Ge Xun (left) with Sheng Xue, a Chinese-Canadian journalist and activist
Seeing Red in China has translated a most fascinating account written by Ge Xun (葛洵), a Chinese man who migrated to the United States in 1986. He was back in Beijing recently to take care of funeral arrangements for his mother who had just died at the age of 83. After he was done with family matters, Ge planned to pay a visit to famed “Tiananmen Mother” Ding Zilin (丁子霖), a retired professor whose son was killed in the June 4 crackdown in 1989, and who now leads a group of women like herself to press the government to uncover the truth.
As soon as he arrived at Ding’s residential compound however, Ge was taken away by security agents, held at a compound for 21 hours, and interrogated over just about everything he had ever done — including the Free Chen Guangcheng website that he had created to support the blind activist who is now kept under house arrest in Linfen. Here’s what the interrogation was like:
Interrogator: “What is it all about? You are the initiator, correct? Who are the members? How much money have you spent on it? Who gave you the money?”
Me: “I set it up to collect everything about Chen Guangcheng in Chinese or other languages. The purpose is to get more people to know about him, raise awareness of the plight of him and his family, and call for his freedom. It needs no money, nor did anyone give me money. It’s built on a free blogging platform. Members are netizens whom I don’t personally know.”
Interrogator: “Where did you find them? Who are they? How do you contact them? How do you direct them?”
Me: “I invited all the editors from Twitter. We’re all volunteers. Whoever sees something, as long as it concerns Chen Guangcheng, re-publishes it on our site. We don’t originate content. I am not a leader, and there is no need for us to contact each other.”
Interrogator: “That’s not possible! How can a website belong to no organization, no leader, not spending money? Impossible!”