December 6th, 2007 04:56 EST
7-Year Old American Child Forced into Hiding in China
In the shadow of the Olympic Games Village, northwest of Beijing's city center, concerns about religious persecution and the corruption of justice for China's common citizens in the months running up to the Olympics have been raised, in a case involving a young American girl, nicknamed "Grace", and her middle class Chinese family.
Photo: Mr. Shi Weihan's passport
Grace En Mei Shi , a 7-year old girl, who is an American citizen of Chinese ethnic descent, has been forced into hiding with her Chinese mother and 11- year old sister. They are fearful for their own safety and for the health and well being of En Mei's father-- Weihan Shi--a 37-year old Chinese businessman being held in an unknown location without formal charges or legal representation after being arrested by the Haidian District Substation of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Essentially, he is a "disappeared person."
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. Jin 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 Shi's wife, more than once, to question her in connection with Christian literature confiscated from Shi's home, office and bookstore.
Shi is now in the eighth day of his detention by the Beijing PSB, without being allowed to see his family or a lawyer to represent him. In violation of Chinese law, no formal charges or arrest warrant have been issued, although the family has requested it.
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 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--"Grace"--born during the family's visit to the U.S. in 2000, and her older sister-- "Lily" are reportedly terrified for their mother and father'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 Shi's wife and two children would be used as an interrogation tactic against him before legal representation can be arranged.
The U.S. Embassy has been provided information about the case and is reportedly concerned for the welfare of the young American girl. The American Citizen's Service Center and Political Section of the U.S. Embassy have been formally raising inquiry to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs already.
"This is another case of religious persecution in the 2008 Summer Olympics host city Beijing in the name of so-called 'illegal publication,'" said Bob Fu, president of China Aid and pastor of both Shi and his wife from 1995-1996 in Beijing, "In 2004, House Church pastor Cai Zhuohua was sentenced to 3 years for printing bibles, we urge the international community to pressure the Chinese government to respect the rule of law and release Mr. Shi immediately."
For more information, please contact:
Bethel Energy Group, Inc and client of Mr. Shi's travel agency
Gregory C May
U.S. Embassy Beijing
Tel.: (8610) 6532-3831 ext. 6742
Fax: (8610) 6532-6423
Director Zhang Weigang , Beijing Public Security Bureau, Haidian District Substation