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Wives and sisters against the Chinese Communist Party's war on free speech

AIDS activist Hu Jia and documentarian/Beijing or Bust blogger Wu Hao were both arrested in Beijing earlier this year on charges that have yet to be specified. While Hu—who went missing on February 16th—was released last week, Global Voices Online editor Wu nears his seventh week in detention.

What's significant about both these two separate incidents is the role blogs have played. Hu's wife Zeng Jin Yan, immediately following Hu's disappearance, began using her blog—started late last year to document her husband's activism—as a means to communicate not only her feelings, but her accounts of her dealings with state authorities and media as well.

这个超级强大的“人”,具有所有的行为能力。但是,当我找到这个“人”,和她的公安局、派出所、检察院讲道理将法律的时候,当在新闻发布会或者会议上和她的总理和她的各个部门的负责人提问的时候,你猜她干嘛了?她装小孩子撒泼撒赖!她说我不知道,她说这事我管不了,她说我不清楚,她说我不……难道一个母亲把孩子弄丢了,别人问她孩子在哪里,她说不知道就可以就此完了万事ok了吗?难道她可以装做自己是一个三岁的孩子犯错了不需要负责任的孩子吗?难道她让每一个部门犯傻拒绝长大成人就可以了吗?

This super powerful “person” has all the power in the world. But, as soon as I find this “person” and with her police departments, police stations and investigation bureaus speak of reason and the law, in press conferences and in meetings with her premier and with various department heads, do you know what she does? She acts like a child and shamelessly makes a scene!
She says she doesn't know, that this is beyond her control, that she's not sure, she says I….as if a mother would go and lose one of her kids and when asked where it is say she doesn't know and that she's okay with that, just go on as though everything were okay? As if she can just pretend she's a 3 year-old who doesn't need to take responsibility for her mistakes? As if she can let every department play dumb and refuse to grow up as if that were okay?

Other Chinese bloggers quickly took notice and as the number of links grew, so too did the number of comments left behind.

When Zeng posted last week that Hu had been released and returned home, the number of comments shot through the roof, cheers and encouragement in both Chinese and English. On March 30, Wu's sister Nina began recording her struggles in a blog of her own, with the first post congratulating Zeng on her happy news:

自从GOOGLE到“胡佳在哪里”以后,就把金燕的BLOG当成自己心灵休息驿站,有事没事会看看她的日志和随后评论,与她一起喜怒哀乐,因为我和她一样经历了亲人不见后的痛苦和迷茫。现在,胡佳回来了,我真诚为她和她的家人高兴,而我将继续寻找弟弟的历程。在朋友的支持下,我相信也会等到微笑的一天。

Ever since I found “Where is Hu Jia?” on Google, Jinyan's blog was a rest stop for my soul. I would often read her diary and the comments following it, sharing her joys and sorrows, as I too had experienced the pain and confusion after the disappearance of a loved one. Now, Hu Jia has returned. I am wholeheartedly happy for [Jinyan] and her family, and I will continue to search for my brother. With the support of my friends, I believe that I will also wait for the day when I can smile again.

Translations of Nina's posts can be found here.

As can be seen, Hu has a large and vocal support base from within the Chinese blogging community, something Wu, as an English-language blogger, does not. A search of popular mainland blogs and online forums comes back empty-handed. Most bloggers have never heard of him. Even a Google search from here on the mainland on Wu's Chinese name produces an error message and renders the search engine unreachable for thirty minutes.

Could it be said that vocal international condemnation of Hu's arrest didn't ruin his chances of being released? In regards to Wu, if English-language blogs and media hadn't picked up and jumped on his story, how long would it have been before anyone outside China finally noticed? Hard to say. As solidarity between Chinese bloggers and their peers around the world grows, so, quite thankfully, does the relevancy of this question.

Comments left behind Wu's most recent post:

“This blogger is a great friend of ours. He has mysteriously disappeared for more than 3 days now. No body knows where he went. There is many speculations. One thing is for sure that he didn't leave by his own will. Does anyone know where he could be? Does anyone know his family members? Can someone contact his family? His family should definily know and make decisions on what to do. [21:26 February 26]”

“We are worried that this blogger's life could be in serious danger. Someone who knows his family members please contact his family. Only his family members can make decisions on what to do next right now. Please, help us find him. help us contact his family. [21:31 February 26]”

3 comments

  • Manuel

    Please in China, the christian have be free ok, i writen from Chile…

    God bless you

  • ..
    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe thinks
    communism is SUPER

    even though it never works
    because we are not robots

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe feels
    communism is fair

    fools can’t or won’t think it through
    idiots just keep scheming
    ..

  • […] through which social works and independent thinkers can interact with the public. In 2006 when I opened a blog to continue writing about Hu Jia’s disappearance and long-term house arrest and my own life of being followed, as well as the stories of those with similar experiences in […]

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