Xu Zhiyong (许志永) : A Petitioner’s Tale

xzyXu Zhiyong, noted legal scholar and activist, has written a post on the plight of a female petitioner. In his blog entry, he details the hospital’s reception of her after discovering her status as a petitioner, and describes the setbacks and emotional struggles that were later faced. The story is still on-going, and can be followed at his blog. The following comes from his entry dated April 30th, translated by CDT. The post was censored on May 2nd. [Photo of Xu Zhiyong via Un oeil sur la Chine]

Sometime after 7 PM, I received a call on my cell phone from Mr. Qifang Cheng: “Professor Xu, I kept on calling you but there was no response. Around 8, the medicine was stopped for the person who was beaten in the city of Linyi in Shandong Province. She has no money for treatment, and is currently at Tongren Hospital.”

“How did this happen?”

“She petitioned, and then was seriously beaten by Linyi officers stationed in Beijing. Though she had lost consciousness, the hospital couldn’t treat her. What can be done about this?”

I was silent for a moment, and then told him: “Wait for me at the Tongren Hospital entrance between 9 and 9:30.”

I really didn’t want to cut off my train of thought. These past few days I’d been continuously at work on the series “Beautiful and Good Politics.” My cell phone had originally been off. In half an hour, I hastily made plans to finish an article, and then rushed to KFC to buy a hamburger and get on the subway.

braceMr. Qifang Cheng was already waiting at the hospital entrance, along with the injured’s older sister and mother. At the second floor ER inspection ward was the unconscious woman, lying on her bed. Her neck was supported by a plastic brace. To her side, there was no IV drip.

晚上七点多刚打开手机就接到盛其芳老人的电话:“许教授,一直打不通你的电话,山东临沂被打的那个人八点多就被停药了,没钱治病,在同仁医院。”

“怎么回事?”

“她上访,被临沂驻京办的打成重伤。昏迷,可医院不给治了,怎么办啊。”

我沉默了一会,告诉他:“九点到九点半之间,同仁医院门口等我。”

我真的不想被打断思路,这些天一直在写《美好政治》系列。我的手机本来是一直关着的。半个小时草草整理完一篇计划要完成的文章,冲到肯德基买一个汉堡,上地铁。

盛其芳老人已经在医院门口等了,还有受伤者的姐姐和母亲。急诊室二层观察病房,一位女士昏迷在病床上,脖子被塑料架子固定,旁边没有吊瓶。

Her older sister said “On April 27, my younger sister was jailed in the Phoenix Youth Hotel [a black jail]. That afternoon, she was pulled over by Linyi officers who came from Majialou. Her head was forced onto the car interior’s floor. After hearing about this, I went over to help her and ask about what had happened. She said that she had been beaten and that her stomach was in pain, and then passed out again. After calling 120 and 110 [China's emergency telephone lines] several times, I was finally able to get her sent to You’anmen Hospital. The doctor then said that nothing was wrong. I pleaded with him to give some painkillers, but he wouldn’t give any. ‘Go home,’ the doctor said, ‘There’s nothing wrong.’ I could only furtively bring her to Tongren Hospital. During filming, I did not dare to say that my little sister had been beaten due to her petitioning. However, when I later told a doctor the real story, the doctor then said that nothing was wrong, that there were no more beds available, and that we were to return home. Fortunately, I then found a kind-hearted doctor. After seeing her, he was very surprised and nervously said, “You must not move her! This is life-threatening. Quickly put her on a bed, and do not allow her to move.” After this, we found out that my little sister’s spleen had ruptured. The few thousand yuan we had was quickly spent. This morning, we tried ordering medicine, but we had no money, so we couldn’t get any and they stopped the IV drip. We found the Majialou police station which said that it would help coordinate with funds. However since the morning till now, we still haven’t accessed medicine.”

I felt sorry. I didn’t know that they had already stopped the medicine by 8 this morning. I regretted the ten minutes hold-up, put away my camera and said, “Let’s go and find a doctor.”

姐姐说,4月27号她被关押在青年凤凰宾馆,那天下午妹妹也被临沂驻京办从马家楼拉过来,头栽倒在汽车里面地板上。姐姐听说后过去扶起她,问怎么了,她很费力地说被打了,肚子痛,然后就又昏迷了。打了几次120和110,终于把妹妹送到右安门医院。医生说,没事。求医生给开点止痛药医生也不给开,说回家吧,没事。只好偷偷把妹妹送到同仁医院。拍片子的时候不敢说她是被接访的打的。但是后来向一位医生说了实话,医生就说,没事的,医院没病床了,你们回家吧。幸运地是终于找到了一位有良心的医生,他看了之后很吃惊,着急地说,千万不能让她动,有生命危险,赶紧抬她到床上,不能让她动。后来知道,妹妹被打脾破裂。带的几千块钱很快花完了。今天早上,开了药,但是没钱了,拿不了药,吊针就停了。找马家楼派出所,派出所也只是说在协调,从早上一直到现在都没有用药。

抱歉,我不知道是早上八点就已经停药了。我后悔耽误了这十几分钟时间,收起相机,“走,我们去找医生。”

We came to the first floor. ER doctor’s office. I asked the doctor, “Does this patient need urgent care?” The doctor followed us to the ward, and then touched the patient’s abdomen. Then he asked me, “Who are you?”

“I’m just a regular citizen,” I said.

“Then I won’t speak with you.”

“That’s fine, you speak with her family members about if she needs any treatment, or has any prerequisites.”

“I’ll prescribe treatment accordingly.”

“But we don’t have any money!” the patient’s older sister implored.

“Let’s go down and get medicine,” I quietly said. Fortunately, I had brought my bank card with me today.

来到一楼。急诊医生办公室。我问医生,这个病人需要不需要紧急治疗?医生跟我们来到病房,摸了摸病人的腹部。然后问我,“你是他什么人?”

我只是一个普通公民,我说。

“那我不跟你说。”

“那好,你跟她家人说,她需要什么治疗,需要什么条件。”

“按照开的药治疗。”他说。

“但我们没钱拿药啊。”姐姐哀求。

“走,我们下去拿药。”我平静地说,正好,今天我身上带了银行卡。

The cost of the drugs that night totalled 850 yuan. It seemed as if the process was dragging on and on, and then we finally received the receipt. The older sister — typically resilient — suddenly knelt down on the ground and began to sob. I tried to help her up, thinking that I should have come earlier, that I should have come earlier. I had never, until that moment, known the worth of this money.

“Oh, Yao Jing, I know now, you don’t have to take the medical files.” The nurse looked at the item list, and then began to busily record it. At 10:15, the IV fluids finally began to slowly drip. The older sister brought over her child and knelt down again. This time, my eyes were the ones wet with tears.

划价,这个晚上的药费是850元。似乎这个过程很漫长,终于拿到了单据,一直很坚强的姐姐突然跪到了地上,泪流满面。我扶起她,想我应该早一点来,应该早一点。从来没有像此刻觉得这点钱这么有价值。

“哦,姚晶啊,知道了,不用拿病例了。”护士们看了单子,开始忙碌起来。十点一刻,生命的药液终于开始慢慢滴下。姐姐拉着孩子再一次下跪,此刻,眼睛湿润的是我。

They came as a family to Beijing to petition, because in 2006 the younger sister and her mother had been cheated by someone and were later severely beaten. However, the offender was only put on probation. The younger sister could not accept this and petitioned. In 2007, she received brain trauma after being beaten by Linyi officers stationed in Beijing, and was once sent to a mental institution. That time, she had been beaten by a Linyi officer in Majialou [located in Beijing] with the surname Li. That person’s hand was grabbed and broken by Yao Jing, which could have counted as evidence. Majialou’s police department was queried, but the family members didn’t dare hope that the offender would be found guilty. They only hoped to have medical treatment and be grateful for that.

On April 29, Linyi officers and a leader from Pingyi [a place in Shandong] came, but they only wanted to go to the hospital’s office. No one came in to see the patient.

他们一家来北京上访,因为2006年妹妹和母亲被人欺负,打伤很重,但对方被判缓刑。妹妹不服一直上访。2007年被临沂驻京办的打成了脑外伤,也曾经被送过精神病院。这一次是被临沂驻京办的一个姓李的在马家楼打的。那个人的手被姚晶抓破了,算是有证据。马家楼派出所也过来问了,但是家人也不敢奢望犯罪者会被追究责任,家人只想能有治疗就谢天谢地了。

4月29日那天临沂驻京办和平邑县的领导都来过,但是他们只是去了医院办公室,没有一个人来病房看看。

The older sister went to get medicine. The mother then spoke of the family’s encounters. A few days before, on April 22, at the Phoenix Youth Hotel [a black jail], she saw a man get beaten unconscious by Linyi officers. His body was twitching all over and he urinated in his bed. Finally, he was sent to the hospital, and she doesn’t know if he lived or died. That was a very, very black jail. I’ve heard far too many similar stories. How could I not visit these black jails? The little suffering I experienced [there] could not compare to the suffering of my fellow citizens. In a society in which the privileged corrupt is a normality, these people have no social relevance. But they know the meaning of death. Persistent in their petitioning, they are society’s untouchables, my fellow citizens, and my brothers and sisters.

In the hallway, I suddenly heard a cry. One woman had been dragged away by 5 or 6 men. The nurse came in and said “Wait a bit. There’s a disturbance outside; don’t open the door.” Another man came and said, “Shut the door tightly.”

I and Qifang Cheng went into the hallway. There were two women, one after the other, who were being dragged towards the elevator by five or six men. I asked what had happened, and no one replied. As the elevator door closed, the woman cried out “China has no human rights!”

姐姐去拿药了。母亲讲一家的遭遇。前几天,4月22日,青年凤凰宾馆,她眼看一个老人被临沂驻京办的打的昏迷不醒,浑身抽动,尿了床,被送医院了,不知道死活。那是一个很黑很黑的黑监狱,我听到的同样的故事太多太多了,我怎能不去黑监狱呢?我受的一点皮肉之苦跟同胞们承受的苦难相比算的了什么呢。在一个特权腐败成为常态的社会里,他们没有任何社会关系,可是他们偏偏认死理,执着上访,他们是这个国家的贱民,他们是我的同胞,我的兄弟姐妹。

走廊里突然传来呼救声,一个妇女被五六个男人拖走了。护士进来说,“待会外面有吵闹不要开门。”也有一个男人挨个进门说:“把门关好。”

我和盛其芳来到走廊里。又有两个妇女一先一后被五六个男人拽着拖向电梯。我问怎么回事,没人说话。那个妇女在电梯关门前喊了一声“中国没有人权!”

I asked again, “What happened?” Actually, I knew what had probably happened. The older sister was to my side and said, “I heard they are from Dongbei. They went to Tian’anmen and attempted suicide by poisoning themselves, and then were sent here. One of the receivers angrily asked me what I was doing here, and I replied that I was seeing a patient. “None of your business. Go.”

“Kidnapping! How is this not my business?” I said, “I should file a police report.”

It’s a pity my cell phone ran out of battery. One man from the Tongren Hospital came over to me and said, “I’m from Tongren Hospital’s Security Department. Keep to yourself, and mind your own business.”

In that brief moment, I finally exploded. I heard one loud, earth-shaking yell that ripped through space: “All … moral consciousness … has been lost! Do you know what that is? No … moral … consciousness! No … moral … consciousness!”

I was in a trance. I moved through the crowd, and the receivers also separated before me.

我再问,怎么回事。其实,这时我大概已经知道怎么回事了。姐姐在一旁说,听说他们是东北的,在天安门服毒自杀被送到这里的。一个接访的恶狠狠地问我干嘛的,我说在这里看病人。“没你的事,一边去。”

“绑架!怎么会没我的事?”我说,“应该报警。”

可惜这时我的手机没电了。一个挂着同仁医院胸牌的男人过来说,“我就是同仁医院保卫处的,你少管闲事啊。”

刹那间,我终于爆发了,我听到了一个仿佛穿破时空的惊天动地的怒吼:“丧——尽——天——良——!你们知不知道什么是——丧——尽——天——良!丧——尽——天——良!”

恍惚中,我穿过人群,接访的都散开了。

We came to the hospital ward. I instructed the older sister to call the doctor to bring over the medicine for the next day and the day after that, because I would not have the time to come back tomorrow. I told her to bring over the medical files and make several photocopies. In the case the doctor would not give the medicine, I would go and ask. For a little while, I dreamt up the following scenario: I would point a finger straight at the hospital director’s nose and say, “Damn it! Bring me the medical records!”

我们来到病房。我吩咐姐姐去叫医生把明天后天的药都拿来,因为明天我没有时间过来。叫她把病例要过来,多复印几份,如果医生不给,我去要。那一刻我有一种幻觉,我会指着医生直至院长的鼻子,“妈的,把病历给我交出来!”

[...] I received a call from my friend Xiaoshu [prominent social commentator of the Southern Metropolis News] and said I was at the Tongren Hospital. He asked me if I had enough money, and I said that my card had a few thousand yuan. There shouldn’t have been a problem for these past two days.

It was still okay. The older sister brought back the medical files. However, the hospital would not prescribe medicine. They said that she had used up today’s prescription, so they would talk about filling tomorrow’s prescription later. I knew what this meant. They were hoping to have them quickly leave. I took out 200 yuan in cash that I had on me and put it down, and said “Tomorrow, I will come back.” The older sister wanted to write up an IOU, but I told her that it wasn’t necessary.

I told Qifang Cheng to definitely make a few photocopies of the medical record and safeguard them well. I said goodbye to them. I was walking alone along a bridge and had not even gotten to the Xizhimen subway stop when I suddenly began to bitterly weep. I called a cab, went home, knelt down, and then again began to cry. I thank the heavens for letting me come to this world and experience all of this. Then, I quietly stood up and began to write this story for my children, my grandchildren, and for later generations. I want to tell them what it means to suffer.

Xu Zhiyong, 4/30/2009 in the evening to 5/1/2009 in the early morning.

笑蜀兄打电话过来,我说我在同仁医院,他问我钱够不够,我说卡里有几千块钱,这两天应该没问题。

还好,姐姐顺利地要回了病例。但是,医院不给开药了。说用完今天的,明天再说。我知道这是什么意思,是希们望赶他们走。我把身上还剩的200元现金留下,说,明天我还会过来的。姐姐要给我打个欠条,我说不用了。

我告诉盛其芳老人一定要把病例多复印几份,保存好,向他们道别。已经没有通往西直门的地铁了,我独自走上过街天桥,突然忍不住失声痛哭。我打个车,回到家,跪倒地上,再次痛哭,我感谢上帝让我来到这世上承受这一切。然后,我平静地起来,写下这个故事,为我们的子孙后代,我要告诉他们什么是苦难。

许志永 2009年4月30日夜5月1日凌晨

May 2, 2009 11:45 AM
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