Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Zheng Enchong prepares to sue Chinese media

Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), a Shanghai lawyer involved in the defence of economic and social rights of those displaced by urban development projects who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2003, has presented a letter to the Liberation Daily (解放日报), the Wenhui Daily (文汇报), and two individual journalists demanding a retraction of an article written on 29 October 2003 (shortly after his sentencing) on pain of further legal action. The letter, written by his attorney Pu Zhiqiang, is available here: Download DemandLetter.pdf

The demand is made just in time: the limitation period for actions in civil matters is normally two years (Art. 135, General Principles of Civil Law). The letter is dated Oct. 27, 2005. I did some research on this issue once, and all the authorities are agreed that just about any kind of demand will stop the running of the statute of limitations. It is not the case that only bringing suit in court will do. This is consistent with a common-sense reading of Art. 140 of the GPCL: "A limitation of action shall be discontinued if suit is brought or if one party makes a claim for or agrees to fulfilment of obligations. A new limitation shall be counted from the time of the discontinuance. 诉讼时效因提起诉讼、当事人一方提出要求或者同意履行义务而中断。从中断时起,诉讼时效期间重新计算。"

Still, waiting so long is a bit risky. Clearly, what a court would most like to do is to dismiss this suit on procedural grounds without having to make a decision on the merits. If suit is ever brought, it will have to be more than two years after the date of the alleged libel. Surely the court hearing this will be sorely tempted to read "make a claim for" as meaning "bring suit in court", even though all authority is against such an interpretation. If that happens, just remember: you saw it here first. On the other hand, it may be that Zheng just wants to keep his claim alive for another two years but has no specific intention at the moment of moving forward with it. This letter should start the clock running all over again.

Web references:

  • Reports on the Zheng Enchong case by human rights organizations (in English): here | here
  • South China Morning Post news report (in English)

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De acuerdo con el Grupo de Preocupados por los Derechos Humanos en China, Zheng Enchong, quien ha avisado a residentes alegando que ha sido desahuciado a la fuerza y requerido de comparecer a la Policia como parte de una Investigacion Economica, en una detencion de nueve horas hace pocos dias.
El Secretario Ejecutivo del Grupo de Preocupados por los Derechos Humanos indico que dichos oficiales de la Policia le dieron galletas en la cara a Zheng repetidamente, le golpearon la cabeza e intentaron quemarles los labios, le quitaron los zapatos y desnudaron, dejandolo en su calzoncillos. Oficiales diseminaron el contenido de sus bolsillos en el piso, llaves, pluma asi como la Biblia que Zheng, un devoto Cristiano, llevaba consigo.

El Secretario Ejecutivo del Grupo de Preocupados por los Derechos Humanos agrega que la detencion de Zheng parece estar relacionada con su trabajo en la Liga de Victimas Chinas, que procura llamar la atencion sobre los desalojos en Shanghai. Zheng ha sido detenido 62 veces desde que salio de prision en 23006, despues de salir de prision, pero el ultimo incidente fue el mas violento, asi dijo Poon hablando de personas amigas de Zheng.

Zhen fue encarcelado en 2004 por protestar al Gobierno y dar su soporte a los desalojados en Shanghai ; habiendo estado vigilado por la Policia desde su excarcelacion hace 2 años. El colega chino ha sido detenido en 62 ocasiones desde que salio de la prision en el 2006.

El Comite de abogados que demandan la libertad del colega Rolando Jimenez Pozada, condena de forma energica los atropellos contra el destacado abogado chino Zheng Enchong y responsabiliza al gobierno de la Republica de China por tales actos; y que cesen las arbitrariedades y violaciones de Derechos Humanos contra los ciudadanos chinos y abogados en particular.

Los abogados cubanos expresan su mas sincera solidaridad con los colegas : Zheng Enchong, Teng Biao, Li Fanping, Gao Zhisheng, Chen Guangcheng, Guo Feixiong, Li Jinsong y Li Hepin, destacados colegas en defensa de los Derechos Humanos.

Miami 25 de junio 2009.

Abogados : Juan Escandell Ramirez, Luis F. Fernandez, Pedro Fuentes Cid, Ofelia Nardo, Santiago Gomez, Eduardo Agramonte, Camilo Loret de Mola, Adolfo Rivero Caro, Angel Cuadra, Julio alejandro Hernandez, Jadir Hernandez, Alexandra Salazar, Leonel Morejon Almagro, Agustin de Goytisolo, Alfredo Garcia Menocal, Felix Fleitas Posada.


Posted by: Juan Escandell Ramirez | Jun 26, 2009 3:09:37 PM

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