25 January 2010

"Looking Back at Those Years" (4): Yang Zili's Memory Tweets

Here's the fourth installment of my translations of Twitter posts by New Youth Study Society founding member Yang Zili. The first three installments can be found here, here, and here.

Looking Back at Those Years (19–22)

One of my fellow-sufferers in the detention center was Hua Di, who according to Internet rumors back in 2001 was jailed in exchange for Lee Wen Ho. According to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited him to return [to China from the US] and join a high-level think tank, but shortly after he returned he was arrested for leaking secrets. Whenever evidence that might benefit him was presented, the judges turned their heads and didn't look at it! First the indictment was withdrawn and then resubmitted, then the original 15-year sentence was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered, after which he was sentenced to 10 years. The twists and turns in his case seemed to correspond to the progress of the Lee Wen Ho case, so it seems those Internet rumors weren't false.

During my three years in the detention center, every evening we watched television as a group. Once, we watched the documentary New Fourth Army. Though the film lauded them for it a great deal, in their greatest victory over the Japanese during the Cheqiao Campaign, they killed, wounded, or captured [only] 800 Japanese and puppet soldiers, most of whom were puppet soldiers. On the other hand, they wiped out 50,000 Nationalist soldiers during the Huangqiao campaign. At the time, my fellow-sufferer Hua Di recalled his days as a teenage soldier in the New Fourth Army, extorting money and other movable property from landlord households and hanging up landlord wives for a beating. He even went up to get in a kick of his own.

The repatriation center for out-of-town offenders, formerly called the Southern Building, is a transfer facility where people are collected from the detention centers before being sent to [other] prisons. The forced labor and harsh treatment there is the worst. Prisoners are forced to shout “Reporting! Here! Yes, sir!” until they're hoarse. Prisoners from outside Beijing are especially mistreated. [Fellow New Youth Study Society member Zhang] Honghai's household registration is in Zhejiang, and in his unit they not only had to get up early and work until after dark, they weren't even allowed enough water to drink. Prisoners had to secretly drink the water used to flush the urinals.

When I was in the detention center, I heard about a fellow-sufferer named Chen Shaohua, from Jiangxi, who shortly after graduating from university was sentenced to three years for postings he made online. I heard that in the spring of 2004, after being transferred to the repatriation center, he was beaten for resisting the guards and put in solitary confinement, feet shackled. The guards intentionally made him wear new shackles that rubbed his ankles until they were raw and bloody. I wonder where this younger brother is now? He was so damn young, yet so steadfast and refused to give in. When one is filled with righteousness, why fear tyranny?

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