Editor: The following is a letter written by Gao Zhisheng about a friend and fellow human rights activist who has been abducted by Chinese police.
Mr. Hu Jia has been missing for 11 days. He disappeared in Beijing after being closely monitored by groups of policemen for 24 hours.
I originally thought that Hu Jia was in a safer position than myself when he was being followed. Unlike those anonymous people who followed me and encircled me, the people who dealt with him were all uniformed "people's policemen."
On January 20 of this year, I remember that when I was leaving for North Shaanxi, Hu Jia, smiling, appeared with a crowd to see me off.
There were two stolid police officers, uniformed but not wearing their police hats, who followed him suspiciously. I joked with him, "Can you see the envy in my eyes? The people who follow you are quality goods [real policemen], but the ones surrounding me are just sundry goods [bandits]." We laughed hard.
Hu Jia is not very physically imposing, but his maturity, gracious manners and the modesty of his words and actions are rarely seen among his peers.
I first met him in the second half of 2004. It was through him that a reporter from the New York Times in Beijing found me and conducted the first Times interview. In the lobby on the first floor of Gang'ao Center, two people who knew each other only by reputation met for the first time and clasped hands firmly. Our friendship was already laid out before us.
Under the surface of his humble and gentle personality, Hu has an even softer heart that cares deeply for other people. This continuously loving heart contains the forbearance and fortitude shown in his long-lasting attention to Chinese AIDS patients, and also contains the care and love of the world shown by his concern for the current living conditions of Chinese AIDS sufferers. To a large degree, if there had been no people like Hu Jia or Gao Yaojie, we would not understand the seriousness of AIDS in China.
China's autocratic regime doesn't just show its cold-blooded and ferocious nature when it illegally abducts people like Hu Jia, whom the outside world has called one of the rare conscientious persons in China nowadays. From the time Hu Jia first started to care about the problem of AIDs in Chinese society, the Chinese communist regime started to watch him. Entirely different from its normal persistent brutality and cold silence, the communist regime pays great attention to Hu Jia. There are few Henan policemen who can name a single AIDS patient, but there are fewer who do not know Hu Jia's name.
Hu Jia annoyed the police in Henan Province. Their displeasure soon became the displeasure of their colleagues in Beijing. Especially since leaders from Henan went on to become leaders of the Party and country, Hu Jia has been the enemy of the communist regime. Hu Jia is sure to be held under house arrest and illegally detained when the days that are defined as particularly "sensitive" to the Party come.
This is not the first time Hu Jia has been abducted by the communist regime. However, this time is different from the countless times in the past. The danger here is in the secrecy — 11 days into the abduction and the regime still has not yet admitted it. If Hu Jia later shows up alive, the whole world could call us liars. But if the policemen made a mistake and killed Hu Jia, the communist regime could not be called thugs — what evidence, they could ask, is there to prove they abducted him?
Hu Jia's disappearance makes people nervous. His newly married wife is now on a hunger strike, which makes people even more worried. Our concern about Hu Jia's disappearance is more just than our caring for him as an individual, although Hu Jia is worth as much as every Chinese who has the conscience to love him. When caring about Hu Jia's disappearance, we're also caring for every Chinese person's life, freedom, and security. During these recent years, disappearances like Hu Jia's case have pervaded China.
Recently, more and more people dislike the Chinese Communist Party, and this trend is growing quickly! Being impatient with the slow and tedious process of indicting people on charges of disturbing social order, the tyranny tears off its last mask and directly uses violence by organized-crime syndicates. No matter what other people say, the police do whatever they want.
When the thugs tear off their last mask, it also indicates that Chinese society has entered its most dangerous period. Chinese citizens Yan Zhengxue and Qi Zhiyong have been abducted in the same way Hu Jia was. The same day Hu Jia was abducted, Chinese citizens Wen Haibo, Ouyang Xiaorong, and Ma Wendu were abducted. After his abduction, abductions of the sort suffered by Hu Jia began spreading throughout China. Yu Zhijian in Hunan Province, Liao Shuangyuan in Guizhou Province, Zhao Xin in Yunnan Province, and Shanghai's Li Jianhong, Jiang Meili, Mo Zhujie, Ma Yalian…
When the thugs tear off their last mask, insanity begins to spread. It is a reflection of their losing confidence in their future!
It is urgent that we closely watch Hu Jia's fate. His newly-married wife has been on a hunger-strike for days; her life is in imminent danger!
Written from home in Beijing, surrounded by spies and thugs, on February 27, 2006.