Jan. 17 marks the 16th anniversary of the death of former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Zhao Ziyang. When the democratic protest movement occurred in 1989, he stood on the side of the people. Consequently, Zhao was purged from the Party, but he became a symbol of democracy.
Zhao, who was the general secretary of the CCP at the time of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, was placed under house arrest in Beijing until his death on Jan. 17, 2005. The Chinese regime has since forbidden all media reporting about Zhao.
My trouble with the Chinese authorities began after my brief encounter with Zhao Erjun, the second child of Zhao Ziyang, in 2009. I was visiting my friend Shi Lei in Guangzhou city during the Spring Festival. Recently, I found an old photo of the three of us.
Although I did not know Zhao Ziyang personally, I never thought that this meeting would bring me 10 years of surveillance by Chinese authorities. The day after I returned to Shanghai from Guangzhou, I was approached by Chen Youwu, who was an official at the Political Security Department of the Shanghai police bureau at the time. Since then, I have been blacklisted by the CCP’s Ministry of Public Security for 10 years.
My friend Shi died in 2010. He was a retired commander of the Air Force, and operated a small airport. I suspect that he may have kept some secrets from me, as the cause of his death remains unknown and is shrouded in mystery. However, I believe he was murdered.
A lot of things have happened to me since then, and the events seem surreal. But one thing is certain: the CCP keeps a very close watch over the Zhao family and those who associate with them, directly or indirectly, are also implicated.
I was persecuted and harassed by Chinese authorities when I returned to Guangzhou again. I stayed at a friend’s house. They even killed my friend’s guard dog and sent a group of elderly people to sing patriotic “red” songs in front of the house every day in order to drive me away.
As far as surveillance is concerned, Shanghai is the fiercest and Guangzhou is the most shameless. Shanghai sent people to watch me at all times, and personally harassed me from time to time; while Guangzhou used all sorts of despicable methods that I find difficult to describe.
During the five years before 2009, I worked hard to have a good life and I was doing well. I thought I could settle down in China for the rest of my life. However, I was imprisoned for seven years for political dissent. Subsequently, I was surveilled by Chinese authorities and even my home was ransacked.
Then in 2018, I was forced to leave the country empty-handed. It’s all because I lived in a country ruled by the most evil regime in the world.
I fled to New York. During my time there, I wanted to serve as a campaign assistant for a local congressman, but someone tried to convince me to give up my anti-communist stance because I would offend the pro-communist groups in the state. But this person couldn’t convince me to do so. I told him that the CCP took away the best years of my life in China. I can let go of my hatred toward the CCP, but I will never compromise with such an evil regime.
Recently, I got upset over a social media post on Twitter which claimed that the Chinese people are satisfied with the CCP. The comment was a reply to former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tweet, in which he called the CCP “a real threat” to the United States. I responded to the Twitter user and said that if he really wanted to know the truth about the CCP, then he should ask the tens of millions of Chinese who were persecuted to death for their beliefs and subjected to forced organ harvesting such as adherents of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, and the dissidents who are exiled. Many families have been torn apart as a result of the CCP’s persecution.
I came to realize that the communist specter has infiltrated the United States and the current environment is starting to remind me of what it was like when I lived in China. I believed the United States is a beacon of freedom and democracy, and I thought that I would live a normal life here. The American people are in danger of losing their freedom and democracy.
When I look at that old photo with Zhao Erjun, it brings back painful memories. But there’s one thing I’m clear about: never give up upholding justice and truth.
Gobi East (a pseudonym) is a pro-democracy activist and was imprisoned for several years in mainland China for being a political dissident. Although he fled from China and went into exile in the United States in 2018, he continues to be persecuted and monitored by the Chinese regime.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.