Category Archives: Part 2: What’s happened to him and her?

Zeng Jinyan: a Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

A Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

by Zeng Jinyan

The 22nd letter from Hu Jia has arrived. But the 19th and 21st letters have both been confiscated. Hu Jia finally received the diary that I wrote on behalf of our daughter Baobao, even though two of the pages had been torn off and confiscated. Hu Jia had almost refrained from talking about things that had happened in the prison. He mentioned briefly that he had influenza and a temperature, and therefore could only sit for one examination. During my visits and in our letters, we mostly talked about small details of our everyday lives, including the way in which our child is growing up. As soon as we started to talk about something else, our conversation would be terminated, or our letters confiscated.

Today I took Baobao to Grandma and Grandpa. In the afternoon, the state security wanted to have a chat with me. As soon as we met, I told them that I was tired and was on the verge of a breakdown. So if it was good news, they could go ahead and tell me. Otherwise they should not bother.

But the state security insisted on talking to me…

On the way home at the Si Hui Bus Station, I burst into tears over some trivial matters. I can’t remember the last time I cried. Perhaps it was on the day when Hu Jia was sentenced.

I was back at Freedom City in the evening. When I entered the courtyard, I caught sight of some plain-clothed police; they were watching me from a well-illuminated spot. There was also an ordinary infrared camera on the roof above the gate. Every time I raised my head I could feel the blood red colour of the light blinding my sight.

What I’m writing now can be used as a confession to the state security police. It’s also a confession I made to myself and to Hu Jia. When Hu Jia has a chance to read it in future, he will understand.

I will object to any plan to extend Hu Jia’s prison terms or to impose harsher penalties on him, even though I am aware that there is little I can do to reverse the decision. I would be most delighted if he would be released ahead of schedule, because I so much look forward to his return. We may not have carefully thought through the way we handle our work on environmental protection, on AIDS, and on human rights. We therefore welcome criticisms and suggestions. But we are not members of any military establishment or political party. And we are definitely not a part of any conspiracy. We are simply a couple of naive, unsophisticated and powerless individuals who are trying our best to give a hand to those who need help. We are not too concerned about whether we are making a huge impact; we are only helping one person at a time.

You want me to persuade Hu Jia to correct his thoughts, as a way to speed up his release and his return to society. How would I not want him to come home soon? It is just that I don’t have a chance to do so. Whenever I write to Hu Jia about what happens in society, my letter will be confiscated. What else can I do? I don’t have much to live for. I only struggle to stay alive for my child. If what you want is my life, then go ahead and take it, but leave me with my independent spirit and my free will. You are wrong if you think that you can solve your problems by taking away my independence and my will. For me, the simplest solution would be for you to end my life. I have no right to abandon my life; only the Divine can do that. Not all evil and wrongdoings in the world involve one life form taking away its own life or the lives of others; it is also wrong and evil to enslave others, be it physical or spiritual enslavement.

I am exhausted. I am far too busy looking after my child. She seems to have developed a deep sense of insecurity and is clinging to me so closely as if she is afraid that she may lose me if she let go. It is so bad that sometimes I can’t even enjoy a proper hot meal. I am suffering from severe back pain. My arms have no strength. I am not sleeping well and have become absent-minded … I can’t find the strength to respond to many things happening around me. So those of you with grievances against an organization, a person, or someone’s opinion, would have to go directly to them to have things sorted out. I have neither the power nor the right to demand others to say something or not to say something. Those who do good deeds; they will get praise. Those who do evil; they will sooner or later be condemned. This is a common practice everywhere in the world, including China. It goes without saying.

I have just read from Xinhua News that the Chinese government has decided to establish a national human rights action plan to map out the development of human rights in China for the next two years…

China will take United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review

Foreign ministry: Chinese government will continue to work for human rights

[Links in Ms Zeng’s post are all in Chinese.  China Digital Times has more details about China’s human rights action plan.]

There is nothing more basic than to respect human rights, to show concern for humanity and to honour the dignity of mankind. Do you dare to look on what you have done? What you have done to us – the misery and sufferings you have brought to us – has been done on the foundations of human rights abuse.

I’m invoking the Almighty Buddha to give me faith, to guide my trembling hands, to give me his mercy, to end my tears and sorrow, and to keep my feeble heart from losing hope.

from: zengjinyan


China dissident Zeng says she wants to speak out despite fear

by Marianne Barriaux Fri Oct 10, 7:09 AM ET

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese dissident Zeng Jinyan said on Friday that she wanted to keep speaking out on human rights but was afraid due to intimidation of her and her jailed husband, who had been tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I think that I will not give up on further efforts,” Zeng said in a rare interview after silently sneaking downstairs from her third floor flat in the Bobo Freedom Village in Beijing to speak to an AFP reporter.

“But sometimes I hesitate,” she said. “I can’t make the decision because I am not completely sure about the risks I am facing.

“Who knows what will happen?”

The 25-year-old has used her Internet blog to challenge China over the detentions and current imprisonment of her husband, Hu Jia.

Hu, 35, had been considered one of the favourites to win the peace prize but the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday instead honoured Finnish peace mediator Martti Ahtisaari.

Talking nervously behind a gate in front of the back entrance of her flat, knowing she was being constantly watched, Zeng talked of her fear of speaking out but also the need to continue the fight for rights in China.

“A lot of people are scared (of speaking out). Even I have to make efforts to get rid of the fear, but if we are not serious about this, the end result will be even more terrifying,” she said.

“Especially now that we have children, we have to think of them, of the next generation, as I really don’t want my baby to lead the same life as me.”

Zeng has been confined to her flat, where she lives with her 11-month-old daughter, under a form of unofficial house arrest.

During the Beijing Olympics in August, Zeng was taken away by authorities for 16 days to the coastal city of Dalian, in an apparent bid to prevent her activism embarrassing China during the Games.

Hu was jailed in April for three-and-a-half years on subversion charges, after he used blogs, emails, and interviews with foreign reporters to highlight various rights abuses in China.

He has campaigned against government abuses, environmental degradation and the plight of China’s AIDS sufferers, but the Chinese government insists he is a criminal.

As she glanced constantly from left to right, Zeng said she was nervous about Hu’s nomination for the peace prize, and sometimes still agonised over whether to continue the human rights fight.

She said authorities had once told her that if she did something wrong, Hu would suffer the consequences in prison.

“But there are rights that the constitution gave me, meeting journalists is part of the rights in the constitution,” she said.

“To talk about human rights is every individual’s fundamental right, it is not something that you talk about when authorities let you, and that you do not talk about when authorities do not agree,” she said.

Then she glanced to her right, a fearful expression on her face as someone walked towards her.

“They’re coming, they’re coming, I have to go,” she explained, and then ran back into her block of flats.

from: Yahoo

Chinese Activist Back to Beijing

Time – Associated Press

(BEIJING) – A Chinese human rights activist detained by police during the Olympic Games has returned to Beijing, a human rights group said Tuesday.

Zeng Jinyan and her infant daughter, who were taken one day before the Aug. 8 start of the games to prevent her from speaking to journalists, were brought back to the city over the weekend, said Chinese Human Rights Defenders in a statement.

The spokesman’s office of the Public Security Bureau had no immediate comment on Zeng’s case.

In a brief telephone conversation, Zeng said she would be back at her apartment Tuesday afternoon but could not give any more details because she was being monitored.[continues…]

Return of Mrs. Zeng Jinyan to Beijing

Return of Mrs. Zeng Jinyan to Beijing / Ongoing arbitrary detention and ill-treatments of Mr. Hu Jia

August 26, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
New information:

The Observatory has been informed by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) that Mrs. Zeng Jinyan, a Beijing-based human rights activist and wife of Mr. Hu Jia, an HIV/AIDS activist, co-founder and former Director of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute for Health Education, and her child have been returned to Beijing by police on August 23, 2008.

The Observatory recalls that on August 7, 2008, Mrs. Zeng had been taken by the police from her home, first to visit Mr. Hu at Chaobai Prison and then to Dalian, where Mrs. Zeng was detained in a hotel. Since her return to the capital, Mrs. Zeng has continued to be under strict residential surveillance by Beijing police.[continues…]

Jailed China activist barred from seeing family on birthday: wife


Jailed Chinese rights campaigner Hu Jia is in deteriorating health and police have barred relatives from seeing him on his birthday on Friday, the activist’s wife has written on her blog.

Police also prevented AFP reporters on Thursday from visiting his wife, Zeng Jinyan, despite China’s promises to allow foreign journalists freedom to report in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics.

The police action comes amid reports of a steady stream of arrests of dissidents and rights activists in the run-up to next month’s Games.

Zeng, who is confined to their small home in the “Bobo Freedom Village” apartment complex in Beijing with the couple’s nine-month-old baby, wrote on her blog that in a July 9 visit with Hu, he showed possible signs of anaemia.[continues…]

Family of jailed Chinese activist targeted by police

From TheStar

Bill Schiller
Asia Bureau

BEIJING-The official sign at the entrance to the new housing complex inspires: “BOBO Freedom City” it proudly proclaims. But for the occupants of Apartment 542 in Building 76 there is no freedom.

Zeng Jinyan and her tiny, 6-month-old daughter, Qianci, are prisoners in their own home – kept under round-the-clock surveillance by Chinese security police.

The cops mill about the courtyard. They block the entrance. They even occupy the apartment above.

Zeng and her baby have done no wrong. They have broken no laws.

But they are the wife and daughter of one of China’s best known human rights activists, 34-year-old Hu Jia – and that has made them a target.

This spring, Hu was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” He had dared to criticize the state in media interviews and in articles on the Internet.

And in a Web presentation to a European parliamentary committee, he criticized the government for not keeping its promises to improve human rights before hosting the Olympic Games.

Hu’s residence had long been under close watch.

But since he was sent to jail, Chinese security police have stepped up surveillance of his wife and child, transforming day-to-day life into a living hell.[continues…]

Some Observations on the Conviction of Hu Jia

From the Dui Hua Foundation

The prominent Chinese rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) was sentenced yesterday to 3-1/2 years imprisonment by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court. According to the Xinhua News Agency’s official report on the conviction, “Hu published articles on overseas-run websites, made comments in interviews with foreign media, and repeatedly instigated other people to subvert the state’s political power and socialist system.”

Hu’s case can be examined from a number of angles-for example, whether China’s laws against “incitement” contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or whether punishing Hu is part of a larger effort to silence dissent in advance of the Beijing Olympics. Here, though, we explore briefly two aspects of the way Hu Jia’s case was handled and try to place his case in a bit more context.

What’s the Rush?

It took only 98 days from the time Hu Jia was detained for the court to render its verdict. This is an unusually short amount of time to investigate and try a political case in China. Although time limits for each stage in the legal process are spelled out in China’s criminal procedure law, numerous provisions allowing for extensions make those deadlines highly elastic.[continues…]