Archive for August 7th, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

It’s Still Summer

It’s still summer. In the city, everything seems unchanged – grey streets, colorful houses, green trees and parks -, but the colors in the countryside have changed from green to brown and yellow – brown earth, yellow stubble fields full of birds, bales of straw, many of them piled into huge stacks which look like fortifications at dusk. I remember how they fascinated me when I was a child. Helping to pile them up as a teenager made me feel like if I was rebuilding the world.

The sun rises noticably later than in June now, and it sets noticably earlier. Obviously, as the holidays ended the day before yesterday, the sun shines all day long, and temperatures are rising to 30 degrees in the early afternoon. August these days probably looks like September fifty or thirty years ago. Not that I can tell from memory, but mechanization has speeded things up. The first fields were ploughed weeks ago.

But it’s still summer, and it’s a beautiful season.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer 2009: Christmas Cards for Zeng Jinyan, Postcards for Amoiist

The following is a translation from Zeng Jinyan‘s latest blog post. Translation corrections are welcome.

Dear supporting friends abroad,

this is a delayed letter of thanks to you. Today, I received a big parcel which had been redirected to several destinations and at last came in here. When I opened it, I couldn’t find words to describe my feelings. Inside, there were hundreds of cards from Amnesty International’s British section. Many friends have thought of us, far away from them in China, during the season of family reunions. Friends who we had never met shared their beautiful things with us during the christmas days in 2008: more than eighthundred years old churches in the snow, lovely balconies, family photos (including a cute, big dog), photos of outdoor activities, about mountaineering, their favorite places in their country, their three-months old grandchild, their granddaughter looking mischievously, expressing hope, best wishes, waiting for the candles, seven-years-old Lucy, four-years-old Rachel, four-years-old Jude drew a picture with good wishes for our family, our 86-years-old friend Gisela sent us a  paper-cut greeting card […..], peace, hope, love, smiling faces, suns and flowers… I wish I could give you a description of every letter, and I wish I could go through them together with Hu Jia, laugh together with him about the cute things shown on the cards, and I wish that in the not too distant future, we can meet you all face to face, and cherish the beauty of life together.

Bao Bao didn’t really figure, she pointed to the pictures in astonishment saying Oh, and even wanted to climb onto the parcel containing the pictures, and to sit on the small hills of cards. Gradually, she grabbed cards out of the parcel, and handed them to me. When she has grown up further, she will surely enjoy looking at them, too.

As Hu Jia is in prison, he hasn’t seen the cards yet, as the authorities are checking. His situation is difficult, with inadequate nutrition, and his health is so-so. But he is slowly adapting to life in prison, his heart is calm, and he is taking the difficulties lightly. He reads books and newspapers every day. Opportunities for outside contacts are rare, once or twice a week at best. Currently, he provides water for a dozen people or so [他目前的劳动是每天给十几个人打水, apparently from a central water tap], and sees it as an opportunity to train his arms, to give Bao Bao a great hug after his return home. In this respect, I’m no longer anxious, but only praying and waiting that the day will soon come that we will have a happy reunion.

And I have good news to share. On July 15, an internet user named Amoiist was arrested in my native province ‘Fujian, south-eastern China, and netizens kept postcards coming in at the detention center, calling for his return home and showing their concern. After half a month under arrest, at dusk, he was released on bail. We believe that his release to a large extent came thanks to the postcard movement. Currently, a lot of  citizens still get convicted because of what they believe in. Chinese netizens see hope, and the postcards are “calling them home”.

Many thanks for sending cards to our home, for giving us hope, your support and unlimited beautiful association. Winter has passed, and I wish you a happy summer!

Zeng Jinyan, August 3, 2009, Bobo Freedom City

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