非常感谢欧洲议会把2008年的“萨哈洛夫思想自由奖”（Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought）颁发给我的丈夫胡佳。由于目前胡佳仍然被关押在监狱，我们的通信受到审查，我们见面时隔着玻璃的通话也被监听，胡佳和我没有机会直接讨论他获奖一事。2008年11月21日我去北京市监狱访问他时，我们分别事先受到警察的警告：不能谈论萨哈洛夫奖一事，否则隔着玻璃通过电话的交谈会被立即切断。
Sakharov Prize Acceptance Speech
By Zeng Jinyan
Respected Members of the European Parliament, dear friends who have shown concern for human rights and worked hard to promote them; ladies and gentlemen,
Many thanks to members of the European Parliament for awarding the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to my husband Hu Jia. Since Hu Jia is currently still held in prison, our communications are monitored. When we meet, we have to speak through a glass panel and the conversation is tapped. Therefore we were not able to discuss the award directly. When I went to visit him in the Beijing Municipal Prison on 21 November 2008 we had both separately received warnings from the police: You must not raise the issue of the Sakharov Prize, otherwise your telephone conversation through the glass panel will be immediately broken off.
But at least, the state security police had had to tell Hu Jia about the Sakharov Prize prior to our meeting — because they were trying to persuade him to turn it down. They even arranged for a separate meeting between Hu Jia and his parents, who were supposed to use their influence to persuade him. They also requested that Hu Jia’s family issue an open letter acknowledging that Hu Jia was a criminal, and did not deserve the Prize. From the state security police and Hu Jia’s parents as separate sources, I learned that when Hu Jia heard he had been awarded the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought he made the following few comments: ‘Then the state security police put you under a lot of pressure didn’t they?….I have not yet done enough human rights work. Maybe they [i.e. the members of the European Parliament] took my work on environmental and AIDS issues into account…This is an important prize for China. I believe that in the not too far-off future it may serve to prove that I was right….’ And when I saw him, Hu Jia said furtively, ‘trust me, [no matter how big the pressure] my [beliefs] will not change.’
Hu Jia will soon have been in prison for a year, and my passport has been confiscated; so, very unfortunately, we are unable to attend the award ceremony and the celebration of the [prize’s] 20th anniversary. Writing this letter of thanks on Hu Jia’s behalf makes me feel both unfortunate and very honored. China is right now going through the most open period of its entire history; yet many of our fellow-citizens, including my husband, are still imprisoned merely because of their thoughts and words. That is the tragedy and the sorrow of our time. What is fortunate is that many friends all over the world have not forgotten us. I have received hundreds — nearly a thousand postcards, greetings cards, and emails from people from different countries and regions. By awarding the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Hu Jia, the European Parliament has added its expression of concern and support for human rights in China, and given affirmation to the Chinese human rights defenders’ work and their struggle.
I think that this prize has gone to all of China’s rights defenders and their harassed family members. No matter how bad the political environment, there has always been a group of people with a conscience in China, people who have never abandoned the task of seeking justice through the judicial process and pursuing the goal of a more just society. On the long and hard road of rights-defending they and their relatives have paid an extremely high price – the price of repression, isolation, of dismissal from jobs; the price of seeing their children lose their jobs or lose out on schooling, of being unlawfully deprived of their liberty, beaten, thrown into prison and even forced to leave the country. Among them there are reporters, authors, lawyers, independent professionals, teachers, ordinary employees, many peasants and small business owners. The large group of Chinese petitioners is a representative example of such people. Therefore, I want to respect a wish that Hu Jia had expressed many times toward me: he was hoping to set up a network providing support to the families of rights defenders. So under current circumstances that render it impossible to do more work, I have decided to donate the 50,000 Euro award as starting capital to set up a foundation for the support of the families of Chinese human rights defenders. It will be a way of putting our energy into alleviating the suffering of the families of human rights defenders. We must support each other and pass through these difficult times together.
When Hu Jia was put into prison a friend from the media asked me, ‘so what actually is it that Hu Jia has done to get himself sent to prison?’ I thought for a while and answered, ‘if he has done anything of importance, it is that he has persisted in speaking the truth. And really, China has already had some previous generations of activists who have worked in the areas of environmental protection, of care for people infected with HIV/AIDS, rights activism, help for the victims of June Fourth, some of whom are disabled, and similar areas, contributing a great amount of effort and time. These people have all done extraordinary work and benefited the interests of a great number of disadvantaged groups in society. Hu Jia is not a saint. He is just a person with the pure and simple heart, the honesty, caring and concern of a child. He is a person who will speak out truthfully about what he has seen and heard. He is a person who will plunge himself into the work of his calling wholeheartedly, so unconcerned for himself that it makes him quite fearless. In 2001, when HIV/AIDS was still a prohibited topic in China and the number of suspected AIDS cases was treated as a “state secret,” he took the risk of being chased and arrested by police to bring warm winter clothes to the rural areas affected by AIDS, and to visit the terminally ill who lived in despair, pushing for their rescue and treatment.. He also disclosed to the outside world what the HIV/AIDS patients were really suffering, and told the story of how they had become infected with HIV by selling their blood in the 1980s and 1990s, as a consequence of disastrous public health policies. As he deepened his involvement and widened the field of his activities, he came into more contact with the cruel realities. Hu Jia cannot sit still and watch as injustice in society happens. Again and again he launched public appeals to elicit concern from the wider public. As a consequence, from 2004 onward, he was more and more often abducted or found himself detained in his home. After Hu Jia had lost his freedom of movement, the most important thing he continued doing was to tell the truth loudly and clearly about every new situation brought to his attention.
In an empire of lies, to speak the truth loudly takes great courage. You will have to withstand pressures of unexpected magnitude and may have to pay a heavy price. The scarcer the truth is, the more we need it. It is because we did not speak the truth that we lost the purity of our blood and that AIDS, hepatitis B, SARS and other infectious illnesses have claimed many lives amongst the people of this country. We lost our unpolluted earth and water, and now state-owned, privately-owned, and foreign-owned enterprises continue to pollute the natural environment that mankind as well as animals and plants rely on for their existence. Even after we have lost some of our children, melamine tainted milk and eggs continue to harm people’s health and make the younger generation even weaker. We have lost parents, who even in old age may still be locked up in reform-through-labor prisons, or – under a different name – in psychiatric hospitals. We lost our homes when they built tofu-dreg high-rises, and a small natural disaster led to a major man-made catastrophe. We have lost our beliefs working like slaves Just so that others could make more profit, numberless ‘black’ [i.e. illegally employed] workers have continued to disappear. We have lost our happiness: there is no justice in the courts or in society. We [Chinese], the ‘descendants of the dragon,’ live with no sense of security, in fearfulness, grief and helpless indignation. So is this the ‘harmonious’ and ‘secure’ life that we have been seeking?
We should have, and we could have a good life. When Hu Jia is defending human rights he is just being true to his nature. As human beings, we are born with natural rights and sacred inviolable freedoms. To defend rights means to defend human dignity and to reject all forms of slavery, of torture, of cruel injury to human dignity, of intimidation and degradation. Rights-defending starts from protecting one’s own right to know, to think freely and to express oneself without fear. Even though he was up against so much oppression and so many attacks, Hu Jia was never afraid. And even when he was physically imprisoned and mentally harassed, he always maintained great optimism and confidence about China’s future. Once when I saw him in prison, he said: ‘I hope I will be the last person put in prison for my speech. I don’t want more people to be locked up for merely expressing their views.’
But the current reality unfortunately does not leave much room for optimism. Since Hu Jia was imprisoned – within just half a year – Zeng Hongling, Chen Daojun, Huang Qi and others have also been locked up or convicted of crimes for publishing their views. We are left with the only hope that China may soon revert to normalcy; that it will become a haven of democracy, rule of law and freedom, and emerge as an active, peaceful and responsible member of international society. This is not a far-off goal; but to reach it, people in- and outside China must speak the truth and, based on this, reflect on China’s situation as it really is, as well as on ways to address the situation. The goal can be reached only if everybody protects their rights actively, and if we all support the human rights movement and the construction of the rule of law. Only then will everyone really enjoy freedom of expression and religion and be able to live in freedom from want and from fear, in a peaceful homeland
In the name of my husband Hu Jia, I would like to thank the members of the European Parliament again. I would like to salute all the previous winners of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and all those who have courageously promoted human rights!
Wife of Hu Jia
22 November 2008
Dear friends, Hello,
I am Hu Jia’s wife, Zeng Jinyan. Hu Jia is currently in prison and so is unable to come to the ceremony to receive his Sakharov Prize.
I don’t have a passport so I cannot come to Europe either to attend the ceremony for the Sakharov Prize’s 20th anniversary. We are deeply sorry about this.
The good news is that Hu Jia was transferred on 10 October 2008 from Chaobai prison in Tianjin to the Beijing municipal prison, and that the conditions in which he is being held have improved. As for his health, he is looking a little better. He seems to be in slightly better shape than he was in Chaobai prison.
However, he had two blood tests in the space of a month and we don’t know what the results were. Although we asked for them, the results of the tests have not been given to the family. This behaviour worries us. It makes us fear that his cirrhosis has got worse.
I visited Hu Jia in the Beijing municipal prison on 21 November 2008. Before our meeting, we were both warned separately by the prison authorities that we were forbidden to talk about the fact that he had been awarded the Sakharov Prize.
So, during my visit, neither of us was able to talk about the prize. We weren’t able to discuss it by letter either, as all our correspondence is inspected. Even if all we do is express a view about social phenomena or if Hu Jia talks about the prison, when the prison authorities are not happy with it, our letters are confiscated or Hu Jia’s letters are returned to him. We very much hope to be able to communicate more normally, but for the time being it is very hard.
At the end of October 2008 or beginning of November, I am not exactly sure which, State Security police officers told Hu Jia he had won the Sakharov Prize.
And when I saw him on 21 November, I could sense that he was very happy about it. I know that Hu Jia spoke to his mother and to the policemen about it. These are more or less his words:
“Perhaps the European Parliament was thinking of the work I did in the areas of AIDS and the environment, because what I did in terms of human rights was very far from sufficient and I will need to redouble my efforts.”
He also said this Sakharov Prize was very important for China and he was confident that the future would prove him right. Obviously, from my personal viewpoint, I hope he comes home as soon as possible. Hu Jia said one day that he hoped to be China’s last prisoner of conscience but the reality is very different. Since the day of his trial, on 3 April, there have been others such as Huang Qi, Zeng Honglin and Chen Daojun who have been arrested by the authorities because their expressed their views publicly. And some of them have been tried and given prison sentences.
This shows that the situation of freedom of opinion is still absolutely appalling and that there is no reason for optimism.
But even in these circumstances, there are now a great many exceptional people and people of goodwill in Chinese society who are going to great lengths to find ways to make the real situation in China known, and to express deeply-felt views, and the Internet is providing them with a very interesting platform. But unfortunately there is sometimes a very high price to be paid for this.
If the truth be told, sometimes one’s courage is not enough. Sometimes the price to be paid is very, very high. There have been cases in which, after human rights activists, writers and others have used their freedom of thought, their relatives have also been harassed by the police, have lost their jobs or have been put under house arrest. And more serious still, some have even been tried and convicted.
Hu Jia had himself been illegally kidnapped several times by the police since 2004, without any form of legal procedure. He was constantly followed and in the end he was given a prison sentence. And I, who am his wife, I am often harassed by the police. 05:49
Others are in the same situation, such as Chen Guangchen and his wife, Guo Feixiong and his wife, and even their child, who has been denied his right to education. Thanks to many appeals from different quarters, Guo Feixiong’s children were later able to go back to school although in circumstances that are not very satisfactory.
For all these reasons, I would like to respect the desire that Hu Jia has expressed on many occasions. He has often said he would like to set up a support network to help the families of human rights activists. To provide moral support for the families, to ease their mental and life pressure to which they are subjected. So that they can be strong enough to face the pressure of the authorities in a more active and optimistic manner, and to discourage cruel revenge-taking on families.
I cannot at the moment do very much but I would like to use the 50,000 euros of Hu Jia’s Sakharov Prize as start-up money, to establish a foundation to support the families of human rights activists and to finally realise what Hu Jia had always wanted.
Why is the human rights work done by Hu Jia so difficult?
I think this is mainly because China’s legal system is not satisfactory. There are laws, there are all sorts of articles and regulations, some are well written, but they are not applied.
In reality, the situation of the rule of law is disastrous. The judicial system has no independence. Until 2004, Hu Jia devoted most of his activity to the problems of AIDS and the environment. He spent a lot of the time in the field, on campaigns, where people needed him to take concrete action.
Then, from 2004 onwards, the police regularly denied him his freedom of movement and he had no other choice but to participate in human rights movements from his home, writing articles and publishing reports from the field.
I think that during all these years, the most important and most interesting thing he did was to have constantly persisted in saying the truth. He never stopped writing about the phenomena he observed. He never stopped describing, one by one, all the realities that the Chinese media cannot say. He never stopped publishing all this on websites so that the public could learn about the reality of China and understand it.
In my view, this has been his greatest contribution.
If you look at China now, you see everyone talking, but lying is very widespread. Nonetheless, there are people who continue their quest for the truth. Because the school textbooks our children study, our newspapers and broadcast media, our libraries and all these documents and files, they all resemble what you find in the novel 1984. They are written in another language to describe a fictitious reality.
What is the real situation, the real China? We do not know.
That is why there is a group of thinking people, like Hu Jia, in China who have never abandoned their quest for the truth. But Hu Jia has paid a very heavy price.
Our child is now just one year old. This is a key period in her life but Hu Jia is not able to be at her side. It is very difficult for me to talk about this, but I think…
And then Hu Jia has also always been very optimistic. He said he thought China was experiencing the most open period of its history, that you had to seize the opportunity to more effectively promote a fairer, freer and more democratic society in China.
We can indeed see this in our daily life, although the government still has very tight control over the media and over freedom of association, and perhaps even tighter control with the use of new technology. But on the other hand, civil society also uses the new technology and the platform that the Internet provides to actively promote a fairer judicial system and a more just society, and to investigate and expose the real China.
And to carry out citizen education, to educate citizens about human rights. It is a real hope: whether the government wants it or not, and whether leading figures inside or outside China recognise it or not, China is moving at great speed towards an open and democratic society.
I would finally like to say that, whatever happens, we must maintain an active and optimist attitude and pursue our efforts to promote the rule of law in China, to promote democracy and freedom in China.
We are full of hope of soon being able to hail the arrival of an open China. We are full of energy for China to become a country at peace.
I would like to thank our European Parliament friends from the bottom of my heart. The European Parliament has from the outset taken an interest in Hu Jia’s case and has deployed considerable efforts on behalf of freedom for Hu Jia and other Chinese human rights activists, efforts that demand respect.
It has also never stopped drawing attention to the need for freedom to become a reality for the people of China. Thank you, thank you very much.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those friends who I have never seen. If you had not supported us for so long, if you had not taken an interest in our fate, if you had not constantly encouraged us, I think we would never have found the courage to confront such a difficult social reality.
It helps us to keep hope and to continue our efforts.
I thank you. Thank you for all the efforts you have undertaken for Hu Jia, for me and for our family. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of human rights activists and you contribution to the progress of Chinese society.
Thank you, thank you. And goodbye.