Du v. Barr, 091420 FED5, 18-60792

Docket Nº:18-60792
Opinion Judge:Leslie H. Southwick, Circuit Judge
Party Name:Changsheng Du, Petitioner, v. William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent.
Judge Panel:Before King, Stewart, and Southwick, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 14, 2020
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Changsheng Du, Petitioner,

v.

William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney General, Respondent.

No. 18-60792

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

September 14, 2020

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals BIA No. A201 204 499

Before King, Stewart, and Southwick, Circuit Judges.

Leslie H. Southwick, Circuit Judge

Petitioner Changsheng Du petitions for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' dismissal of his appeal of the Immigration Judge's denial of asylum. The evidence does not compel a reasonable factfinder to conclude that Du has demonstrated he was persecuted because of his political opinion. The petition for review is DENIED.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Changsheng Du is a citizen of the People's Republic of China. He was admitted to the United States in February 2011 and had nonimmigrant B-2 status with permission to remain until August 2011. Before August, Du applied for asylum and for withholding of removal, but the application was denied. The government instituted removal proceedings against Du in September 2011. He again sought asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture.

Du's hearing on the merits did not occur until October 2017, and he was the sole witness. The narrative of events comes from Du's testimony. In 2008, he opened a store in China near Chenzhou University that became successful. Government officials and local police would often come in and take small amounts of money or merchandise. Du would often comply with their requests. In 2008, local police asked him to donate money to a charity that he believed was a pretext, but he complied. Beginning in 2010, the local police Chief Ning Ma began insisting that Du sell his shop to Ma at a low price; Du refused. A few months later, after Du finished remodeling his store, the police told Du he could not reopen because the renovation did not meet certain requirements. Du followed those requirements for the next remodel, but Ma refused to allow him to reopen. Ma and Du began to argue at the entrance of the store about the store's renovations and Du's ability to re-open. A crowd gathered to listen. Ma told Du, "I just don't want you to start your business again. If you have the guts, why don't you just go sue me." Du said he wanted to sue. Ma summoned more police officers and claimed that Du was disturbing the "social order." The police began breaking items in the shop, then a "moving company" came and began removing counters and shelves.

Du filed a formal complaint against Ma with the city government and another with the Public Security Bureau of Chenzhou City. A few days later, policemen came to Du's house and took him to the police station. There, he was slapped, kicked, and suspended between two desks while tied to a stick. The officers told Du they wanted "to give [him] a lesson." They told him to be quiet or else he would "be dead right away." When Du tried to explain that he did nothing wrong, the officers told him that he must have done something wrong, or he would not have been beaten. They also told him to confess to avoid more beatings.

After being detained about 80 hours, Du was released. As a condition of release, he promised not to "petition . . . the government again." He also paid a fine and promised to report back to the police station each week. After his release, Du went to the hospital for a check-up, and submitted a medical certificate in his asylum application outlining his injuries. The date on the medical certificate predated the incident by one year.

The Immigration Judge denied all three claims for relief and ordered Du's removal. He found that Du was not credible because of inconsistencies between his written application and oral testimony and that Du failed to present reliable and reasonably available corroborative evidence. The Immigration Judge also found that Du had failed to establish a nexus between his persecution and the protected ground of political opinion. Du appealed to the Board of Immigration Review. The Board dismissed his appeal. For the asylum claim, the Board based its dismissal only on a lack of evidence of a nexus between persecution and political opinion, without addressing whether Du was credible or had presented reasonably available corroborating evidence. Du now seeks review of the Board's dismissal of his appeal.

DISCUSSION

Du's petition for review raises three issues, all relating to the denial of his application for asylum. First, Du argues that the Immigration Judge erred by finding that Du lacked credibility. Next, he argues that the Board's decision should be reversed and remanded because he presented enough corroborating evidence of a likelihood of future persecution. Finally, Du claims that the Board erred in concluding that no...

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