China Detains Writer of Critical Web Letter to Hu

On March 18th, CDT shared the story of Zhang Shijun, a former soldier who called for democracy in an online open letter to President Hu Jintao (link in Chinese). According to Bloomberg, Zhang was taken by police last night:

zhang-shijun-cp-6437831Chinese police detained the writer of an online letter to President Hu Jintao, which criticized the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and called for democracy, according to a local human rights group.

Ex-solider Zhang Shijun, 38, was taken away by police in Tengzhou City, Shandong province last night, Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch said in a statement on its Web site today, citing Zhang’s wife.

“My circumstances are more and more tense, I have already been threatened,” Zhang said in an e-mail yesterday, after being contacted by Bloomberg News about an interview. A call to his mobile phone today got an automated message saying it could not be connected.

Zhang’s open letter to Hu Jintao can be found here, partially translated by CDT:

Comrade Hu Jintao, this is the tenth letter I’ve written to you. For eighteen years, I’ve tried all of the “legal” channels to address my questions, but I haven’t received any response so far. From my personal experience, I’ve discovered that the party that works “for the common good” and the government that is “for the people” are actually very hypocritical, numb, and cold-blooded! The constitution states that we have freedom of speech. You yourself have also expressed encouragement for people to air their views. As a result, allow me to open this letter, to make a just appeal, and let the people call out. This shouldn’t be a “monologue in the PRC.”

Comrade Hu Jintao, if I call you comrade, it’s because I’m supposing you have the same desire as I do to “rejuvenate China.” “Rejuvenate China” was the call our great revolutionary predecessor Sun Yat-sen first made over 100 years ago. Comrade Mao Zedong has said, “Aside from some counterrevolutionaries, we Chinese people are all the successors of revolutionary Sun Yat-sen.” While the wise have passed away, their words still remain. Let us encourage one another.

I love my homeland, I love its people. Underneath our feet is the land of our ancestors, our land, the land of the people, the land of our people’s thousands’ year-old civilization — this is my homeland. This is every Chinese person’s motherland, and belongs to everyone of Chinese descent. It does not belong just to one person, one family, one party’s private holdings. It cannot be taken by any organization or power as its country, people, or ideology. Comrade Hu Jintao, do you agree?

胡锦涛同志,这是我写给你的第十封信。十八年来,我尝试了所有的”合法的”维权渠道却没有得到任何回应。我的亲身遭遇让我认识到,立党为公的中国共产党、执政为民的中国人民政府,是多么虚伪、麻木和冷血啊!宪法规定:言论自由。你也表示:广开言路。因此请允许我公开此信,正义的呼声、人民的呐喊,不应该成为”共和国里的独白”。

胡锦涛同志,冒昧的称呼你为同志,是因为我假设你应该与我同有”振兴中华”之志。”振兴中华”的口号是伟大的革命先行者孙中山先生在一百多年前首先喊出的。毛泽东同志说过:”现代的中国人,除了一小撮反动分子外,都是孙中山先生革命事业的继承者。”先贤已逝,其言犹在,我愿意与你共勉。

我爱我的祖国,我爱这片土地上的人民。我们脚下踩着的是祖先留下的土地,这片土地、这片土地上的人民、这片土地上的人民所蕴育的几千年文明–就是我们的祖国。这是所有中国人的祖国,是所有炎黄子孙神圣的公器,而不能是任何一人、一家、一党的私产,不能被任何组织和势力以国家的、人民的、理想的名义所霸占。胡锦涛同志,我这朴素的认识,你同意吗?

Chairman Hu Jintao, I truly believe that a country’s vitality [阳气, yang qi] will come from its lifeblood, its youth. The youth should be regarded as precious and be nurtured, lest our country be endangered by dark forces of wanton harm and brutal killings …

As one spark of our country’s energy, I may be snuffed out, but by no means will I be self-extinguished — no matter what dangers surround me, no matter what terrible circumstances befall me.

Today, I stand on this land and cry out this universal truth and future. How I hope that my one small voice could reveberate, how I hope a great response could resound. This is my anticipation, and it is worth my anticipating.

If, on this ancient and new land, I never bathe in the rays of a democracy and rule of law but instead feel the sharp edge of a knife in my back, I will quietly face my demons and say: I am ready.

I will face the world and say: I am ready.

Today, I stand here because I still believe in my homeland — this land, this people, and this ancient civilization.

胡锦涛主席,我始终认为,对于一个国家来说,她所拥有的爱国青年、热血青年是这个国家的”阳气”,应以珍惜,应以培育,如果听任黑暗势力肆意戕害,野蛮杀戮,那么这个国家将会是危险的……

作为这个国家一缕微弱的阳气,我可以被消灭,但绝不会自行蒸发,无论我的周围如何险恶、情况如何糟糕。

今天,我站出来,在这片土地上呼唤正义、公理和未来,我多么希望我微弱的声音能够传出去,我多么希望强大的回应能够传开来,这让我期待,也值得我期待。

如果,在这片古老而又崭新的土地上,我没有能够沐浴到民主与法制的阳光;而罪恶的尖刀却已经抵住了我的后心,我会平静的对着身后的鬼魅说:我准备好了。

我会对着这个世界说:我准备好了。

今天,我站在这里,是因为,我仍然相信,我的祖国–这片土地、这片土地上的人民、这片土地上的人民所蕴育的几千年文明。

March 20, 2009 6:19 PM
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