My Hunger Strike Diary – Gao Zhisheng
Today [March 4]'s hunger strike has been very difficult—and there are still several hours to go.
Already today I've spent twenty-nine minutes wrestling with secret agents determined to steal my cell phone. After resisting them as best I could, they succeeded in stealing the phone and then called the police and had me detained for nearly two hours. After all of the physical exertion from battling with the attackers I am feeling much hungrier than usual. Today's fast will be difficult indeed.
There is a hope, at least, to bring an end to the physical suffering. My hunger will be chased away in a matter of hours [I will only be fasting for 24 hours.]
Today numerous people in 24 provinces across China, as well as in Taiwan, are staging a 24-hour hunger strike together with me. I feel distressed when I think of so many friends experiencing hunger. Unlike hunger, the distress will not come to an end in a day. Yesterday afternoon, 21 vehicles emerged from nowhere to follow and encircle my wife and I while on our way to buy groceries. They had never surrounded us before- they had always been content to follow. Despite their acting, in all apparent seriousness, as if when encircling us they were confronting formidable enemies, we remained calm. A man driving one of the cars, an Audi with the license plate number “JingA34863” [licensed in Beijing] made a show of removing the plate, got back in the car, and then slammed on the gas sending the car racing towards me. He swerved and just barely missed us. He did it again. In less than half an hour, such a game was repeated twice.
That night my family and I took another drive to tidy up a house located in another community. The Audi, with its license plate re-affixed, squeezed past the right side of my car as I turned onto a side road. He shadowed us to our destination and as I parked the car he moved his so that it was touching the driver's side of ours. This made it impossible to exit through that side of the vehicle. When he pulled off the road, the rear view mirror of his car was in complete contact with mine so that my family could not get off the car through the car doors on the right side, but only through the car doors on the left side. The Audi driver rolled down his window, turned his pale face towards us and glared with harsh defiance.
On the drive home a group of secret police tailgated us like roaming spirits in the darkness.
Today marks the third week of our national relay hunger strike protesting the ongoing persecution of the citizens of China. Today, it is my turn to participate in the relay hunger strike. Since I went to bed late last night, when I awoke I was already one-and-a-half hours into the strike. As my eyes fluttered open, I saw my alarm clock read 7:30 a.m. I rose, completed my morning toilette in 10 minutes, and then locked myself inside my bedroom to calm my mind and prepare for 30 minutes of Bible study.
I went downstairs at 8:10 a.m. and three minutes later encountered the secret police that were lying in wait by the roadside, ready to attack — or so it seemed. In one hand I was holding the camera that I always carry with me. I also had my cellphone, and tucked under my arm was a bag containing important documents. I did not even have time to remove the lens cap from my camera before I was accosted by a large man who stood hulking in front of me, rudely blocking my path.
He said, “You seriously violated my human rights by photographing me with your camera. If you do not clearly explain the move you made, you are not allowed to leave.”
While uttering the words, he suddenly ran his left arm under my right arm, with his right hand grabbing my right wrist in no time. Judging from his force and intention, he intended to pin my right arm fast to my back. I immediately became aware that the violence against me was happening. Due to his insufficient strength and my resistance, we pushed, pulled, or tugged at each other, moving forwards or backwards, for over 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I had a bag of documents in my left hand and a camera in my right hand. Witnessing our melee, the secret police pretended to make a courageous stand for the weaker one, calling me a crazy man who ran around with a camera in my hand all day long to photograph anyone I encountered.
Suddenly, two of the secret police rushed toward us. One of them was the man, a most despicable person, who had surrounded and followed my family for 105 days straight, and who had created a disturbance in the restaurant during my meeting with the UN Human Rights Commission officials. (He was also the man who had first started following my daughter.) Apparently, he has always regarded me as his personal enemy. Every time he sees me he hisses out his verbal abuse against me through clenched teeth.
With the violent assistance of his two other partners, he rushed toward me, clutching my throat with his fingers and fiercely pushing me backward until my back was pressed to the wall. The three of them violently wrestled me to the ground, tearing my bag of documents and grabbing my cellphone (81990759) and a pre-paid cellphone card.
The wrestling between two persons and then among four had lasted for 29 minutes. After they took away my phone, they managed to flee. During the whole process, I had hung on to the big man, not allowing him to run away, all the while asking them to return my phone. The three of them tried several times to help one another to run, but in vain. The wrestling had attracted more and more spectators. Some of them started to wonder aloud about why these men drove cars with their license plates removed. Others enquired about their occupations. Seeing that they were not in a favorable situation, my attackers “called the police.”
When the police arrived, they took me away instead. I made an immediate protest, stating that the other three were the robbers, and that my stolen phone was still in their hands. Ignoring my statement, the police took me away. At 8:42 a.m. I was sent to the police station where I was held for one hour and 48 minutes, without explanation, before being released.
In broad daylight, they forcibly robbed me of my cellphone, along with a pre-paid phone card. Their act is a direct representation of the constitutional descriptive “stealing public or private property by violence, coercion or other methods,” which is stipulated in Article 263 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China. As this act by all means constituted a crime, I thus repeatedly emphasized this point to the policemen after I was kidnapped and taken to the police station. But they could do nothing. Because the kidnappers were the Chinese communist regime's special agents, the police could do nothing about this robbery taking place in broad daylight, though the stolen articles were still in the hands of the robbers who were roaming about in a place only 200 meters (656 feet) away from the police station.
As an old saying goes, a misfortune may be a blessing in disguise. After returning from the police station, on the way to my office I found my daughter, who used to say that she had never loved her father, sobbing uncontrollably in the courtyard. I was also told that she had been weeping there for over an hour, and saying that if she had not seen me come back, she would not have returned home either. In addition, she had borrowed money from others to make many phone calls from outside my home to inform family members and relatives in Wulumuqi City (Urumqi) of Xinjiang Province that I had been arrested by the police.
Seeing my daughter cry so hard, my heart began to turn sour. Such a miserable experience is indeed quite cruel to a child, but unfortunately she is Gao Zhisheng's daughter. Professor Yuan at Guangzhou University told me over the phone yesterday, “These days, what does Gao Zhisheng mean? It means a misery that has become a national misery, since many people were arrested simply because they had contacted Gao Zhisheng once. For those people, the Chinese authorities have made them believe Gao Zhisheng means 'disaster.'”
In recent months, there have been quite a lot of people illegally detained or arrested in various districts around the country solely because they had made phone calls to support me. Ouyang Xiaorong was illegally kidnapped 18 days ago simply because he had been my volunteer worker for less than 24 hours, and nobody knows his whereabouts since. Recently five to ten ordinary Chinese citizens have been illegally arrested every day just because they want to visit me. Keeping the ruling power in this communist regime's hands has totally become a process of destroying civilization, morality and basic human dignity.
A society that lacks legal instruments to protect basic social justice is a most terrible one. This kind of society is a safe-heaven for criminals with power or powerful backgrounds, and rights abusers' power is above national laws. However incredible it may be to people in modern civilized society, it is a fact that exists in Chinese society today. The police represent a nation's legal strength, but they have no alternative but to shake their heads or shrug their shoulders in the face of ongoing robberies today. For those who live in civilized societies outside China, it may be impossible to imagine how insignificant human dignity is in a society where personal power is above national laws.
Zhang Shufeng, a resident in Beijing's Shunyi County, was recently kidnapped by local police. The police station's chief who carried out the kidnapping even overtly told her that killing an ordinary person like her was nothing more than killing an ant, and that if she was murdered, he would not let her family find her remains. He added that once she was murdered, her family would have to report to his police station, so he had nothing to worry about. Wang Ling, a Beijing resident who participated in the hunger strike at home to protest against the persecution, was kidnapped by Chaoyang District's public security bureau on March 1, 2006. The following day, she was only given a little food at noon. To protest against the persecution, she has continued the hunger strike until now. At this moment, I was informed that Li Suling and some others in Beijing's Daxing County have suddenly disappeared. As for Beijing's Li Aiyan, after being illegally put under house arrest, she has been on a hunger strike since yesterday, and her situation is presently critical. Regarding Li Guifen, an elderly woman who lost her daughter and was referred to in the article I wrote the other day, she also disappeared several days ago. Additionally, Ni Yulan and her husband disappeared secretly this morning. This kind of news has been announced one after another continuously these days.
In the next few days, the CCP will be holding the “two sessions” [shorthand for the annual National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) sessions] in Beijing. To maintain order countless innocent citizens and Chinese appellants for justice have been arrested indiscriminately. Scores of people have disappeared in the countryside. For these few days, thousands of CCP officials descend on Beijing to intercept those going to Beijing seeking justice. Just last night, more than 200 police were dispatched here from Liaoning Province alone, and more than 400 appellants from Shanxi Province were arrested at one time. Do such sessions have any real meaning for the Chinese people anymore? Such sessions never investigate why so many people want to appeal for justice. Such sessions observe but never pay attention to those who are illegally arrested, detained and violently tortured. One can see the moral bankruptcy as well as indifference and insensibility to the dignity of human nature behind those smiling faces of the conference attendees.
They can continue their sessions, but our hunger strike to defend our rights will continue. The bloody brutality and anti-civilization tendencies of the Chinese autocratic system remind us we must maintain our efforts to resist. We will remain steadfast on the peaceful road, no matter how long nor how rough it turns out to be.
Today, those who join the hunger strike are from 24 provinces and Taiwan:
- 1. Hebei Province: Li Guixue, Gao Dongyu, Cai Shumin, Li Guixue, Wang Xiuzhi
- 2. Liaoning Province: Yang Shujie, Song Guijia, Zhao Yanfang, Li Zairong, Guo Shumei, Luo Hongshan, Feng Haoyong
- 3. Henan Province: Wang Jinlan, Yang Guiyou, Zhou Dongping, Li Liangxue, Zheng Erni, Ding Minzheng, Wang Gaixiu
- 4. Shanxi Province: Cai Jinqian, Zhang Shiping, Li Jiping
- 5. Neimeng Gu (Inner Mongolia): Yang Xiaogang, Wang Yaodong, Liu Zhiyu, Qian Jingsong
- 6. Shandong Province: Zhou Mengen, Qian Lili, Xue Lian, Wang Huanmei
- 7. Guizhou Province: Cheng Qiaosheng, Fan Rongjie, Cai Shuanghong
- 8. Shanxi Province: Feng Shiyan, Liu Yaping, Song Jianrong, Yang Yuxiu
- 9. Hubei Province: Zhou Houzheng, Zhou Bin, Xia Gang, Zhang Yueqin, Zuo Hongying
- 10. Sichuan Province: Huang Fengdeng, Ying Yucai, Li Guiping, Shuang Shigui
- 11. Xinjiang Province: Feng Jianxin, Lu Qifeng, Guo Zirong
- 12. Taiwan Province: Cheng Baoxiu, An Huanxiu
- 13. Beijing: Dong Jiqun, Li Aiyan
- 14. Shanghai: Feng Liangxi, Wu Baoping
- 15. Jiangsu Province: Zhang Yuxiang, Wang Ji'an, Li Jingqi
- 16. Jilin Province: Song Guoshu, Li Shixue, Bai Zuozhi, Li Zhongkui, Wang Yuzhan
- 17. Heilongjiang Province: Yang Congming, Yuan Xiancheng (lawyer), Li Honggang, Liu Guiping, Dang Yuping, Li Rong, Li Xiufu, Li Hongsheng, Li Xiufeng, Liu Guiju, Li Xiubao, Li Hongying, Wei Yansheng, Wei Wu, Li Honghua, Li Sheng
- 18. Hunan Province: Tang Xi
- 19. Gansu Province: Zhang Jun, Song Chongyu, Ma Zhiyuan
- 20. Guangdong Province: Wu Wang, Cai Yongchuan, Jiang Yongsheng
- 21. Fujian Province: Liu Qingkuan, Liu Chanhong, Chen Juanping
- 22. Hunan Province: Wang Junjian, He Panling, He Zengguo
- 23. Qinghai Province: Xin Quanmei, Zhang Pushan, Ma Chengshou
- 24. Ningxia Province: Ma Qinghai, Dang Meirong, Cui Yuwang