April 3, 2006

Day 41: Nina corrects misperceptions, responds to naysayers

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 3:34 pm

On April 3rd Nina wrote:

Firm beliefs

As Hao Wu’s relative, I originally wanted to keep a low profile. But once I realized that the situation was already out of my control, remaining silent became impossible. Especially because of some ambiguities in articles from media outlets and blogs, we believe that we need to say a few things:

1. Hao Wu is not a “believer” or a “Christian.” Until his detention he had never held any religious beliefs.

2. Hao Wu is not a media worker. He is just an independent filmmaker and a blogger.

3. Hao Wu does not have political tendencies. He just truthfully expresses his views on certain social problems.

4. The authorities have not yet provided a reason for detaining Hao Wu. His relatives believe that he is completely innocent.

As family members and friends search for Hao Wu, shadows of those who do not care about Haozi appeared among the ranks.

When appeals to “Free Hao Wu” first appeared on the Internet, I visited some of the relevant sites. In the comments, “C:”, who is from an unknown location, for unknown reasons wrote “Trash like Hao Wu should be detained earlier.” Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to seek enlightenment from “C:” face-to-face. Today I want to use this blog to have a discussion with him or her:

1. Every person, no matter in which corner of the planet they reside, has his or her own dignity, and cannot be absurdly referred to as “trash”, right?

2. This Mr. or Ms. “C:”, besides this part of the comment, does not mention Hao Wu in any other way. I wonder whether he or she has seen Haozi’s movies or read his articles? If not, then logically speaking, isn’t this unreasonably jumping to conclusions?

3. If even Haozi is classified as a kind of “trash”, how many people on the planet are left standing?

4. Whether to detain someone is not the decision of this sir or madam, nor can it be decided by Hao’s relatives or any individual. Instead, it should be decided according to the law, following legal procedures. Today, not a single related agency has provided a legitimate explanation [for Hao Wu’s detention]. Can this sir or madam offer the reasons for Hao Wu’s detention from a legal perspective?

Before dawn today, I visited http://ethanzuckerman.com/haowu. I discovered that a “Jessica Copeland” has been extremely active, but her interest was not in my brother, but rather in Guantanamo detainees. In fact:

1. The majority of participants in the discussion and I believe that detention of those in Guantanamo is inappropriate. Continuing to discuss this is meaningless.

2. When criticizing something that is wrong, how can you turn a blind eye to another wrong that is currently under discussion? If the US government did trample on the rights of Guantanamo detainees, can the Chinese police ignore the rights of Hao Wu and his family?

3. Without any conclusive factual foundation, on what do you base your conclusion that the Hao Wu case hides other secrets? Is it possible that she has her own sources of information?

As Haozi’s sister, I believe in Haozi’s conduct, and I believe he has never done anything to harm other people or society. As my family and I search for Haozi, we have the support of many friends. We do not know in which year and which month we will learn of his freedom. We do not know when we will see him again. But our faith in Haozi will support us to the end.

Day 39: Nina and Hao’s father

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 12:13 pm

On on April 1st, Nina Wu writes of a conversation with their father, who still hasn’t been told about Hao’s detention:

Just before going out, the apartment telephone rang again.  I picked it up without hesitation.  It was my father’s voice.  I hurriedly told him to wait a minute.  I didn’t know what to do.  My friend took the phone and calmly told my father that Hao Wu had gone far away to film a movie, and there was no cell phone signal in the remote mountain villages.  I don’t know if my father believed this or not, or whether he recognized my voice when I first answered (I had told him that I was in Dalian on business.)  My father rarely calls my brother’s apartment.  He has definitely sensed that something is not right.  I was terrified all day, afraid that some accident had happened, but I still didn’t dare to call home.

Our father played a critical role in our development.

Lessons

Our father always taught my brother and me to be “upright, honest and kind.”  I clearly remember the one time I was punished by him.  It was when I told lies because I liked to play around.  The lesson he taught was made such a big impression that, throughout my development, I didn’t dare to behave dishonestly again.My father practiced what he preached.  He always remained true to these principles; everyone recognized him as an example of a fine person.  As a child, my father was always an object of my admiration.  He ranked number two, just behind the respected and loved Zhou Enlai.  My father’s life cannot be summarized by ‘success’ in the normal sense of the word, but he succeeded in being a pure man of clear conscience.

I pursue a life philosophy of “Be a good person first.”  For behaving in a simple manner I have suffered hardships, and for being inflexible in my work I have rammed my head against the wall, but in different stages of my life I have accumulated different things.  My life has been tranquil and content along the way.

My father’s teachings are most vividly realized in my younger brother.  His generosity has won him a large group of friends.  Outside of work, my kind brother actively raised funds to support the Hope elementary school in our hometown.  His virtue compels him to pay attention to and reflect on social problems, and use his pen and camera to honestly record it all.  He has a just heart, which makes him capable of rationally and objectively approaching, considering, and analyzing problems.

I don’t know how my father will react when he finds out about my brother.  Will he regret teaching my brother to be too “upright and honest”?   Will he regret that he did not teach us to follow the middle path?  I hope that my father will not blame himself for this.  Actually, we should thank him.  For having these convictions, more than thirty years of our lives have been lived so happily.  Furthermore, we have a third generation that needs instruction.  My daughter needs to learn from the older generation how to be a real “person,” a “person” with who is responsible to society.  I believe that the lessons of my father will be passed on.  I hope that I can see the day when my daughter also becomes an upright, honest and kind person.

Persistence

In the eyes of others, both my brother and I are examples of excellence, but my brother much more so than I.  In the well-known key middle school of our hometown, his name was better known than mine.  He was always the first in his class, while I was at best fifth.  He sang better than I did, danced better than I did, and his English topped it all off.  He is so much better than me because he is both more patient and more persistent.
When we were young, we practiced brush calligraphy together.  The minute that the adults stopped minding us, I slipped away to play, while my brother could persist for the entire afternoon of a scorching summer vacation day.  He persisted for years, until he could finally write beautiful characters, while to this day my own writing twists threateningly on the paper.  All my family members have weak hearts, but my brother persisted in silently practicing distance running on the school track.  By the time he graduated he ran the 800 meters quite well, while I barely passed muster with the help of my friends.  My brother liked art, and during summer vacations he arranged for the opportunity to attend summer art classes.  To this day his painting ability greatly exceeds my own.  My brother’s English is often praised as miraculous by foreigners, but I know how he practiced to achieve this level of expertise.  From a young age he persisted in attending English corners events, actively practicing his spoken English with foreign teachers.  Even after moving to the US, when he was already fluent, he persisted in looking up the words he didn’t understand from TV.  Besides this, he persevered in recording his daily thoughts and feelings.  By February of this year, he had already filled over ten journals (unfortunately, they were taken by the police.)

Perhaps in intelligence, and grasp of things, I might exceed my brother.  I am not jealous of his excellence, because I understand that his gift is persistence.  Due to his persistence in pursuing his artistic dreams, after taking the path of scientific research counseled by my father, he actively took part in artistic and recreational activities in his spare time.  Due to his persistence, after studying and working in the United States for over ten years, he gave everything up to return to China and realize his dream.  Due to his persistence, his first movie—Beijing or Bust—was born, he was able to make independent documentary films in the materialistic China of today, and he was able to write, after profound reflection, essay after essay on his blog.

Will my brother, now like a bird with folded wings, still be able to persist in flying toward his dream?  We hope he will.

P.S.  Today I received two text messages…I believed both of them and turned on the TV looking for the news.  Later I realized that they were just April Fool’s Day jokes.   When will I receive the message “Hao Wu has been released”?

April 1, 2006

Day 38: Nina’s visit to the police

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 1:24 pm

Nina Wu continues to document her efforts to get information about her brother’s case in her latest blog entry, “Police station.”

I once talked to a friend who had a similar experience. Both of us disliked going to the Public Security Bureau or police station. Every visit was emotionally torturous. After coming out we always felt even more helpless and bleak. To public security personnel, this is just one of thousands or tens of thousands of cases they deal with. You can see the indifference of repetition on their faces. But to us, our loved ones are 100%, an indispensable part of our own world of happiness. The cruel contrast between hopes and reality can put you into the cold depths of hell.But, in order to learn about my brother, I could only clench my teeth and go back to the police station. Luckily, the old police officer who received me helped me reach the one officer who showed me his identification when I first met the police, Officer Zhang. When I asked to see the officer in charge of the case, he refused, as expected. He told me that the last time already brought him a great deal of trouble. Not all police in the world are cold-hearted. He patiently gave me my first class on how police work a case. The Beijing Public Security Department Internal Security Office was responsible for my brother’s case. Should I celebrate that that it isn’t as serious as cases relating to national security? But it’s not as simple as a common criminal case? Is it a political case? But I know that my brother has absolutely no political tendencies. All these possibilities exceeded the scope of officer Zhang’s ability to answer. My heart softened, and I let him hang up the phone. With a soft heart, it’s impossible to accomplish anything important. Before, I was soft, so I couldn’t do investment banking. Now I’m soft, and I can’t get any information about my brother? Tears of failure streamed down my face; my fatigued body couldn’t take another step. Watching the hurried masses going in and out of the police station, I felt inwardly vexed: besides his relatives and friends, did anyone care about Haozi’s disappearance?

Outside, I have the support of a husband, friends and lawyers. Inside, my brother cannot read or receive any information from outside. Isn’t he even more alone and helpless? I must remain firm. I can’t break down before my brother does. Just as I believe that my brother has a generous and loving heart, I will always believe that my brother is innocent. I only hope that his honest personality will not bring him too much hardship and suffering.

March 31, 2006

Day 37: Nina writes: “My brother’s and my life”

Filed under: Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 4:39 am

Nina Wu has written her second blog post: “My brother’s and my life.” Read it and share her pain. Thanks again to our anonymous translator, we have the whole thing in English below. Among other things, she describes a stolen laptop, the circumstances of which sound rather fishy.

My brother’s and my life

March 30, 2006

When I got up today my eyes were swollen into two big walnuts. I had to wear sunglasses out. Luckily, it was bright outside, and the sun felt good on my body. I squinted and looked at the sky. The Beijing sky is much worse than Shanghai’s, but I remembered how I used to rise early and return late. When did I last have time to look up at the sky? I shouldn’t be too demanding. There was a din along Dawang road where the old houses were being demolished. Remembering the innumerable times my little brother walked among the noisy mass of people, I felt close to him again. I greedily looked over every street peddler, every pile of rubble. Brother, are you lucky enough to see this bright and beautiful day? Do you know that your sister is walking on the same street you walked on so many times before? When I thought that he may be locked in a dark room, without any view or news of the outside world, my mood darkened too.
My notebook computer

In the afternoon, I dialed the phone number I had dialed so many times before. This time, I finally learned that it was the criminal investigation division of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. It was the same woman who I spoke to the first time, but her tone of voice was much different from before. This time she said that I needed to wait for further notification. Thinking back on the experience of
losing my laptop, it was difficult to believe. In the afternoon on March 8, International Women’s Day, as I came out of a security and commerce meeting in the International Convention Center, I decided to buy some fruit for my daughter in Lotus Supercenter in Zhengda Squre.
In the few seconds when I stooped to collect my oranges, the shopping cart next to me had disappeared. The laptop and clothes had disappeared too, without a trace, having evaporated into the crowd.
There was no one near me, and I immediately asked the store clerk behind me whether she had seen anyone pushing away my shopping cart.
She shook her head. A few minutes later, I explained the situation to the supermarket guards, asking them to help me search, and I also went to the customer service desk to report the situation. After searching the first floor of the supermarket, I was back where I started. The clerk had already left, and just a few steps from where I lost my cart I discovered my shopping cart. The clothes were still there, but my HP notebook had disappeared. It seemed like this experience was going to come to a close after filling out a report in the Lujiazui police station. But that wasn’t the case. On March 22, the second day after I returned to Shanghai, I received a call from the police officer above, telling me that my computer may have been found, but I needed to tell them the serial number to prove that it was my own. I told her that the back of my computer had the company’s product registration number. You could even just plug in the computer and check whether the login name was mine or not. The female officer could only tell me that my computer may have been found by a public security bureau outside the city, but I needed to offer proof. I was overjoyed, and went to some trouble to find the serial number to tell her, but I heard nothing else after that. Every time I dialed the number, men answered. None of them knew of my case, and none would tell me which department they were from.

Sentimental songs

While eating dinner in a restaurant with a friend, I heard an old song that expressed my feelings. It basically said: thinking of yesterday from here, my heart silently hopes that you’ll suddenly appear in front of me… Thinking of past business trips to Beijing, when I would try to have a meal with my brother, sometimes with friends and sometimes just the two of us. Now I could not have the extravagant hope that he would appear at the dinner table. That scene of wild laughter and debate would not appear. It was also hard for me to find that happy feeling of being a youthful woman again. I sighed, and my friend patted my shoulder. Everyone already knows that a tranquil life is so far from me now.

A father forever

Worried about my father, that night I decided to call our family home.

Both my father’s and my brother’s birthdays are in April. Despite our parents’ claims that our kindly feelings were enough, my brother would never forget any of our birthdays. If my brother didn’t call at the right time, or my parents couldn’t offer him birthday wishes over the phone, and my lies will no longer be tenable. Worrying about how my parents’ ill bodies would deal with that blow, I absentmindedly wondered what to do. Fortunately I hadn’t told my parents that I was in Beijing. Otherwise, I would certainly be subject to their questions about Haozi’s situation.

The apartment telephone, which hadn’t been used in a long time, rang.

It was New York Public Television. They wanted to show one of my brother’s movies, Beijing or Bust, but they could not reach him. I told them to read the paper or the Internet to hear what had happened.

I already lack the power to tell my brother’s story again.

Why does fate torture people? It suddenly plucked my brother from his life, and made me live in his apartment, meet his friends, read his books, and listen to his CDs. I have felt every breath of his past life, but I can’t be by his side. I deal with inquiries about his life by myself. I can’t be the core of my brother’s life. I’m too tired; let my brother come home again. Please let his life continue.

March 30, 2006

Day 36: Hao’s sister is blogging.

Filed under: News, Nina's blog — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 3:49 pm

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.

March 28, 2006

Businessweek journalist recalls interview

Filed under: News — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 1:32 pm

Businessweek’s Bruce Einhorn interviewed Hao not long before his detention. Here’s what he wrote about it on the Businessweek blog:

I interviewed Wu a few weeks before the police detained him. This was when the debate was raging in the U.S. about Google, Yahoo et.al. and their role in facilitating censorship of China’s Internet. Wu was surprisingly upbeat. Yes, there were problems, but Wu said that censorship wasn’t a huge issue thanks to “work arounds” that enabled him and others to avoid the Chinese firewall. And in his blog, Wu hasn’t been shy about addressing hot-button topics. In one post, he describes a conversation with a cabdriver denouncing China’s high-flying Communist leaders as “worse than the Kuomintang,” the notoriously corrupt regime of Chiang Kai-shek that Mao’s army kicked out of the mainland to Taiwan back in 1949. In another post, Wu (who is gay) mentions how a favorite high school teacher cut him off after he came out to her. Blogging about an argument with his mother, he writes about how Chinese are expected to behave as deferentially toward their governent as they are toward their parents: “However, is the government really a surrogate of our great dear ephemeral Motherland whom we should forgive for any wrongdoing and defend from any badmouthing? Should this devotion be as unconditional as that to our own mothers?….This government is not our mother. My mother, despite her great difficulty dealing with me being whom I am, still loves me and always worries about me. I came from her and I once ran away from her smothering love. But that love is real and now I’m back, I can accept the suffocating Confucian teachings just for her. Not with this government. Not with a government that demands loyalty with no love in return.”

Will the public campaign to win Hao Wu’s release work? The timing might be right. Chinese President Hu Jintao will soon be visiting the U.S., a trip that was supposed to take place last September but was put off because of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The Chinese government very much wants this visit to go well, so the leaders might decide that letting a lone blogger go free in the lead up to the summit might be an easy way to score some points.

(Emphasis added.)

Associated Press & Reuters report on Hao

Filed under: News — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 1:22 pm

Associated Press reporter Alexa Olesen: China not giving details about filmmaker.

One week after Wu Hao disappeared, officials at the Beijing Public Security Bureau told Wu Na her brother was being investigated but could not be visited by a lawyer. They also warned her not to talk to the media.

“My brother has the right to defend himself,” Wu Na said Friday. “As his relative, I have the right to know the truth. I hope they will act according to law. I want them to give me a clear answer.”

……

Editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from Wu Hao’s Beijing apartment on Feb. 24, according to a Wednesday statement by the CPJ. Wu Hao lived in the United States for 10 years before returning to China in 2004 to make documentaries, the group said.

“Wu Hao must be released immediately,” Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director, was quoted as saying. “His detention is one more example of China’s desperate attempt to restrain journalists who seek legitimately to explore and understand the dynamics of its rapidly changing society.”

Reuters reports: Chinese police detain documentary maker 

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained a Chinese-born film maker who is a permanent U.S. resident, a family member said on Monday, weeks before President Hu Jintao visits the United States.

Hao Wu, who returned to China in 2004 after living in the United States for 12 years, had been missing since February 22 after interviewing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, while making a documentary about an underground Christian congregation, his sister, Wu Na, said.

An officer at the Beijing Public Security Bureau confirmed Wu’s detention last week, but declined to give a reason or say where he was being held, she said.

The petitions office of the police station reached by telephone declined to comment.

No formal charges have been laid, although Wu’s sister believed the detention might be related to his contact with Gao, who has been suspended from practicing law, or possibly to outspoken comments on his personal Web log.

China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects and rules introduced last year target Internet news content to tighten the noose on freewheeling bloggers and rein in a growing source of information.

“I don’t think it is related to his filming of the underground Christians. I think it is related to the lawyer or being too open on his blog,” the sister told Reuters.

Wu’s apartment was raided and filming equipment, video tapes, computer, personal diary and other effects taken away, the sister said. Police interrogated Wu’s house-mate days later.

The sister said Wu had phoned her three times since his disappearance and sounded depressed during the last call.

“I’m very worried about his emotional state,” the sister said, adding that police told her to return to Shanghai. Wu did not say why he was being held.

Wu did not want a lawyer and appeared unable to speak freely, the Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

“I feel very sad because I cannot get any news right now,” she said. “I don’t know what will happen to him next.”

March 25, 2006

Interviews with Hao’s Sister

Filed under: News — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 1:39 am

Reporters Without Borders spoke to Hao’s sister, Na Wu. Here’s the quote:

We have only spoken to him on the phone three times. And each time, it has been he who has called, because we still do not know where he is being held. During these conversations, he tells us that everything is OK and we must not worry. He even said that he didn’t want a lawyer. But it was obvious that he could not speak freely. I went to the police station several times. They refused to give me a paper confirming the arrest of my brother. The first time they told me that he would be coming out within a few days. The second time, it was a few weeks. And now they tell me that I will have to wait another month. We have the right to know what is happening to him. He has done nothing that could harm society and there is no reason for him to be detained.

Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese service has also interviewed her. She spoke in Mandarin Chinese and the full interview with her Mandarin answers can be downloaded here. Here is my rough translation of her answers. Please feel free to post corrections in the comments section:

A: Until now we have not received any explanation as to why my brother was detained, or when I can see my brother. The police and other government departments aren’t able to give us any direct answer.

Q: Did you talk to the State Security Bureau?

A: I went to their door but was not able to enter. Because the Beijing Public Security bureau and the Beijing City office of the State Security bureau have their signplates over the same building. So since I couldn’t go in I went to the public petitions office of the public security bureau. They had an officer in charge of the case talk to me on the phone. He said that things were moving in a positive direction and I may be able to see my brother quite soon. But when I asked how soon they weren’t willing to give me a specific time. After the phone call was finished the policeman in the petition office told me, I can definitely tell you that your brother has been detained.

Q: When was that?

A: That was on March 20th. It was just recently. Then they said the ongoing investigation involved state secrets so they couldn’t tell me. That was the kind of answer they gave me. From the perspective of our family, we believe that my brother has not done anything to harm other people and has not done anything harmful to society. In his film that he was making or in the other things he did, there was nothing that challenged the government’s power or anything like that. As family members we cannot understand why the government is holding my brother.

Q: What methods are you using to get him released?

A: We are working with a lawyer and through lawful channels to get answers. Second we are hoping to use various public channels to continue searching for my brother, and to send the message that since they have no good reason to hold my brother, they should release him as soon as possible.

I do not know Cantonese and am unable to translate the newscaster speaking before and after the interview. It may include other information which others are welcome to add in the comments section of this post.

March 24, 2006

Help us collect and spread the news

Filed under: News, Help us out — Rebecca MacKinnon @ 3:06 pm

A number of journalists are working on articles about Hao Wu’s detention - over one month now without charge. We’re expecting to see a lot more stories coming out over the next 24 hours.
As the coverage comes out on the internet we will link to it on this site as much as possible. If you find stuff we may not know about, please e-mail it to freehaowu@gmail.com. Meanwhile, we’d like your help in broadcasting the world’s support for Hao’s case. Here’s what you can do:

If you write blog posts, make podcasts, or upload photos to Flickr related to Hao, please tag them in Technorati and Del.icio.us. In English please use: freehaowu and in Chinese with 释放吴皓. For instructions about how to tag blog posts in Technorati click here.

For the growing number of blog posts and news articles about Hao’s situation, see also here and here on Technorati, here on del.icio.us, and here on Google News.

Volunteer Translators: If you have good language skills and would like to translate Chinese articles about Hao into English and vice versa. Please feel free. If you have a blog, post the translation there and let us know, or if you don’t, email us the translation and we’ll post it here.

… and don’t forget to stick a Free Hao Wu badge on your website!

Note: Many people have asked about a petition or letter-writing campaign. We have not done either yet because we cannot escalate our campaign without the consent of Hao’s loved ones. But if and when the time comes, we’ll be sure to announce it here.

Hao Wu on NPR

Filed under: News — ethanz @ 2:42 am

Marketplace, a leading business show from American Public Media which airs twice a day on many National Public Radio stations in the US, featured Hao Wu in their “Final Note” of today’s show, commenting on his detention.

In late January, Hao Wu gave a commentary on the Marketplace show about his feelings about pirated DVDs. It’s a great commentary… as well as a chance to hear Hao Wu’s voice. Click here to listen to it.