It has now been 52 days. Global Voices Northeast Asia editor, blogger, and filmmaker Hao Wu still has not been charged or given access to a lawyer. We still don't know where he is. (For a collection of articles about his situation please click here.)
His sister Nina Wu continues to blog in Chinese about the ordeal. We continue to post translations of her blog at Freehaowu.org. Here are some recent excerpts. On Day 50 she thanked everybody who cares:
Today I received phone calls, emails, and greetings from friends one after another. They were all asking about Haozi, but I disappointed them. Currently the family members have no further information about Haozi. Like everyone else, we are impatiently waiting. Thank you, friends. For the many ways in which everyone has spontaneously made efforts to help Haozi be free sooner, we sincerely express our gratitude. Our family feels gratified to know that Hoazi has these kinds of friends. I believe that the love from family members, friends, and all who know or do not know Haozi will allow him to see the springtime sunlight again soon.
Nina has often been pointing out on her blog that as a privileged middle class Chinese who works in finance, and who has been generally unconcerned with politics, she hadn't been aware of the extent to which a Chinese person can suddenly lose his or her rights.
…before this happened to my brother, I felt that I had it all: family, friends, a job I liked, and a typical Shanghai “little capitalist” life. I felt that I had the ability to control everything. I could choose the lifestyle I wanted; I could choose my circle of friends…in fact this was just what it looked like. It is so easy for someone to lose his or her privileges. An ordinary person can very easily be taken from his or her daily life. It doesn’t require any warning or reason, and of course it doesn’t require the assent of that person. Legal help is also unavailable. Even though the thirty-sixth clause of the Constitution states, “The physical freedom of the citizens of the People’s Republic of China cannot be violated…it is forbidden to detain or use other methods to take away or limit the physical freedom of a citizen; it is forbidden to illegally search the body of a citizen,” my brother has already lost his freedom. The staff of the Procuratorate did not deny that laws were being broken in the current stage, but no organization or person has stopped these illegal phenomena from continuing.
Really, only when your own rights are violated do you realize their importance to you. I am now beginning to pay attention to law, beginning to look for rights I might have. I hope that it isn’t all too late.
At the same time, I know that I already have lost my right to privacy. I know that they know my every movement. Actually, when you act magnanimously, there is nothing to conceal. I haven’t done anything that I’d be ashamed to show others. I will continue to strive for my brother’s early release. It’s just that I don’t know: when all the legal channels have been exhausted, will anything be left?
Before Hao's detention, she hadn't been aware of the extent of Chinese Internet censorship, either:
After Haozi disappeared, browsing the Internet and searching for related information became a mandatory daily class. I have googled a great deal of information on “Hao Wu,” but I can’t visit many of the search results, especially addresses with .org suffixes. Eight or nine out of ten will return “Impossible to display this webpage.” I don’t know what kind of sensitive information these websites contain. Before, I did not believe in “Internet censorship.” This was because I used to visit mostly finance and investment websites, which rarely have problems. Only when I faced a serious predicament did I discover that this was a real problem.
Today someone asked me about the effect of Haozi’s incident on me and other family members. I think the most direct effect is that I began to be concerned about my own “rights” and the social problems that Haozi was concerned about.
One webpage Nina will be unable to visit without a proxy server is this Radio Free Asia interview with Hu Jia, an AIDS activist who was recently released after being detained without charge for over a month. He describes the circumstances of his detention:
They put a black hood over my head, removing my glasses first, so I couldn’t see anything. Sometimes they forced my head right down to the floor as the car was driving along…
They were making sure that I had no idea where they were taking me. I started to vomit at one point because I was extremely car-sick. I’m not normally car-sick, but because one minute the car was accelerating, the next minute they were slamming on the brakes, and me with my head pressed down against the floor…
Continue reading here. Police behaving like kidnappers or hostage-takers. Is Hao being held under similar circumstances? We have no way of knowing.