Hao’s sister Nina Wu has now started a blog on MSN Spaces. It includes a photo gallery of “Haozi” as the family calls him. Even if you don’t know Chinese, leave her a comment in English and let her know your support for Hao. Thanks to a volunteer who wishes to remain anonymous, we have a full translation of her first post, below. She includes an update on her latest visit to the police. It is a chilling account of what it’s like to be the family member of a Chinese person who has been detained without charge. I have put a few key paragraphs in bold:
Ever since I found “Where is Hu Jia?” (http://spaces.msn.com/zengjinyan/) on Google, Jinyan’s blog was a rest stop for my soul. I would often read her diary and the comments following it, sharing her joys and sorrows, as I too had experienced the pain and confusion after the disappearance of a loved one. Now, Hu Jia has returned. I am wholeheartedly happy for [Jinyan] and her family, and I will continue to search for my brother. With the support of my friends, I believe that I will also wait for the day when I can smile again.
I had never thought that I, after becoming an adult, would write anything besides research reports and investment records. In high school I experienced the embarrassment of someone secretly reading my diary, and I also read and heard many stories about diaries during the Cultural Revolution. After twenty, I stopped trusting the pen to record my own thoughts and feelings. Perhaps because work is so time-consuming, I only knew about the most popular blogs on the Internet, but I had never visited one myself. After my brother disappeared, I visited his blog, Beijing or Bust (spaces.msn.com/chinafool/), for the first time. Once I started I couldn’t control myself, and read his stories one after another.
My own writing has always been weak, and composition gave me even more of a headache. But now I believe that true feelings will leap onto the keyboard, as I type out the characters of my family and friends who miss Wu Hao. These feelings do not require eloquence or adornment. They just need to be faithfully recorded. I hope it can fill in for the “I love you, brother,” that is usually so hard for me to say.
Having always been proud of my enthusiasm for my job, I had hoped to remain as dedicated to my work as before, but I still left the Shenyin & Wanguo Spring Investment Strategy Conference early to drive to the petition office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. I hoped that after Hu Jia had returned home I could get information about my brother.
This time they did not ask me to fill out paperwork. It was the same officer as last time. He and another one promised to get in touch with the officer in charge of the case. After coming in and out many times and waiting, I never met the officer in charge. I only received a message: Wu Hao has committed a crime (When I came on March 20, they only told me that Wu Hao had been arrested.) They still refused to inform me what crime he was suspected of, and also refused to allow our lawyer to see him. Threatening to go to the Ministry of Public Security was also useless.
Can these law enforcement organs really ignore his rights and those of his relatives, and after detaining him for five weeks not offer any explanation? Anger swelled in my chest.
When I heard that the repeated promises of a deadline for my brother’s release from the previous employee in-charge were just “one of the working techniques” I nearly burst with fury.
That dignified state employees would carelessly trample on someone’s dignity, that a promise to a family member could be torn to shreds like wastepaper—what powers did the law grant them? Thinking about it, the people I dealt with never showed police credentials (despite repeated requests), and never called each other by name. I only know that the lead officer is surnamed Sun. After graduating from police academy he spent some time as a teacher, and then moved to this job for (?) [sic] 15 years. Even this limited information might be false. I was angry at myself for my political naïveté, and angry at this place that displayed the police insignia but did not actually “Serve the People.”
Finally, I got in an argument with the guard over using the restroom.
It was all about regulations. It was all about protecting secrets.
Why didn’t they dare to write it down? I needed to vent my anger, but finally I just ran out sobbing. I couldn’t make trouble for the insignificant guard and staff. In vast Beijing, finding a place where people can talk sense and speak clearly is terribly difficult.
In the evening, while eating dinner with friends, I found out that a friend had a terrifying experience this afternoon. He tried calling me and J for a long time, but the call wouldn’t go through. He worried that we had had an accident. Thankfully, he persisted in dialing the number until the call went through. Only then was his mind at ease. It was strange, because at the time I was in XXXX’s [sic] hall, where the cell phone signal was excellent, but my phone didn’t ring. I checked the call record but there were no missed calls. Why didn’t it go through? I thought about it and realized that other friends also complained that I wasn’t answering my phone.
Very fishy. Finally, like a martyr saying her final words, I gave my friends contact information for my husband and my former employer. I felt disconnected from reality, like in a novel. Would anything really happen? I had thought that a person disappearing without a trace was something that only happened in novels, but hadn’t that already happened in real life too?
I had to give my daughter a call. When she said “Mommy” over the phone, my tears began to flow again. As she, completely unaware of what was happening, excitedly reported her dancing achievements and progress in class, I was silently apologizing to her. Mom has been missing too often. Mom really wants to hold your little body, share every little thing that happens at school, and read to you. I hope that everything ends quickly, and your uncle can come back soon. Then Mom can hold your little hand again.
Thank you, Huang. I did not want what happened in my life to disrupt the lives of my friends, but you still learned that information from the World Journal Even if you can’t help, your phone call let me feel the warmth of friendship in the cold Beijing spring.
I hope that friends can use this blog to enter my life, searching for my brother in 2006.
Thanks to Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal for his story today: China’s Detention of Filmmaker Rouses Fears over Curbs on Media. (The story is accessible without a subscription.) Key excerpt (emphasis added):
Mr. Wu’s sister, Nina Wu, said the Beijing Public Security Bureau’s petition office confirmed Mr. Wu had been detained but won’t specify any charges against him. “His dream is in China,” she said. “His dream is for speaking out freely, and for making films….He knows there are some problems here, but he loves China and thinks things are getting better and better.”
In response to questions from The Wall Street Journal about why Mr. Wu was detained, the Public Security Ministry and the State Council Information Office said they are looking into the matter.
A half-dozen friends and colleagues who have known Mr. Wu for about 20 years, both in China and the U.S., describe him as outgoing and principled and said he hasn’t had problems with drugs or the law. What might have spurred the arrest, they said, is the film Mr. Wu had been working on for several months about underground churches. They said that on Feb. 24 Mr. Wu’s editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from his apartment.
The Chinese government really shoots itself in the foot by detaining people like Hao.