China: Survival tips for female activists: how to get the cops off your tail

When veteran AIDS activist Hu Jia (胡佳) was kidnapped by Chinese police in February this year, his wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), found closed police station doors at every turn. No answers, explanations or even an admission that her husband was in police custody, Zeng set up a blog [zh] documenting her efforts to get her husband back. Forty-one days later he was dropped off in the outskirts of Beijing. Emaciated and suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, he walked over an hour to get home.

The incident seems to have been Zeng's entry point into the dangerous world of Chinese AIDS victim and female reproductive rights activism. While recent posts mention fundraising for impoverished AIDS orphans with little hope of finishing high school and a call for volunteers to help design one AIDS NGO's monthly publication, the prime focus on Zeng's blog of late has been on the case of Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), a blind activist abducted by Chinese police earlier this year after launching a lawsuit on behalf of women in his native Shandong province who were forcibly sterilized.

Acting on behalf of Chen's wife Yuan Weijing (袁伟静) in posting information on developments in Chen's case on her blog, Zeng, age 22, soon found herself being followed by state secret police. Below are several of Zeng's recent posts. Of particular note are the posts from late June, in which Zeng writes of successfully standing up to her followers.

June 4


When it rains, the clouds are crying


If we could be reincarnated, I'd like to come back as a small birdie, flying freely in the sky until the day I die. If we could choose our lives, I'd want to be a little piece of grass, laughing with the wind, dancing with the rain, turning brown in autumn. If life could be controlled, I'd want to be an innocent little child, never growing up.


In order to keep my mind off today—people of all points of view all hope that this day, today, didn't exist—I almost had to force Hu Jia leave Beijing with me, hoping to peacefully get through today and stop his cirrhosis of the liver from getting worse, preserve his life. The days we were away from Beijing, although we were followed, were pretty relaxed. Every day, in Teacher Gao Yaojie's home, we helped her take care of all sorts of AIDS work, mailing out AIDS educational materials, taking calls, editing documents, selecting photos……

凤凰卫视的工作人员给志愿者电话,说今天下午来家采访高耀洁老师,谈一谈艾滋病问题。午饭前后,分别来了两个感染者家庭,A 家的男孩2004年在北京某著名的口腔医院做腭裂修补手术,输血感染了艾滋病;B 家的母亲生孩子时剖腹产输血感染了艾滋病,还母婴传播感染了两个女儿,其中一个女儿已经死了。男孩10岁,女孩明天生日满5 岁,两个孩子都聪明伶俐,进门礼貌地叫奶奶,叫人没法不喜欢。

The Pheonix TV crew had phoned the volunteers and said that this afternood they would be coming to interview Teacher Gao Yaojie (高耀洁), to talk about the AIDS problem. Around lunchtime, two separate infected families came. The boy from family A was infected with HIV in 2004 from a blood transfusion during a cleft palate restoration surgery at a well-known stomatological hospital in Beijing. The mother from family B was infected with HIV from a blood transfusion during a cesarean section birth, and passed it on to her two baby daughters, one of whom has since died. The boy is ten years old and the girl, whose birthday is tomorrow, will be five. The two children are very clever. As they came through the door they politely called for ‘granny.’ There's no way anyone couldn't like them.

Ethnic minority AIDS Volunteers


Full of people, the room was stuffy. Everybody made themselves at home, eating buns, washing fruit, tying up parcels of books, watching the kids, chatting……then at three p.m., Pheonix TV presenter Zeng Zimo (曾子墨) arrived at Teacher Gao's home; two people chatting, one old, one young. Before long, another Pheonix TV crew member phoned and told them to get out of there. Then suddenly there was a knock at the door, which upon opening revealed one female police officer and one woman in casual dress.


The female officer introduced herself as a cop, named Ma, here to carry out a public opinion poll. As soon as she came in she asked us to produce our identification.

哪条法律规定了做入户民意测验需要房子里每一个人出示身份证?我们要求对方出示证件,出示入户文件。对方出示了胸卡,说没有入户文件,说如果要看文件,干脆大家一起去派出所。我们当然不同意,经历过各种”险情”的曾子墨,有她的周全考虑,出示了身份证。既然是民意测验,我有权拒绝出示身份证, B家两口子也没有出示。高老师起身,拉着片警,简单介绍屋子里每一个人的情况,说曾子墨是来看望她的。

Where is there a law that says everybody in a house needs to produce identification for a routine public opinion poll? We asked her to produce her credentials and an entry warrant. She showed her badge but said there was no entry warrant and if we wanted to see some more documentation we'd all have to go down to the police station together. Of course we didn't agree. Zeng ‘been through it all’ Zimo, showed them her ID. Since it was a public opinion poll, I had the right to refuse to show my identification. Family B didn't show theirs either. Teacher Gao got up, took the officers aside and gave a simple explanation as to what everyone was doing there and said that Zeng Zimo was just looking in on her.

我很气愤,也觉得委屈。不知道过了多久,听见马警察说:”如果有外籍人士来,超过三天,一定要和我们联系登记。”正准备把片警送出大门,马警察指着电视旁放的DV 机(迷你型摄像机),要求看一看内容。那DV机本来是志愿者在高老师家拍摄高老师的生活起居的,片警敲门进来,DV 机就放在电视旁的桌子上,没有关机,因此虽然没有正面的图像,却录下了所有人来来往往的身影和声音。马警察要求删除她进屋以后所有的内容。几番争执,志愿者不得不同意覆盖这一段录像。

I was furious and wanted to complain. I don't know how long after that I heard officer Ma say, “if any foreign nationals here stay for longer than three days, they must get in touch with us and register.” Just as we were about to see the officers out the door, officer Ma pointed to the digital video camera beside the television and requested to see what had been filmed. The camera had been brought by a volunteer to film Teacher Gao around the house. When the officers knocked, the volunteer placed it down beside the television without turning it off. Although there was no clear picture, it had recorded everybody's silhouettes and voices. Officer Ma requested that we delete all content with her in it. After a short debate, the volunteer had no choice but to agree to record over that part.


After these two police officers supposedly here for a ‘public opinion poll’ had seen that the parts showing them had been recorded over, they swaggered off. One volunteer asked, “since this is a public opinion poll, will you be going to the door across the hall? Shall I knock on their door for you?” This threw the police off; now that I think about it, they were only out to get Teacher Gao Yaojie with their ‘public opinion poll.’

我马上给律师打电话,详细讲了发生的情况。律师朋友实事求是地说,这种情况没有办法进入司法程序,只能向警务督察反映,投诉此片警滥用职权。片警以”民意测验”的借口进入私宅,既然是民意测验,屋主和客人可以拒绝片警的任何要求。至于 DV录像,片警可以要求删除涉及她的片段,但因为是在私宅而不是派出所或警察局录像,删或不删,决定权在屋主和DV机主人手中。

I immediately phoned the lawyer and explained the details of what had happened. The lawyer told me flat out that in these circumstances there would be no legal procedures to follow up, that we could only file a complaint of abuse of authority with their superintendent. By using ‘public opinion poll’ as an excuse to enter a private residence, even though it was in fact a public opinion poll, the home owner and guests could have refused any police requests. As for the video, the police can request the parts containing them be deleted but as it was filmed in a private residence and not in a police station or office, the right to decide whether or not to erase lies with the home owner and the owner of the camera itself.

我们多少也明白一些法律的规定,可是又能怎么样呢!法律是写出来给人看的,而不是用来保护需要保护的个体。如果我们坚持拒绝片警入户,如果我们坚持拒绝删除DV 录像,如果……最晚晚上 10点,屋子里这些志愿者、感染者、记者,全部离开高老师的家回自己的家了,回到外地的家了。留下高老太太一个人,叫她怎么在这样如狼似虎的环境下活下去?我哀叹,一个名人尚且被如此对待,一般的老百姓怎么办!

We have a bit of understanding of the law, but what difference does it make? The law is written for people to see, not to be used to protect those who need protecting. If we had stood firm and refused the police entry, if we had held our ground and refused to delete the video, if……by ten p.m. everyone in the house, the volunteers, the infected, the journalists, had all left Teacher Gao's home for their own, or gone back to their provinces. Left alone, how is old lady Gao supposed to live in such a harsh environment like this? Sigh…if such a well-known person can still receive treatment like this, what are the common folk supposed to do?

整个事件的过程,曾子墨一直很冷静,让我好佩服。曾子墨刚回到宾馆,接到通知,”这里”找到电视台,要求凤凰卫视不拍高耀洁老师,要求曾子墨和她的同事今晚”必须” 离开郑州。她们马上要离开郑州了。这一次,我总算真正明白了什么叫”防火防盗防记者”。大陆的不那么如临大敌地防,是因为大陆的媒体更加在他们的指掌中。

During the process of the entire incident, Zeng Zimo kept her cool, which really impressed me. Zeng Zimo went back to her hotel and received a notice. ‘Here’ had found the television station and requested that Pheonix TV not film Teacher Gao Yaojie, further requesting that Zeng Zimo and her colleagues “must” leave Zhengzhou tonight. After this I finally understand what a ‘fire-fighting, crime-busting journalist’ is. The reason critical situations like this aren't prevented on the mainland is because mainland media is firmly in Their hands.

鞋子也没脱,高老师侧身倒在床上睡着了。高老师心里很明白,有些人不愿意她再一次强调血液感染艾滋病的问题。今天来高老师家的两个家庭感染艾滋病,根本原因是输血。4 个人(其中 3个是孩子)感染了艾滋病,死了1 个小女孩。高耀洁老师不否认性途径和吸毒传播艾滋病,但是为什么不谈论血液问题呢!为什么到了 2004年、2005 年,仍然那么多人在医院输血感染艾滋病呢?为什么小孩、老人、血友病患者以及那些做过手术的人们,突然发现自己感染了艾滋病呢?为什么?这几天在高老师家整理输血感染艾滋病的感染者来信和调查稿件,我会陆续把文章发给大家。

Without even taking her shoes off, Teacher Gao flopped onto the bed and fell asleep. Teacher Gao knows what's really going on. Some people don't want her focussing again on the HIV transmission blood problem. Both the families that came to Teacher Gao's home today were infected with HIV through blood transmissions. Four people (three of whom are children) are infected with HIV, and one little girl has already died. Teacher Gao Yaojie doesn't deny that HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex and intravenous drug usage, but asks why the blood problem isn't being talked about! Why in 2004 and 2005 are there still so many people being infected with HIV during blood transfusions in hospitals? Why are children, seniors and hemophiliacs as well as those undergoing surgery suddenly noticing that they've been infected with HIV? Why? These next few days I'll be at Teacher Gao's house going through letters and survey documents from people infected with HIV through blood transfusions and will continue posting articles for everyone to see.

Dr. Gao Yaojie

June 11


Declaration of Chen Guangcheng's crime


At around ten p.m. a friend phoned me to say that Chen Guangcheng's wife Yuan Weijing was looking for me and that it was urgent. I immediately phoned Yuan Weijing, my first time speaking to her directly. I respectfully addressed her as ‘older sister-in-law’ [saozi].


Yuan Weijing told me that due to Guangcheng's disappearance as well as villagers being arrested and other incidents, the pressure was getting to her. Unable to sleep and having headaches, she asked many times to go see a doctor. Today they finally granted her permission to go to the hospital and see a doctor. But as she was being ‘escorted,’ the car was stopped by someone from the police station and she was taken home. The police station gave Yuan Weijing Chen Guangcheng's official notice of criminal detainment. Chen Guangcheng was ‘guilty’ of the crime of ‘intentional destruction of property’ and ‘inciting of the masses to disrupt traffic.’ The notice said Chen Guangcheng had been taken into detention as of yesterday, June 10, 2006. Yuan Weijing did not agree. On March 11, 2006 she personally saw her husband being taken away by the police. So then from March 11 until June 10 where had they kept Chen Guangcheng? The police station staff did not answer Yuan Weijing's question, but in fact threatened here, saying that her attitude directly determines how they treat Chen Guangcheng, and asked Yuan Weijing to sign the official notice of criminal detainment. As well, the police warned Yuan Weijing that she herself was a criminal suspect, for having given birth to a child.


Yuan Weijing refused to sign the official notice of criminal detainment, because signing it would be like admitting that Chen Guangcheng had just been taken away yesterday. Isn't this a blatant, eyes-wide-open lie? Absurd! Yuan Weijing says she already no longer has any personal freedom; if it weren't for her nursing baby and elderly mother, she would have been arrested long ago. But Yuan Weijing keeps up hopes that a lawyer will be able to intervene in this case.


I'm really worried. On top of illegal surveillance of a blind man's house for nearly two hundred days, and illegal imprisonment of a blind man for nearly one hundred days at the same time keeping his wife under house arrest, the police now want to charge this blind man with ‘intentional destruction of property’ and ‘inciting of the masses to disrupt traffic.’ Would a government department who so shamelessly says the blind man was taken away only yesterday allow a lawyer to get involved in this case? Will this be the same as the New York TimesZhao Yan case, turning the law into a toy with which to play with people around the world?


I asked Yuan Weijing what we could do for Chen Guangcheng and the line was cut off. I phoned again, said a few words and then it was cut again. The third time phoning, Saozi said there was a mobile phone signal blocker in the neighboring apartment, and then we got cut off again. I phoned again and the number could not be connected.


The authorities have charged Chen Guangcheng with a crime. What does that mean?

June 16


In order to save Chen Guangcheng, I set up a blog today, “Chen Guangcheng, Hurry Home.” From now on, Guangcheng's friends can keep on putting related materials up on this blog. With Buddha's blessing, Chen Guangcheng, hurry home to your family's side.

June 18 

在生命的第22个年头,结婚的第一个夏天,获知自己被美国二十一世纪中国基金会( Foundation for China in the 21 st Century)授予本年度的”受难者家人奖”,我心不安,深觉有愧。在没有任何罪名和指控的情况下,我的先生胡佳遭受来自公安局系统的暴力、失踪、软禁、孤立和压制。最近的一次,胡佳失踪 41天。 2006年 3月28日 ,他从公安机关的绑架者手里回到我的身边,形销骨立、夜夜噩梦、肝硬化、情绪不稳定……他还活着回来,我感恩上天的厚爱,我珍惜和他在一起的分分秒秒,我觉得幸福。但是,我知道磨难没有结束,我必须时刻准备迎接下一轮考验的到来。我也知道,在我们热爱的土地上,还生活着许多和我一样命运的女性。她们正直有良知的家人,仍然被关押在监狱,仍然莫名其妙地失踪,仍然被软禁、压制,或者正蒙受不白之冤被推向深渊。

In my 22nd year of life, my first summer since getting married, I've been made aware that I've been awarded this year's Foundation for China in the 21st Century Victims’ Family Members Award. My heart is not at ease, I feel deeply embarrased. Without any crime or accusation, my husband Hu Jia, at the hands of the police system, suffered violence, ‘disappearing’, home arrest, isolation and oppression. The most recent time, Hu Jia disappeared for forty-one days. On March 28, 2006 he came home to me from the hands of his police department kidnappers skin and bones, with nightmares, cirrhosis of the liver and unstable emotions……he still lived to come back, and I'm thankful for God's deep love. I cherish every second of every minute that I'm with him, I feel lucky. But, I know that the tribulations have not ended. I must hurry to prepare for the next round of trials. I also know that on this land we love so much, that there are many other women with the same fortune as mine. Their upright and conscientious family members are still locked up in prison, still arbitrarily being disappeared, still being put under house arrest and oppressed, or are currently sustaining injustice and being pushed towards the abyss.



My husband Hu Jia chooses to be an upright and conscientious person. He chose to defend human dignity as a career, and chose to endure any tribulations that come. I understand and respect his choices. Exchanging vows at our wedding, I consented to accompany my lover for this lifetime. In dealing with tribulations, I need to study harder and learn how to be savvier and have a happy life. In dealing with my mighty adversaries’ intimidation, shadiness, ugliness and hatred, I have no weapons. I have only love and tolerance. In the days to come, I also want to use love to step-by-step push back my adversaries’ hands and protect my husband from being hurt again. Hate only gives way to more hate. Only love can bring the wicked to see their shameless hearts, to make them stop the hatred and oppression, and allow them to love their own families, and other people's families as well! When that day comes, nobody will want to be wicked, and there will be no wicked Party and government, and our family will be able to live peacefully on this land we love so much.



If it hadn't been for domestic and foreign media, foreign embassies and international organizations, for environmentalists, AIDS workers, civil rights defenders, as well as those people within the Chinese government and all their continuous attention and support, it's very possible that Hu Jia would still be locked up in prison in a nameless place, that family members would still be enduring the pressure of having no news of Hu Jia, and I would have lost it from the fear and fright. Hu Jia and I take this opportunity of the Foundation for China in the 21st Century's offering to us of this award to express our deepest thanks by bowing before you.

June 19


Dear Friends:
All lawyers and friends of Chen Guangcheng related to International Press Conference are under house arrest or have no freedom today. We cancel the press conference. Sorry for changing so many times. 
This afternoon, around 7:00pm, Chen Guangcheng's mother and 3-year old child, who come to Beijing for the Press Conference, were kidnapped downstairs the home of Guangcheng's friend in Beijing by about 10 plainclothesmen from Shandong. The Beijing policemen and the gate guard do nothing, in other words, assisting the kidnapping.  
We really appreciate your work on rescuing Chen Guangcheng and his family.
Bow our  thanks.

Chen Guangcheng's friend, Hu Jia and Jinyan.

June 20


This morning, Chen Guangcheng's mother and his 3-year old child were sent to Yinan County in Shandong province by the policemen. They were forbidden to go back their village, staying with Yuan Weijing. In the policmen's words, the mother and the kid are forbidden to keep touch with Yuan Weijing, however, Yuan is the kid's mom and the old woman's daughter-in-law.

June 20


My first time to be tailed by twelve people in three cars


下班回到家,困惑。我一边做饭炒菜,一边想:究竟什么原因,使得我昨天被非法软禁在家,今天一整天被2-3辆小车、 8-12人跟踪?

At home after work I was puzzled. Half thinking about what to cook, half thinking why on earth I was kept under house arrest yesterday. All day today I was followed by two to three cars and about eight to twelve people.


我是谁?我一边洗菜一边想。我是一个新婚的家庭主妇,今年22岁,身高不足 160 厘米,体重不足45 公斤,外表不美不丑,脸色苍白憔悴。喜欢孩子,因此想方设法在艾滋病村协助志愿者助养了两百来名的孤儿;钟情文字,因此天天在 Blog上敲自己的心情,直到丈夫失踪,束手无策只好开始写事实而非情绪;体弱多病,脑膜炎后遗症让我常常忘记遇见的人和事,因此不得不依赖手头的纸和笔;思想简单、脾气执拗,见不得大鱼吃小鱼、人欺负人,无能为力哭鼻子也常有。 

Who am I? I pondered, half washing vegetables, half thinking. I'm a newly-wed housewife. I'm twenty-two years old. Height just falls short of 160 centimeters and weight just below 45 kilograms. My appearance is nother pretty nor ugly, my face is pale. I like kids, that's why I volunteer in the AIDS village helping to raise over two hundred orphans. I love writing, and every day pour my heart on onto my blog. Until my husband disappeared, then instead of biting my nails I started writing the facts and not emotions. Weak and sickly, post-meningitis leftover problems often make me forget people and things. Because of this I can't do anything with out my hands, some paper and a pen. Thoughts are simple, temper is stubborn, tend not to see the big fish eating the small fish, or people taking advantage of other people, often cry when feeling incompetent.


我做了什么?我每天到公司上班挣饭碗,我每天为艾滋病组织做志愿工作,我每天写博客抒发心情,我奔波流泪找回失踪的丈夫,我18 号被公布获得”受难者家人奖”,我听见陈光诚妻子在电话里传来的声音和消息,忍不住偷偷地掉眼泪。

What did I do? Every day I go to work at the company and earn my rice bowl. Every day I volunteer for the AIDS work organization. Every day I write in my blog and express my state of mind. I rush about weeping trying to get my missing husband back. On the eighteenth I was announced as the Victims’ Family Members Award. Hearing Chen Guangcheng's wife voice and news on the telephone, I can't take it and quietly start to cry.


昨天早上六点多胡佳离开家,计划上午去医院复诊拿药,下午去”盲人陈光诚事件”的记者见面会现场。结果七点我给他电话,发现他还在楼下的院子里,与十几个壮汉争执。我下楼才发现原来是北京国保总队和通州区国保支队的便衣警察,其中多为上次 41天绑架胡佳的参与者,还有负责小区的派出所警察,以及根本不认识的面孔。这些秘密警察把胡佳围住,并把楼外院子的铁门关起来。不仅粗暴得阻拦胡佳出去,也禁止我出去。邻居们清晨听到大声的争执,纷纷远远地围观。其中一个国保说:”无论如何,今天你们不能出去。”这是什么道理!没有法律文件、没有出示证件,单凭一句话”你们不能出去”就剥夺了我们的自由吗?以前即使是胡佳被软禁、失踪,我也从来没有被软禁过。为什么!我质问。国保打马虎眼,说着不着边际的话。我给朋友们电话,都说与”盲人陈光诚事件”的记者见面会有关的律师、朋友将近二十人全部处于没有行动自由的状况,记者见面会被迫取消。但是胡佳的药没有了,医生嘱咐必须去医院复检然后取药。力争了两个多小时,我们僵持在小区院子里,邻居们远远地看着听着议论着。国保见我们不肯屈服,几经电话请示上级,最终不得不同意胡佳去医院复诊取药,条件是我必须留在家里,胡佳必须乘坐国保支队的警车,另外国保几队人、数辆车贴身跟随胡佳,而且复查取药之后马上回家,不得与外界联系。

Yesterday morning just after six a.m. Hu Jia left home, planning to go to the hospital in the morning to get some medicine and in the afternoon go to the ‘The Blind man Chen Guangcheng Incident’ press conference. At seven I gave him a phone call and learned that he was still down below in the courtyard, arguing with two dozen-odd built guys. I went downstairs only to see that they were the Beijing central and plainclothed Tongzhou district State Secrecy Bureau [SSB] detachments. Among them were those who took part in kidnapping Hu Jia for forty-one days, police responsible for the small community police station as well as some faces I didn't recognize at all. These secret police circled around Hu Jia, trapping him in, and closed the iron gate to the outer yard. Not only did they violently stop Hu Jia from leaving, they also forbid me from leaving. Early that morning the neighbors heard a loud ruckus, and slowly came from all over to crowd around and watch. One of the SSB guys said, “no matter what happens, the two of you cannot go out today.” What kind of reasoning is this? No legal documents, no displaying of credentials, just the lone one-liner, “the two of you cannot go out today” can deprive us of our freedoms? Previously, even when Hu Jia was under house arrest and then later missing, I had never been put under house arrest. Why? I demand an answer but the SSB guy pretended he didn't know, just spat out some mumb-jumbo. I phoned some friends, and they all said the friends and lawyers who were supposed to be at the Chen Guangcheng Incident press conference were under similar conditions, being held against their will all over town, forcing the press conference to be called off. But Hu Jia was out of medicine, prescribed by the doctor such that it could only be gotten at the hospital. After fighting for over hours, we refused to leave the courtyard. Neighbors far away could all hear the arguing. Seeing that we weren't willing to budge, the SSB guys made some phone calls to their superiors and in the end had no choice but to take Hu Jia to the hospital to fulfill his prescription, but only on the condition that I stay at home. Hu Jia had to be taken in an SSB detachment police car, and a few SSB people in a few other cars followed him there, rushing him back home as soon as his prescription was filled and not allowing him any contact with the outside world.



In my stupidity, I didn't clue in to the meaning of their words. In the past, afraid that Hu Jia might resist the illegal restrictions on his personal freedoms, it was conceivable that the SSB would let me go with Hu Jia to the hospital, with their accompanying ‘protection.’ Their meaning this time was that having me as a pawn, they weren't afraid Hua Jia would run or fight back. But yesterday, I actually didn't understand why the SSB guys wouldn't let me accompany Hu Jia to the hospital, or the real significance they had by saying “you must stay at home today,” “you have too much energy, scares us to death.”


今天早上我下楼上班,发现两辆车紧紧地跟着我,一直到办公室。无论我到哪里,都有戴着耳机的人窥视。中午我外出办事,竟然发现跟踪的车增加了一辆,换句话说,12 个人 3辆车跟踪我。这12个人有男有女,个个比我高比我壮也比我年长。一辆白色现代车车前牌照”京 FB8233″,车后无牌照;一辆灰色马自达,车前牌照”京FE6034 “,车后牌照不明;一辆深灰色日产蓝鸟车前牌照”京 FC9288″,车后牌照”京EO9288 “。我给朋友电话,他问我害怕不害怕,我说我不害怕但是很担忧。

This morning when I went downstairs to go to work, I noticed a car following me closely, all the way to the office. No matter where I went, there were earpiece-wearing people watching. At lunch I stepped out of the office only to notice there was one more car following me now. To put it another way, there were twelve people in three cars tailing me. Of these twelve there were men and women, all of whom were taller, stronger and older than me. One modern white car's license plate number was 京F B8233, one license plate in front but none in the back. One grey Mazda with a front license plate number 京F E6034, but the rear license plate was not clear. One deep gray Japanese Bluebird car with the number 京F C9288 in the front and 京E 09288 in the back. I phoned a friend, he asked if I was scared. Not scared, I said, just quite anxious.



At night when I got home I phoned the friends from the Chen Guangcheng Incident press conference and they all said their house arrest and surveillance had ended the previous night. My husband Hu Jia went out at dusk and later in the evening and didn't notice any signs of being followed.



I had a fit of the shivers. I phoned Chen Guangcheng's wife Yuan Weijing, only to learn all about their recent house arrest, abduction and isolation. I had nothing to say. Brutal, too brutal……really. With the help of over a dozen legal aid lawyers I set up a ‘Chen Guangcheng Incident press conference.’ All work was being done openly and with transparency and we were clear in explaining that it was to let people know Chen Guangcheng and his family members’ current situations. The press conference got shut down, but no matter. If they won't let people hold a press conference, then we'll just try another approach. The aim is still the same, to maintain communication with all circles of society. The legal aid lawyers’ work is also being carried out on time. As of last night, the lawyers and friends who were having restrictions on their personal freedoms are now free. Nobody would have imagined that last night, below Beijing Politics and Law University professor Teng Biao's apartment, right in front of the Beijing police and community security guards’ eyes, would come walking Chen Guangcheng's seventy year-old mother and his three year-old son only to be forcefully abducted by a group of burly Shandong accent-speaking men and whisked away in an unmarked vehicle. This morning the old woman and the boy were shipped back to Yinan, Chen Guangcheng's hometown in Shandong province, by police from the nearby Linyi and put under house arrest in the county seat party school's and Chen Guangcheng's fourth brother's home. They were told they would not be allowed to travel back to their village to be reunited with Chen Guangcheng's wife. Yuan Weijing is the old woman's daughter-in-law, the baby's mother! Her and the baby she holds, not yet one year old, now depend on each other for life. Family support is so important!


坐在电脑前,深深呼吸,平静自己。他们害怕什么?为什么如此害怕一个手无缚鸡之力的女子?最近多么反常!我的丈夫被警察绑架41 天至今无人为此负责;堂堂山东一个大省,竟然害怕一个盲人,还害怕盲人手无寸铁的妻子,软禁、绑架、殴打他们,拖着刚成为母亲的弱女子擦地而过,到如今竟然捏造罪名欲陷害这个盲人于牢狱。更反常的是,堂堂北京一国之都,竟然因害怕讲述一个盲人的遭遇而草木皆兵,在全城制造非法限制人身自由的事件,讽刺的是,被软禁的朋友中,一半是京城优秀的律师,其中不乏法学博士,那谁还能捍卫法律的尊严!更荒唐的是,被非法限制人身自由的朋友们重新获得自由的时候,在北京东部不起眼的地方,十二个人三辆车紧紧跟踪一个年轻的弱女子。难道他们脆弱恐惧到害怕一个不满 23岁的女人吗?

Sitting in front of the computer, breathing deeply, calming myself down. What are they afraid of? Why would they be afraid of a powerless girl? Things have been so abnormal recently! My husband was kidnapped by the police for forty-one days, something until today nobody has taken responsibility for. Big, solemn Shandong province. Not only is it afraid of a blind man, it's also afraid of his bare-handed wife, kidnapping, beating and putting them under house arrest, dragging the weak young new mother away along the ground. Now they seek to harm this blind man with a fake accusation and send him to prison. The most abnormal is how jittery the great capitol Beijing has gotten just over the telling of a blind man's encounters. The city wide illegal obstruction of people's personal freedoms is the most ironic. Of the friends put under house arrest, half of them are outstanding Beijing lawyers, more than a few of whom have PhDs in law. So who is there still able to safeguard the sanctity of the law? The most absurd part is that as those friends whose personal freedom was illegally constricted regained their freedom, in a random spot on Beijing's east side are twelve people and three cars following closely a young, weak woman. Are they so scared of a woman not yet even twenty-three years old?



Since 2004 my husband, Hu Jia, has experienced being tailed, put under house arrest, beaten and kidnapped countless times. But today is the first time they've targetted me with restrictions and tailing, which I think is very disgusting. To be disgusted is the instinctual reaction any woman would have in these circumstances. Try and think. No matter where I go there are always pot-bellied men wearing earpieces following closely and eavesdropping, taking cameras and video cameras and sneakily filming me, watching me with sleazy gazes as they phone back to make reports. Even when I'm in public toilets they look in the direction of the toilet to see ‘what conspiracy I'm up to.’ When I go home, they park below my balcony. If I don't close the curtains, they watch everything I do. This is what I mean by disgusting.


他们这种行为,让我感到深深的羞耻。我每个月辛辛苦苦挣一点点钱,不到2000元的净收入,还要给国家上缴所得税。却用税金养活一批人高马大的家伙,来跟踪、监视弱小如我者的一举一动。 12个人的工资是多少呢?24小时不间断的监视加班费是多少呢? 3 辆车的油钱是多少呢?更何况天热为了开空调他们警车的发动机一刻不停地运转要耗费多少能源呢?偷拍用的照相机、摄像机、窃听器、手机和通讯费是多少呢?我不敢往下想,我为我的国家感到羞耻;我也悲哀自己,用税金养活国家机器中的零件来监控弱者。

This behavior of theirs makes me feel ashamed. Every month I work my butt off for less than 2000 yuan in wages, and I still have to pay taxes to the government. But this money is actually used to support a group of tall sturdy guys in tailing and surveilling every movement and action of small, weak people like me. How much are twelve people's wages? How much for twenty-four hour surveillance and overtime pay? How much is the gas for three cars? Even more so, how many resources are being consumed to keep the air conditioning in their police cars running non-stop on these hot days? How much does it cost for the cameras, video cameras and listening devices used to spy on me? And the mobile phone charges? I don't dare go on thinking. I feel ashamed for my country. I also feel sorry for myself, using my taxpayer's money to support components in the state apparatus in monitoring the weak.



I don't know what will happen tomorrow. Many friends why they can't open my blog. I also cannot open my own blog. My husband Hu Jia forces a smile and says ‘those police aren't following me, now they're following you. What does that say?’ I'm young and I don't have any influence, so I don't know why, and my followers won't give me an answer. I can only ask my friends to help me figure it out.

June 21


Bullying a woman, shame on you



First I just want to say what happened today, was my own action, an instinctual revolting against arbitrary tyranny.


This morning I left off for work in a very lucky mood. ‘They should be gone today, stopped following me already. I should relax!’ But as I came out the front door my hopes were destroyed. Parked across from my building next to the courtyard gate was an undercover police car. As I started the car and left home, two cars, one grey one white, followed behind. Nearing the freeway, traffic got pretty bad. I got out and walked up to the front of the cars following me, looking to see if any of the license plate numbers were the same as those yesterday. The people inside the cars started flapping around and pulled down the shades to stop me from seeing their faces.



After lunch I took my backpack and went down from the office; the undercover cops didn't realize I'd come down again so soon until I went toward my car, then tried to hide their panic. The most absurd part of it all was when the undercover cop in the passenger seat raised a fan-shaped hand of cards; they must have been playing poker at the time.

下午我做了泡沫塑胶的牌子,上面写着”欺侮妇女,可耻(Shame, to insult a woman)”。如果便衣警察再如此步步紧逼跟着我,我必然反抗。

In the afternoon I made some signs out of foam. On them I wrote “Bullying a woman, shame on you.” If the undercover police are going to keep on stalking me like this, I'm going to protest.


The SSB undercover police were still following on my heels, so I had no choice. In the afternoon I went to meet a friend. After the meal we walked out of the restaurant together and I saw the cars parked at the door. Without saying anything, I went and stood in front of the car and let the people inside see what was written on the sign. The driver started the car and slowly started bumping me with it again and again. I stood firm and actually wasn't afraid at all. I stood silently and let them see the words I wrote on the sign, what I feel in my heart: “Bullying a woman, shame on you.”

Zeng Jinyan vs. Chinese police 1 - Hu Jia photo


I feel totally confused, I don't know why. Should I call the police? Will calling the police get rid of those following me? Nobody can resolve this problem except for myself. My husband helped me take photos; I'm only crying out against injustice and I can't think of any better way to drive away these fat stinging flies following me.

Zeng Jinyan vs. Chinese police 2 m - Hu Jia photo


At night Yuan Weijing phoned me to say she's too worked up and can't fall asleep. Because Chen Guangcheng's mother came down with a stomach ache today and started vomiting, and the undercover police keeping her under house arrest wouldn't let Chen Guangcheng's mother go to the hospital to get checked out. Blowing her off by first saying they needed permission from their supervisors, they then said the old woman could be taken to the hospital tomorrow. Just now Weijing phoned again and her mother-in-law's stomach still hurts and is still vomiting, as well as saying that her heart is uncomfortable. Yet still she was forbidden to go ot the hospital. What kind of world is this? My tears are falling.

June 22


The defiance of the plebs


After my protest against the SSB undercover cops at the restaurant yesterday with my ‘Bullying a woman, shame on you’ sign, I put the sign in the car where others would be able to see it, and drove home with Hu Jia. The two SSB cars still followed closely behind my car. From time to time another car would come between us and the person in the passenger seat would stick his head out looking for the sign in our car.



In the morning, assuming the surveillance cars would still be parked in the courtyard, I worked for a bit in the home office and didn't come down until eleven. I noticed the usual surveillance car wasn't there. I simply could not believe it. Only after we'd driven the car a long ways and still didn't see anyone following us did I start to tell concerned friends: the tailing cars and the burly guys were gone!



Today many friends, some I know, some I don't, got in touch with me. One of them said when he saw the picture of the sign, he laughed until he cried. This is something anybody can do. The undercover police have disappeared today. I'm very happy. Happy for our country; I feel that it still has a little bit of shame left. You could say that my method yesterday of expressing my feelings of discontent worked. Surveillance of my ‘work’ is surely still being carried out, but at least it's not right in my face. In the afternoon auntie came over to my house and said there was a man downstairs asking if she lived on the fourth floor (at present we are the only tenants on the fourth floor). I don't know if the person asking is an undercover officer or not.


在我所知的情况中,有几百个人被国保/国安骚扰过,最轻的是被找去”谈话配合”,严重的要么被警告威胁、要么被限制人身自由或软禁、要么被失踪,最严重的是被国保 /国安陷害失去生命或长期的自由。成功拒绝国保/国安骚扰的案例,少之又少。最典型的是彭大侠。便衣警察找他”谈话”,他曾经晓之以理动之以情,结果对方得寸进尺。彭大侠彻底失望,终于在被便衣警察贴身跟踪的某天,举着菜刀狂追便衣警察,以致把便衣警察吓破胆,再也不敢明目张胆。从此以后凡是警察找他谈话要求配合,他拿出”双掉政策”——两条腿的砍掉、四个轮子的砸掉,肉眼能区分男女,刀子从不认男女。然后在小区里贴《纪念刘和珍君》,某日徒步去某地,为的就是纪念。当然不是特意为了干什么,而是作为普通的有历史记忆的公民,应该干什么就干什么,还邀请警察一起干,把警察吓得半死。彭大侠是那种气宇轩昂、一身正气却又怪招百出的亦勇亦谋之士,有先秦剑客之风,我佩服得不得了。但是他的方式,是学不来的。

As far as I know, several hundred people have been harassed by the SSB or the Ministry of State Security [MSS]. On the lighter side is being called out for a ‘cooperative discussion.’ More serious is being threatened by the police, having one's personal freedoms restricted or being placed under house arrest, or being tailed. The most serious is when the SSB or MSS seek to see loss of life or long-term loss of personal freedom. Those who succeed in rejecting cases of SSB or MSS harassment are fewer than few. A classic example would be Peng Daxia. The undercover police came to see him for a ‘chat.’ He tried to reason with them, appeal to their emotions, but they weren't satisfied. Peng Daxia completely lost hope and finally, one day, while being followed closely by undercover police, he pulled out a kitchen knife and started chasing them with it. Having had the courage scared out of them, they didn't dare be so open anymore. After that, whenever the police came looking for him for a ‘cooperative discussion,’ he'd bring out the ‘double loss policy': two legs get chopped off, four tires get smashed, eyes can tell between men and women but the knife doen't discern. Then later a poster was put up ‘Commemorating Ms. Liu Hezhen,’ calling for people to walk to a certain place on a certain day, to commemorate. Of course he wasn't really up to anything special, just being a normal citizen with a penchant for history, doing what he thought he ought to. He even invited the police to come, scaring them half to death. Peng Daxia has a kind of dignified demeanor, full of integrity through and through, with ideas most people wouldn't normally think of; as brave and wise as an imperial knight. I admire him greatly, but some of his methods I just don't get.



I've heard of many outstanding people's wives being sought out by the MSS/SSB for a chat, hoping to put the pressure on them via their wives and achieve the goal of cooperation with the authorities. There was only one time that they sought me out for a formal ‘chat’ and that was back in university. The Party Committee Secretary was “commissioned” by the MSS with doing “ideological work” aimed at keeping me away from Hu Jia. Hu Jia often had a lot of problems, which left me quite anxious. In the process of my many times coming in contact with the SSB, I've gradually lost any fantasies I might once have had about them. I think that any giving in or so-called ‘cooperation’ will only have one outcome: they will only want to oppress you more, demanding more and more. Of course, strong antagonization will only make things worse, hurting both sides. That's why I choose to peacefully express myself, and let them know that I feel critical and ashamed of everything that you have done to me. Chen Guangcheng once said, “People often complain that the ways of the world are unfair, that the way is dark, but seldom think what they can do to change this unfair and dark situations. A clear sense of what to hate and what to love, just language, all can change the sources of these negative situations.” Yes. Non-violence does not signify weakness, nor do disobedience and protection of one's own rights, defending one's own dignity. As long we don't stop defending ourselves, nobody will be able to bully us. First we must stand before the mirror and see if we ourselves aren't just another part in the stream of black and unjust events. I'm not a brave person. But I do work hard to say out loud the truthful things I see, instinctfully fighting against those who would tyrannize others.


下午三点半陈光诚的律师李劲松被山东警察带去,到现在还没有自由。第二批去山东的律师,今天一到临沂,就被不明身份的人殴打受伤,律师拨打110 ,却被变相羁留在派出所到现在,一整天无法开展工作。看守陈光诚妻子袁伟静的警察和便衣,整个村庄已经多达 80人,邻近也散布了妇联等组织的”工作人员”,据看守的人说,目的只有一个,就是不顾一切阻止袁伟静与外界接触。我竟然一点都不慌张,我觉得这是黎明前的黑暗,是山东警方最后的挣扎。因为他们试图用”涉嫌扰乱正常生活”的罪名来拘捕李劲松律师,这不是最新版的《拍案惊奇》吗?当我写到这里,收到律师团的消息:”张立辉律师:公安局来了几十个人,公然抢了律师的照相机摔了,即使能回也回不来,请大力关注!”( 2006年6月22日 星期四晚22:49 手机短消息。)哎,事情竟然到了如此疯狂的地步。北京的律师说,我们已经做好了挨打的准备,我们会一批一批地把最优秀的律师送到山东为陈光诚提供法律援助。这一群知识分子和专业律师,分散了是普通弱小的公民,他们用最温和的方式,甚至以准备好了挨打的姿态,忠于自己的职业,默默地表达了对压制和迫害的不服从。

At three-thirty this afternoon Chen Guangcheng's lawyer Li Jingsong was taken away by Shandong police, and until now has not been released. As soon as he arrived in Linyi today, he was attacked by someone of unknown identity. He called 9-1-1, but has been detained in the police station up until now, a whole day's work lost. There are already more than eighty uniformed and undercover police watching over Chen Guangcheng's wife and the village. Throughout the neighborhood they've also dispatched Women's Federation “staff.” According to one observer, they're only there for one purpose, that is to at all costs prevent Yuan Weijing from making contact with the outside world. I'm actually not surprised, I feel this just the dark before dawn, the Shandong police's final battle.

As suggested by this poem written by Zeng, whose name translates to Golden Sparrow, police intimidation has made enough impact that now she's even being tailed in her dreams.

June 30


In my dreams



My life is in a range of rolling mountains
Three state secrecy police sit inside my car, waiting to limit my freedoms 
I start to climb the mountain, the state secrecy police start chasing from below 
I climb to the peak, spread my arms
And fall down
Feels like flying



The state secrecy police are still in pursuit behind me 
I climb to the top of another mountain, spread my arms
And fly



The state secrecy police are still in pursuit behind me, I run to the cliff 
Spread my arms
And fly



The state secrecy police are still in pursuit behind me 
Two cute little white mice, put together, fly faster than a horse sweating blood
Take me


The state secrecy police are still in pursuit behind me
I wake up



I don't know how many times I've had dreams like this
A free-falling feeling


Golden swallow
Heavy gold
Free swallow


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