Editor’s Note: Zheng Enchong is an attorney from Shanghai. He represented or advised around 500 families who received little or no compensation from the authorities when they were evicted from their homes during the urban redevelopment of Shanghai.
In 2003, a group of those residents tried to file a lawsuit against the authorities because they did not receive adequate compensation, alleging the officials were corrupt. The officials involved included former Shanghai Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chief Huang Ju, then Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu, and then Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng. Zheng Enchong also claimed that sons of former CCP top leader Jiang Zemin were involved and were extremely corrupt.
The authorities detained Zheng right after those residents tried to file the lawsuit because he provided legal advice to them. They later charged Zheng with “supplying state secrets to foreign entities” in connection with faxes he sent to Human Rights in China, a Non-Governmental Organization based in New York. Zheng was sentenced to three years in prison. 
On December 8, 2005, while he was in prison, the German Judges Association presented Zheng Enchong with its “Human Rights Award” at a reception that the German president attended. Zheng’s wife Jiang Meili was invited to accept the award, but the Chinese government did not allow her to leave the country.  Zheng was punished after he received the award.
Zheng was released on June 5, 2006, but remained under house arrest.
From time to time, police interrogated him and his wife. The Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau interrogated and tortured Zheng for nine hours on June 17, 2009. 
On April 11, 2014, the Zhabei branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau summoned Zheng and his wife for alleged tax evasion. 
As for those officials that Zheng accused of being corrupt, they later faced charges of corruption. In 2006, Hu Jintao, then top leader of China, charged Cheng Liangyu with corruption and took him down. Huang Ju also faced a similar charge, but Hu didn’t pursue it, as Huang was in a late stage of cancer and later died. Many Chinese believe that Xi Jinping, the current top leader of China, has already targeted Jiang Zemin and Han Zheng in his anti-corruption campaign.
In the past several months, however, the authorities have improved Zheng’s treatment. For this reason, Zheng has come to believe that Jiang’s days are numbered.
The following are translations of excerpts from several interviews of Zheng Enchong.]
I. Zheng’s Treatment Has Changed
A. Sound of Hope (June 14, 2016): Retired Officials Invited Zheng to Attend a Reunion 
In March 2016, Zheng told overseas media Epoch Times that he had heard the authorities were monitoring Jiang Zemin’s two sons and their assets were also under control. 
Zheng talked about some of his middle school classmates who had retired and had a rank at or above the level of deputy department director of a state ministry. They normally were a good source of political information.
Zheng said that recently, his classmates held a reunion and “specifically requested that I must attend, saying [the reunion] was to celebrate that Jiang Zemin was finished.”
“The fact that they dared to invite me openly indicated that they thought my situation was getting better.”
At the gathering, Zheng’s classmates who were officials discussed the current political situation. They felt that, though Xi was doing things to contain Jiang, he might have felt it was difficult to denounce Jiang publically.
They did come up a solution for Xi though. “They all thought that the best choice of action for Xi would be to start political reform in China so that he could win the people’s support [which would then help him in going after Jiang].”
B. Epoch Times (July 17, 2016): Zheng’s Treatment Has Improved 
From 9 a.m. on July 11, 2016, to noon on July 15, 2016, the police treated Zheng and his wife at the Angel Beach Resort on Chongming Island, Shanghai. The police had informed him in June that they would arrange for his family to go on a retreat. Zheng didn’t believe it. He thought they planned to interrogate him for something.
During those five days, Zheng and his wife were treated well. The authorities discussed three things with them:
Zheng said, “First, [they wanted to] allow my wife Jiang Meili to go to the U.S. to unite with our daughter. Second, [they said they would,] from then on, provide 1,500 yuan (US $200) per month as living expenses to me, double what they were giving me at the time. Third, they planned gradually to stop monitoring me and to give me total freedom – so far they have been monitoring me around the clock.”
Regarding the first item, Jiang Meili requested, “If you let me go to the U.S., I need the freedom to leave and come back. I don’t want you to kick me out [of the country] and not allow me to return.”
For the second item, Jiang spoke for her husband, “He will not appreciate that, since you are the ones responsible for our financial losses (from not being able to provide attorney’ services for many years).”
Zheng said, “The lead police officer who took us to the resort said that they had discussed the issues with their superiors and that it would be impossible for me not to give any interviews or to write articles. The only thing [that they could try to negotiate with me] was how few.”
“One day a few Domestic Security Team officers from the Jing’an District of Shanghai came to visit us. It was raining heavily with strong gusts of wind, but they still rode a boat to cross the Yangtze River. It showed that the discussion with me was important to them.”
Zheng said that he and his wife stayed on the second floor where the master bedroom was. They enjoyed a good view of the lawn, trees, and stream. In the past, he and his wife were detained in different rooms.
The food was excellent, including lamb, pork, beef, lobster, other seafood, and fresh vegetables. There was beer, good red wine, yellow wine (a type of Chinese alcohol), and Maotai. Maotai is the best alcohol in China.
II. People Are Awakening
A. Epoch Times (July 18, 2016): Guards Felt They Had Been Fooled 
Zheng said, “The abnormal thing this time was that those police officers seemed to feel dejected.” Previously, they had been harsh toward him.
“The authorities had stationed policemen outside my home to monitor me for many years. One officer who had been there for seven years was to retire two months after the authorities treated me to the resort. One day, he got drunk and said, ‘I had a miserable life! To a certain extent, my boss has fooled me.”
Zheng explained that the policeman used to treat them rudely, but this time, when his boss announced the three items to me, he felt very regretful. The government’s changing position had all of a sudden completely overturned what he had been told and what he had believed [that Zheng was a bad person and should be punished].
Zheng was surprised to see how he changed.
“His boss tried to comfort him, saying, ‘My life is miserable, too!’ They thought that, in putting me under house arrest they were performing extremely important work for the state, but they came to see that they had just been fooled. I think it is a good thing [that they realized it].”
B. Epoch Times (July 19, 2016): Xi Jinping’s July 1 Speech Carried New Messages 
Zheng found three new points in Xi Jinping’s Speech of July 1, 2016, which was the CCP’s anniversary. He felt that a big change in the climate was coming.
“The first point was that Xi, for the first time, mentioned that the CCP will, sooner or later, lose the people’s support which had enabled it to rule for so long and will be abandoned.”
Xi’s original words were, “Managing the state must start with managing the Party. The Party’s affairs must be managed strictly. If (we) don’t manage the Party effectively and if the Party’s problems that people have big concerns about are not resolved, sooner or later, our Party will lose its qualification to rule and its abandonment will be unavoidable.” 
He thought that the fact that Xi mentioned this openly on a nationwide television broadcast showed that people are really against the Party.
“The second point Xi mentioned was that the biggest threat that the CCP faces is corruption.”
“The third point was that Xi’s move is going to surpass Deng Xiaoping [on the extent of reform].”
“Xi Jinping’s original words were, ‘Reform and the rule of law are the two wings of a bird or two wheels of a cart.’ When Deng Xiaoping promoted reform, he came up with a term that said ‘stability was the dominant factor.’ That is wrong. It should be that the rule of law is the dominant factor. Xi is softly changing that term.”
Zheng felt that the current situation scared the authorities.
“Xi Jinping issued three documents related to lawyers. He wanted, by end of 2016, to have lawyers hired into Party organs and state agencies, promoted to judge and procuratorator positions, and hired at the legislative branch. Then before 2020, state-owned enterprises and private companies should have lawyers as their legal counsel.”
Zheng expressed earlier why the regime all of sudden is in great need of lawyers: The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on June 13, 2016, to denounce the CCP’s conducting live organ harvesting against Falun Gong practitioners. Also over 200,000 people have filed lawsuits against Jiang Zemin, the leader who launched the persecution of Falun Gong. Zhongnanhai doesn’t know how to handle this situation.
C. Epoch Times (April 20, 2016): The Public Is Changing 
Zheng felt that the situation in China has changed a lot in the past few months. For example, he was previously viewed as the “hostile enemy,” so some neighbors with government positions used to ignore him. Now they come to chat with him and his wife.
Now, when people chat with each other, their source of information is no longer any of the CCP’s publications but rather the overseas media. Many people in Shanghai use mobile phones to read the news.
Citizens can watch television programs from New Tang Dynasty and Taiwan (they are not allowed in China, but people can watch them using a satellite dish). The picture quality is the same as Chinese Central Television. The CCP can no longer control the media. It cannot go to every home in Shanghai to check their TV. Now people want to watch programs produced outside of China since they don’t trust the CCP’s words anymore.
In the past, relatives and friends often suggested to Zheng that he not get into a conflict with the CCP. Zhen reports that now they are telling him, “‘What you have done is right. Please take care of your health so that you can live to see the CCP fall.’ It is the low to mid-level Party officials saying this. They are more eager than I am to see the downfall of the CCP.”
Zheng also thought that it would turn out to be a good thing that the CCP had built up a big number of the “50 cents” group (people who the regime pays for posting articles on the Internet that support the Party or its view). This has enticed people who were not interested in politics into politics. Now as they spend more time reading Internet articles and accessing information, they will, in the end, join the public [to oppose the CCP].