By Yan Wenxin, published: March 25, 2015
Lawyer Yan Wenxin (燕文薪)’s post on Weibo:
After trying unsuccessfully for four consecutive work days, I finally met with Li Tingting (aka Maizi) today, March 25th, 2015. Maizi said that she had been anticipating meeting with me the last few days, and she had told the preliminary interrogators (预审员), following this morning’s interrogation, that she was expecting her lawyer and that they’d better not come to summon her again before 3:30 pm today. “If you come before that time,” she told them, “I will not go with you even if you are to carry me off.”
Maizi told me that, during the days between my first meeting [on March 12] and this meeting, she was interrogated frequently, two to three times a day except on Saturdays, lasting until 11 pm. One of the days she was interrogated until 1:30 am, and then she was assigned night watch duty from 2 – 4 am. Because detainees had to get up at 6 am, she got only two hours of sleep. I told her that this constituted interrogation inducing exhaustion, and I would file a complaint against it.
Maizi also told me that the head of the preliminary interrogation team and another police officer often used abusive language to insult her. There were times they would open the partition door, walk up to her, and blow smoke on her face. The interrogators asked about the women’s rights activities she had participated in, such as Women’s Day Posting (三八贴贴贴), Occupy Men’s Room (占领男厕所), Wounded Bride (受伤的新娘), and Shaving My Head (剃光头). They demanded that Maizi acknowledge these actions to be wrongdoings. But Maizi told them that these were activities were meant to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality. Some were performance art, involving no wrongdoing, let alone committing crimes. She resisted the police’s pressure.
Maizi said that she got along very well with other inmates who were indignant at the authorities’ treatment of her and respected her for her work. She told me that she had been reading books about law, and she wanted to work toward taking the bar exams when she’s free. I was very happy to hear this as more people are determined to join the fight for democracy, freedom, and rule of law in China, and there is no reason not to be hopeful.
Maizi said that, though she had a hard time in her first days in the detention center, she had been adapting to life in custody. When she felt low a few days ago, she recalled that when she was summoned by police during the Occupy Men’s Room campaign, an older advocate for women’s rights sent her a text saying that “you are suffering for the cause of women’s rights.” She said she felt inspired by such encouragement. She said activism had made her life meaningful and focused, and she wanted dedicate her life to fighting for women’s rights. She said she would persevere despite hardship.
Though Maizi had been treated badly in the detention center, she was nonetheless in good spirit, remaining composed and optimistic. She has kept up exercises and is in good health. Throughout the meeting, I was deeply moved by her bravery, perseverance and optimism, qualities rarely seen in her peers. The strength of her personality shone through, and it made me believe that this young woman would be more extraordinary in the future and I was honored to be representing her.
After the first meeting with Li Tingting on March 12, lawyer Yan wenxin reported that none of the police officers who raided Li Tingting’s home and took her into custody in the night of March 6th displayed IDs. The summon notice and the search warrant they displayed were blank without even her name on them. Lawyer Yan said she would be filing a complaint against such outrageous violation of the law by the police.
China rejects international pleas to release five feminists from jail, the Guardian, March 25, 2015.
The Education of Detained Chinese Feminist Li Tingting, an Excerpt from “China’s Millennials: The Want Generation” by Eric Fish.
(Translated by China Change)