhou: it would get him out of China, and would allow him to serve his sentence in a place where his girlfriend and daughter could have at least some contact with him. Yet for Zhou, prisoner transfer is not possible: he is only a green card holder, not a US citizen, and is therefore not eligible for prisoner transfer. Also, although Hong Kong does have a prisoner transfer agreement with the US, China does not.  23

In sum, Zhou・s legal options are virtually non-existent. The only option left may be political: the only way that progress might be made on Zhou・s case is if international human rights groups and foreign governments intervene on his behalf, making the case with Beijing for an early release. Yet this option too is problematic: especially since the link between Zhou and alleged bank fraud has become more pronounced, the voices calling for action on his case, never particularly strong, have grown even quieter.

It is likely that the lack of action around his case has everything to do with the lack of clarity surrounding the allegations of impropriety by Zhou. To this day, Zhou Yongjun has maintained his innocence, claiming, however improbably, that he ended up with a passport in the (false) name of his former patron completely by accident and without his knowledge. As Zhou endures his third year behind bars in China, one wonders whether he might want to consider a different approach: if he decides to fully and publicly explain his reasons for traveling to Hong Kong, might not his act of painful honesty generate a bit more sympathy for him, such that international actors in a position to weigh in on his case with Beijing might be more inclined to do so? A slim reed, to be sure, but at this point where else can Zhou pin his hopes?

Thomas E. Kellogg is program director and advisor to the president of the Open Society Institute. He is also adjunct professor of law at the Fordham Law School.

1. For more on seemingly political decisions by Hong Kong Immigration related to entry into Hong Kong, see Thomas E. Kellogg, :Stirring Up Trouble: the Johannes Chan Incident, Ideological Exclusion and Immigration Law in Hong Kong and Macau,; Hong Kong Journal, July 2009.
2. Lena H. Sun, :Chinese Activists Sentenced; Student Leader Wang Given 4-Year Term,; Washington Post, January 27, 1991.
3. David Ownby, Falun Gong and the Future of China, Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 71. For a very good short summary of Zhang・s rise and fall in China, see Ownby, pp. 70-77. See also David Palmer, Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China, Columbia University Press, 2007, pp. 146-150.
4. Author interview with David Ownby, June 9, 2010.
5.Author interview.
6. Maria Hsia Chang, Falun Gong: the End of Days, Yale University Press, 2004, p. 4.
7.Ownby, Falun Gong and the Future of China, p. 168.
8. Zhang・s attempt to come to the US and claim political asylum was complicated by rape charges that had been filed against him in China; Zhang and his followers claimed that the charges were politically-motivated. See Joseph Kahn, :US Delays Asylum Hearing for Leader of a Chinese Sect,; New York Times, August 19, 2000; Erik Eckholm, :Beijing Lists Charges Against Sect Leader Who Fled to Guam,; New York Times, September 15, 2000.
9.Kristin Jones, :The Twisted Tale of a Flawed Dissident,; South China Morning Post, March 20, 2010.
10. Ibid.
11. David Pierson, :Stakes High for Accused Dissident,; Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2003.
12. According to one estimate, Zhang・s estate, which includes homes in both California and Texas, is worth roughly $2million. It is unclear if this estimate includes various bank accounts under the name Wang Xingxiang. Molly Hennessy-Fiske, :Selling What the Dead Left Behind,; Los Angeles Times, December 28, 2009.
13. :He insisted on going because he wanted to visit his family,; Zhang Yuewei told a reporter. :His father has had a stroke and is partially paralyzed, and his mother has heart disease. We had a quarrel over it.; Fox Yi Hu, :How HK Handed Over a Dissident,; South China Morning Post, October 18, 2009.
14.Copies of those fax transmissions on file with author.
15. Those fax transmissions, copies of which Zhou claims were given to him during his interrogation by Hong Kong police, later were presented as evidence at Zhou・s trial in Sichuan. In his interview with prominent rights lawyer Mo Shaoping, which took place at Zhou・s prison in Sichuan on May 25, 2009, Zhou denied any prior knowledge of those transmissions. A transcript of that conversation is available online at: http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20091013_1.htm.
16. Zhou Yongjun letter to his attorneys, March 3, 2010. Available online at: http://www.inmediahk.net/node/1008351.
17. Li Jinjin, :Zhou Yongjun・s Case Report,; September 19, 2009. Available online at:
18.Author interview, Hong Kong, May 2010.
19. Legislative Council, Panel on Security, Minutes of meeting, November 3, 2009, pp. 12-13.
20. Legislative Council, Panel on Security, Minutes of meeting, November 3, 2009, pp. 11-12.
21. See, for example, the Confirmation of Departure form, dated October 3, 2008.
22. See Beijing Public Security Bureau statement, :Zhang Hongbao is a criminal suspect in China,; July 25, 2000; available online at: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/sgxx/sggg/sgxw/t34848.htm.
23. Agreement Between the Government of Hong Kong and the Government of the United States of America for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, April 17, 1999.

(RTHK)    UN probing Zhou Yongjun case   2011.7.25

A United Nations working group will consider next month whether the former June 4 student leader Zhou Yongjun was detained and charged illegally in China. Mr Zhou was sent back to the mainland by Hong Kong authorities, after he tried to enter the SAR with a fake Malaysian passport. A mainland court later jailed him for nine years on fraud charges.