(Journalist: I heard that he was interrupted when he talked about the basic principles of New Citizen Movement?)
No, when he talked about disclosing officials’ assets. He said that in this world more than 100 countries have established the assets disclosure system, why cannot China do it? What are those higher up there afraid of? What are you worrying about? Then he was asked to stop.
We remained silent during the whole process of the trial, we will write out our opinion gradually after the trial.
Ai: How do you think about Xu Zhiyong, esp. through being his defense lawyer this time?
Zhang, My evaluation of him has never changed. Zhiyong is a person who has ambitions and who is capable of working towards them. He is not a bookworm, a hermit away from the human world; he is not one who works stubbornly in spite of whether the society can take it and disregarding the real situation of China. He knows that although there are many social problems in China, they cannot be solved once in all. They can only be solved gradually, however this does not mean that if they cannot be solved immediately, then we shall all remain silent, not pointing out problems, and restrain from taking actions since there is difficulty. This will not work.
Some people must stand out, then the society will progress. From certain perspective, he is a man of religious feeling; he believes in destiny. At this point, there is a god in his mind. I asked him, is your god the first cause or the ‘Tao’ by Laozi, that is the origin of the world before the creation of the heaven and the earth? Is it a first time, first source, first driving force, or a personal god? He said his god is not completely the same as the God in Christianity. However he thinks that there is a power in charge of the universe and the development of our human world. This power is more like a personal god. To many people, their missions are destined. He believes this. He thinks that even if there will be more suffering, it is his destiny. This has given him support. Otherwise, he could act like Wang Gongquan, to compromise a bit for freedom. If you do not have something to sustain yourself, it is very difficult to be persistent in today’s China.
However his belief is not really agreed by everyone. His wife talked with me and said she did not agree with him. I also told him that he should be very cautious in commenting about religion, since it was still a very sensitive topic in China. But he is very sincere, never trying to evade this topic. He is just such a person. If Xu Zhiyong had not taken this path, if he had been a lawyer, a social activities organizer, or a government officer, he would have been very capable of doing it well. He is a remarkable person.
Ai, he knows that he has a baby now but he has never seen her, isn’t it?
Zhang, I showed him… he saw the picture, showed him the picture, and a short video.
Ai, What is his expression after seeing them?
Zhang, At that moment he cried. He could not bear a father’s responsibility when the baby was born. When this happened, many entrepreneurs, including some people abroad, wanted to support his family, with some donation. His wife is independent, she thinks that she is capable of making a living for the family, and does not want to accept it. I asked Zhiyong about this. He felt very sorry. He is not a person who makes a lot of money, for so many years, they still have a 600k yuan house loan, each month they have to pay about 4000yuan. I told his wife to give the loan account to me, 4000yuan is not a huge amount, I can arrange the payment, his wife did not accept it.
Now we also think, in which way we can help her more properly. No matter how independent, she is just one person, working in the media, the income is not high. When the baby was born, more expenses will incur. In Beijing, children need a lot of money, we all experienced it. I also talked with other friends of Zhiyong, we plan to help her in the ways that she will accept, and we will not let her have any economic burden. At least we will help Zhiyong to take care of his family, since this is what we can only do.
In fact I felt very sad yesterday. It is fine if he does not talk. But yesterday, when he started the closing statement, I started to think, he has persisted for so long, and in fact his wish is just our common wish, the common wish of our generation. What he wants to do, is also what we want to do. However, we do not have the courage, and only he stands out. We just want to help him, but the pressure and pain he suffers, nobody can help to share.
Yesterday he talked about the process in the past ten years, I could not control myself, really could not. In the court, I also cried. The judge said, Lawyer Zhang, how come you did not control your emotion? I said, for you, probably it was nothing, but for me, thinking about our friendship as classmates, it was making me very sad. However, finally consciousness overcame emotion. We think his sacrifice is worthwhile.
Because, not too long, no need to think how the people in the positions think about, how the politburo members think about. Just think about we have arrived at such a time that everyone uses Apple, Samsung; and they all use Microsoft. The same communications method, Wichat is very popular. Especially, those born in the 80s and 90s, and those born even later, the environment they will encounter, is no different than other countries in this world. The technology, production methods, living style are also the same as other countries. Then why the way of ruling the country is grossly different? This is impossible.
If you think about 20 years later, when those born in the 80s and 90s become the mainstays of our country, what rules will people follow? We will then have a conclusion that China is going to change for sure. However if there is no one to push for it, it will remain a piece of solid metal. He has been one facilitator, this is enough. He has borne the mission that our generation should bear. We feel gratified and proud for him.