Feng Zhenghu’s Airport Diary: The Relevant Department
After he was denied re-entry to China eight times, Feng Zhenghu lived in Tokyo’s Narita Airport for 92 days in 2009-2010. Now Feng is telling the story of his airport odyssey on his blog, and CDT is translating his account.
This is part 26. Read previous installments here.
November 28, 2009
Today is my 25th day camped at the door to Japan.
Yesterday evening a reporter from the BBC called me to share two pieces of news:
- At a routine press conference held by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang on November 26, a reporter asked, “Rights defense activist Feng Zhenghu continues to be detained at the Tokyo airport. Despite having a legal Chinese passport, he has been refused entry by the relevant department in China. Can you give us some details on his case, and why he was refused entry?” Qin Gang replied, “The relevant department in China acted in accordance with the relevant regulations laid out in the Exit-Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China. I suggest you inquire at the relevant department.”
- A reporter checked to see if the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada had brought up Feng Zhenghu during a meeting with visiting Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi on the evening of November 19. The Chinese section of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied that Minister Okada did not bring up the issue of Feng Zhenghu to his Chinese counterpart during the meeting.
I believe that this was the first time that the issue of my repatriation was brought up during an official event in China. It also makes it clear that the Chinese government is starting to pay attention to this problem. The relevant department Qin Gang mentioned is most likely the Ministry of Public Security, and the Shanghai Public Security Bureau ought to bear direct responsibility for this national humiliation. The relevant department didn’t deal with the issue of Feng Zhenghu’s repatriation within the confines of the law, so what they did was illegal. The draft “Legal Opinion on Protecting the Chinese Citizen’s Right of Return” was published on August 15, 2009 and sent to the relevant government departments in China and Japan. The legal opinion, made in accordance with Chinese law regarding the violation of a Chinese citizen’s right of return, concludes that it is illegal for the Chinese government to prevent one of its own citizens from returning. The original text of the opinion is available here.
Minister Okada wouldn’t bring up the issue of my limbo in the airport during official talks with Minister Yang. It would be unnecessary to provoke Chinese officials or embarrass the Chinese government, because the Chinese government is already quite clear that this problem is a national humiliation. Those talks were on November 19, and now it’s already November 28. I’m still stuck in the airport, and the Chinese government still hasn’t taken action. As time goes on, the international community and the Japanese people will start putting pressure on the Japanese government for not taking action. Meanwhile, the people of China are angrier by the day, and overseas Chinese will also start to call out the Japanese government. Once the reputation and interests of the Japanese government start to be affected, they will almost certainly contact the Chinese government to ask for an official solution to this problem, to take responsibility and not make trouble for Japan. They will ask them to let a Chinese citizen go home.
I received a text message from Xiao Qiao:
Brother Feng: A netizen named ‘Bai Yunfei’ has made a short video for you and put it on YouTube. You might not be able to see it right away, but you can share the link with your followers on Twitter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN-kSBxWnWc
Here is the message from the creator:
This video is a gift to express my respect and admiration
Hello, Mr. Feng Zhenghu,
I’m just a normal everyday guy who has made this video for you. I hope that everyone who has a country they can’t return to can all make their way back home.
Take care! Xiao Qiao
I’m grateful for Mr. Bai’s video. With countless other kind-hearted, righteous people just like him supporting and helping me, my dream of going home is certain to come true, and China os certain to become a free, democratic country, with rule of law and respect for human rights.
In the afternoon I wrote two essays for my friends in China.
The food and other items that have been donated to me are paid for out of the pockets of the donors, so I can’t waste them. Just as money paid for my food, even more so does the rights defense movement need the financial support of the people. Many talented human rights activists and victims of injustice and their families in China can barely manage to earn enough for their daily necessities. I have money, and I use it to support rights defense.
Now I am accepting financial support, but I still politely refuse to take money with political strings attached or support that is simply meant to make a statement. This is because I want to maintain my political independence and spiritual freedom, never wavering from my political philosophy to realize the “protection of the constitution and the defense of rights.”
I posted the essay “Donate One Yuan to Feng Zhenghu” on Twitter to make my announcement. I also published it on my domestic accounts, but only few people will donate money. Anyways, if people donate, then you can be sure that relevant departments would find me to “supervise and inspect” it. I’m taking from the people now; when I get back home I’ll spend it on the people.
At 6:00 p.m., an Air Canada flight arrived in Japan and their flight attendants walked past me again. Three stewardesses separately gave me a bottle of purified water, a box of pizza with three slices inside; a big boxed salad with cucumbers, green and red lettuce, carrots, onion, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, and small container of salad dressing; and a thin blanket and several small towels. These were the first fresh vegetables I had eaten in twenty-five days. There was so much food it could make two meals. From the packaging I could tell that they had specially purchased these things for me at the Vancouver International Airport. They wished me well, and said that they supported my struggle to uphold the human rights of the Chinese people. I thanked them for all of their help.
The flight attendant who gave me a newspaper yesterday probably had today off. Looks like they’re taking turns to help a Chinese civil rights activist. They all know my story. Canada is the home of Norman Bethune. When he came to China all those years ago from far away, it was to support the Chinese Communist Party’s fight for democracy. Just like him, today his descendants are supporting a Chinese national’s fight for return home. [Chinese]
Translation by Nick.