Zeng Jinyan and the AIDS support group that she and her husband Hu Jia founded, have now become the latest victims of power abuse by China’s tax authorities. This is not news. Other prominent NGOs have already been subjected to a similar predicament. They include the Gongmeng Legal Research Centre and the Aizhixing Institute of Health Education.
For Zeng, however, this goes beyond a paranoid totalitarian regime’s mistrust of civil society; it is persecution that aims at stopping her from speaking out against the human rights abuse her family has endured since the conviction of Hu Jia. For the last two years, Zeng has been put under constant surveillance and periodic house arrest. The authorities have recently stepped up pressure by targeting the office of the Beijing Loving Source Information Centre, an AIDS support group that she co-founded with Hu Jia in 2004. An eye-witness report says that thugs from China’s tax authorities have been harassing workers and volunteers on a daily basis, in an attempt to force Zeng to close down the office.
The tax authorities make sure that Zeng has little choices but to succumb to their demands.
Zeng Jinyan announced on 11 November 2010 the closing down of Beijing Loving Source. She also simultaneously posted the followings at Twitter to further explain her action:
Beijing Loving Source Information Centre is now under investigation from both national and local tax bureaus. In the meantime, authorities are tightening their surveillance on me. In order to keep damages to the minimum, I, as the legal representative of Beijing Loving Source, hereby announce the formal closure of the Centre. I will, as a legal representative, bear all consequences for this action. I have also sent reminders concerning other matters to all relevant parties.
The work of Beijing Loving Source has almost been crippled since the implementation of a new foreign exchange regulation. However, the Centre was notified in September that it would be subjected to tax inspection by the National Tax Bureau. The investigation is still ongoing. Today, I received another inspection notice from the Number 2 Auditing Office of the Beijing Tax Bureau. The Auditing Office demands the Centre to surrender detailed information of all its contracts and agreements for inspection. The Number 2 Auditing Office is a large tax agent. Normally, it will not deal with a small company with registered capital of just 30,000 RMB.
It is my hope that even without the support of an organisation, a core group of volunteers will still be able to coordinate the work of other volunteers to continuously provide help to children and orphans affected by AIDS. We are grateful for the enormous help we have received from our volunteers. Without them, hundreds of children who have lost their parents to AIDS would be living on the streets.
Just like beneficiaries from the AIDS affected rural areas in Henan, I am forever indebted to the volunteers and to those who have so generously supported our work.
I am now calling upon more bloggers and news media to help spread this story about Zeng Jinyan and Beijing Loving Source. Your help can ensure that our politicians in Australia, America, Europe and other parts of the free world will keep pushing our case against human rights abuse in China. Most importantly, your effort can possibly prevent innocent people like Zeng Jinyan from suffering further persecution.