Released Hunger Striker Describes His Ordeal
Hu Jia, the renowned Beijing-based human rights advocate, returned home on March 28, 41 days after his disappearance on February 16. Because of pre-existing liver problems and physical abuse by the police, doctors said that his situation was not optimistic and that his liver was showing signs of cirrhosis. Mr. Hu's account follows.
I was detained for 41 days. The first 21 days were spent in Taihu Town, Tongzhou District. From March 8 onwards, they moved me to Dagao Village, Liyuan Town, Tongzhou District. The detention orders came directly from the National Security Bureau under the Police Headquarters in Beijing. Two teams were sent to handle my case.
On the night of February 15, I received a short message stating that Qi Zhiyong [another hunger strike participant] had been abducted. The next day, I contemplated rescuing Qi Zhiyong and taking part in an AIDS conference. An officer from the Tongzhou District National Security Bureau requested authorization from his superior and an approval was granted. At 9 a.m. I went downstairs and saw strangers in a police car.
Without thinking, I stepped into the car and immediately felt a tense atmosphere. They appeared vicious with their heads lowered and their eyes squinting at me. The car drove out of the small town and turned left towards the open countryside. The person next to the driver instructed someone in the back to restrain me.
Before I could react, the two men on either side of me lifted my hands high behind my back, twisted my wrists, pushed my head down until it was wedged between the front passenger and right door. They also thrust their knees into my stomach and covered my head with a black bag.
I resisted and told them, “Let go of me! What you are doing is illegal,” but they pushed their knees into me even harder as they drove away very quickly. I was nearly tortured to death. My head was spinning, and I started to vomit.
They drove for more than half an hour before stopping and dragging me out of the car. They searched me, took my mobile phone, pen and wallet. Then they left me lying there.
I lay there for more than an hour before I slowly recovered and sat up. I found myself in a dark and cold hotel room with a group of policemen watching me. I asked them to release me, but they just grinned and said they were under orders from their superiors. I desperately wanted to go home as I was worried about my wife. I even tried to make my head bleed by hitting it with a table lamp, but the police were indifferent.
Police Interrogate Me about Hunger Strike Activities
At 9 p.m., three officers from the Beijing Police Headquarters came to see me. They told me that they had had many dealings with me, but this was the first time they had met me in person.
They came straight to the point, asking me when the hunger strike activities began, what responsibilities I have, what we planned to do, who arranges the order of the activities, how they are organized, how many people are involved, and what relationship I have with Gao Zhisheng.
They also asked, “Were you instigated by him [Gao Zhisheng]?” I replied clearly that I do not accept directions from others, and this matter [participating in the hunger strike] was purely my own decision.
After interrogating me for one and a half hours, they warned me to avoid having any dealings with Gao Zhisheng as it would not do me any good.
Thirty-Day Hunger Strike in Protest
When they interrogated me on the first day, they tried to sow discord by saying, “Are you really on a hunger strike at home? Who will believe that you actually carried out a hunger strike? Did Gao Zhisheng actually go on a hunger strike? Do you think he actually did so?”
This is a despicable trick that they often use—creating dissension. In order to refute their challenge of the hunger strike, I started a hunger strike lasting 30 days from February 16. The first five days, I abstained from food and water.
On the fourth evening, Officer Tong from the Tongzhou District National Security Bureau came to see me. He said, “If you continue on like this, we will deal with you in one of two ways. Either we will give you a drip [intravenous feeding] or treat you just like a Falun Gong practitioner—force feeding you through the nose. We will insert a plastic tube through your nose into your stomach and force feed you. Even if you don't die, you will suffer while you are alive.”
The Policemen Lie Shamelessly
After my release, I discovered that my wife, parents and friends had gone everywhere seeking help to find me. I found it hard to believe that my wife had no idea what had happened to me.
Everyone in the Tongzhou and Zhongcang police stations knew about my abduction. Those police officers took turns guarding me. Everyone knew, yet they lied to my wife again and again, denying my situation, and even saying they were looking for me too.
Before my release, the Beijing National Security Bureau office performed a full body search. Any written material that I had on me was confiscated. They said, “We cannot leave anything behind that can be used as evidence [against us].”
They even covered my head with a bag in the car when we were going back home. They drove in circles and threatened me: “It will do you no good to mess around with the Communist Party. If you continue on like this, you will again suffer, and your family members will come under pressure. All this will happen again and again.”
They appeared very nervous. Officers from the Beijing City National Security Bureau sent me back, but they did not dare drive their own cars. They borrowed a car from the Tongzhou National Security Bureau. They did not send me home for fear of leaving behind any material evidence. They dropped me off one hour from my home and let me walk the rest of the way by myself.
I Will Never Give Up
They had held me for 41 days, yet the police did not have any legal documents or follow any procedures. They did not even inform my family. What kind of actions are these? How do you account for this?
I will not let this matter rest. I am going to find out who the instigators are and which policemen detained me. I will look them in the eye and ask, “Did you see me or not?”
I will also try to sue Beijing City Police Headquarters and continue to participate in human rights activities with attorney Gao Zhisheng.
I was part of the AIDS care organization. Because of my suppression by the authorities, volunteers, co-workers, and even AIDS victims in the organization were threatened and harassed by the State Security Office and police department. They even found it difficult to get donations. For this reason, I was forced to leave this beloved organization, but I will not give up my work in that area. I will continue to care for AIDS victims and help as much as I can.