7-Year Old American Girl Forced into Hiding in China: CFI
31 Dec 2007
USA: December 31, 2007. In the shadow of gleaming new towers built for the Olympic Games, just outside of BeijingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s city center, one case highlights the religious persecution and corruption of justice that can still happen to ordinary Chinese citizens.
Just months before China is put on the world stage hosting the Olympics, Grace (EnMei) Shi, a 7-year old American girl, has been forced into hiding with her Chinese mother and 11-year old sister. They fear for their own safety and for that of EnMei`s father--Weihan Shi--a 37-year old businessman who was informally detained by the police and is being held in an unknown location.
Contrary to Chinese law, officers at the Haidian District Substation of the Beijing Public Security Bureau not only refused to tell the family where Shi is being held, they also would not tell them what he is being charged with, essentially denying him any possibility of legal defense.
He has become a victim of Ã¢â‚¬Å“enforced disappearanceÃ¢â‚¬Â placing him outside of the protection of law--a violation of Ã¢â‚¬Å“The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced DisappearanceÃ¢â‚¬Å“--a U.N. convention of which China is a signatory.
Mr. Shi, a life-long resident of Beijing, and a travel agent active in promoting foreign travel in China during the Olympics, was arrested in his Christian literature bookstore in a high-class business tower near the Olympics Village, along with some of his employees, his younger brother and his wife--Mrs. Jing Zhang--who have since been released after questioning. After 20 police raided their home at 5 AM on November 28th, the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) detained ShiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, more than once, to question her in connection with Christian literature confiscated from Shi`s home, office and bookstore.
Mr. Shi is now in the eighth day of his detention by the Beijing PSB. The family is concerned that he may be quite ill. As a diabetic, going without his medicine for several days, Shi may already be facing the danger of diabetic shock. The Haidian officers have also refused to allow the family to take Mr. Shi`s diabetic medicine to him. There has been no proof or assurance to the family regarding his medical condition. Deprivation and torture tactics are often used by the PSB in their notorious detention centers to force those being held to reveal information about others.
The little American citizen--Ã¢â‚¬Å“GraceÃ¢â‚¬Â--born during the familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s visit to the U.S. in 2000, and her older sister--Ã¢â‚¬Å“LilyÃ¢â‚¬Â--are reportedly terrified for their mother and fatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s safety after witnessing the raid on their home. The mother and two girls have gone into hiding, fearing the possibility that threatened reprisals against ShiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife and two children would be used as an interrogation tactic against him before legal representation can be arranged.
Staffers at the U.S. Embassy have been provided information about the case and are reportedly concerned for the welfare of the young American girl.