AFP, Nov. 1, 2002
A man has been arrested in Beijing after his wife, a member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group, filed a legal complaint in the United States against President Jiang Zemin, the woman said yesterday.
Cao Jianwei, 40, was taken away from his home last Friday, said his Australian-based wife, Jennifer Zheng Zeng.
Four days previously Ms Zheng was among a group of Falun Gong practitioners who filed a lawsuit alleging rights abuses with the United Nations committees on torture and human rights, an action timed to coincide with Mr Jiang’s visit to the US.
Ms Zeng said her parents-in-law told her about her husband’s arrest.
“My mother-in-law said the police searched our home and took our computer,” she said.
A family friend asked police about Mr Cao’s whereabouts yesterday, but officers in his local police station did not provide any information, she said.
Beijing police officials could not be reached for comment.
Ms Zeng said she was one of seven plaintiffs from six countries who filed the action. She was in Australia when it was submitted.
Ms Zeng said her husband was not a Falun Gong follower and police probably detained him to find out if he was involved in the lawsuit, and also to send her a warning.
“I can imagine no other reason for his arrest except for the purpose to keep him as a hostage to threaten me. I would like to ask: if this is not terrorism, what is?” Ms Zeng said separately in a statement released by the group.
Ms Zeng, 36, had been detained several times in China for practising Falun Gong. She was sentenced in May 2000 to one year in a labour camp, where she said she was prodded with electric batons until she nearly fainted and forced to squat for up to 15 hours in the burning sun.
She was later forced to sign a statement renouncing her beliefs in Falungong.
“I wanted to be part of the lawsuit because I felt I betrayed those practitioners still in jail by signing that statement. When I got out, I felt it was my duty to help them,” she said.