Author: username7

Very caring and brave Chinese, defininely not indifferent   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-11-14 10:27:07 |Display all floors
"What am I scared of? I'm scared of nothing!" he said, gritting his teeth.

What happened next was a blur. I didn't know whether the bus had been driven to us, or if we'd been taken to the bus. Again we were forced onto the vehicle. Xiaoshan screamed: "I've remembered you! I've remembered your faces!"

Afterwards, Xiaoshan and I discussed what we'd seen. My argument was that they weren't all bad people. Perhaps, they'd fallen for something they shouldn't have fallen for. If they truly believed that Chen Guangcheng was a national traitor, then naturally they would hate him, and by association would hate his supporters. This was normal. Xiaoshan, however, disagreed. "They don't count as good people either. They're doing this for money. 1600RMB every month to do nothing. To beat people. Where do people even find jobs like that?"

In the end we agreed: this was a group of individuals who'd been sedated, who couldn't care less about good or evil, who cared only about their immediate wellbeing. In certain cases, at certain times in history, these were the people who had the capacity to assist monsters. If they had a gun, they would aim it. It didn't matter to them who they aimed at.

Wang Yanan, the former president of Xiamen University and translator of Das Kapital, once said: "There are three types of people in a pre-modern society: liars, fools and mutes." I think he must have overlooked the fourth type: the participant. In an abnormal society, the participant makes up the society. There are lots of them so each of them has only to do very little. None of them needs to own up to their actions. When times change most of them will be able to defend their actions by saying that they were fooled by someone else, that they were victims too. This isn't untrue, but it is because of their willingness to participate that makes them the very creators of evil itself.

The return to Beijing

We rode our bus back to Lingyi. A black Buick followed us the whole way. This was probably the world's most patient car. Wherever we went, it went. We pressed the gas, it pressed the gas. We turned around, it turned around. We stopped to drink sodas and eat noodles, and they sat outside waiting for us. I didn't know who owned the car, but I can bet that they were spending taxpayers' money.

We arrived in Xuzhou at three in the afternoon. Every one felt more relaxed after leaving Shandong. Someone called Xiaoshan to ask him where he was born. He said that we'd left Shandong, and didn't mention Xuzhou. If someone had asked me, I would've answered. My thoughts were that we were just going to see a friend. There's nothing more normal than this and there's no need to be dramatic. Later some things happened, proving that Xiaoshan, an old pro, was right to take precautions. It also proved that in an abnormal era, one pays a price for normal behaviour. This is China and I am a Chinese citizen. I have the right to lead a normal life. This is the lowest requirement for life. But at this time, in this place, it has become a dream.

Four days later, the five of us met up in Beijing. Xiaoshan played with his smart phone. Enchao wore a different leather jacket. Zhongqiang played poker. Nuola sat beside us smiling. I'd offended Enchao with another inappropriate joke and spent the rest of that meal apologising to him. We ate, drank two pots of coffee, and said things we didn't need to say. It was as if we'd returned to our ordinary lives, but we were all deeply aware that at that very moment, Chen Guangcheng was still in Dongshigu, still sitting alone in a dark cell. I know that Nuola will never forget. Zhongqiang will never forget. Enchao will never forget. Xiaoshan will never forget. There are others who will never forget. As we sat in that bright and clean room with our drinks, Chen Guangcheng was still in Dongshigu, sitting alone in a dark cell.

If you live in Dongshigu you are very close to Chen Guangcheng. When he fell foul of the government, everyone fell foul of the government. His fate is everyone's fate. A single man captive, the whole of man captive. You don't have to care about Chen Guangcheng, but you do need to know that at the moment his freedom was arbitrarily taken away, your freedom came under threat.

I once read this passage on the internet: "China's road towards development is long and slow. It doesn't promise to be smooth. If there's going to be blood, then please, start with me. If we're doomed to bear loss, then please, start with me. I will bleed, but that means that you cannot let others bleed. I am willing to bleed to death. If I lose, no one else is allowed to lose. I am willing to lose everything."

Chen Guangcheng did not write these words, but it might as well be him who said it. I hope, in a future not too far away, to read this passage to him on a warm spring day. I hope to sit down and have a drink with him. Then finally I would have realized this dream: To live a normal life.

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Post time 2011-11-14 10:28:20 |Display all floors
On that night of 15 October at the hotel in Lingyi, I was reading a book called The Blinding Absence of Light by the Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun. The book described a dark cell. In this cell sat a group of prisoners waiting to die. For them, time no longer held meaning. There was one boy, however, named Karim who continued to cherish this thing called time. Sitting quietly in a dark corner, he counted each passing minute. Every day, for three times a day he would announce the time to his fellow prisoners, giving shape to their lives. Though he'd lived in utter darkness, he found light in time. Though physically imprisoned, he'd found freedom.

The second day after I came back to Beijing, someone sent me a message. You are a writer. What was the purpose of what you did?

My answer: For Light, For Time

• This piece originally appeared on Chinahush. It was translated by Cathy Song at ChinaHush

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Post time 2011-11-14 11:19:42 |Display all floors
Murong   Xuecun(at centre) and the others.

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Post time 2011-11-14 12:05:05 |Display all floors

on Chen Guangsheng's birthday Nov 12, 44 people tried to visit him

w ww.dailytimes.c om. pk/default.asp?page=2011\11\13\story_13-11-2011_pg14_5

BEIJING: Police arrested thirteen people who were trying to pay a birthday visit Saturday to blind Chinese lawyer-activist Chen Guangcheng amid a campaign to free him from house arrest, supporters said.
Altogether more than 40 people were blocked by police as they tried to reach Chen, would-be visitors said from a bus near his home. The self-taught lawyer and rights campaigner, who has been blind since childhood, turned 40 on Saturday and has been under house arrest since ending four years in prison in 2010. He is famous for revealing forced sterilisations and late-term abortions affecting thousands of women in his home province of Shandong as part of measures to enforce the country’s population control policy.
“About a mile after we left the motorway, police diverted us to the bus line no. 12 car park” in the city of Linyi in Shandong, supporter Zhang Fuying told on Saturday by telephone from the bus, which set off from Beijing at 6am. “We have not come to ask Chen to help us. We are here for human rights in China, for which Chen has done so much. He has the right to eat a piece of cake with ordinary people.” Zhang said that of about 44 people who made the 600-kilometre (350-mile) bus ride to wish Chen a happy birthday, “thirteen have now been taken away by police, and there are 31 people on the bus”.
More than 30 police vehicles were parked near the bus, he added, saying that the group were followed when they went to the bathroom and had been unable to buy food since the morning. Local authorities said that they did not know about the events, which follow a series of attempts by journalists and supporters to visit Chen at home as part of a campaign for his freedom. afp

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Post time 2011-11-14 13:58:20 |Display all floors
#28 wrong spelling Chen Guangcheng not sheng

He Peirong living in Nanjing was in police custody around Chen's birthday, for she had twice tried to visit Chen.

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Post time 2011-11-14 14:30:00 |Display all floors

Wellwishers brave beatings to visit lawyer under house arrest in China

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Post time 2011-11-14 14:32:28 |Display all floors
Wellwishers brave beatings to visit lawyer under house arrest in China

A trickle of visitors to Chen Guangcheng's house has become a stream, even though they face attacks from thugs who guard him

Many people would like to wish Chen Guangcheng a happy 40th birthday on Saturday; some plan to travel hundreds of miles to his village in Shandong province to do so. None of his wellwishers expect to actually see him.

For more than a year the blind, self-taught lawyer and his family have been under house arrest in Dongshigu, Linyi city, without means of communication. Officials have not accused him of a crime and do not even acknowledge his detention. But dozens of people who have already tried to visit him have been threatened, beaten and pelted with stones by the thugs who guard him.

Remarkably, instead of deterring visitors, such experiences appear to have spurred them on; the initial trickle has become a stream.

Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the support for Chen in part reflected his position as a "poster boy" for the rights movement.

"[But] what motivates activists is that this is an indefensible case … The extent of the persecution of him is out of the ordinary," Bequelin said.

While authorities say that dissidents, such as the Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, are jailed because they have broken the law, they have simply denied that Chen is under any restrictions.

"As more and more citizens who travel to visit Chen are met with beatings and other kinds of violence, the central government simply can't repeat the same claim that Chen is a free man any more nor pretend that it has no power to stop the Linyi city government," said Renee Xia, international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

Even the state-run Global Times recently suggested authorities in Linyi should provide more information on his case – the first time a Chinese newspaper had mentioned him since before he was jailed.

Chen fell foul of authorities in Linyi city after highlighting official abuses, helping farmers who had lost their land and women forced to have abortions and sterilisations in a brutal family planning crackdown.

He was jailed for four years for damaging property and "organising a mob to disturb traffic" which supporters say was retaliation for his work. He and his wife and children were immediately confined to their home following his release from jail last year.

"I was in a small prison and now I am in a larger prison," Chen said in a video, which friends managed to pass to the outside world. That recording prompted thugs to burst into his home and beat the couple, leaving Chen unconscious, according to a letter smuggled out by his wife months later.

There are increasing concerns about his long-term health problems – he has not received medical treatment – as well as his family's food supply. But this bleak situation has spawned a remarkable show of solidarity which, like the current campaign to lend the artist and activist Ai Weiwei money to pay his tax bill, has taken authorities by surprise. Supporters have donned black sunglasses in their online pictures – mimicking Chen's trademark shades – and posed with slogans demanding his release. Some even dared to hang a banner on Shandong's government office in Beijing.

More remarkably, dozens of people have tried to reach him, knowing full well that previous visitors have been beaten, detained and had their property stolen. In a powerful essay - reproduced on Comment is Free - novelist Murong Xuecun wrote of his visit: "I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to go see him … I didn't want my books to get banned. I didn't want to become a 'sensitive topic'. I'd been invited to lecture in several countries. Most importantly, I was scared. I'm scared of pain, scared of getting beaten, scared of losing my freedom."

The CHRD network reported that almost 100 guards, mostly from other villages, have been hired to keep the family under surveillance around the clock on wages of 100 yuan (£10) a day, far above the average local salary. There are eight monitoring points in the small village and two mobile phone jammers around Chen's house.

Officials have also told residents that Chen is a traitor and ordered them not to discuss him with anyone, not to give directions to his home and to call a dedicated hotline if they find visitors.

Despite the pressure, several neighbours have attempted to help the family – reportedly being detained themselves for up to six months as a result. Some have ended up leaving the village.

Supporters see the fact that Chen's six-year-old daughter is now allowed to go to school – escorted there and back by the family's guards – as a glimmer of hope. It may be a response to international pressure; the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, flagged up his plight again in remarks on Friday.

Asked about Chen at a press briefing last week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said he had no information. Government officials and police in Linyi told the Guardian they had never heard of the case, nor of visitors being attacked.

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