“Looking Back at Those Years”: Yang Zili’s Memory Tweets

Siweiluozi’s blog has translated a series of tweets by writer Yang Zili, a founding member of the New Youth Study Group who spent eight years in prison on subversion charges. On Twitter, Yang has provided an account of his arrest, trial and his time in prison. From the third installment (Read also installments One and Two.):

My interrogator asked me, “Why did you write this article?” “That’s the way I thought,” I answered. “Don’t I have freedom of thought and freedom of speech?” He answered: “As long as its in your mind, you have freedom of thought. As soon as you speak, it becomes action!” Looking at it this way, since the constitution says nothing about “freedom to breathe,” every breath I take must be illegal.

After our first-instance trial opened in November 2001 we waited 1-1/2 years, then in came a woman from the court and her male assistant. “You’ve gained weight,” the woman said, laughing. “Have we met?” I asked, taken aback. “I’m the presiding judge in your trial,” she answered. All throughout, Judge [Bai Jun] was kind and considerate to us. Only after the sentence was handed down did I realize that even the most humane people in the criminal justice system were still machines.

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.