China’s shame. They are calling it “cleansing” – the same terror they impose during the “People’s” Congress, getting the “undesirables” off the streets; we all know the script. The undesirable in this instance is one of China’s most noble activists for human rights and AIDS, exactly the kind of person they should be calling a national hero.
Mr. Hu, 34, and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, are human rights advocates who spent much of 2006 restricted to their apartment in a complex with the unlikely name of Bo Bo Freedom City. She blogged about life under detention, while he videotaped a documentary titled ‘Prisoner in Freedom City.’ Their surreal existence seemed to reflect an official uncertainty about how, and whether, to shut them up.
That ended on Dec. 27. Mr. Hu was dragged away on charges of subverting state power while Ms. Zeng was bathing their newborn daughter, Qianci. Telephone and Internet connections to the apartment were severed. Mother and daughter are now under house arrest. Qianci, barely 2 months old, is probably the youngest political prisoner in China.
For human rights advocates and Chinese dissidents, Mr. Hu’s detention is the most telling example of what they describe as a broadening crackdown on dissent as Beijing prepares to play host to the Olympic Games in August. In recent months, several dissidents have been jailed, including a former factory worker in northeastern China who collected 10,000 signatures after posting an online petition titled ‘We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics.’
I’ve written about Hu Jia many times before. All I have to add tonight (when I’m working) is that this is an act of evil, as sickening as their detention of Hao Wu or the imprisonment of Zhao Yan and Shi Tao and some whose stories are even more heartbreaking.
There have been times when I regretted calling the CCP “the evil empire,” because things are never so black and white, not even in the current US administration. Governments are, after all, a multi-headed beast. But when I read this story and so many others like it I fervently believe they deserve the epithet. The supreme irony is they do this because they fear these “dissidents” will make them look bad. Do they honestly believe in the eyes of the world these arrests make them look good?
Obtuse, ham-fisted automatons who go into automatic pilot as soon as they perceive a threat. The formula is familiar: Lie, cover-up, arrest. One can only wonder, how can they possibly be so stupid? It’s the equivalent of shooting oneself in the head.
As I’ve learned, there are many delightful, humane and totally decent party members. They must be as sickened by this as the rest of us. Why aren’t they the ones who decide who should and should not be arrested? (A rhetorical question; I already know the answer.)
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.