Hong Kong leader faces flak on Tiananmen dissident handed to China
Oct 13, 2009, 0:56 GMT
Hong Kong - 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.