Tag: human rights

Lawyer Xia Lin will be sentenced on September 22, and it will have nothing to do with the law

As we all know now, Xia Lin, a 46-year-old lawyer whose clients have included dissident artist Ai Weiwei and free speech champion Pu Zhiqiang, was sentenced to jail for 12 years — a verdict meant as both payback and warning to China’s human rights lawyers. Legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, penned this essay in the lead up to Xia’s sentencing reflecting on the price paid by Xia and his colleagues for work that has been described elsewhere as “all that is hopeful and optimistic about China”.

A letter to my husband Guo Yushan: IV

Eighty-six days after being taken from his Bejing home by police on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” Guo Yushan is officially arrested and charged with “operating an illegal business”. Guo’s wife, Pan Haixia, posts her fourth letter to him online in his absence. Pan appears to have gained a sense of renewed fortitude from the endurance of others in similar situations, the support of friends and the online world that permits “people to express in solidarity with others”; an outlet that has also allowed Pan to share these extraordinary letters that will stand the test of time as part of her country’s historical record.

Looking forward to the moment when you return: Zhou Qinghui to Huang Kaiping

As China continues its crackdown on reform-minded scholars and civil liberties, the wife of yet another detained member of the respected Beijing-based think tank, Transition Institute, has spoken out in an open letter circulated online. Reaching out to her husband, Huang Kaiping, in the only way she now can, Zhou Qinghui recounts in vivid voice their first meeting, as fifth graders, up until the current day’s events, cast in shadow by the question mark of an uncertain future under a repressive regime.

A letter to my husband Guo Yushan: II

Twenty days after the first letter to her husband, detained legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, Pan Haixia posted another exquisitely written follow-up letter to him online. In the time in between, Pan writes she is determined to honour Guo’s zest for life by not isolating herself: “I don’t want you to criticize me for indulging in self-pity” and “it would be unreasonable for me to act half-dead” when loved ones have been so supportive. Pan’s mood has become increasingly reflective, drawing on wisdom gained in moments past, as she finds herself embracing the philosophy that, “we little people all have an ultimate freedom that no one can take away: the freedom to choose the attitude with which we face our destinies.” She remains hopeful Guo will return home.

A letter to my husband, Guo Yushan

Pan Haixia, lawyer and the wife of economic scholar and influential think tank founder, Guo Yushan, posted a letter online that she wrote to her husband after he was taken from their suburban Beijing home by police officers on October 9, at around 2 a.m., on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” — a pretext used to silence China’s growing community of rights activists. Conflicted by the danger Guo’s activism brought to their doorstep, Pan’s heartrending words to Guo, to whom she wasn’t able to say ‘goodbye’, powerfully relate the torment activists and their families endure as targets of political persecution in China.