HONG LIN: I think normally, people are happy as long as good things are happening to them. But when something bad happens to you, you feel pressure and this affects your whole psychological situation, your sleep and all that. When I started defending my rights, I got into conflict with the government. That was in July 2006. Back then, my friends and relatives warned me that the city government might send someone to beat me up, or that they might even put me in jail for 6 to 10 years. That was when I started hating this government.
Our family life is actually quite harmonious, my children went to university and our economic situation is good. I started fighting against the government to protect my rights. I know the government is corrupt. They’ve done such bad things to my family, an innocent family. But we’re not strong enough to fight back because they have guns, they have prisons and there is no court where you can sue them.
When I go to some demonstration at a government institution, or when some bad thing happens in our village, it usually shows up in my dreams. Sometimes I dream of fighting with the government, of arguing with some bureaucrats, and then they put me in jail and sentence me to death. Sometimes I dream that they send someone to beat me up. Often it’s so scary that I wake up. I’ve had a lot of nightmares like this during the last three or four years. I guess this is because my problem still hasn’t been solved. I still haven’t been able to defend my rights.
About one month ago, the Dongjiao District Security Bureau put me on their black list; they were planning to detain me or my son. Why? Because I have evidence that they are corrupt. They already hate me. They can detain me at any time, they may even kill me. Many of my friends and relatives told me to be careful. They said the government could manipulate my car so I have an accident, they have a lot of money, they can do anything. But I say, if that’s what has to happen, then so be it. We live in this world and all we have is our faith. Today in China, we supposedly have a central government, human rights and the rule of law, but of course that’s not true, there is no rule of law, people cannot find work, human rights are not protected. If they weren’t always praising the government, or the chairman, or Hu Jingtao, or the harmonious society, then I wouldn’t be so angry. The government’s policies aren’t bad, but on the local level they have been distorted. It’s even worse than what the Kuomintang were doing in the past. I have evidence. In 114 villages, dozens of people were pressured and beaten. Not just three or four people, not just 10 or 20. And it’s the government that’s behind all this, so as you can see there is no guarantee for human rights. Not even in that district of Dongli in Tianjin, which is in the newspaper all the time now. The central government is praising this district for its openness and transparency, they say people lead a good life there, it’s a harmonious society. It seems good on paper. But if you talk to the people there, face to face, the story is very different.
To the Communist Party, I’m a criminal because I tell the truth. But what can I do? As long as they don’t repress me or kill me, I will go on fighting for the truth, for my rights, for human rights and for social justice. Yet I still have nightmares. For example, I heard that in July 2006 they beat a 50 year old man into paralysis. I was afraid they might do the same thing to me, so I had nightmares all the time. Every time something happens, for example when I go to demonstrate or when there is a conflict with the government, I have nightmares. I rarely have happy dreams.
If we want to solve this problem and punish the government for what they did to us, in a way it’s like playing Russian roulette. Of course this is not a healthy situation, so many people stop fighting at some point. I’m often asked why I’m still insisting. My answer is: They violated my rights and I suffered a lot, but I can stand up again and fight. Other people may quit, but now that I’m fighting against corruption, I’m going to fight until the end. As human beings, the moment we are born is already the beginning of our death. I say: so be it. I’ll just go on telling people about corruption and handing out flyers and other materials. They may hurt me; they may accuse me of being a criminal, an extremist who destroys the stability of society. They may even repress me or kill me at any moment. They have the power and the money. But what is the meaning of being alive if there is no harmony, no peace, no happiness, if our society is full of tragedy and war? There is no solution. Maybe the government destroys me, but then at least I want to help the millions of farmers in China defend their legal rights to ownership of their land, or advocate the protection of human rights among the Chinese people. That’s my mission.