Zeng Jinyan: Gratitude

huajiaBeijing based blogger Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), wife of imprisoned activist Hu Jia (胡佳) just updated her blog:

My situation has improved somewhat. Although my computer and other valuables have not yet been returned to me, I have to find ways to get on the Internet, and learn of news I hadn’t heard before.

I don’t know where to begin, returning to a discussion that’s been ruptured for several months. My heart is full of gratitude. I thank every friend who is paying attention to Hu Jia’s case; especially the young friend who waited 24 hours in the cold wind to bring powdered milk for my baby — I don’t even know his name, nor did I get a clear look at him, but since then, when I go into the kitchen, I’ve started a new habit of looking out the window, harboring a bit of hope, as well as a memory that is both brief and full. I thank the friend who got my website up, who in the critical moment where I lost contact, facing much pressure, spoke in place of me. Then there were those special friends who used a special method to support and encourage me, ensuing I did not end up in despair or lose all faith. The two words “thank you” are too weak and frail to fully express my feelings.

Since the afternoon of December 27th, I have asked myself endlessly what to do. Hu Jia believed that nothing could possibly happen before the Olympics, because everyone wished for a peaceful, glorious Games, no matter the differences between calling it the “harmonious Olympics” or “human rights Olympics.” In the middle of the night, after feeding my baby or changing her diaper, I stare up at the ceiling, listening to the sound of a chair rocking upstairs, and imagine every possibility, asking myself in the end what am I to do to make Hu Jia come home sooner, without sacrificing the rights and dignity of being human. Oftentimes before I know it, it’s light out.

In theory it’s very simple. Numerous statutes in the Chinese Constitution and international law ensure the protection of citizen’s rights as a simple and clear principle. But the brutal, irrational nature of the actual situation fills me with dread. Were it not for the support of friends and family, I might not have made it this far. Hu Jia has cirrhosis of the liver. He needs to eat well and get lots of rest, and cannot withstand vigorous physical activity. Yet during his first month in detention, he slept very little. He’s been interrogated in the middle of the night for anywhere between 6 and 14 hours, and has barely had a chance to get fresh air (only three times in the first 70 days, for less than a half-hour each time). On the tenth of February I said to Hu Jia: take care of yourself while you wait to be reunited with us. I said to the police: Even if you don’t beat him, if you use inhumane methods on him, it’s murder just the same. Please take good care of him. So long as he lives, any kind of suffering can be endured.

The only consolation is that our child is doing well. At around three months, she showed symptoms of calcium deficiency—excessive sweating, misshapen skull, easily startled—but she’s better now. When Hu Jia saw his baby on March 18th, he was shocked at “how big she’s grown.” Our baby smiled at Hu, grabbing his left forefinger with her tiny hand, as he looked at her saying, “She smiled! She smiled!” That day, we had no chance to speak of anything else. As I look at his pallid, slightly jaundiced face, it felt like a knife was twisting in my heart. I had a series of nightmares that night, and couldn’t sleep. Every day I wait for his news. Sometimes when the employee from the shop who comes with rice knocks on the door, I get up from the couch thinking he’s come back. The lawyer says, according to standard procedure, there should be a decision by April 7th.

Don’t call me.
If there’s something, send an email.
If you have a question, you can leave a message.
Having experienced no freedom, I treasure limited freedom all the more.
Unless the general situation improves, there is no way for us to truly escape our predicament.
I sincerely hope that technological and economic advancement is used to promote human happiness, and not to bring about misery.

10:11 PM March 29th, 2008


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