International Refugee Day - Calling for Continuing Support to Rescue Ms. Zhang Xinyi (Photo)
June 20th this year is the 5th "International Refugee Day." We cannot help but think of Ms. Zhang Xinyi, a teacher in Changsha City, Hunan Province, who was detained by police after being repatriated to China by the Cambodian government acting in collusion with the Chinese embassy in Cambodia.
Ms Zhang Xinyi
In June of 1998, Zhang Xinyi went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to teach Chinese in a Chinese school there. Her husband Li Guojun joined her in Phnom Penh in July the same year. In July 2002, both Ms. Zhang and her husband's jobs were terminated after they were reported to the authorities for distributing truth clarification literature. At the same time, all the Chinese schools were ordered not to hire them. At that time, the Chinese embassy in Cambodia received Ms Zhang's passport renewal processing fee, but they refused to process her renewal request. Under the circumstances, Ms. Zhang was force to find the United Nations Refugee organization in Phnom Penh. The head office of the United Nations Refugee office immediately issued a document to protect both Ms Zhang and her husband.
On August 2, 2002, about seven or eight policemen suddenly broke into Ms Zhang's home at 139 Road 1FE, Phnom Penh. Both Ms. Zhang and her husband were arrested and sent to a prison operated by the immigration department, even after they showed their United Nations protection document. The police made it clear that they were acting under demands from the Chinese embassy. On August 5, 2002, Ms Zhang and her husband were sent back to China. Due to international pressure, both of them were released on bail after being jailed for one month, but they never get their passports back from the Chinese authorities.
Ms. Zhang was again arrested on April 28. She has been held at the Changsha Detention Center for almost two months. The police claimed that they would sentence Ms. Zhang and put her in prison this time.
Ms. Zhang's experience validates once again that the Chinese Communist government ignores democracy and human rights. They disregard the United Nations International Covenant on Human Rights and international human rights law. We call on people to uphold justice and righteousness, and for international organizations to continue to work to rescue Ms Zhang.