Enemy of the State – Jianying Zha

In the New Yorker, writer Zha Jianying, author of China Pop, has written a lengthy profile of her brother, imprisoned democracy activist Zha Jianguo: A family friend told me that Jianguo might be able to leave China on medical parole, and I asked him many times if he would consider it. He wouldn’t. “I will not leave China unless my freedom of return is guaranteed,” he insisted. I have stopped asking. Jianguo repeatedly mentions the predicament of exiled Chinese dissidents in the West, who, in the post-Tiananmen era, have lost their political effectiveness. “Once they leave Chinese soil, their role is very limited,” Jianguo says. But how politically effective is it to sit in a tiny cell for nine years”especially when most of your countrymen don’t even know of your existence? That’s something I’ve never had the heart to bring up. The mainland Chinese press didn’t report the 1999 C.D.P. roundup, so few people in China ever knew what had happened. Outside China, there was some media coverage at the time, and some protests from human-rights groups, but the incident was soon eclipsed by the Falun Gong story. After almost eight years of incarceration, Jianguo is unrepentant, resolute, and forgotten. [Full text] ...
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