Bob Fu, Guo Feixiong’s wife and daughter testify at U.S. Congressional hearing about Guo Feixiong and freedom of expression in China

China Aid Association

At table, from left: Zhang Qing, “Sara” Yang, and Bob Fu testify at the
congressional hearing. (ChinaAid)

(Washington, D.C.—Nov. 1, 2013) ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu and the wife and daughter of Guo Feixiong, Zhang Qing and Yang Tianjiao, testified at a hearing of the U. S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights about Guo Feixiong and freedom of expression in China on Tuesday.

Below are the testimonies ordered as listed above:

Bob Fu

Hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to be held by the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building
DATE: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
SUBJECT: Guo Feixiong and Freedom of Expression in China
WITNESSES: Ms. Zhang Qing Wife of Guo Feixiong
Ms. Yang Tianjiao Daughter of Guo Feixiong
Pastor Bob Fu Founder and President ChinaAid Association
CHAIRMEN: Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ)

The Chinese Government is Severely Suppressing Dissident Leaders. The Environment for Freedom of Speech Continues to Worsen.

Pastor Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association.

Since the beginning of this year, the environment for freedom of speech in China has rapidly worsened. The Chinese Communist authorities have launched a campaign across China to strictly purge opinions voiced on the Internet. Meanwhile, the official propaganda of the Chinese Communists severely criticizes democratic constitutional trains of thought. Besides, the Communist government also severely suppresses the new civil movement. According to incomplete statistics, from the protest incident of of Nanfang Daily until now, over 100 people across China have been arrested for expressing themselves or for peaceful petitioning.

Mr. Guo Feixiong was secretly arrested under such a circumstance. Guo Feixiong is a prominent dissident and a rights defender in China. In the past 10 years, he has been illegally detained and arrested many times. On November 12, 2007, he was sentenced to five years by the Chinese Communists. During his detention, he was tortured and mistreated many times. The direct reason for Guo Feixiong’s arrest this August is his participation in the peaceful protest by of Nanfang Daily at the beginning of this year. He delivered a speech to the crowd calling on the government officials to make public the value of their properties and calling for freedom of speech and freedom of press. His lawyer’s requests to meet with Guo Feixiong were rejected six times by the Public Security agency.

Let me elaborate on three aspects that prove that the human rights status in China continues to worsen and the space for freedom of speech is further condensed.

1. The Chinese Communist government is reorganizing and strictly controlling the Internet.
There has been a huge increase in the number of cyberpolice officers in China. The Golden Shield Project and the Great Firewall of China strictly shield overseas websites that the Chinese Communists think are sensitive, and they filter a large amount of information. The socializing tools of the Chinese citizens such as email, Microblog, QQ, Skype, Wechat, etc., have been under surveillance. Many netizens have been summoned or detained just because they talked about civil society, gatherings in the same city, constitutionalism and democracy in their QQ chatting lounges or emails. The Chinese government has trained two million web moderators to delete posted messages and to “guide public opinion.” Such a system of selective and unilateral indoctrination of information is a typical means by which an autocratic society monopolizes information and controls people’s mind.

In the past four months, the Chinese Communists have arrested some influential people in their exclusive operation called “reorganizing and cracking down on web rumors,” such as Xue Biqun (net name: Xue Manzi) who has 12 million fans, Qin Zhihui (net name: Qin Huohuo), Yang Xiuyu (net name: Lisanchaisi), Zhou Lubao, Fu Xuesheng, Dong Liangjie (important environmentalists), and Dong Rubin (net name: Bianmin). The purpose of this operation by the Chinese Communists is to warn and punish those influential public intellectuals so that the ordinary netizens will not dare to voice their opinions on political and social issues that the Chinese Communists think are sensitive.

For this purpose, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in China jointly issued “Interpretation on Several Questions on the Applicable Law on Criminal Cases of Utilizing the Internet for Slandering.” The judicial interpretation clearly stipulates: “Those who utilize the Internet to slander other people and whose slandering information has over 5,000 hits or whose information has been transferred for over 500 times would fit in the case of ‘serious circumstance that constitutes the crime of slandering’ as stipulated in Clause 1 of Article 246 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. The publication of this regulation has caused hundreds of millions of netizens to fear freely expressing themselves. There are no ways for the Chinese people to get true and complete information and to truly express their own opinions and publish their comments on public issues that concern them.

2. The Chinese Communists severely suppress people who freely express themselves and peacefully fight for civil rights.
A group of public intellectuals with a sense of social responsibility and citizens who are fighting for basic human rights are being cracked down on by the Chinese Communist government. Several dozens of these citizens have been arrested and will face sentencing for calling on the government officials to make public the value of their properties, for calling for the implementation of constitutional democracy and free elections and for fighting for equality in the right to receive education.

Dr. Xu Zhiyong, an instructor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and the former head of Open Constitution Initiative, was placed on criminal detention on July 16, 2013, on the charge of “gathering a mob to disrupt the order of a public place” because he called for the establishment of a civil society and equality in the right to education. On August 23, he was officially arrested. Mr. Wang Gongquan, a famous investor in China who is enthusiastic in public good and who called for actions of new citizens and equality in the right to education was placed on criminal detention on the same charge as Xu Zhiyong. He was officially arrested last week.

In March, Yuan Dong, Zhang Baocheng, Hou Xin, Ma Xinli and other citizens totaling 10 people drew a banner in Xidan, Beijing asking the government officials to make public the value of their properties. They were placed under criminal detention. After that, several dozens of citizens from Guangzhou in the south through Harbin in the north have been arrested for going into the streets calling for the government officials to make public the value of their properties. On April 17, Mr. Zhao Changqing, a prominent Christian dissident, was arrested in Beijing. He was arrested only because he peacefully unfolded a banner in a street in Beijing demanding that the government officials make public the value of their properties. Ding Jiaxi, a rights defense attorney, was arrested with the same charge.

At the end of April, Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping, and Li Sihua of Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province were arrested for publicly calling for free elections. The case was tried in court yesterday. The dissident Zhang Lin was arrested on July 28 for publicly protesting against the local government for depriving his daughter of her right to attend schools. This is the fifth time he has been arrested. On August 10, Li Huaping, a web writer in Shanghai, was arrested for calling for the citizens in the same city to gather together. On September 3, Yao Cheng, a rights defender in Anhui, was arrested by the police for fighting for Zhang Lin’s 10-year-old daughter’s right to attend schools. According to incomplete statistics, in half a year, over 100 people across China have been arrested for freely expressing themselves or for peacefully gathering together to protest.

We see from this that since Mr. Xi Jinping took power, the Chinese government has become more severe in suppressing the rights defenders, restricting the freedom of speech and in controlling the society.

3. The status of human rights continues to worsen and the rule of law has suffered a retrogression.
Due to the growth of the Internet, the number of netizens in China is already nearly 600 million. There is no way that the Chinese Communists can completely block information and control public opinions as they used to do in the past. On the one hand, the corruption of the Chinese Communist officials has reached a high point rarely seen in history and the conflicts between the officials and the general public are becoming more and more intense. On the other hand, the general public has experienced an awakening in their consciousness of civil rights and human rights. The great masses all call on the Chinese Communists to launch political reforms, implement democratic constitutionalism as soon as possible and protect basic human rights from being violated.

To keep social stability and consolidate its own power, the Chinese Communists disregard various increasingly-aggravating social crises, ignore the appeal of hundreds of millions of people, and disregard the pressure from the international community. They resort to high-handed policies in dealing with the great masses. Doubtlessly, more than ever before, China has become a police state. Governments at various levels totally disregard the law and depend on violent means to solve various social conflicts. The disasters of human rights happen frequently and the rule of law has obviously suffered a retrogression.

Every day in China, there are thousands of incidents of forced demolition of houses and every year dozens of millions of people’s properties are violated. As a result, there are dozens of millions of petitioners. However, the great majority of these petitioners who try to seek justice and rule of law from the higher authorities are brutally treated by the governments at various levels. Since the beginning of this year, forced demolition has caused the death of dozens of people. The citizens are violently deprived of their right of properties and other legal rights. By October, the Shanghai petitioner Feng Zhenghu has been under arbitrary detention and illegal surveillance at his residence for nearly 800 days.

The Chinese Communist government continues to severely suppress the house churches and persecute the Christians there. In April of this year, Han Hai and six other Christians from Pingdingshan City of Henan Province were sentenced from three years to seven and a half years of imprisonment by the local court on the crime of being a cult while the real reason is just because they studied the Bible on a Sunday. On June 17, 2013, Xiaodian District Court of Taiyuan in the trial of first instance sentenced Ren Lacheng, a Christian from Enyu Bookstore, to five years in prison and sentenced Li Wenxi to two years in prison on the charge of “illegal business operation.”

On August 31, 2013, Liang Zhongxin, a Christian and a Sunday school teacher in a house church in Shaya County, Xinjiang, and three other people were placed under a 15-day administrative detention and were fined 1,000 yuan for giving Bible lessons to some middle school students. On July 25, 2013, a court in Inner Mongolia sentenced Christian Hu Gong to nine years in prison and sentenced Wen Weihong and Liu Aiying to eight years in prison on the same charge. According to incomplete statistics, within half a year, about a hundred house churches in over 10 provinces in China have suffered persecution. The gatherings at these house churches were raided, church properties were confiscated, religious books and other items were destroyed, believers were illegally detained and threatened, and pastors were detained.

What has aroused the most concern is the incident in which Peking University dismissed associate professor Xia Yeliang, which shows the position of the Chinese government in strictly controlling the freedom of speech. Xia Yeliang promoted China’s reform towards democratic constitutionalism on the Internet. Because of this, the school came under a great pressure from the authorities and had to dismiss him. There is ample evidence that shows there is a tendency that Xi Jinping’s administration is trying to control the ideology as it was done during Mao Zedong’s reign.

It’s sad for us to see that the status of human rights and rule of law in China is seriously disconcerting. Without human dignity or basic human rights, the modernization of China is worthless. On the contrary, when China is headed toward the opposite direction of universal values, this doubtlessly poses a greater and greater threat to America and to the civilized world. America has a proud tradition of supporting freedom and justice. In the face of the Chinese Communist government that willfully tramples on the human dignity and opposes the universal values, America should loudly show its position to the Chinese Communist government, instead of doing nothing to restrain it.

Zhang Qing

Hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to be held by the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building
DATE: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
SUBJECT: Guo Feixiong and Freedom of Expression in China
WITNESSES: Ms. Zhang Qing Wife of Guo Feixiong
Ms. Yang Tianjiao Daughter of Guo Feixiong
Pastor Bob Fu Founder and President ChinaAid Association
CHAIRMEN: Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ)

Zhang Qing

Honorable Chairman, Vice Chairman, Congressmen, and guests,

I’m thankful to have this opportunity to give you an introduction on my husband Guo Feixiong –his legal case, his activities in defending human rights, his ideals, his personality, and his character.

In China today, human rights conditions continue to deteriorate. In a new round of government crackdowns on civil movements this summer, my husband, Guo Feixiong, was detained again. This is his fourth time in prison within two years since he was released on September 13, 2011, after serving five years in prison on a false conviction.

Guo Feixiong was detained for the fourth time on August, 8, 2013. It wasn’t until August 17, when his sister, Yang Maoping, received a notice of detention, that we learned that he was charged with “gathering a mob to disrupt the order of a public site.” It was speculated that his detention was caused by his support of The Southern Weekly incident and the speech he delivered in public. He said in his speech, “China’s system of censorship on books and newspapers is a censorship on people’s thinking that free-thinkers and freedom fighters have strongly opposed since ancient times. This system should have been abolished long ago. We support The Southern Weekly today not just because it is being suppressed and persecuted. We need to rethink everything and fight for a universal right – freedom of speech. Freedom of speech releases the voice of hundreds of millions of people. It is an amplifier of citizens’ power.”

His attorney went to Tianhe detention center in Guangdong Province, requesting to meet with him, but was denied. So far his attorney has made seven requests to visit him, but all have been denied. According to the law in China, detention should not exceed 37 days. After this period of time, the police must either release the litigant or issue an official arrest warrant to the litigant’s family and lawyer. But the reality is that Guo Feixiong is still in detention, and neither his family nor lawyer has received an arrest warrant.

It wasn’t until October 15, when his attorney submitted legal papers to the Tianhe Procuratorate to file a lawsuit, that the staff of the Parocuratorate said that Guo Feixiong had been officially arrested on September 12. On October 16, an official arrest warrant was delivered to Guo Feixiong’s sister. These details show that someone behind the scenes orchestrated the whole process, including the timing of delivering legal papers to Guo Feixiong’s family. Guo Feixiong’s attorney commented that the Chinese authorities had “blatantly violated the law” in handling Guo Feixiong’s case, which is manifested in Guo Feixiong’s secret detention and secret arrest.

Guo Feixiong has been in detention for 78 days. The seven requests his attorney made to meet with him have all been denied. To this day, we still don’t know his situation. This is a unique case of the authority’s blatant violation of the law. We can’t help but ask what the authorities are trying to cover up by unlawfully denying Guo Feixiong visits from his attorney? Is he suffering torture again or on a hunger strike protesting the government’s illegal detention?

Guo Feixiong is a sincere believer of freedom and democracy – an idealist. He promotes the values and ideals of democracy and constitutionalism and practices his beliefs with actions. Since he started to participate in China’s human rights defense activities in 2003, he has been at the front line of the citizens’ rights defense movement for 10 years, serving the needs of the massive, marginalized people in society. Because of this kind of work, he was subjected to all kinds of brutal suppression, including four detainments, multiple beatings, and unlawful summons by the police. In 2006, because he was beat up, he, together with Gao Zhisheng, Fan Yafeng, and Zhao Xin, started a global hunger strike for defending rights. He wrote an article afterwards, The Radicalness and Moderation of Relay Hunger Strike –the 3rd Commentary on the Global Relay Hunger Strike for Human Rights and against Violence, highly regarding the significance of hunger strikes.

Later, July 2005, Guo Feixiong was hired as a legal advisor by villagers of the Taishi village, giving them legal assistance in their efforts to remove the corrupt village chief from office. The authorities responded to the villagers’ legal request with a violent crackdown and many people were put in jail. Guo Feixiong was also seized and detained. He went on a hunger strike of 59 days to protest the government’s illegal detention. Tao Jun, a democracy advocator, wrote in A Look at the Chinese People’s Rights Defense and Courage through Guo Feixiong, “His multiple detainments are a result of his unyieldingness and a demonstration of his remarkable courage and decisiveness. His is one of the few true men who display the courage of the Chinese people, and they are a rare species in China today. His rights defense activities at Taishi village and his initiation of efforts to rescue Gao Zhisheng manifest his great courage and character. In spite of repeated persecutions, secret scheming by the government against him, and backstabbing from his peers, he remained unruffled and maintained his capacity to fight. His spirit of tenacity and persistence invites us to ponder. Courage has been eliminated to the edge of extinction in our nation, so his courage and braveness are as noble and precious as diamonds.”

In an article about Guo Feixiong, Boxun News wrote, “The courage and the spirit of fighting have been wrung out of the blood of the Chinese people. Over several thousands of years, the Chinese people have nearly become boneless creatures through domestication: cowardly, withdrawn from the world, self-effacing, putting up with abuse, and without principles. Guo Feixiong’s courage seems to have lit up this world of cowards.” (

On August 5, 2006, Gao Zhisheng was arrested. Guo Feixiong organized rescue efforts with enthusiasm. As a result, he was subjected to the government’s retaliation and was detained on September 14, 2006, on the charge of “illegal business activity” in connection with the publication of a book exposing political corruption, Shenyang Political Earthquake.

The authorities detained him without citing any material evidence and refused to release him based on the lack of facts against him. They brutally tortured him and transferred him from Guangzhou in southern China to Shenyang in northeastern China so as to use more brutal torture to crush his spirit and belief in the cause of freedom and democracy. They also used torture to create a false conviction and rip away his freedom.

Here is a list of abuses and tortures my husband went through:

1. He was interrogated for 13 days and nights nonstop and deprived of sleep at Guangzhou No.1 Detention Center.

2. Chains were put on his feet for more than 100 days at Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center.

3. He was shackled to a wooden bed with his hands and feet crossed, unable to bend any part of his body, for 42 days at Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center.

4. At Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center, the police pulled his hair, tickled him, and insulted him for more than 20 days.

5. A black cover was put on his head, which is typically given to inmates on death row, after he was transferred to Shenyang. He was taken to a secret location for detention and suffered brutal beatings.

6. He was taken to a secret location for detention by Shenyang police and chained to a “tiger bench” for four hours.

7. At the secret location for detention in Shenyang, police hung him from the ceiling by his hands with only the strength of his shoulders to sustain his entire body weight.

8. At the secret location, police used an electric baton to electrocute his genitals.

9. Unable to bear the abuse of electrocuting his genitals, he attempted suicide by rushing towards glass windows.

10. Shenyang police locked him up with inmates on death row, who, in despair, threatened to gauge out Guo Feixiong’s eyes. He was forced to fight back using glass from a window he smashed.

All the above are facts my husband presented in his final statement at the court.

Guo Feixiong’s case was sent back to the Procuratorate for reinvestigation four times due to insufficient evidence, but eventually he was still sentenced to five years’ imprisonment based on verbal confessions obtained by using the shameless torture of electrocuting his genitals. As his wife, I refuse to accept a false conviction fabricated through the use of shameless torture methods. For this reason, I wrote open letters to the Chinese President, U.S. President Bush, and the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture to expose the torture my husband was subjected to. I also declared that I would go on a hunger strike every Wednesday until his release in protest against the Chinese government’s use to torture on Guo Feixiong and the false conviction of five years’ imprisonment.

The persecution of Guo Feixiong is not limited to him also, but also extended to his family and children. On the first day of Chinese New Year in 1996, we were tailed by a group of plainclothes and they took photos of our children, who were nine and four years old then. In prison, Guo Feixiong received this threat, “We’ll not let your son enroll in elementary school, and we’ll not let your daughter get into high school.” They meant what they said. When I took my son to the headmaster of an elementary school to enroll him in the first grade, the headmaster said firmly, with my 6-year-old son present, “If I kick your child out of school, that’ll be a violation of the law on education. If I refuse to accept your son as a student of our school, I’m not breaking any law.”

My son was barred from school for a year. The next year, it was time for my daughter to enter high school. But no school would accept her. In fear, my daughter said to me in tears, “I don’t want to stay at home with no school like my brother.” My children’s education was interfered with and controlled. These illegal practices made us feel completely insecure.

On September 13, 2011, Guo Feixiong was released from prison and he resumed his services for the disadvantaged people.

The rights defense activities he participated in include:

· Made public speeches and published articles in support of The Southern Weekly

· Organized and participated in the “Investigation into Li Wangyang’s Death”

· Called on the National People’s Congress to approve the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

· Demanded Chinese government officials to disclose their income to the public

Guo Feixiong participated in the 1986 student’s movement of Shanghai and the 1989 nationwide students’ movement. He is a sincere believer of freedom and democracy. Despite the brutal suppression he was subjected to, he refused to give up his convictions on freedom and democracy.

During the Chinese government’s crackdown on rights defense movement in 2006, he suffered the severest torture and received the longest prison term. Gao Zhisheng was sentenced to three years, with a five-year probation. Hu Jia got three years and six months. Chen Guangcheng got four years and three months. Guo Feixiong got five years.

In a new round of government crackdown on civil movements this year, Guo Feixiong was dealt with illegally. He was secretly detained and secretly arrested, and has been denied attorney’s visits to this day. People on the outside have no idea how he was detained and how he is doing at the detention center. We are concerned that he may be tortured. It is also possible that he is on a hunger strike in protest against the government’s illegal detention of him, or there may be something else going on.

It wasn’t until August 17 that people on the outside found out about Guo Feixiong’s detention. Global Times, a government-sanctioned Chinese newspaper, issued an editorial on August 18, saying that this campaign launched by the government against human rights movement was named “Decapitation.”

The family members and lawyers of those detained in this campaign were all notified about their detention in a timely manner according to normal procedures. The detained all met with their lawyers except Guo Feixiong, who was denied visits of his lawyer seven times.

Guo Feixiong sets a great example of someone who fights for freedom and human rights, does not fear mighty power, and does not submit to it. We often pray “lead us not into temptation” because we know the Devil’s temptations are vicious and cruel and many people can’t overcome them.

Guo Feixiong overcame temptations with his courage and his firm belief in freedom and democracy. The number of days he was on hunger strike totals 100 days. He has kept the baseline for this generation of people. He has always been considered a hero by pro-democracy activists.

I call on the international community and human rights organizations to supply moral support to Guo Feixiong, a warrior who is still fighting for human rights in darkness, affirm his sacrifice and his fighting spirit, and award him, so as to motivate more people to overcome fear and weakness and pursue human rights courageously.

Pro-democracy activists and scholars of China made this comment about Guo Feixiong: He is not only a theoretician, but also practices his theory. He has great influence on the development of civil and social movement. He values the development of civil society. He is good at drawing lessons from practices and applying them to other rights defense cases.

He has been at the frontline of civil movement for a decade and has been involved in many human rights defense activities both in theory and practice.

The Chinese government’s response to Guo Feixiong’s active involvement in the civil rights movement and his great influence is to give him the harshest suppression and persecution that they are able. The international community has not given attention and moral support in proportion to the persecution Guo Feixiong has suffered. We notice that the U.S. government voiced its support to other activists arrested in the same period of time as Guo Feixiong’s arrest. Up to this point, Guo Feixiong has not been mentioned officially by the U.S. Department of State even though three weeks ago, I met with the acting Assistant Secretary of State and asked the U.S. government to make a public statement in support of Guo Feixiong’s release. It is a pity we haven’t seen that public statement being made. Today, I would like to make the following appeals to the U.S. government and Congress:

1. I call on President Obama and the U.S. Department of State to publicly mention Guo Feixiong’s name and make a public statement in support of Guo Feixiong’s innocence and release.

2. I ask the U.S. Congress to communicate with the Chinese authorities through the passing of a resolution or other effective means, expressing its strong concern for Guo Feixiong’s case and promoting and supporting his release. He is innocent. All he did is to promote the rule of law and human rights in China. Nothing he did has violated the law.

3. The U.S. Ambassador to China and the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou should ask the Chinese government for permission to meet with Guo Feixiong since he was denied visits from his attorney seven times.

The United States is a primary champion of human rights in the world and serves as a beacon for the global human rights movement. Therefore, the U.S. President, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Congress have the responsibility to speak up for and render moral support to Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong who has been persecuted for his work. I also call on the U.S. government and Congress to put pressure on the Chinese government, urging it to release all the prisoners detained for political reasons, conscience, and religious reasons. 

“Sara” Yang Tianjiao
Hearing of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to be held by the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building
DATE: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
SUBJECT: Guo Feixiong and Freedom of Expression in China
WITNESSES: Ms. Zhang Qing Wife of Guo Feixiong
Ms. Yang Tianjiao Daughter of Guo Feixiong
Pastor Bob Fu Founder and President ChinaAid Association
CHAIRMEN: Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ)

Testimony before Subcommittee on Africa, Health and Global Human Rights of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

By Tianjiao “Sara” Yang

Dear Honorable Chairman, members of Congress, and friends,

My name is Yang Tianjiao and my American name is Sara. My dad is Guo Feixiong. I am here to thank the Congress and Congressman Smith for giving me this opportunity to speak here.

The last time I saw my dad was about 7 years ago. It was in 2006, and I was only 10. I remember that he bought me this video game, and we played it almost every day during that summer. However, on September 14th, when I came back from school, he was gone, and I have not seen him since that day. I did not even have a chance to say “bye” or “I love you” to him.

Over the past 7 years, I have dreamed about him a lot. I dreamed that he would play that video game with me again so we could pass level 5 together. But they were only dreams. The next day I always found myself in tears.

I got to know about my dad’s condition from my mom’s conversations with her friends. My mom would not talk about my dad’s news in front of me because she thought it was too heavy for a 10-year-old girl to accept. But I still listened to them anyway, and to be honest, they were extremely heavy, sad, and shocking. I heard that he was incarcerated for five years. During those five years, the government transferred him to many different places and used numerous different tortures to against him. I was always so deeply hurt when I heard about them.

In 2009, we moved to the United States of America. In 2011, my dad got out of jail. The day he was out, we talked on the phone. I literally cried when I heard his voice. I had been longing to hear this voice for five years, and I could finally do that.

Over the past two years, I talked to my dad through Skype. He gave me advice for life, and I showed him my drawings. A few years ago, I drew my dad in a miniature cartoon form, and he immediately complained about the one short leg and one long leg when he saw it. Recently, my art skills have improved so much that he applauded my artwork. However, he still pushes me to move forward; he still wants me to draw like some of the most famous and brilliant artists–Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.

But the good times did not last long. He was captured, again, on August 8th, 2013. Again, I do not remember our last conversation. Again, I did not get to say a formal “goodbye” to him. Again, I have not heard his voice for about 70 days. Again, I miss him so much.

Right now, I have a water color painting of my dad that I finished in September. I hang it on my wall so that I can see his face every day. In this painting, he is smiling. In my memory that is what he looked like every day when we were together. Also, I composed a piano piece called “The Cosmos.” This is a piece for my dad. I would always laugh at him when he joked that he fell asleep to my piano playing.

However, words, drawings, and music cannot express how much I miss him. My dad is a great man; he is my hero. He has helped so many people. He, a man who pursues democracy, works so hard to improve the law of China. I, his daughter, always want my dad to have the freedom that he works so hard to achieve for others. I always want him to be safe and free. President Obama, you also have two daughters; you are also a human-right lawyer. I wish that President Obama can send a request to China to free my father. I do not know what has happened to him in jail for the past two months. I am so worried about his health, so I hope that the Congress will talk to the Chinese government and secure my father’s freedom!

Thank you very much!!

“Sara” Yang Tianjiao

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