April 8, 2006

Day 44: Nina describes going home

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 2:50 am

Nina lives in Shanghai, but has been spending a great deal of time recently in Beijing - away from her daughter, husband, and full-time job - in order to pursue her brother’s case. On day 44 of Hao’s detention without charge, she describes going home to Shanghai without answers from the police:

Even though I had already rejected the idea, I still followed advice and made a trip to the National Ministry of Public Security.  By the time I got there yesterday, they were already off work.  Early this morning, when I arrived at Dongtangzi lane, they wouldn’t let me enter.  Just like Beijing’s famous hospitals, you had to take a number.  I came too late.  There were no numbers left.  The comrade at the door could be called kind.  Seeing that I had to catch a flight at noon, he stretched the rules and let me in.  There were five officers in the room.  They interacted with me for as long as it took to fill out the forms.  Before I finished explaining the situation, they told me directly that the work of the National Security group was of a special quality.  The procedure followed in my brother’s case was different from an ordinary criminal case.  Go home and wait.  We will tell the family when there is an outcome.  Right as I began to argue that family members had a right to know the conditions of the suspect and what crimes he was suspected of, another officer entered.  He impatiently told me that many people were waiting behind me, and not to delay their business.  At this point, I could only leave disconsolately.  I wished that my brother’s situation would be handled like the banner in the reception room proclaimed: “Meticulous Implementation.”  I wished that enforcement of the law could return my brother’s innocence and freedom.

While walking out of the lane, it began to rain.  Had the heavens started to be considerate of my feelings, seeing me off for my temporary departure from depressing Beijing?  In the rain, hailstones fell on the taxi, and struck my heart with the pain of acupuncture needles.  The taxi driver was buoyant, and chatted up a storm.  Perhaps he wanted to share his good mood with the melancholy passenger sitting behind him.  All the way to the airport, he didn’t succeed.

When I stepped off the plane, warm sunlight embraced me.  The difference between Shanghai and Beijing in atmosphere and environment is huge.  It suddenly gave me a feeling of unreality.  I was grateful that busily working at the office allowed me to temporarily forget the tragedy hundreds of miles away.

When I came home, my daughter was overjoyed, and impatiently finished her “Mama and girl” drawing on her little blackboard, adding her literary innovation: “Mama, you are just like the ocean hugging a little fish, the moon hugging the stars.”  I held my daughter tightly.  Every moment of happiness is worth cherishing.

In the quiet of the night, I got on the Internet again and visited Liao Liao Yuan [http://spaces.msn.com/zengjinyan/  the blog of Zeng Jinyan, wife of recently released activist Hu Jia].  I found that the misfortunes of life are being played out in other places.  Read the excerpt below (Sorry Jinyan, I violated your copyright.)

On March 11, 2006 at 9 PM, in a village in Linyi, Shandong province, on the 195th day of house arrest, Yuan Weijing and the infant she was clutching were thrown into ditch by the road.  Yuan’s husband, the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, was shoved into a police car and driven away.  The child’s grandmother, over seventy years old, was also tossed into the ditch.  The owners of the house that Yuan’s family was temporarily living in, an ordinary farmer and another villager, were also taken by the police.  To this day, Yuan Weijing has not received any information about her husband.  Besides watching as police took him away, she has not received any legal documents or notices from officials, except for a so-called notice of “continuing interrogation.”  Now it is already April 4th.  A new twenty-four days!  Yuan Weijing is also under house arrest.  The infant and the mother holding her are both without freedom.  During these days of imprisonment, their telephone has been cut, and cell phone signal disrupted.  If they go out, they are beaten.  If people visit, they are beaten.  Around thirty people have been hired to watch Chen Guangcheng’s gate on shifts 24 hours a day.  The authorities give each 30-80 RMB in daily “salaries”.  To this day, you can see that they’ve already given out 30 to 40 thousand in salaries, not to mention the invisible “higher authorities” and over one hundred extra police employees!  The most laughable thing is, when Chen’s family was authorized to go to the hill to make an offering to ancestral graves, the higher authorities mobilized over 500 people and ten cars to act as sentries throughout the countryside.   The “people” who pressed nearest to Chen were holding cell phone signal scramblers and apples.  Villagers are outraged.  Citizens are outraged.  But they are all powerless.

My heart, at ease on returning home, became heavy again.

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