He wanted to go to church — the only chance for a brief escape from house arrest. But Zheng Enchong knew the police by the elevator might stop him, so he decided to try something new.
He dialed China’s equivalent of 911, hoping other police officers might help him get out of the building. Instead, he was ignored.
“I wanted to see what would happen,” the activist lawyer explained in a rare interview at his home. “You can say I still believe in the law.”
That belief has been sorely tested. In the years since he started looking into possible land-related corruption at Shanghai’s highest levels, the balding, bookish 57-year-old has been beaten, imprisoned, refused a passport, stripped of his right to practice, and now confined indefinitely to his 14th floor apartment in a blue-collar district of Shanghai.