Melamine scandal activist Zhao Lianhai (赵连海) has spoken out against the detention of Ai Weiwei and others while in talks with the police this week. Zhou, whose son was made ill by the 2008 melamine scandal and who campaigned rigorously for just compensation for all victims, was sentenced to prison in November of last year for inciting disorder. Released on medical leave in December, he broke his public silence this week to condemn Ai Weiwei’s arrest.
Facing threats like ‘be quiet or go back to jail’, Zhao is adamantly refusing to keep silent. If sent back to prison, he claims he will go on hunger strike and is prepared to die.
Zhao released a video on Tuesday lamenting the direction of the crackdown and appealing to authorities to release Ai Weiwei and others (read the full translation over at China Media Project):
Ah, it’s been months now, connecting with the authorities and officials all along, no matter on what issues or sharing what views, and we’ve all been full of goodwill. We’ve suffered some wrongs as individuals, but that’s fine. We’re all adults, right. We can withstand it. But we hope that this country has a brighter future, so that more of these children who will grow up in our wake live in a happy country, without fear, without persecution. Ah, I didn’t think I would get so worked up. These words I’m saying are coming right from my gut. I hope our leaders can hear this, can understand our wishes as the people. The errors and mistakes of the past don’t matter. We have time to make amends, including the government. Ah, right here, right now, all I can do is let out my voice, calling on the authorities to release Ai Weiwei, and to release all of those who have been arrested recently — these people who have such a strong sense of responsibility to their society.
Video after the jump…