Gao Liping is a petitioner from the northeastern city of Baicheng, Jilin province, who had pursued a complaint against the authorities for impounding her taxi cab for the past 22 years, eventually winning one back after two decades of poverty. Shortly after being detained in Beijing and taken back to her hometown by officials, she spoke to RFA's Cantonese Service reporter Wen Yuqing about what made her keep trying:
I believe in justice and in the law. That's what I believe; that eventually I will get justice.
[My cab being impounded] brought huge changes to my life. It was the biggest blow I have ever suffered. Back then, we were sharing a taxi cab as a couple, and our income was good. We could make 300-400 yuan (U.S. $50-65) a day ... Now, we are unemployed. My daughter is 24 now, while my son is four years old. Who wouldn't complain? My child got 480 points on her university entrance exam, which is just a few marks short of getting into an academic degree program, but we couldn't afford for her to repeat a year, so she had to go to a vocational college instead.
After [my cab was impounded] in 1992, I spent eight years trying to file a lawsuit until 2000, when they finally agreed to take my case. But there were mistakes in the legal process, and there was a retrial in 2005 [which was decided against me], so I appealed it all the way to the Supreme People's Court. They pushed it back for another hearing in Jilin, and the Jilin court ordered me into mediation. But I tried to appeal back at the Supreme People's Court again, because no agreement was reached. I pursued that for two years, and in 2009 I received notification that they wouldn't accept the case, and ordering me not to pursue it further.
In 2009, I came to Beijing, but no one would pay any attention to me and I was escorted back home. When I got back to Jilin, they wouldn't accept my case there either. So I started writing articles on the Internet and they detained me in Beijing again, and threw me in a labor camp.
While I was in there, I was pregnant, and they didn't let me out until I was four months along.
In 2011, I came back to Beijing for three reasons. One was a taxi cab auction; the second was [my appeal] against my illegal labor camp sentence, and the third was my appeal against illegal court processes. That ended up with me getting very agitated, and getting beaten up and a bone broken, and eventually the issues of my taxi cab license and the re-education through labor were resolved. They gave me a taxi cab, but the issue of the illegal court processes hasn't been resolved yet.
Reported by Wen Yuqing for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated by Luisetta Mudie.