Zeng Jinyan: a Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

Thanks to our friend and regular contributor JR for drawing my attention to an article recently published at Zeng Jinyan’s blog. My translation is based on JR’s English translation at JustRecently’s Beautiful Blog. I am grateful to JR for allowing me to use his translation as a basis for my translation. JR has already done all the hard work; it is much faster for me to do it this way than if I have to start from scratch.  The original title of Ms Zeng’s blog post is “My Confession”.


A Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

by Zeng Jinyan

The 22nd letter from Hu Jia has arrived. But the 19th and 21st letters have both been confiscated. Hu Jia finally received the diary that I wrote on behalf of our daughter Baobao, even though two of the pages had been torn off and confiscated. Hu Jia had almost refrained from talking about things that had happened in the prison. He mentioned briefly that he had influenza and a temperature, and therefore could only sit for one examination. During my visits and in our letters, we mostly talked about small details of our everyday lives, including the way in which our child is growing up. As soon as we started to talk about something else, our conversation would be terminated, or our letters confiscated.

Today I took Baobao to Grandma and Grandpa. In the afternoon, the state security wanted to have a chat with me. As soon as we met, I told them that I was tired and was on the verge of a breakdown. So if it was good news, they could go ahead and tell me. Otherwise they should not bother.

But the state security insisted on talking to me…

On the way home at the Si Hui Bus Station, I burst into tears over some trivial matters. I can’t remember the last time I cried. Perhaps it was on the day when Hu Jia was sentenced.

I was back at Freedom City in the evening. When I entered the courtyard, I caught sight of some plain-clothed police; they were watching me from a well-illuminated spot. There was also an ordinary infrared camera on the roof above the gate. Every time I raised my head I could feel the blood red colour of the light blinding my sight.

What I’m writing now can be used as a confession to the state security police. It’s also a confession I made to myself and to Hu Jia. When Hu Jia has a chance to read it in future, he will understand.

I will object to any plan to extend Hu Jia’s prison terms or to impose harsher penalties on him, even though I am aware that there is little I can do to reverse the decision. I would be most delighted if he would be released ahead of schedule, because I so much look forward to his return. We may not have carefully thought through the way we handle our work on environmental protection, on AIDS, and on human rights. We therefore welcome criticisms and suggestions. But we are not members of any military establishment or political party. And we are definitely not a part of any conspiracy. We are simply a couple of naive, unsophisticated and powerless individuals who are trying our best to give a hand to those who need help. We are not too concerned about whether we are making a huge impact; we are only helping one person at a time.

You want me to persuade Hu Jia to correct his thoughts, as a way to speed up his release and his return to society. How would I not want him to come home soon? It is just that I don’t have a chance to do so. Whenever I write to Hu Jia about what happens in society, my letter will be confiscated. What else can I do? I don’t have much to live for. I only struggle to stay alive for my child. If what you want is my life, then go ahead and take it, but leave me with my independent spirit and my free will. You are wrong if you think that you can solve your problems by taking away my independence and my will. For me, the simplest solution would be for you to end my life. I have no right to abandon my life; only the Divine can do that. Not all evil and wrongdoings in the world involve one life form taking away its own life or the lives of others; it is also wrong and evil to enslave others, be it physical or spiritual enslavement.

I am exhausted. I am far too busy looking after my child. She seems to have developed a deep sense of insecurity and is clinging to me so closely as if she is afraid that she may lose me if she let go. It is so bad that sometimes I can’t even enjoy a proper hot meal. I am suffering from severe back pain. My arms have no strength. I am not sleeping well and have become absent-minded … I can’t find the strength to respond to many things happening around me. So those of you with grievances against an organization, a person, or someone’s opinion, would have to go directly to them to have things sorted out. I have neither the power nor the right to demand others to say something or not to say something. Those who do good deeds; they will get praise. Those who do evil; they will sooner or later be condemned. This is a common practice everywhere in the world, including China. It goes without saying.

I have just read from Xinhua News that the Chinese government has decided to establish a national human rights action plan to map out the development of human rights in China for the next two years…

China will take United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review

Foreign ministry: Chinese government will continue to work for human rights

[Links in Ms Zeng's post are all in Chinese.  China Digital Times has more details about China's human rights action plan.]

There is nothing more basic than to respect human rights, to show concern for humanity and to honour the dignity of mankind. Do you dare to look on what you have done? What you have done to us – the misery and sufferings you have brought to us – has been done on the foundations of human rights abuse.

I’m invoking the Almighty Buddha to give me faith, to guide my trembling hands, to give me his mercy, to end my tears and sorrow, and to keep my feeble heart from losing hope.


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5 Responses to Zeng Jinyan: a Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

  1. Pingback: Update - Zeng Jinyan: May the Almighty Buddha give me Faith « Justrecently’s Weblog

  2. Ned Kelly says:

    Oh Catherine, what do you know?

    YOU HAVE BEEN BANNED FROM THE ENGLISH-CHINA-BLOGOSPHERE! In particular, you have been banned from commenting on the blog of the Felching Panda.

    Obviously, Catherine, you have been banned because you’re just a pathetic troll who knows nothing about China.

    Stop showing off your translation, Catherine, none of that matters! What matters in the Greater English China-blogosphere, is that YOU OFFENDED THE FELCHING PANDA! And his friends too!

  3. justrecently says:

    Tell her, Ned.

  4. Ned Kelly says:

    And Catherine, your other problem is that you’re not “fair and balanced”. Can’t you see the OTHER side of Zeng Jinyan’s story?
    The CCP have raised millions of Chinese out of poverty in recent decades. Doesn’t that outweigh the petty personal grievances of the wife of a (so some say) “gadfly” who had the gall to advocate the rights of HIV sufferers WITHOUT EVEN BEING A HOMOSEXUAL?

  5. Pingback: Zeng Jinyan: a Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City « Hujia&jinyan’s spirit

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