» 04/16/2013, 00.00
To punish dissidents, party arrests children, even ten-year-olds
Every day, Anne Zhang went to school. One day she was arrested there by four strangers and jailed without food, water or news from her family. Her crime was being the daughter of Zhang Lin, who had complained about corruption in the Anhui provincial government. The president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers slams the incident.
(AsiaNews) - February 27, 2013 began like any other
school day for ten-year-old Zhang Anne.
Little did she know that this day she would be ordered to the
principal's office, whisked away by four unidentified men, and detained without
food or water, and without knowing where her father was, for 20 hours. Anni's crime?
Her father, activist Zhang Lin, had exposed government corruption.
I had the rare
privilege of speaking directly with Anne and her father on a national internet
radio program broadcast throughout China Saturday evening. Their story filled me with indignation. Anne
has still not been allowed to return to school.
No legitimate government would detain, starve and deny education to a
According to her
father, their case has sparked national outrage in China. Five hundred people have dropped their jobs
and travelled to demonstrate outside Anni's former school, the Hupo Elementary
School in Heifei. Some protesters are
hunger striking. Zhang says he is deeply
touched by the love and sacrifice of these supporters.
Those demonstrating are
showing not only love for Zhang and Anne, but also the awakening of an
increasingly bold contempt for the Chinese Communist Party's brutal persecution
of the children of dissidents. Such
persecution is routine in China. Blind
activist Chen Guangcheng's son had to move away from his parents in order to go
to school. His daughter was only allowed
to go to school after intense domestic and international pressure was
applied. Now, the Chinese Communist
Party has detained and tortured Chen Guangcheng's nephew, Chen Kegui.
I believe that the
Chinese Communist Party persecutes, detains and tortures the families of
dissidents in an attempt to silence them.
The CCP will commit serious human rights violations against children to
stifle freedom of speech. This is
state-sponsored child abuse.
Activist Zhang Lin
participated in the 1989 democracy protests in Anhui Province. A prolific dissident writer, he has been
jailed multiple times and subjected to continuous monitoring, according to an
Meanwhile, Anne was
fearless and articulate in speaking with me on national radio. Her father commented, "Anne is strong. She has been dealing with the police since
she was two years old. She knows how to
What an extraordinary
girl. It was an honour to speak with
her. I told her, "Be brave, be true, be
humble, and one day you will help lead your people to freedom."
With 1.3 billion people
living in China, one fifth of the population on earth, the world will not be
free until the people of China are free.
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