The artist and human rights activist was taken by the police on the evening of December 15 last for having posted videos of the demolitions and expulsions of migrant workers from the suburbs of Beijing. "I am ready to be martyred, I do not care ... it is worth it for our children and for freedom of speech".
Beijing (AsiaNews) - "There are a lot of policemen outside... they will soon break down the door and I will have to go with them. I want to take these last few minutes to sing a song for you: happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, best wishes my baby, best wishes to you! ". These are the words that Hua Yong, an artist from Beijing, addresses to his daughter, who turns 3 years old today. Her father was arrested just after he sang the happy birthday song in tears and with a lump in his throat. Hua Yong explains to his daughter that he is risking his life, even martyrdom, for "freedom of speech and democracy", "because it is worth it for our children".
As explained in the rest of the video, which we publish in full (with a translation in the text below), Hua Yong is "guilty" of having shot some videos on the destruction and expulsions that took place in the suburbs of Beijing, after the fire in a building on November 18 last, which led to the ferocious campaign of "cleaning the capital of the low-end population", in short the eviction and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, who for years have made the city's wealth, with the offer of cheap labor, and today are being driven back into the misery of the countryside.
Hua Yong, 48, is not new to this type of social activism. In 2012 he expressed himself in a performance art in Tiananamen Square and because of this he was imprisoned for one year and three months in a forced labor camp.
The video consists of three parts, shot at different times. The first part, the one in which he wishes his daughter a happy birthday, was filmed last December 15. Then there is a second part, in which Hua Yong explains his situation. A third part is made up of messages exchanged by activists who are denouncing demolitions and expulsions.
Hi friends, I'm Hua Yong, I'm hiding at my friend's house in Tianjin, but unfortunately they have found me. They just knocked on the door and they told me they're Tianjin policemen. Soon, they will also find my friend. I'm ready to be imprisoned because I did not do anything wrong: I just filmed and reported the reality. I never imagined ... Although I escaped from Beijing to Yanjiao, from Yanjiao to Tianjin, they found me the same. Now I'm a bit nervous, as you can see I shaved my beard and dyed my hair, but I still could not escape from this authoritarian and invisible network. Right now, I'm very worried about my friend, I do not know what will happen to him, even though he does not know what I’ve done. They followed me from Beijing Daxing to Tongzhou, from Tongzhou to Yanjiao. From December 7 until today December 15, 8 days have passed, in the end, they found me in Tianjin. My friend told me that I can open the door, but I will not open it. Because he is the owner, I can go away with them. I hope all of you will listen to Hua Yong and his experiences along with the consequences for those who have had the courage to speak out in China. If I end up in prison, maybe it's better, at least I won’t have any more problems. I said I will not leave China, I love my country and I love my people. You forbid me to tell the truth, but I do not care, I have to tell it anyway.
There is still some time. I will say something more, I will not leave China, because I did not do anything wrong. In the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, there is freedom of speech and freedom of information, I Hua Yong, I only filmed a few videos and posted them on the internet, I did not hurt anyone, so I will not leave China. Even if I have to die, I will die in my country, my people, my culture, my relatives, my parents and my daughter are here. I am very sorry because on the 18th of this month, in three days exactly, it will be my daughter's birthday.
Dear daughter, I cannot come to your party this time. I thought about recording a video and singing a song for you on your birthday, but I do not think this can happen either. So now I will sing for you. There are a lot of policemen out there; now they have found my friend too, they will shortly break through the door and I will have to go away with them, so I am going to take advantage of the last few minutes to sing a song for you: Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You . I have done everything for you and your generation and I hope that you will no longer have certain experiences like me and your grandfather. I pray for the good, for our country: fairness, justice, freedom, in particular freedom of speech and democracy. My wish is that each of us can tell the truth in public, even risking his own body, I would like to defend the right of us citizens, the right to be a real man.
My daughter, I love you, happy birthday, you have to eat more and learn English with mom, when I am free, let's travel the world together, all right? I love you, Hua Qingchen [sends a kiss]. I remember a few days ago, we talked on the phone, but I could not see you because your grandfather's cell phone wasn’t working. I love you ... Hua Yong, I, I did [this] for you and your generation, we live really under pressure, the Chinese people have to get up, I'm ready to be martyred, I do not care ... because it's worth it for our children and for freedom of speech.
I was cooking, but now they're knocking on the door again.
Hua Yong: Who are you and what do you want?
Policeman: Now you talk, are you a man?
H: What are you doing? Knocking at the door in the evening.
P: We are policemen.
H: I'm not the homeowner, I've already called him.
P: What's your name? Are you Hua Yong?
H: Yes, it's me.
P: Are you a man?
H: What does it matter if I am a man or not?
P: Where do you want to hide? Do you think it's more interesting like this?
H: I do not want to go anywhere.
P: Open the door and let’s talk.
H: I came here to see a friend of mine, what do you want from me?
P: I'm a local policeman, open the door.
H: Are you Tianjin policemen?
P: We are from Beijing, we are looking for you and you know what we want from you.
H: What part of Beijing are you from?
P: We are policemen from the Beijing town hall, open the door and let’s talk about it.
H: The door is locked and I do not have a key.
P: Don’t tell lies.
H: My friend will be back soon.
P: Your friend is not involved in this, you are in this situation and you still want to involve your friend?
H: No ... but I do not have the key
after a while
P: All right?
H: I do not have a key and my friend is coming back.
P: You do not have a key and how did you close the door?
H: No, this door ...
P: Enough with nonsense; when he comes back, your friend can not save you.
H: What did I do? Why must he save me?
P: Do you think it's interesting this way?
H: I'm going to cook, my dinner is burning. I cannot open the door, this is my friend's house.
P: Open the door, sooner or later you have to open and your friend is returning.
H: What do you want to say?
P: Can you not see us?
H: I cannot see you.
P: Look through the peephole.
H: I do not see you, I'm cooking and I'm going to check on it.
H: They are not knocking anymore. In fact I'm cooking what's left over from yesterday, I just warmed it up, I feel indebted to Brother Li. Brother Li took me in to his home, I do not know what will happen to him. Brother Li, you were unlucky to meet me, but you do not even know what happened to me. I thought they would not have the courage to arrest me, so I did not tell you anything, if they did something bad to you, it would be really unfair.
Report December 11, 2017
Hello friends, I did not think that the situation could get any worse. I decided not to go abroad, that I should face the growing dangers that include arrest or being killed. But I do not want to go abroad. When I was in Thailand, several friends suggested I never return to China, and at that moment, I wrote two poems entitled: I want to go back to my country. This is my country, even if there are killings or arrests, I would like all the same to stay in my land. If one day Hua Yong disappears, I hope that my blood can awaken more people, that the Chinese people can have a real life, free, just, peaceful, rich and strong and every Chinese citizen can enjoy their rights. I'm certain my country will always be better. I have visited so many countries I am convinced that the Chinese people are the best people, and the most diligent people and the people who make so many sacrifices. Despite submission, the Chinese people have been able to develop their own country. So, when China stands up, as Napoleon said, it will really be a lion. I know that my current situation is very serious, also this is probably the last video I will make, because I have brought bad consequences to my dear friends and their relatives. So, from now on, I will stop giving any further updates, I will go into hiding somewhere, even if this disappearance is in turn dangerous, since I will probably face killing or arrest. No one can hear from me again, dead or alive, free or in prison ...
I take this opportunity to wish my daughter a happy birthday: happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday and best wishes, my daughter.
at 11 pm on December 10, there are 5 new people arrested in Xinjian Cun 新建 村,
Voice messages on WeChat:
- is he back? Xiao Dongzi
- no, he has not returned, he has been arrested
- maybe there are others, I have not seen, I only saw the arrest of Xiao Dongzi
- A group of policemen will come tonight
- there will be another group going to Xinjian Huayuan
- listen, if you want to save your houses, you should stay at home! Get rid of coals and money, because otherwise they will have excuses to destroy your homes
- forget it, do not talk further, the important thing is to [understand] how you can save these arrested people. What's the use of this chat group, we'll delete it in a bit
- having just said this, nobody says anything anymore? This group is useless
- I'm with the baby, I do not have time to talk
- let's think of some solutions together
- I think they want to do good for us poor people. They fear that the government is doing nothing for us, so they did it
- I think we need to find a lawyer for them and through legal procedures, the problem will be clarified. We can also organize a donation for them at least for the costs of their lawyer
- Zhongyuan, these people have the average age of over 50, even the health of these people is worrying. They never hurt anyone
- we cannot delete the group, we have to solve the problem first
- we have already arrived at this point, they are in prison and you think of leaving the WeChat group?
- about ten people have already left
- how much do we have to spend? we can share [the cost] together