Wednesday, May 13, 2009

- Good news, bad news, and a clarification -

Today's good news is that major news wires have "broken" the story that Chinese dissident Zhou Yongjun (also known as Majer Zhou, his English name), a former Tiananmen Square student leader, was arrested and is being held (unjustly) in China, by "the authorities," or the Chinese Communist Party.

To bring this to world attention is a positive, constructive step and therefore it is today's good news. The bad news is that, "They're holding Majer Zhou!" This is a new Tiananmen-Square related arrest -- the continuation of a crackdown that has happened for almost 20 years. (June 4, 2009 will be the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.)

The clarification is this: Most of the coverage correctly identified Zhou as a U.S. permanent resident, or a "green card holder." That's correct. He would have obtained that green card in 1993, when he first came to the United States for exile.

The clarification becomes necessary where the Associated Press, within its article, reported: "Zhou had applied for but does not yet have a green card, his family said."

This was an exchange with perhaps a misunderstood question, or a misunderstood answer. The source of that statement, Ms. Yuewei Zhang, clarified to CSN that Zhou applied for naturalization (a step to citizenship) two years ago, but that it's not approved as yet.

Naturalization is a completely different matter than U.S. permanent residency. The former is an application process now interrupted. The latter is something that Zhou Yongjun already has.

We can therefore underscore that yes, Majer Zhou is a U.S. permanent resident. And as the CSN has reported in connection with other political prisoner cases, "Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a non-citizen U.S. national." A permanent resident may be considered a U.S. national.

It is also true that the China Support Network (CSN) was mentioned in the related coverage by the New York Times and the AFP news wire.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Earlier draft of Zhou Yongjun story

Tiananmen Square Student Leader Captured
CSN demands the immediate release of Zhou Yongjun

April 16, 2009 (CSN) -- One of the student leaders at Tiananmen Square was named Majer Zhou -- or if you are Chinese, his name is Zhou Yongjun. He has now been captured. He is the latest case of a prisoner in China whom we need to demand that the Chinese authorities must release.

He has been living in the United States and has been an enthusiastic ally of the China Support Network. He spent some time being the North American Director of the Free China Movement. And his placement in the Chinese democracy movement is as solid as they get.

When the students rose up in Tiananmen Square, he led the first student march into the square, that got the action started in the first place. And then, he was the first elected leader of the student association -- they made a combined association of Beijing Universities -- in Tianamen Square.

He was elected there; he was a spokesman of the students; and he appears in a famous photograph of students kneeling on the steps of the Great Hall of the People. Zhou was one of the three students kneeling with a petition that looked to be a scroll intended for the emperor. That scene took place during the funeral for ousted Chinese leader Hu Yaobang.

Books about Tiananmen Square's June 4 movement mention Mr. Zhou. Zhou is a blue-chip name among the Tiananmen Square student leadership, and he has been captured in China.

This is now his third time to be a political prisoner in China. He was jailed immediately after Tiananmen Square's 1989 atrocity, then released in 1991. He made his way to the United States for exile. In 1998, he attempted a return to China. Then, he was picked up by the authorities and sentenced to three years in a labor camp. He was released nine months early in 2001 as a government gesture to win favor with the International Olympic Committee.

Heretofore, this was the "rumored disappearance" of Majer Zhou. The China Support Network is confirming the story ahead of the newswires and the Chinese government. Prominent dissident attorney Ning Ye, and another source inform CSN that Mr. Zhou is being held at a prison in Shenzhen.

In English, the only earlier report was on Dec. 19, 2008 when the China Aid Association reported that Zhou was arrested on Sept. 30, and that authorities first charged him with "espionage," then changed the charge to "financial fraud."

The China Support Network calls upon the government of China to immediately release 'Majer' Zhou Yongjun. If he is not present at the upcoming 20th anniversary of the June 4 massacre, he will be conspicuous by his absence, and circumstances will require that we must clatter and raise pressure for his release amid the commemorations for June 4 -- the yearly time of world attention for the June 4 issue.