Most litigators have taken a pounding in the courtroom at one time or another. In Shanghai, authorities have apparently taken to drubbing their lawyers in the streets.
Associates of Zheng Enchong, one of China’s top human rights lawyers, tell The New York Times that authorities there have beaten him on multiple occasions, in an effort to end his advocacy for residents who had organized a campaign against a high-tech railroad that would slice through middle-class areas of the city.
People who have visited him recently say Zheng, who has been under house arrest for several months, was seriously injured by plainclothes police officers, who slammed his body on the concrete several times.
Jiang Meili, his wife, described another attack in a telephone interview with the Times: “A guy stopped him and pushed him to the ground,” Jiang said. “One man held him by the neck, while another kneed him in the stomach. Then five or six men carried him back upstairs, beating him in the elevator, too.”
Aside from his work on the railroad issue, Zheng has made allegations of high-level corruption in Shanghai involving real estate speculation and influence peddling.
“They’ve been very annoyed by this,” Jiang said.