Democracy Activist Zhao Xin Arrested for Participating in Hunger Strike

February 24, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: February 24, 2006 12:00 am

National security officials arrested renowned rights activist Zhao Xin on Tuesday (Feb. 21) in his hometown of Yunnan Province for participating in the ongoing nationwide hunger strike for democracy led by human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng.

Those close to Zhao say the security officials are upset that he has continued his activities to protect human rights, even after they had detained and severely beaten him three months ago. Zhao's friends say the local authorities are quite irritated that he persists in his belief and participated in the hunger strike relay while still at home recovering from the wounds.

Zhao's Family Warned Not To Speak-Out About Arrest

Zhao's family told The Epoch Times in an interview on February 22 that he was taken away by the police while traveling between his parents' home and his uncle's residence. Zhao called his family and said he would not be coming home. He asked them to prepare some winter clothes, a Bible and other things for him.

Zhao's family knew he was in a bad situation, so they readily arranged all that Zhao requested along with some recently decocted traditional Chinese medicine.

About 6:00 p.m. of that evening, the police showed up at Zhao's home to retrieve his things and inform his family that they had placed him under 24-hour supervision. They could not tell the family how long that might take.

Being well aware of Zhao's connection, both inside China and abroad, the police threatened Zhao's family saying, “Zhao Xin has many friends both inside and outside the country. Any word of him and any incident about him will make a tremendous impact and attract great attention. You must not leak any information about his arrest. If someone asks about him, just say he went out with some friends for a few days.”

They refused to tell the family where Zhao had been brought, and denied their requests that they be allowed to have one last dinner with him. They told the family that they were acting on orders from above.

Zhao's Injuries

When Zhao Xin was arrested and severely beaten on November 17, 2005 in Sichuan Province, he suffered serious injuries. It took a total of 11 stitches to close four wounds on his head. His patella bone in his right leg was fractured; tissue in his calf muscle was necrotic, and two of his ribs were broken. After 70 days in the hospital he returned to his hometown in Yunnan Province to recuperate from his wounds. The doctor urged at least two months of bed rest to avoid permanently disfiguring his injured leg.

He lost so much blood during the beatings that he suffers from constant headaches. He is also diabetic and must use the bathroom frequently. Someone is with him nearly all the time, but it happened that he had been left alone for a brief time the night of his second arrest.

What worries Zhao's family the most is his health. His broken leg causes him intense pain when the weather is cold, or if he must climb hills or stairs. Now he has been detained in miserable conditions and denied access to his medication. The family fears his health may turn for the worse if he is forced to endure such treatment for any length of time.

But they say they are ready for any outcome. In their minds, if Zhao can go through it, they can too. The last time he was arrested he was beaten to a bloody pulp, but he managed to endure it. “We believe that this time he will also be able to endure it, and our family will endure it too,” said Zhao's family.

Zhao's Refusal To Back Down Infuriates Police

In the interview with The Epoch Times , Zhao's friend said that it was Zhao's refusal to be intimidated that makes the national security officials so angry. Even after such severe beatings and painful suffering, Zhao has not lost his determination to support human rights and the relay hunger strike movement to protect human rights in China.

The worldwide hunger strike relay called by Gao Zhisheng and others has been attracting more and more attention to the human rights abuses of the Chinese communist regime. Since the strike began on February 4, people from all over China and the world have been joining in to show their support. The Chinese authorities have reacted by subjecting the strikers to detention, house arrest, interrogation and other forms of suppression.

When Zhao first publicized his 48-hour hunger strike declaration on February 8, the local police wasted no time in showing up at his house to threaten and intimidate him several times. As far as Zhao is concerned, the hunger strike is legal, and it is his legal right to join it if he chooses to do so. In his view, it is the authorities themselves who are breaking the law by trying to end the strike.

Zhao told The Epoch Times in an interview on February 9, that during his fasting he had received hundreds of phone calls from supporters. He is firm in his belief that only through a non-violent civil rights movement can China escape from this vicious circle of violence.

He also pointed out that all Chinese people are victims. He said that only through the strength of morality, the power of courage and the spirit of self-sacrifice can justice be brought to awaken the people, protest against the CCP's tyranny, thus moving Chinese society forward.