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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    In Berks prison, illegal Chinese immigrant's life is in the

    In Berks prison, illegal Chinese immigrant's life is in the balance

    Zhenliang Weng sits in jail, hoping fervently that he gets one more chance to plead his case before being deported and facing an uncertain fate in his homeland.

    By Holly Herman
    Reading Eagle

    5/23/2008 11:43:00 PM

    Zhenliang Weng lives minute by minute in Berks County Prison, not knowing whether he’s going to live free or die.

    The 25-year-old illegal immigrant could be deported to China, where he fears he will be jailed or even killed for posting anti-communist messages on the Internet.

    But he could be granted political asylum and live happily under the liberty that drew him to this country.

    It all comes down to a race between one U.S. agency that has agreed to reconsider his request for asylum and another that has ordered his deportation.

    It’s the uncertainty that most frightens Weng.

    His fear prompts him to make frantic collect calls to his lawyer, the press and lawmakers from a prison pay phone, desperately seeking help — or at least someone to listen.

    It makes him weep.

    It causes him trouble finding the right words.

    "I am so scared about going back to China," Weng said before dropping his head on the table, breaking down in tears during an interview in the county jail.

    "I was just trying to help my country," he said. "I’m not a criminal. I just wanted a better life for myself.

    "In China, there is no freedom. I don’t like China."

    Weng is one of a dwindling number of illegal aliens being housed in the county prison for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Most of the two dozen illegal alien inmates in the county jail are housed for committing crimes such as selling drugs, stealing and assaulting people.

    Weng’s only crime was coming to America with a fake passport and dreams of a bright future.

    His darkest fears of dying in the country he thought he had escaped could very well become a reality — and soon.

    Officials with Immigration Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said last week that Weng will be deported to China.

    "The individual has a final order of removal issued by an impartial immigration judge and has exhausted all appeals," said Michael W. Gilhooly, northeast regional communication director of ICE. "ICE will move forward with enforcing the removal order as issued by the judge."

    Weng’s lawyer, Frank R. Liu of New York, filed a last-minute request to save Weng from being deported.

    Liu said that after hearing of ICE’s plans to deport Weng, he called the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office of Immigration Review, Falls Church, Va., and pleaded for the court to review the case.

    "They said they will review our appeal," Weng said. "I am very happy about this."

    Liu said that in many cases, the deportation proceeds despite pending appeals.

    Liu said that during previous court hearings he was unaware of Weng’s anti-China activities.

    "I just found out that this guy was politically active against the Chinese government," Liu said. "Now, I have a new reason to fight his case."


    Weng’s fight for freedom began nearly seven years ago when he flew into Miami.

    He had just graduated from high school and completed a year of computer school. He was living with his family on a farm in Fuzhou, a province in southeast China with a population of more than 31 million.

    "There are a lot of good people in China, but I didn’t really like the government," Weng said. "I came to America on an airplane for my freedom. When I was young, the police beat me. I don’t do anything wrong."

    Shortly after Weng arrived, he was arrested for having a phony passport. He was jailed for seven days before being freed to await a hearing on his request for asylum.

    After two failed requests, he was ordered to leave the country. But instead he stayed in the United States, working in Chinese restaurants and living in New York, Kentucky and Harrisburg.

    Immigration officials eventually caught up with Weng in March, when he was arrested in a Chinese restaurant in Harrisburg.

    He was transported to Berks County Prison to await a ruling on his latest request for asylum.

    On April 10, the ICE parole officer denied Weng’s request to remain in the country for fear of being persecuted upon his return.

    Weng previously was denied asylum April 14, 2005, and again July 10, 2006.

    Weng said he thought he was going to be deported Thursday.

    But Liu said Weng was not leaving Thursday because of his latest appeal. The attorney is hoping the case will be heard within a week or two and that Weng will still be here when the court is ready for him.

    As Weng sat in the county jail anxiously awaiting a decision on his future, he spent a lot of time reflecting on what had happened in the last year.

    "I was really scared," he repeatedly said. "I don’t know what will happen."

    Weng said he’d rather stay in the county jail than go back to China.

    This is understandable, because Weng said he had been keeping a big secret, from everyone, including his lawyer, whom he met when he was living in New York.

    Under severe pressure after learning that he lost his final bid for asylum, Weng broke down and told his lawyer the secret.


    Weng said he has spent the last year fighting to keep his family farm by blogging on the Internet and sending e-mail to the Chinese government about his concerns.

    Weng said he has been contacting his lawyer, legislators and the press seeking help after learning from his brother in January that the Chinese government was taking over his family farm for a military base.

    "There was a disregard of thousands of farmers’ livelihood," he said. "When I heard about this I didn’t hesitate to start collecting the information and photographs on the Internet to protect the farmers’ rights."

    Weng said his sole motivation was to help his family get its land back.

    Weng said he started a blog and posted seven articles in February focusing on the future of China.

    The topics included police enforcement, life as a civilian and the importance of military strength.

    Weng said he then sent an e-mail to the governmental body of his hometown, Langqi Economic District of Fuzhou City, asking the government not to take his family farm.

    At the same time, he joined an anti-communist club online and posted information about his family’s plight on the group’s Web site.

    In the meantime, the Chinese government found Weng’s Web site and deleted all the postings.

    Weng received a letter, dated Feb. 28, from his local government that stated officials there are aware of Weng’s political activities in the United States and his critiques of the Chinese government.

    The letter said that Weng would be would be detained and investigated upon his return to China.

    Liu said he was shocked.

    "He did something to trigger their anger," Liu said. "Most Chinese hide and keep a low profile. He was sending e-mail over the Internet to the Chinese government."

    Liu said had he known all of this he would have brought it forward in the previous hearings.

    The attorney said the new information gives Weng a strong case to remain in America.

    Liu said he informed court officials that Weng could be tortured or killed if he returned to China.

    Liu said Weng’s case is very unusual because he has taken such an active role against the Chinese government.

    "This case is rare," Liu said. "Many people were just hiding and making money and hoping not to get caught. This guy was politically active and he got caught. He didn’t realize he would get caught."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member tencz57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Waaa Been living off the services , going to school on our nut . Enjoying life . You knew how to lie your way in so , Bye loser
    Nam vet 1967/1970 Skull & Bones can KMA .Bless our Brothers that gave their all ..It also gives me the right to Vote for Chuck Baldwin 2008 POTUS . NOW or never*

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