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 37. Read previous installments here.
December 9, 2009
Today is December 9, my 36th day camped outside the gate to Japan.
Breakfast was a cup of Canadian orange juice and four little Guotianyi brand mooncakes from Taiwan.
At 8:30 a.m. I was leaning on my chair with my eyes closed, my head tilted upward. My entire body was relaxed. I was in a daze. Only my brain was moving, meandering freely in thought. Actually, one’s thoughts are most clear in this state. I could comfortably formulate ideas for my writing and think about what I wanted to do. However, my appearance alarmed the officials, who thought I had become ill. They quickly came over and asked, “Mr. Feng, are you alright? Are you ill?” I opened my eyes, and, smiling, said, “No, I’m fine. I’m just thinking. This will help me write my essays more quickly when I start working on my computer in a bit.” Relieved, they smiled. “Oh, I see.”
I am surrounded by cameras here. It looks like no one is paying attention, but they’re actually watching my every move. If something were to happen to me, they would be held responsible, especially now that I have become known around the world. This has put more pressure on them. Actually, my being here has caused a good amount of trouble for these Japanese officials. I’ve made them work hard. The police also pay close attention to me, often patrolling around me. They come and say hi every evening, and we chit chat for a bit. They are sympathetic and concerned for my health. They hope that I can realize my wish to return home as quickly as possible.
At 12:30 p.m., the chief examiner on duty came once again to deliver the seventh official letter to me. Its content was the same as yesterday’s, except for the date. I took another picture with him. I also submitted “December 9 Official Japanese Document, Forwarded To The Chinese Government By Feng Zhenghu (No. 7)” to online media for circulation, including the picture I took with the official. It is my hope that the Chinese government will stop testing the patience of the Japanese government. If Japanese officials issued the same notice to the Chinese government every single day, they’d soon set a Guinness world record.
At 2:30 p.m., I was visited again by the Japanese official in charge of communicating with me, along with a Chinese translator. He said, “I don’t have anything specific to discuss with you. I just want to have a chat with you.” They asked if I was in good health. They also told me, “Whether you enter Japan or not, we will respect your wishes. We don’t have any right to force you into Japan.” I told them, “I understand why I am being issued these notices every day. And I’ve already submitted these documents to the Chinese government via the Internet.” He expressed his hope that the Chinese government will place some importance on this issue and let me return home as soon as possible. We chatted for a while, had some laughs. I know that they’re making a point to visit me today to make sure I don’t misunderstand them.
Today is the one-year anniversary of the publication of Charter 08. It’s also the one-year anniversary of the detention of its main author, Liu Xiaobo. The Charter’s ideas and political standpoint have garnered the recognition of more and more citizens, including of some people within the Communist Party. These moderate, constructive, centrist political notions call not for the overthrow of the communist regime. Rather, they seek democratic reform based upon the existing constitution. Of course, such a charter was not proposed by the Party, but rather by private members of Chinese society—many of whom still suffer under the Party’s persecution. These idealists possess a tremendous sense of moral responsibility and spirit of tolerance. They blaze actionable ways forward for Chinese society without regard for the disapproval of groups or individuals.
I have always believed that Mr. Liu Xiaobo will be acquitted and released. If the Chinese authorities really wanted to try him, any randomly chosen sentences from his essays would be enough to convict him. There would be no need to repeatedly delay the trial. He’s surely having a tough time in prison. But if he knew how the Charter 08 has been received, he would certainly be very happy. He’d have his peace of mind in prison–like being there is merely an opportunity to get in some meditation. But releasing Liu Xiaobo would benefit the Party. It would represent the start of a reconciliation with society.
In a lecture I gave in New York in November, “The Chinese Citizen Movement to Uphold the Constitution and Defend Rights,” I discussed the meaning and effect of Charter 08. I’d like to share my lecture: http://www.hxwq.org/?p=115
At 2:30 p.m., an American friend showed up in the immigration hall. He was returning to Japan from a business trip in Thailand. It was especially nice to see him here. We hugged and began a spirited conversation. He doesn’t speak Chinese, and I can only understand simple English, so we conversed in Japanese. He said, “You look younger than on TV. You’re looking very healthy.” I said, “Yes, I’ve been doing interviews every day recently, and I’m a bit tired. I didn’t do any interviews today, so I was able to relax.” We spoke for about an hour, then parted ways.
At 7:00 p.m., I gave a phone interview with a reporter from the Canada Post, which took about 20 minutes. Two media organizations, from Germany and England, respectively, scheduled on-site interviews for next week. I couldn’t clearly hear their names through the telephone, but no worry. I’ll know them when I see them in person.
These past few days, I’ve been interviewed by a few big global television stations. Some of them broadcast footage of me working at my computer. The laptop I use is a Chinese brand, so this has been some free advertising for them. I really wish it was a better quality product, but yesterday it started having issues. Some of the keys stopped working. I don’t know if it’s a mechanical problem or a software problem. I have no way of making any repairs to it here. If someone out there has a laptop–an old one would be just fine–if you pass by my encampment (Narita Airport Terminal 1 South Building), you could leave it here for me to borrow. This way I could have a backup in case some of the most important keys on this laptop stop working. [Chinese]
Translation by Little Bluegill.