A large number of people gathered in Beijing to appeal during the Chinese New Year. They came from all over China, with the intention of sending New Year's greetings at the same time as appealing. Many of these people were stopped before they even had a chance to appeal. Some tried to meet with government representatives at the upcoming conferences to pass on reports concerning unjust treatment and policies in their hometowns, while others tried to hide because they were afraid of being sent home and detained.
Hundreds of appellants gathered on the eve of the Chinese New Year in various residential areas around Beijing. They went to places where leaders of the CCP reside, such as Yuquan Hill and Dongjiaomin Road. They also assembled at political offices such as Tiananmen and Fuyou Street. Their intentions were to send New Year's greetings to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as well as to appeal to these officials on various issues and injustices. There were some who had even been appealing nonstop for several days. Some of these people were detained temporarily at Majia Building. Several of the appellants told Radio Free Asia that those who were taken to Majia Building were thought to have been sent back to their hometowns.
Over fifty appellants from Shanghai were sent home. Mr. Xu and seventeen other people were taken to an undisclosed meeting station and detained just as they were about to greet Wen Jiabao and register their appeal. Mr. Xu called Radio Free Asia from Shanghai on Tuesday and relayed his story.
Mr. Xu: We went to send New Year's greeting to Wen Jiabao.
Reporter: Did you see him?
Mr. Xu: No.
Reporter: Did they appoint someone to meet with you?
Mr. Xu: We were stopped before we even managed to set foot on Dongjiaomin Road.
It was said that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao reside around Yuquan Hill and Dongjiaomin Road. These locations cover pretty large areas and the exact home addresses of Hu and Wen are unknown to the appellants. They searched without knowing the locations of their targets. They were motivated by the hope that someone would take on the responsibility to solve their problems. Mr. Zheng, an appellant who is still staying in Beijing, commented:
“What to say? The everyday people appeal at various locations, but no one takes care of the everyday people after the appeals are made. The more forbidden places might be more effective. The everyday people are holding on to this tiny spec of hope.”
Ms. Wang, who came from Heilongjiang Province told a reporter that on the day of the Chinese New Year, Wang Xuejun, the head of the Bureau for Letters and Calls under the State Council, went to the Bureau to conduct business. He was greeted by a large group of appellants. The police who were with him beat a woman carrying a small child until she lost consciousness right in front of the crowd.
Around 10 am on the Chinese New Year, Wang Xuejun went to his office to check for letters and calls. Right after he entered the door, over one thousand appellants approached him. A woman who was carrying a 4-5 year old child that was crying and screaming was selected out of the crowd by the policemen and beaten right on the scene.
Did Wang Xuejun see the police beat this woman?
Ms. Wang: When the police were pulling on the woman, Wang Xuejun saw it. He said, “You guys stop beating her.” After Wang went upstairs, three policemen beat the lady until she lost consciousness, then threw her aside. The little child started crying out of fear. We asked why did you beat her after seeing that she has a child? The policemen said the head is here and you guys tried to create a riot, aren't you creating trouble for us? We said today is Chinese New Year's eve, if the local officers in our hometowns could fulfill their responsibilities, why did we come to Beijing on the New Year's eve?
Ms. Wang also told the reporter that the Chinese Communist regime treats the appellants as cheap and expendable. On December 21, 2006, an appellant from Jinlin Province died from a heart attack due to a very slow response from the emergency center.
Ms. Wang: On December 21, an appellant from Yanjin City, Jilin province, died of a heart attack. We called the police station at Youanmen four times to report the emergency. All four times, the police station responded that they would not take care of him if he was an appellant. If he was here on business then they could take care of him. After the fourth time, people ran out of ideas and said that he was here on business. The situation was finally relayed to the emergency center. But by the time the emergency vehicle arrived, he had already been dead for over 40 minutes.
The ratio of issues that are solved through mass appeals is very low, and the appellants in Beijing have been severely discriminated against and are suffering from very poor living conditions. On top of all of this they need to be ready to evade possible detention at any time. Despite these harsh conditions, many people believe that by staying in Beijing they can continue to hold onto hope. With this hope, they try to hide here and there in order to escape detention as the situation becomes more and more brutal.