China, what have we done actually?
I don’t know lawyer Wang Yu’s son Bao Zhuoxuan personally, but my son has met him once. They went swimming together.
When I heard from a lawyer friend on October 8 that Zhouxuan was taken away by police in Myanmar, I couldn't believe it. I tried to comfort this friend, saying he should be all right.
But then I kept seeing news reports about it and I knew that it wasn't “all right” but that something had gone wrong.
This child’s parents are both lawyers in China. While the respectful way is to call them “human rights lawyers,” the pejorative way is to call them lawyers who can’t get with the times. People who know them know that these lawyers have conscience when handling criminal cases, and are unwilling to take part in China's judicial charades, be the accomplices to wrongful cases and torture to extract confessions, or “play the jackal to the tiger.” People who don’t know them say that they are extremist, radical troublemakers and shysters.
People who understand the situation all know that if you take those cases that supposedly cannot be solved to a secondary school moot court, even the youngsters would be able to solve them. However, those judges who have received higher education are the ones who cannot solve them. So, lawyers who want to help solve them are lawyers who can’t get with the times.
The wives and children of these lawyers are bound to bear the same consequences together with their lawyer family members. Such is collective punishment. This is actually not so strange. During the Cultural Revolution, which leader among the denounced ones had their children unaffected by collective punishment? So, collective punishment today is not strange.
If nowadays, high ranked cadres to normal citizens are all subjected to collective punishment, whoever causes others to suffer also cannot escape the possibility of facing the same sort of circumstance him/herself one day.
On July 18 this year, at the entrance to the Tianjin Hexi District police station, it was the first time I heard a group of lawyers say: the 16-year old son of lawyer Wang Yu had been taken by public security, was released after 24 hours of detainment, and then was taken away again.
I thought of my 15-year old son immediately. I don't know what we're facing now. I became very worried and kept ringing home but my son didn't pick up the phone. I was thinking, if my son has also been taken away like Bao Zhuoxuan, then being released would be a lucky thing. But If it’s like what happened to the high school student—who was taken away, and when the family saw him again it was only his ashes, along with a written verdict for death penalty—what would a normal citizen like me do?
I felt really depressed. I said to my son, “If you're really taken away, I'd understand why Yang Jia went to the police station to kill”.
Actually, when I heard the news about Bao Zhuoxuan being taken away, I already understood Yang Jia.
Before now, I had always felt that Yang Jia just wasn’t willing to forgive the police who hurt him.
If you really have endured that humiliating harm and the life-threatening torture to extract a confession, you would know how terribly difficult it is for a person to forgive! I have a friend whose husband was wrongfully imprisoned more than a decade ago. She said to this day she still couldn't forgive those people who took away her husband and wronged him.
At that time I didn’t have the experience, so I wasn't touched by that sentiment. Now that I have had this experience, I am aware of all the difficulties in living a life that constantly makes one think of death. I have a friend who has been petitioning for six years. She said what petitioners think about the most is death: how to die, how to die so that people will pay attention to it, and then their cases would receive attention.
Unfortunately, the fact is: if you die—and no matter how you die—the environment that causes people to die still exists, and wrongful imprisonment is still being carried out! As long as Bao Zhuoxuan is in China and his parents are human rights lawyers, he won't be treated normally. This reminds me of a human rights lawyer who once showed me the picture of his young son: he said jokingly, “This is a hostage.” He said he already made preparations for his child to be “disappeared” at any time.
The question for me is not “China, what has happened to you?” but “China, what have we done?”
Two days ago, a 14-year old child committed suicide because he wasn't able to afford the 2,000 yuan tuition fee, and then his mother also jumped into the water to kill herself.
Two days ago, a 16-year old whose parents have both been “disappeared” was put under control—because his parents helped disadvantaged groups to obtain assistance via legal ways!
China, what have we done actually?
People of the whole nation are doing evil!
We were outraged the time when not a single person attempted to help when the little two-year old girl was run over by so many vehicles! We would think that if we were at the spot, we wouldn’t remain indifferent!
We are outraged that when we see an elderly person fall, we do not lend an arm to support him/her anymore just because we’re afraid that it’s another scam. We would think that if we see an elderly person fall, we would lend our arm.
But the reality? A two-year old girl being run over by vehicles doesn’t happen every day. And an elderly person falling down doesn’t happen every day either. But inequality and injustice happen every day!
We count ourselves lucky that we are not petitioners, we have not been “disappeared,” we don’t have family members taken away and then returned in ashes, and we aren’t wrongfully imprisoned.
We count ourselves lucky that we don’t have to worry about tuition fees, we’re still managing during the economic crisis, we ’re still safe even having had so much poisonous and harmful foodstuff, we don’t have lung disease even though we’re surrounded by smog.
But we don’t have the sense of “others” anymore. We only have the sense of ourselves. We are completely, thoroughly ingrained with the concept that “as long as we’re doing fine, everything is good.” This is our current condition. This is the condition of Chinese people harming each other. I think I should put it this way: it is called “the whole nation is committing evil” model. And I’m right in the middle of it!
When reading about that kid who committed suicide because of the 2,000- school fees, I thought, what can we do? I could offer assistance to such a kid. I’m sure I could find a friend who could offer assistance to another kid, and my friend surely could find another friend to offer assistance to a third kid.
When reading about Bao Zhuoxuan, what can I do? I don’t have any way make the unchecked public power stop doing illegal deeds to his parents, but I can write a letter to China’s top leader and to the leader of the Ministry of Public Security, requesting them to think from another person’s perspective and return justice to the kid!
Bao Zhuoxuan ought to be free. He is entitled to the rights stipulated by the laws of the People’s Republic of China.
China, please return freedom to this kid!
Wang Qiaoling, wife of lawyer Li Heping in the July 9 event
P.S. If you know a kid who cannot go to school for lack of 2,000 yuan and you are not able to help him/her, please call me at the following number to tell me. We will come up with a way to help. Thank you!
My number: 13911043194