April 23, 2006

Day 60: Two months have passed

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 12:41 pm

On April 22nd, day 60 of Hao Wu’s detention, his sister Nina Wu wrote on her blog:

It has been a long time since we last received any news of little brother. I spend every day in anxiousness and resignation, all the while pondering: if every institution in our society, every individual among us takes up his or her rightful duty, would the situation be somewhat different? Faced with the reality of brother’s disappearance, I have done my best at assuming the responsibilities of an elder sister. I entrusted the matter to an attorney, and the attorney has also assumed the responsibility of defending to the best of his abilities and within lawful confines the legal rights of the litigant.

In light of the numerous fruitless negotiations with the Public Security Bureau, on April the 20th, I entrusted the lawyer with going to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate Crime Reporting Centre to submit documents for the suit against the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau National Defense Team over the illegal handling of the case. A procurator received the attorney and listened seriously to his objections, but expressed that according to current professional divisions of labour and legal regulations, the Procuratorate is unable to enforce supervision and adjudication over these kind of issues. As for the problems of detainment past deadline and unlawful procedure, the Central Politics and Law Committee has this regulation set forth in an administrative document: each enforcement agency is responsible for its own supervision and redress. Therefore, he stated that if the attorney still insists on submitting the documents, all he can do is pass them on to the Municipal Public Security Bureau for disposal. Seeing this state of affairs, the attorney gave the documents to the Procuratorate and came back empty-handed. The aforementioned set of documents was the same as the one I had submitted to the Procuratorate earlier, and to this day there hasn’t been any response from the National Defense Team.

According to “People’s Procuratorate Code of Criminal Procedure”, the responsibilities of People’s Procuratorate’s in ensuring the legal rights of citizens include: forming a relevant response, on the basis of serious surveillance and verification, to the unlawful arrest, detainment, and search of citizens by public security organizations - against which citizens have the right to bring forth charges and appeals.

Article 380: the People’s Procuratorate must, in accordance with the law, exercise supervision over the lawfulness of investigatory activities carried out by public security organizations.

Article 386: the People’s Procuratorate, after discovering that a public security organization or public security offical has - in the process of investigating, deciding, enforcing, modifying, or rescinding coercive measures and other acitivities - behaved illegally, must put forth recommendations for redress in a timely manner.

But all these legally relevant regulations have been refuted by a single document of the Central Politics and Law Committee? The legal meaning of the People’s Procuratorate, its supervisatory responsibility as an independent third-party have all been negated by this one adminstrative document? And what should be the responsibilities of public organizations in terms of safeguarding the legal rights of citizens? I have too many questions for which I need to seek answers.

April 21, 2006

Day 59: Telling Hao’s parents

Filed under: News, Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 7:26 am

On April 21st Hao’s sister Nina writes, “Our Parents Know…

Back in Shanghai, I really wish I could clone myself. One minute I am discussing investment with my colleagues, the next minute I am answering calls from caring friends. In the evening, I end a meeting with my department, and then attend another one with people in the industry to discuss the industry’s direction. When I finally step through the door to my home, my eldest Aunt calls; she had met with my parents that afternoon and tried to describe my little brother’s situation in the most positive way possible. She said my mother walked her to the door and seemed calm enough. I hid my agony; the more composed they seem, the more overwhelmed they actually are. Sure enough, they called me a few minutes later, speaking with heavy nasal sounds. I know they have been hiding their grief, only showing their true emotions in front of their daughter whom they can trust. It’s odd how I am usually gripped by despair whenever someone mentions little brother, yet this time I was surprisingly calm on the phone. I gathered all those consoling words that other people tell me and fed them to my parents, and I tried to make light of little brother’s situation. In fact, as I try to convince my parents to believe what I say, I am also trying to convince myself to believe that little brother will be okay. My parents and I believe in my brother’s judgment, but they have experienced the difficult times of the past, so they can’t help but see the present situation with pessimism.

When I think of my parents’ burden, I straighten my spine, as I now have two other people’s hope on my shoulders.

Friends tell me Bloomberg News of April 19 and the Washington Post of April 20 both mention Haozi’s case. Friends have joked that Haozi has become a “celebrity”. I can only laugh bitterly; who wants to become this kind of “celebrity”?

Here is the link to the Washington Post article: Shattering the China Dream.

April 20, 2006

Day 58: Nina writes of “The Absurd”

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 8:38 am

On April 20th, Hao’s sister Nina Wu wrote on her blog:

April 19, a friend called to tell me she could not view my blog. In fact, even now, I am unable to normally log onto my blog and hotmail account.

At midnight on both April 18 and 19, I sent sms messages to a woman, hoping to meet with her before leaving Beijing on the 19th, but she did not reply my messages. I couldn’t wait any longer, so I gave her a phone call during the daytime of the 19th. She told me she had not received any of my messages.

Lately, I have not received any replies to the emails I send out. Some “frequently mailed” accounts have stopped communicating. The phone is acting funny too, sometimes it will suddenly stop ringing; sometimes I pick up and no one answers on the other end. I have even been cut-off mid-conversation and heard high-pitched noises. Yet, I am still able to make sense of these disturbances. In the past few days, however, there occurred some really absurd events. I am shocked and confused, I really can’t think of other words to describe the way I feel. Dear God! Please don’t destroy the last dregs of respect that I have for my adversaries.

Is it worth it to go to all this trouble for such a vulnerable and insignificant person as me?

April 18, my parents have been calling everywhere, trying to find my brother. I hid in the apartment, listening to the phone ring, lacking the courage to answer it. In the end, my mother interrogated me on my mobile phone about whether something has happened to my little brother. I could only mumble some incoherent excuse to her. According to our plans, my eldest Aunt should have called my parents on the 19th to casually tell them that Haozi is under police investigation. At the moment, I am back in Shanghai, focused on my parent’s situation. Will they accept what my eldest Aunt tells them? Please God, let their health be able to sustain this shock.

Recently, I have tried everything to log onto my blog, but I encounter a lot of problems. Please be patient, everyone; I am not under any physical restrictions.

April 19, 2006

Day 56, Part 2: Hao’s birthday ends, still no news

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 8:14 am

On the evening of April 18th, Hao’s 34th birthday, his sister Nina Wu wrote an entry, What else can I do for Haozi’s birthday?

Last night, after 11 o’clock, I tried to log onto my blog here on spaces.msn.com, but kept on failing to. In the beginning, I thought MSN was updating its server, however at 5am “the page you are trying to access is [still] unavailable”. The server has never taken that long to update. I tried a different way to go online—aha! It worked. When I tried to use the broadband in the apartment, it failed again. I could surf other sites, but could not log onto spaces.msn.com/wuhaofamily, nor my hotmail account. I had to resort to the clumsiest way to upload my April 18 entry and some photographs, at a snail’s pace, onto spaces.msn.com…I struggled for about an hour.

In the few hours between midnight and dawn, I am most efficient. Apart from finishing my blog entry, I also wrote a heartfelt email to the United Nations Human Rights Council, and I drafted letters to President Hu Jintao and President Bush as the sister of an innocent citizen of the PRC who has been detained without charge; the sister of a permanent resident of the United States who was supposed to celebrate his birthday at home…I managed to sleep about 2 or 3 hours and hurriedly got out of bed again:

1) Printed out various letters and documents;
2) Planned a way to send the letter addressed to President Bush to the US embassy;
3) Couriered the letter addressed to President Hu (will President Hu receive it in time?);
4) Sent another fax to confirm whether the UNHRC received my letter;

No matter what, my little brother should have a bowl of noodles for longevity on his birthday. I found a Chengdu Ming Xiaochi (Famous Snacks of Chengdu) restaurant near the apartment and ordered a bowl of dandan noodles. My little brother also has an insatiable sweet-tooth, so I ordered our famous Sichuan sweet dumplings with fermented rice. My little brother was absent, so I had to help him finish this simple birthday meal.

On Haozi’s birthday, there is no better gift than to wish him peace and safety. In the afternoon, I went alone to the Lamma Temple and lit three sticks of incense in every incense pot there was, silently praying for him. It is the sincerity that counts! I hope the omnipotent bodhisattva will hear our sincere prayers.

April 18, 2006

Day 56: Hao’s 34th Birthday

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 8:59 am

April 18th is Hao’s birthday - he’s spending it who knows where. Nina wrote the following birthday post:

Unable to access spaces.msn.com for six consecutive hours, which made made me very anxious. Because today is Haozi’s birthday, I would like to say on my blog an early “Happy Birthday, Little Bro”. This is the first time in thirty-plus years I haven’t been able to wish him a happy birthday either personally or by phone.

Several hours earlier, friends had gotten together for dinner. At the end, they came up one after another to give me a hug, as well as to whisper in my ear their early happy birthday wishes for Haozi. After having just returned to the apartment, another friend of Haozi came by with a little cake, because she knew April 18th is Haozi’s birthday. Even though he’s in some unknown place and unable to accept everyone’s blessings, she still hoped to express a little of her heartfelt sentiment. I knew I had to be strong. Tears were circling around the rims of my eyes, but in the end I did not let them fall.

Friends believe Haozi is upright and innocent, with nothing incriminating to trap him by. Everyone believes he will be out soon, which is why previously they had still shouted noisily: “After Haozi gets out we’ll have a party! Must give him a good ass-kicking.” Although later they no longer mentioned the matter of the party, they’re still making plans for his life “post-detention”. A few friends even sent over messages about job applications, hoping Haozi, after being freed, will be able to immediately use the busyness of work to temporarily forget the shadow of those times. Now, the deadlines for those applications have passed. Constable S’s original promise of having us wait out another month has also passed its deadline by 4 days (From a couple of days at the beginning, to a couple of weeks, to the later deadline of an extra month – they haven’t fulfilled their promise once.) No news whatsoever of little brother. Over at the side of the police it’s deathly quiet.

April 18th 2006 marks the 56th day Haozi disappeared from our lives. I’m afraid he never thought he would be spending another birthday of his adulthood in such an unique manner, in such an unique kind of a place. I even wonder — if he knows today is April the 18th, if he remembers that today is his birthday. In previous years, I would always select an item for his birthday gift with the utmost care; the worst had still been a birthday card. This year, I don’t know whether the following list can passably qualify as a blind gift to my brother:

* 3 inquiries to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Chaoyang District Branch Foreign Police Station;
* 1 visit to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Chaoyang District Branch;
* 3 visits to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (including once being barred outside the entrance of the PSB work building)
* 2 visits to Ministry of Public Security (one terminating outside the gates of the MPS on Changan Street, one terminating at Dongtanzi Hutong);
* 1 complaint reception at Beijing Municipal Government;
* 1 visit to Beijing Municipal People’s Procuratorate;
* 2 letters addressed to leadership, sent by express mail to Chief of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and to Secretary of Beijing Municipal Committee of Politics and Law

And:

* 19 entries in “Missing Haozi” weblog journal;
* Countless tears;
* Countless prayers;

But, shouldn’t include:

* 0 messages of official feedback from the government to the question of “Where is Haozi, why has Haozi disappeared?”

Haozi’s far-flung friends in the United States have spontaneously written letters to American congressmen, demanding that they pay attention the matter of Haozi’s unreasonable arrest. These past two days, e-mails have just come in – don’t know whether they count as birthday gifts from friends to Haozi or not?

Friends who are concerned about Haozi, if you would like to send Haozi birthday “gifts”, you can leave your sincere blessings in the comments box, along with dialing the following telephone numbers and inquiring a little into Haozi’s fate (you could tell them Haozi disappeared on February 2nd, 2006 and that presently neither relatives nor the lawyer can see him, that they don’t know where he is nor the reason behind his detainment):

Ministry of Public Security 86-10- 65139696

Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau 86-10- 65246271

Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Chaoyang District Branch 86-10- 85953400

Beijing Foreign Police Station 86-10-65025557

Beijing Municipal Government 86-10-12345

Concerned friends of Hao can also click here to sign an online petition or participate in our letter-writing campaign.

Thanks once again to Nausicaa Smile for the translation.

April 16, 2006

Day 53: Hao’s sister writes of family confusion

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 5:18 pm

Thanks to pseudonymous blogger Nausicaa Smile for translating Nina’s April 15th post, titled “Confusion:”

Hubby only told me over the phone today that yesterday, while absent-mindedly worrying over my brother’s and my situation, he’d crashed the car.

Mom also called brother’s apartment this morning. Fortunately, brother’s friend picked up and consoled her by promising to leave Haozi a note to get him to call home as soon as possible. Brother’s birthday is April 18th – looks like it’s getting almost impossible now to hide the truth. I sent another text message to the number of that still shut-off cellphone, asking them to at least let brother call home and concoct some excuse to reassure his parents, seeing as how the old couple aren’t in the best of health. I don’t know if they aren’t paying any attention still. I can only let hubby plan for the worst.

I gaze out the window at the willow catkins flying around, my feelings in an equal riot. Who has made our lives into such a bundle of mess? Have I let all the relatives and friends surrounding me feel pressured? The situation being what it is, I can only blame myself for being useless.

I am still pondering: if I were imprisoned inside, what would my brother be like outside? I trust that he too, would be doing all he possibly could. After all, through our veins flows the same blood - inseparable is the love of kin.

Right now, I feel so helpless. I truly don’t know what I can still do?

April 15, 2006

Day 52: Nina’s continued anguish

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 10:31 pm

On April 14th Nina wrote a heartbroken post titled Bubbles of Happiness:

I warned myself a million times that I needed to be steadfast. I couldn’t be sad and weep again. I couldn’t show my weakness in front of others. Still, today I wept on the streets. The same image kept flickering in my mind: in the springtime sun, a little girl blowing bubbles was running after the bubbles dancing with the colorful reflection of sunlight. But in the end she could only watch as each popped before her eyes. I think that I was that little girl blowing bubbles. I once thought I was so close to happiness, but before I achieved it, it broke just like a soap bubble. This kind of painful helplessness has made me brittle like glass.

Why can the decisions of one or two people in the National Security Unit dominate the willpower of a huge group of people, and also legally find excuses for themselves? Is it to prove their power? Is it to be promoted one step higher? God! You shouldn’t fabricate unjust cases against people, as in the Cultural Revolution. In the publicized “Harmonious Society” of today, why are there still people stiffly pushing one family after another into chasms of anguish? Do they represent the government? If they are operating on the basis of their own political benefits, won’t it push one family after another into antagonism with the government?

I want to take a stand against the formless web before me, but I can’t see it or tear it. It has submerged my husband and me in a world of gray. What else can we do? Dispirited, I sat down on the side of the road. I really wanted to turn into the Monkey King, scream out at the monsters, and with a wave of my golden cudgel sweep all the evil spirits out of this world.

Day 51: Police give Nina the run-around

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 10:45 am

On Thursday April 13th Nina made a renewed attempt to get answers from the police about her brother. Reading the following entry titled “Doubts,” it seems like each time she goes to see the police, the run-around gets worse:

It’s just the opposite from when I returned to Shanghai. Last night, it was raining gently in Shanghai until the early morning, and when I arrived in Beijing, the breath of springtime sunlight against my cheek was enough to make me tremble. I was only gone for one week, but spring launched a surprise attack and occupied Beijing. The willows by the road are uniform and pensive green; the peach blossoms are surprisingly gorgeous.

Practicing T’ai Chi in daily life improves one’s health and character, but when governmental organs use Tai Chi to do their business it’s extremely vexing. The attorney’s letter we went to the city Public Security Bureau was forwarded to the Chaoyang branch office. They claimed that they had yet to find a Hao Wu among their detainees. Even contacting the Jianwai Police Station failed to get results. We couldn’t even ascertain who was assisting the city bureau to investigate the case. It was all excuses! I have met officers from the city bureau and the Chaoyang branch office who know that the Beijing city PSB National Security Unit is responsible for the case. They could hint at the related internal organs of the PSB, but still claim they don’t know? I remember the first time I went to the Beijing PSB petition office, before they understood the situation they found the officer responsible after just a few phone calls. Now these same organs still don’t know anything new after over ten working days? If they go after murderers and thieves with this kind of efficiency, then real bad people must be enjoying their free and unfettered lives, without any worry of suffering legal punishment.

Last Wednesday the nameless police officer that I met warned me to “follow legal channels” to solve the problem. I don’t know where my current actions have overstepped the rights granted me by law. The materials I’ve delivered to each bureau have disappeared like stones into the sea. The receptionists of corresponding work units shift responsibility onto one another. As an ordinary Chinese person, it is depressing. Although the provisions of relevant laws and regulations set the rights of suspects, when you actually do things according to law you discover that you are facing a black hole. Don’t hope for any response. Can you sue them for “negligence”? Can you sue them for knowing the law but not implementing it? The result is that perhaps they investigate themselves, judge themselves, and it ends there. Sigh. There is law, but it is hard to rely on.

The Code of Criminal Procedure has strict conditions and procedural regulations on all kinds of coercive measures, but one sentence—“Unless it obstructs investigation or there is no way to notify under the circumstances”—obliterates all interpretation and execution of the law. As long as the relevant organs and employees have the greatest level of “freedom” and “power,” they can claim “obstruction of investigation” and avoid the restrictions of these laws and regulations anytime, anyplace. Perhaps a case might not actually have any elements that would obstruct investigation, but the case will still be placed in the gray area of “special” legal handling. Can’t the practical conditions of “exceptions” be detailed in the law…to limit the potential for abuse? Everyone is equal before the law. Think about the helplessness and weakness of suspects and their family members in the face of “exceptions.” Can’t this be changed?

I asked all the “calm” police officers the same question: “Have you ever had a family member suddenly taken away, without knowing why or where they were taken?” No one could answer positively. Really, not one. I think that not one of them has ever experienced this kind of pain.

I was also informed that I should quietly wait for the “organization” to tell me the final outcome. What is the meaning of this “organization”? The courts? The Procuratorate? The Public Security Bureau? Or the government of the city we live in? They couldn’t tell me.

April 14, 2006

Petition Hu Jintao for Hao Wu’s immediate release

Filed under: Help us out, Petition — ethanz @ 10:15 pm

Many friends and supporters of Hao Wu have asked what they can do to hasten our friend’s release. Hundreds of you have put badges on your blogs and webpages to call attention to Hao Wu’s detention, and this support has helped generate media interest in the situation.

We’d hoped that media pressure would lead to Hu Jintao to release Hao prior to his upcoming meeting with President Bush. Unfortunately, this looks increasingly unlikely. So today we’re launching a letter-writing campaign and a petition to ask for Hao’s immediate release.

Rebecca launched the letter writing campaign earlier today, and we’re encouraging readers to write to their national governments, to the Chinese Ambassadors in their nation, to their local newspapers, and to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Her post offers key pieces of information to include in letters or op-eds as well some useful addresses.

We’ve also launched an online petition, demanding that President Hu Jintao release Hao immediately. The text of the petition reads:

We, the undersigned concerned citizens of the world, protest the detention without charge of Chinese filmmaker and blogger Wu Hao and call on the Chinese government to release him immediately.

Mr. Wu, a Chinese citizen and U.S. permanent resident alien known in the United States as “Hao Wu”, recently returned to live in China and produce independent documentaries. He was detained on February 22nd without being charged with any crime. Authorities have not given Wu Hao’s family an explanation for the detention despite numerous inquiries. According to China’s own Code of Criminal Procedure, a person cannot be held without charge or arrest for more than 37 days. His detention has substantially exceeded that period of time.

It is our understanding, based on speeches by China’s own leaders, that China aims to be a country governed by the rule of law. The detention of Mr. Wu without charge, and without access to a lawyer, would appear to be highly inconsistent with that aim.

If Mr. Wu has indeed broken the law, a country that respects the rule of law should uphold Mr. Wu’s right to legal procedure. His continued unlawful detention is a clear violation of his universally recognized human rights. We ask for his immediate release.

We’d ask anyone reading this post to please sign the petition and pass the URL onto friends who might be inclined to sign it as well. Your email address is required to sign the petition, but it won’t be published. If you’re able to translate the petition into another language, please let us know - we’d like to make the document available in as many languages as possible.

Thanks for your support and thanks for caring about our friend.

Letter writing campaign for Hao Wu

Filed under: Help us out, Write a letter — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 5:06 pm

Many people have been asking what they can do to help speed Hao Wu’s release. We were hoping that the Chinese government might release Hao before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s U.S. trip next week. However it’s becoming clear that won’t happen, and thus we are asking you to help call attention to Hao’s plight by writing letters calling for his release. Please note the following:

  • Hao Wu (surname Wu) was detained on February 22nd
  • Hao has not been charged with any crime.
  • He has not been formally arrested.
  • He has not been given access to a lawyer.
  • Authorities will not give any information about his location to the family.
  • According to China’s own Code of Criminal Procedure, a person cannot be held without charge or arrest for more than 37 days. His detention has well exceeded that period of time.
  • Please note in communications to U.S. media and politicians that Hao is a U.S. permanent resident.
  • Despite China’s economic progress which has improved the lives of millions of Chinese, Hao’s detention illustrates the continued disregard of the Chinese government for the rights of its citizens. See this recent letter by Human Rights Watch for details.
  • For more background:click here for list of recent press articles and blog posts about Hao’s case. Click here for exceprts of many of those articles as published on this site.

Who to send letters to:

1. If you are a U.S. citizen, write your congressional representative and senators, pointing out that Hao Wu’s continued detention without charge will be a black mark on the upcoming summit between President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Use this tool to find your representative:



2. Write Op-Eds and send letters to the editor to your local newspapers. Call in to radio and TV shows. Use this tool to find your local media organizations:
Contact the Media

3. f you are a U.S. citizen, please write U.S. President Bush and urge him to raise Hao’s case:

Web Site: www.whitehouse.gov
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov
Washington Office:
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461

4. Write the Chinese Embassy in your country demanding Hao’s release. (Click here for a list of Chinese embassies around the world.) In the U.S. you can write:

Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
in the United States of America
2300 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
FAX: (202) 745-7473

5. Write Chinese President Hu Jintao

President Hu Jintao
Chinese Communist Party
Yongdingmenjie
Beijing 100032, PRC
(202) 745-7473

Original letters are the most effective. Please see Amnesty International’s letter writing guide for help with writing an effective, original letter on a human rights cause.