'They Are Locking Up The Conscience of Our Society'

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china-li-huaping-rfa-interview-aug-2015.jpg He Xiaolian, wife of Chinese rights activist Li Huaping, speaks to RFA about her husband's role as a prisoner of conscience, Aug. 12, 2015.

Chinese rights activist Li Huaping, known by his online nickname "Norwegian Wood," or Nuowei Senlin, was led away by police on his release from prison in the eastern province of Anhui, and taken to a neighboring province in handcuffs, before being released in a strange city. Li had been active in the New Citizens' Movement founded by rights activist Xu Zhiyong, and had protested on behalf of Zhang Anni, daughter of veteran dissident Zhang Lin. His wife, He Xiaolian, spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service about her husband's role as a prisoner of conscience:

I don't think that prison can defeat Li Huaping. But sometimes I feel very afraid, because prison can be even more evil than we expect it to be.

This sort of thing makes people like us, on the outside, free people, whose family members have been treated like this, wonder exactly what prisons are actually doing.

They should be there just to make sure people are locked up, right? But they are also locking up the conscience of our society.

I often feel that there are a lot of evil trends in our society. There's a reason for that. The evil in the system has destroyed society; it has destroyed the conscience of its members.

These sorts of things are still happening. I don't need to think any more, or read any more books; I can tell from experiences like this, which are terrifying.

Whenever people talk about Li Huaping's jailing, they do it in the same breath as Zhang Anni. But actually, even before the Anni incident, Li Huaping was very clear that he was part of the citizens' movement.

When [New Citizens Movement founder] Xu Zhiyong was locked up, he felt very keenly that this was a signal, that's what he said.

I also knew it, because whenever we would talk, it would always be about the New Citizens' Movement. That was a huge topic, and it was the thing the authorities feared the most.

He said he couldn't run away, because that would get his local police officers into hot water. But at the same time, he said he wasn't afraid to go to jail. What he feared was weakening the power of those left on the outside.

I think he is thinking about a lot of things right now, because he is a very independent thinker. I am waiting for him to tell me about life in prison ... I don't think he has changed. If anything, he is a bit more mature; that's what jail has done to him.

He still feels that he has a huge moral responsibility, although he feels very weary at heart. He feels a heavy burden of duty on his shoulders.

Reported by CK for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated by Luisetta Mudie.


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