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.
More than fifty days have passed since detained legal activist and scholar, Guo Yushan, was taken from his Beijing home. His wife, Pan Haixia, posts her third letter to him online in his absence.
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.
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.