Seven-year-old Zheng Linxin lives in Yunxi County of Hubei Province in China. Between July 15 and September 19, 2006, Linxin was detained for 65 days with her parents in a detention place called “legal training class for illegal petitioners” because her father had visited Beijing several times to discuss the Chinese communist regime's policies.
During her lock-up, Linxin witnessed her mother being tortured. She also witnessed her mother's hunger strike to protest their illegal detention.
Following her detention, on January 3, 2007, Zheng Linxin and her parents went to the China Tianwang Center for Human Right Affairss, in Chengdu City, to report the details of their incarceration. Linxin described the unspeakable conditions that the family was subjected to during their detention.
Mother and Child Both Detained
Linxin's father, Zheng Dajing, has been detained several times because of his repeated petitions. On the afternoon of July 4, 2006, Zheng—upon learning that the Secretary of the County Party Committee, Lu Fuchang, had ordered his arrest, sentencing him to four years of imprisonment—fled from the Chengdong restaurant where he was being detained.
Later, on July 15, after having been detained for more than a month, Zheng Linxin and her mother were transferred to a “legal training class” organized by the County Political and Legal Committee, and led by Lei Xianchao, Deputy Party Secretary of Xunxi County Judiciary Committee.
“Starting from July 19, my mother went on a hunger strike for three days to protest against being detained in this place,” explained the seven-year-old girl. “Guards pulled her from the bed, twisting her hands and dragging her on the ground for more than 20 meters.”
“The weather was very hot during our imprisonment, and air conditioners were only available in the guard's house—there was not even a fan in our quarters,” said Linxin. “Swarms of mosquitoes filled the room in the evening, making sleep nearly impossible. Each morning, my face and body would be covered in mosquito bites.”
In this cruel setting, Linxin's mother faced other problems. “Later, because my mother was scraped over the pavement and her feet were split open, in the muggy environment her wounds became infected,” recalled Linxin.
Linxin's mother became so ill she was unable to take care of her daughter. “Due to my mother's infected wounds, I had to wash my bowl and clothes myself,” said Linxin.
Zheng Linxin described other atrocious conditions that she and her mother were forced to endure. “The guards of the detention place played mah-jong everyday. When they finished their meals, we were forced to eat what was leftover from a bamboo bucket. This same bucket was taken out to feed pigs.”
Longing for the normal life of a seven year-old child, Linxin missed classes with her friends. “Held captive, I wanted to attend school but they wouldn't let me go,” she said.
According to China Tianwang Center for Human Rights Affairs, the organization costs for the “legal training class” in Yunxi was 50,000 yuan (US$6,406). Zheng's family even had to pay the fees for the administrative area where they were imprisoned. It was charged 5,000 yuan ($641) per person.