Date: September 28, 2021
Shi Minglei (Hope) and Cheng Yuan, her husband before his arrest.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)
(ChinaAid, Midland, Texas—September 28, 2021) On September 26, Shi Minglei (Hope), wife of Lawyer Cheng Yuan, imprisoned human rights advocate, shared with ChinaAid by phone:
Right before Cheng Yuan's arrest, he traveled abroad and had the option to stay away from the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) control. Instead, he chose to come back to our home in China and be with me and our daughter [before ChinaAid helped us flee to the United States]. In the past, Cheng had told me, "I know my job is risky, but I have to do it. I want to do what's right and see justice and equal rights for the people."
On March 8, China Change published "Fighting Terror With Faith — The Road Walked by a Human Rights Defender’s Wife," an article Hope had written: Cheng Yuan, sentenced to prison for five years for "Subverting State power." The article states:
On July 22, 2019, three staff members of a Chinese NGO known as “Changcha Funeng” (长沙富能）were arrested; as of today, they have been held by state security agents in Changsha for 596 days without any meaningful information concerning their case. The prosecutors and judges in Changsha have avoided seeing either lawyers representing the three or the family members. In March 2020, the families were notified that their own lawyers were dismissed and replaced by government-assigned lawyers. In September 2020, one of the government-assigned lawyers revealed in a phone call made by the father of one of the detainees that the three had been tried, but to this day, there has been no announcement of sentences nor has any formal information been made available to the families. Founded in 2016, Changsha Fengneng has worked on discriminations in the workplace.
In another article posted September 6, 2019, "Inside China's Crackdown On Human Rights Advocates," Emily Feng recounts what Cheng Hao , Cheng Yuan's older brother, told NPR by phone:
After Cheng Yuan was seized, us family members have been kept completely clueless. We have no information.
Subverting state power? Until now the authorities have not provided any evidence he was subverting state power or encouraging violence in any way. Simply petitioning the government is not only permitted, but other political parties in China do it.
The arrested trio were working at Changsha Funeng, a nonprofit directed by Cheng Yuan that made a name for itself over the years as a successful advocate for anti-discrimination cases. Formed in 2016, it had become one of the more well-established public interest organizations left standing after the government of President Xi Jinping ramped up a purge of civil society groups across the country in recent years. ...
Under Cheng Yuan's leadership, Changsha Funeng scored prominent wins in court on cases of discrimination against citizens with illnesses such as hepatitis B and AIDS. In more recent years, Cheng Yuan had begun supporting anti-discrimination litigation over the country's one-child policy and over restrictions on where citizens are allowed to live.
While the Changsha Three are [were] held at the Hunan province detention center, the whereabouts of other human rights workers, or their relatives, in detention are not always publicly known.
Cheng Yuan's wife Shi Minglei is one of them.
Cheng Yuan's wife Shi Minglei (Hope) with daughter.
In August 2021, the international community learned that the three NGO staffers had been secretly tried by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on the charge of “subversion”, with Cheng Yuan sentenced to 5 years, Wu Gejiangxiong sentenced to 3 years, and Liu Dazhi receiving two years in prison. Liu Dazhi was released. Government-appointed lawyers refused to give a copy of the sentencing documents to the families.
Cheng Yuan (程渊), Liu Dazhi (刘大志), Wu Gejianxiong (吴葛健雄).
On September 9, Front Line Defenders published: "Families yet to receive verdict and confirmation of prison location for Cheng Yuan and Wu Gejianxiong." CCP officials released Liu Dazhi.
Despite not knowing the prison location of her husband, Hope states:
Sometimes I feel tempted to regret that I did not stop Cheng Yuan from coming back to China... Maybe if I had done so he would not have been arrested. I realize, however, why he had to come back. I understand his heart. Still, this time has not only been painful for him and me, but also for our daughter.
Cheng Yuan has paid a lot for his sacrifice in his work as a devoted lawyer for human rights. I also know him as a loving, devoted, encouraging husband and father, not only dedicated to his work, but also to his family.
Each day, I pray for Cheng Yuan to become a Christian; that God will remove the barriers from his mind for him to believe in and know Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that during this time of being deprived of his rights he will come to the point where he can rely on Jesus—not himself. I hope that others will join me to pray for him that he will not be overcome by the persecution.
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father
except through Me.
~ John 14:6(NKJV)
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