On February 17, 2006, the relay hunger strike in support of human rights in China entered its 14th day. News is coming out on the Internet concerning members of relay hunger strike support groups, as well as individual citizens participating in hunger strikes in different locations—participants have been abducted, put under house-arrest, or have gone missing.
Ouyang Yi and Chen Wei, who were to stage the hunger strike in Sichuan Province, said they were following their original plan and participating in the 12 regions relay hunger strike from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. They stated that they would not be terrorized, that even though the Chinese communist regime has the power to conduct violent persecution, citizens have the right to peacefully protest.
“This Is What I Should Do”
Chen Wei, who participated in the student hunger strike on Tiananmen Square in 1989, said, “My friends and I are very angry about the recent incidents in which human rights activists continue to be violently persecuted. We decided to express our protest through the huger strike, demanding that the Chinese communist regime refrain from its barbarous, mafia-like behavior. We are non-violent. However, being non-violent doesn't mean we are silent. They have the power to put us in jail or use violence against us. However, at least we can express our opinions and determination in this nonviolent and rational way.
Chen Wei and Ouyang Yi both heard the bad news coming from various locations, especially from Beijing, but they expressed that they would definitely not give up. Ouyang Yi said, “Tyranny only has two ways to deal with the people's power—to terrorize or to ignore it. We've experienced so much of this terrorism that there is nothing to be afraid of anymore.” Chen Wei said, “This is what I should do. If there is any consequence, I will take it calmly.”
Ending the One-Party Autocracy Has Always Been My Goal
Chen Wei said that advocating for democracy and ending one-party autocracy has always been his stance and his long-term goal. “My position has never been changed or hidden. Even if I'm jailed, I will still express my true thoughts without any hesitation.”
When talking about renouncing the CCP, Chen Wei said, “The Chinese Communist Party is not a belief group, but rather a special interest and power group. For a society to be under the control of such a group, which is the largest malignant tumor in the society, violates basic humanity.”
Ouyang Yi, a Catholic, said, “Absolute power comes from the divine, while the government is only a power in everyday society. However, in China these two kinds of power have been deliberately confused. Ever since its establishment, this regime has brought too many disasters to China in order to become the absolute power and authority. We must cast it away.”
Hunger Strike Is a Step in the Movement for Protecting Human Rights
Chen Wei believes that this hunger strike may not solve all the problems, but it is a step in the continuous development of the movement to protect human rights. “The effect of one human rights activity cannot be seen in one day or one night, but if we do not strive for it, if we do not express ourselves, our society will never progress, and democracy will not come automatically. Our goal is to have all citizens enjoy their rights and to have democracy in our society.”
Chen Wei is optimistic about the future of China. He said, “Compared to 1989, now the concept of democracy has taken deeper root in the hearts of the people; the shell of the one-party system has gradually softened; and a civilized society will definitely soon be realized.”
Ouyang Yi anticipates that this relay hunger strike will continue for a long time and there will be more and more participants.
Steadfast Through Tribulations
Ouyang Yi and Chen Wei are high school classmates. As an initiator of the hunger strike in the Beijing Institute of Technology during the student movement in 1989, Chen Wei was imprisoned for over four years, first in the Qincheng Prison in Beijing and later in the Nanchong Prison in Sichuan Province. He has since been detained over ten times for publishing a joint open letter and attending the memorial service for the Qincheng June 4th massacre victims and for doing interviews with international human rights organizations.
Thirty-seven-year-old Chen Wei has spent seven years in prison. He said, “When I married my wife, I told her that I would not give up pursuing my ideals and, if she could accept that, we would get married. We got married.”
Every June 4th anniversary, Chen Wei fasts for one day to mourn for the June 4th Massacre victims, to commemorate this patriotic movement, and to express his determination to end the one-party autocracy. He has done this year after year for over 10 years, including the seven years he spent in prison.
Ouyang Yi has been imprisoned several times for persevering in his beliefs. He was released from prison in January 2005. In September 2005, to protest Yahoo's betrayal of its users' freedom for commercial gains, Ouyang Yi openly announced the closure of his Yahoo email account and resigned from his position as an administrator for a Yahoo forum.