Searching for Elder Sister Kou Yanding

Kou Yanding was taken away by police in Beijing on October 10th for “picking quarrels and provoking disturbances.” Kou Yanding is a bestselling author on such incendiary subjects as trying on parliamentary procedures in Chinese villages and endurance walking. Until today, nobody knows her whereabouts, and her family only knows that she was detained and her home was searched by the police and shut again with a police lock.

Kou_Yan_DingHer sister wrote (in Chinese) on 10 December 2014, the International Human Rights Day.

Our 85 years old father longs for your returning home. Second elder sister was running between Haidian Police, Detention House, and the City Letter and Visits Office. Although we knew the confirmation that you got detained by the police, but nobody knew why and where you were detained. Everytime, we went to search for you based on what was told by the police, but failed in vain.

The following is my translation of an article written by Zhai Minglei (sina weibo翟明磊在雾里) on 14 October 2014.

At this moment, in Shanghai, I am writing a memoir. In this country, very often some people got disappeared without trace for being the voice of conscience. This is more dreadful than death. In two days, two of my good friends, Guo Yushan 郭玉闪and Kou Yanding寇延丁, were detained. When this happens with my own friends, it is an unbearable anger and helplessness. Perhaps there will be a new style of writing in China, a style of memoir about the disappearance of good friends of conscience. I think we can name it “Style of Sorrowful Memoir”. In such a dark age, words do not have power; however they can still warm our freezing hearts. There are not many people who know Kou Yanding, so I will write about her first.

我所认识的寇延丁What I Know about Kou Yanding

Our getting to know each other for the first time was interesting. One day, I received a letter, because I worked a bit for public interest, the sender wanted to meet me and discuss my experience. The signature of the letter showed “Tarzan Kou Yanding”. The writing was brief and straight, I thought the writer must be a foreigner and a man, and got this name after the movie, until I picked up the phone. I could not help laughing in my heart.

As agreed, I went to Jinyan’s Office. I went downstairs of the office building a bit earlier. When I passed a bench nearby a grass field, a lady attracted my attention, not because of her looking, but the peacefulness surrounding her. She was sitting there quietly and the whole world seemed quiet because of her. From my intuiting, I knew that must be her, and I smiled and went upstairs. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Oxford Alumnus Appeal for Liu Jianshu

Oxford Alumnus Appeal Liu Jianshu

Like many Chinese young people, Liu Jianshu 柳建树 studied abroad and chose to come back to China. Unlike most young Chinese graduates from abroad, he did not choose a place to make a lot of money with his background of overseas study in Oxford; instead, he made himself an NGO worker and dedicated to the development of civil society in China. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

October 1st, the National Day, and Hong Kong

Today is October 1st, 2014, it is the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In Beijing, tens of thousands people went to Tiananmen Square in the early morning to watch the flag-raising ceremony. It is a national holiday and a day of celebration. In China this day is called 国庆日 (national day), literally, it is “nation(al) celebrate (celebration) day”. On this special day, people like to get together with families and eat delicious food, visit parks, go for tourist travels, or stay at home and watch TV. In many cities, national day firework shows are organized in the evening for residents to enjoy. But today, in Hong Kong, instead of beautiful fireworks and more tourists pouring in for shopping and visiting, tens of thousands of Hong Kong people are “Occupy(ing) Central” and launching an “Umbrella Revolution”, protesting against the new election policy decided by Beijing.

What is “OCCUPY Central”? Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ilham Tohti, “Forced Separatism”?

AFTER a two-day trial last week, Ilham Tohti, a scholar who has spoken critically of China’s policies toward people of his Uighur ethnicity, was sentenced on September 23rd to life in prison for separatism. Many Western powers ‘outraged’ after China convicts him. Why does the Chinese authority punish him with such a heavy sentence? 长平, Chang Ping, a commentator and critic wrote an article that explains this well. The following is my translation of Chang Ping’s article (in Chinese).

When the Independence Referendum in Scotland is just finished, while democratic states respect civil rights, and solve area conflicts in a peaceful and rational way and gain praise from the people, Uyghur Scholar, the former Minsu University of China professor Ilham Tohti, is sentenced to life sentence for separatism and with confiscation of his total personal assets. At this moment, the world politics is divided clearly into two parts: the light and the dark. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Attorney Pu Zhiqiang (part 1)

As the 25th anniversary of Tian’anmen Democracy Movement approaches, a small group of people, consisted of Tiananmen mothers, scholars, dissidents, writers, held a seminar in Beijing on May 3rd to remember the event, discuss its impact and consequences, and call for truth finding and resolution of remaining issues. Less than two days after the seminar, multiple disappearances have been reported.
Among them, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang 浦志强 was detained under the crime of “disrupting social order”. puzhiqiangnanfangrenwu
The following is my translation of a 2012 article published by South Metropolis Weekly (in Chinese) about Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang.

Haer Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang written by Jia Lingjiang, Tang Ailin

Pu Zhiqiang is 188cm tall and weighs 110kg. He speaks in loud voice and looks tough and strong. He makes many feel a bit under pressured standing together with him.

His weibo account profile is a portrait taken by the ESQUIRE magazine: square head, black suits, white shirt, handsome, healthy and strong, but with deep dimples making him a bit sweet.

Appearing on the ESQUIRE, Pu is so proud that he boasts that he will work hard towards the showbiz, and to start by “taking some small roles”.

He did appear in a 2009 documentary (Laoma tihua by Ai Weiwei, Pu appears at 17 minutes onward) and got quite many fans. However, he insists that he was already popular before the documentary. He got famous for defending for the media and individuals and their freedom of expression in defamation cases.
He calls himself “Haer”, “Hamou”, which means straightforward, pumpkin head, and says that he “knows politics, has techniques, but very bad in law”. This is for sure self-mockery. Born in 1965, Pu Zhiqiang graduated from Nankai University and the Chinese University of Political Science and Law, and he started to practice law in 1997. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Attorneys

Ding Jiaxi 丁家喜 is a Chinese lawyer, he is a member of the New Citizens Movement in China. He called for the disclosure of government officials assets by giving public speech and spreading banners Beijing and he was then charged with the crime of “disrupting public order”.

Photo of lawyer Ding Jiaxi

Photo of lawyer
Ding Jiaxi

On April 6, the trial day of Ding Jiaxi in Beijing, Wang Quanping 王全平, a Guangdong lawyer drove to Beijijng to support the Lawyer Ding Jiaxi. Wang painted some sarcastic words on his car: Ridiculous if guilty to ask government officials to disclose assets? We welcome people to disclose their assets, no need for public servants. Please, public servants, do not disclose your assets.

People, please disclose your assets. Public servants, please not disclose.

People, please disclose your assets.
Public servants, please not disclose.

Around 4pm on 8 April, Lawyer Wang arrived the Beijing Haidian District Court and planned to listen to the trial, but he was taken away by some unidentified people, and then was cut off contact with his family and friends. Until the afternoon of 10 April, the outside world was informed that lawyer Wang Quanping was detained under the crime of “causing disturbance”. So in China, no matter to ask government officials to disclose assets or not to disclose assets, both can constitute “crimes”.

The detention of lawyer Wang Quanping caused anger and support among Chinese laywers. Many lawerys started their campains “Do you want to defend for the dignity of Constitution and law? Do you want to defend for lawyer Wang Quanping?” There have been already over one hundred lawyers who participated in defending for Wang Quanping. (In Chinese) Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An interview with Zhang Qingfang about the trial of Xu Zhiyong (4)

(About why kept silent during the trial)

Most Chinese people will understand why we kept silent, but not western people, since they believe that the court is a place to argue and reason; criminal court is the place that argument and counter-argument shall be the most violent, and everyone speaks out his opinion, then the court can make a just decision. However it is clear that Chinese court is not a place to reason, especially a case like his. The reason why we kept silent is because to speak the truth needs those who know the truth to be present. Those who know the truth are either detained in detention house or controlled at home by police and not allowed to be present in court. When the truth is blocked out of the court, how can we prove it in the court? Since the court did not give us the chance to prove the truth, so we protested with our silence. This is an expression of our attitude. There is a saying: trying to explain is to give a 50% acknowledgement. Facing such an unjust trial, speaking could lessen the influence of the tragedy. Only by being silent, we can show our protest and anger.

During the trial, the judges did not care what is the truth, or guilty or not guilty; they only want to hurry to the end of the performance, to complete the task assigned by their leaders, to make it end as soon as possible. That is it.

Ai: Do you have pressure to be the defense lawyer in this case?

Zhang, My friends within the system told me, “if you want to take the case, only talk about law, but not politics.” However even if it is as such, I also plan, this year, I will take more rest, and make less contact with people within the system. If I get in touch with them, I will give them pressure, this is not good. I will take some rest and let this case pass for a while. When the case is decided, I will be quiet for a while, will not talk about it anymore. But now I must talk about it, because it is the time for the public to know Xu Zhiyong. When this is done, what is left for us to do is to help Cui Zheng, after this period. I will do it, to help as a friend.

Until now, I still think, it is not time for a big change to happen yet. I persuaded Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, before they were arrested. I told them that they should give some time to the new leaders and let the people see if they would launch real reforms. They, esp. Ding Jiaxi, were very optimistic, believing that a democratic society was coming immediately. I think it needs another seven or eight years’ time. I have more contact with people within the system.

I told Zhiyong that I wanted to defend for you, however I had never thought it came so soon. But life is not designed. Sometimes it is time for us to stand out, then we must. When this happens, we must do what we shall do, even if there is pressure. But I do not have the courage to be Zhiyong the second.

To Cui Zheng, she thinks the same. She understands Zhiyong and supports him, however their child must be separated from politics. This is why we did not release any photo of the baby, we do not want her to be a child of politics. She will have her own life. To Zhiyong, we will still provide our help.

However that fact that we do not dare to do does not mean that no other person is willing to sacrifice. I know, today in China, there have been too many people who are willing to sacrifice for political change. So it is difficult for the government to control everything since they have been done too many things that cannot be put on table. There has been too much extreme injustice existing in this system. If the government does not want to change it, how can it make others not to fight for change?

Even with regard to the system, there will be change within it. I told Zhiyong, no rush, gentleman waits in peace till his mission comes. He came to power, everyone watches. He shall be given some time. When the time passes, he still does not change, or what he does differs from what he says, then his reputation will decrease quickly. Thinking about Hu & Wen, what a high prestige they got at the beginning. It lasted for a few years, until about 2007, public opinion was positive. The economy was growing, together with the growing world economy. Many people really thought that China could develop as it did, it was hopeful, it differed from the messy western democratic political system, we were developing well. The leaders were also very optimistic at that time. However once the economy slowed down, the accumulated social problems emerged, the historical evaluation of them was different.

The current leadership is the same. We do not doubt their goodwill and determination of reforming. However before they came to power, the existing system could not have the opportunity to make them have the full capacity to steer the country. The worst thing is that they do not clear mind: knowing that they come to power without going through competitive and just election, instead depending on their family power or some other protection power, they still have a strong will to control everything, create enemies everywhere; this will lead them go into trouble sooner or later. When this happens, will they be in a dilemma of having difficulty to go either forward or backward? Then how shall China do, it is difficult to say.

Epilogue: Four days later, the court judgement was out. Dr Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years imprisonment. At present, he already requested for an appeal.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment