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Published: July 10, 2014
Li Huaping (李化平), known online as “Norwegian Wood” (挪威森林), is a dissident and activist based in Shanghai. A key figure in the New Citizens Movement, he was arrested in August, 2013, charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Trial of Li Huaping is expected soon. — The editor
Hefei Municipality Shushan District People’s Procuratorate
Shu Procuratorate criminal indict. (2014) No. 152
Defendant Li Huaping, male, born September 6, 1966, ID number: 51010219660906****, ethnic Han, originally from Lianyuan municipality, Hunan Province, undergraduate university education level, freelancer, home address [redacted by translators] Wuchuan Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai, place of household registration: [redacted by translators], Hetang District, Zhuzhou Municipality, Hunan Province. Defendant Li Huaping was criminally detained on August 12, 2013, by Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau Shushan Branch on suspicion of gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place. On September 18, 2013, this Procuratorate approved the arrest of the defendant and the arrest was carried out by Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau Shushan Branch.
The Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau Shushan Branch conducted and completed an investigation on this case, and transferred it to this Procuratorate on November 18, 2013, for review for the indictment of defendant Li Huaping on suspicion of the crime of gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place. Upon receiving the filing, this Procuratorate notified the defendant on November 19, 2013, of his right todefense, interrogated the defendant in accordance with the law, and reviewed all the materials of this case. During this process, [the case] was sent back to the investigating organ twice for supplementary investigations, and the time period for reviewing and deciding on an indictment was extended two times.
Investigation in accordance with the law has ascertained:
On the morning of April 8, 2013, after learning about the matter with Zhang XX’s school enrollment (Zhang XX did not meet the requirement for enrolling in the nearest elementary school), defendant Li Huaping, in collusion with Tang Chunsheng (dealt with in a separate case), Zhang Lin (dealt with in a separate case) and 20 or so others met in Hefei where they went to Hupo Elementary School to discuss the enrollment of Zhang XX. Li Huaping and others gathered next to Hupo Elementary School where they unfurled banners, shot videos, gave speeches, took photos and posted them online, causing people to gather and watch. Pushing and pulling, they also engaged in a lengthy argument with the police officers on duty who had rushed to the site to persuade them to leave, and they refused to leave. At noon on the same day, Li Huaping, Tan Chunsheng, Zhang Lin and others returned to the guesthouse where they were staying to continue discussions of their activities. Li Huaping suggested that they continue to gather by Hupo Elementary School in the afternoon. In the afternoon, Li Huaping, Tan Chunsheng, Zhang Lin and 20 or so others again met at Hupo Elementary School where they unfurled banners, and displayed and shouted slogans to create impact.
Between April 9 and 10, defendant Li Huaping again invited and gathered Chen Yunfei, Gao Rongli, Cai Jiatao and others to unfurl banners insulting to the police in front of Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau and Anhui Province Public Security Department, both of which are located on thoroughfares, and posted photos online. They also set up tents in front of the provincial Public Security Department and spent a night there in order to create impact. The actions of defendant Li Huaping and others caused many people to gather and watch. During the course of the incident, police officers on duty rushed to the site in front of the provincial Public Security Department, asking Li Huaping and the others to disperse and leave immediately. Li Huaping and the others refused to leave.
On the early evening of April 10, defendant Li Huaping came to where the municipal government plaza once was along with Chen Yunfei and Huang Yi. Li Huaping called others to join them as soon as they could and organized a “Send Zhang XX to School” candle light prayer session. Defendant Li Huaping organized and directed on the site and gave speeches. More than thirty people attended the session which attracted many others to gather and watch.
On April 11 and 12, to amplify the social impact of the event, defendant Li Huaping participated in a 24-hour hunger strike relay next to Hupo Elementary School.
On August 10, 2013, defendant Li Huaping was apprehended by the public security organ.
The evidence affirming the facts stated above is as follows:1. the course of apprehension, explanation of the circumstances, police call record, and other documentary evidence; 2. witness statements by Zhang Lin, Tan Chunsheng and others; 3. defendant Li Huaping’s statement; 4. the electronic physical evidence inspection report provided by Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau’s Electronic Testing Center; 5. On-site investigation, inspection, search reports produced by Hefei Municipal Public Security Bureau Shushan Branch; 6. Video and audio materials, and electronic data.
This Procuratorate believes that defendants Li Huaping organized and plotted to have others gather in public places where they carried out a series of behaviors that disrupted order in these public places, gathered a crowd to disrupt order in public places in a serious manner, thereby violating Article 291 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. The criminal facts are clear, the evidence is credible and sufficient, and [the defendant] should be subjected to criminal prosecution for gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places. In accordance with Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, we hereby indict [the defendant] and ask [the court] to sentence him in accordance with the law.
Sincerely submitted to:
Hefei Municipality Shushan District People’s Court
Hefei Municipality Shushan District People’s Procuratorate (seal)
Prosecutors: Wang Weimin, Dai Wenjun
May 5, 2014
- Defendant Li Huaping is currently detained in Hefei Municipal First Detention Center.
- There are a total of 6 volumes of files and 8 compact discs.
A Chinese Dissident Makes Demands of Xi Jinping, by Li Huaping
(Translated by China Change)
In my recent blog “Lock Up and Lock Down” about crackdowns on dissidents and activists during the Two Meetings, I mentioned an incident about a ten-year-old girl whose father is a dissident in Hefei, Anhui (安徽合肥):
“In a particularly egregious episode of this year’s clamping down on dissidents, on February 27 in Hefei, Anhui (安徽合肥), four men kidnapped Zhang Anni (张安妮), the 10-year-old daughter of Zhang Lin (张林), after the school let out, and took her to the local police station. There she was detained for 20 hours without being given food or water, or even a blanket to stay warm. Later, the police also searched Zhang Lin’s home, taking away his computer, cell phone, cash, and other important necessities. The father and daughter have since been deported to Bengpu (蚌埠) where Anni, scared and refusing to talk for days, has no school to go for the time being.
“A Tsinghua-trained nuclear physicist, Zhang Lin is a veteran dissident who has served three prison terms since the 1980s, totaling 13 years.”
Anni (安妮) still has not been able to go back to school. Before the Two Meetings, Zhang Lin lived in Hefei where Anni went to Hupo Elementary School (琥珀小学) and Anni’s older sister attends college in the same city. For Zhang Lin, a single father now (I believe), Hefei is where he wants to live to be close to both children, but he has been repeatedly forced out of the city and back to Bengbu (安徽蚌埠), his hometown. For Anni, she has made it clear to her dad that she wants to go back to Hupo ES because “there are only 23 kids in my class!” (the typical class size in China is twice as big.)
Monday, in an action called “Sending Anni Back to School,” 40 some lawyers and netizens from across China arrived in Hefei to protest on behalf of Anni, demanding that the child be allowed to resume school in Hupo ES. The school’s representative came out on Monday telling the father to go to the “relevant organ” to get a guarantee that the child will never be taken away from school by unidentified people. Today the school said that Zhang Anni does not meet the requirements for enrollment.
The crowd protested in front of various government sites in Hefei, including the Public Security Bureau and the Education Bureau, but no one has come out to speak to them except for scores of plain clothes and uniformed policemen watching over the crowd, videoing taping them, getting into a couple of scuffles with them, and taking some to police stations to interrogate.
Having no place to turn, Anni wrote a letter today to Peng Liyuan, China’s first lady, appealing for help:
“Grandma Peng, how do you do? I’m a student at Hupo Elementary School in Hefei, Anhui. I’m ten years old. In the afternoon on February 27 this year, several policemen came to my school and took me away. A few days ago, many uncles and aunties who are concerned about me wanted to send me back to school, but the teachers in my school won’t let me. Grandma Peng, I really want to go back to school. Please, can you and Grandpa Xi tell uncle policemen and the teachers to let me go back? Zhang Anni, April 10, 2013.”
The letter is a hot topic on Tencent Weibo and has been re-posted many times.
Will Grandma Peng hear Anni and help her out? We shall see. Meanwhile, I’ll let out a deep sigh: China Dream.
By Yaxue Cao, published: June 28, 2012
I almost forgot; I had been to Shanghai before. It was the Chinese New Year of 1990, I decided spontaneously to go to a friend’s home to spend the holidays. On New Year’s Eve, I boarded an airplane in Guangzhou, and landed, several hours later, at Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai. From the airport, I took a taxi to the Shanghai Train Station. I remember it was dusk, the sky overcast, the air chilling beyond a northerner’s assumption of Shanghai. There was not a soul on the streets. I don’t know why, but right at this moment, I am thinking about six o’clock. Two clicks away now, I know the trip is sixteen kilometers long, and passes a zoo, at least one movie theater, the Sun Yat-sen Park that every major Chinese city has, and streets that once had names like Jernigan Road and Edinburgh Road. But I was either dozing off or lost in wandering thoughts in the taxi, for all I can recall of Shanghai are a section of a gray wall and a few buildings whose shapes are as illusory as objects in a dream. At the train station, I boarded the train, according to my friend’s instructions, to go to my destination, Hefei.
My friend lived on a university campus where all the students were gone for the holidays and, blanked under a new snow, silence reigned. After the lunar New Year’s Day, I walked on the streets of Hefei. Even though I had never been to that city before, or anywhere near it for that matter, everything seemed familiar to me, the streets, the buildings, the shops, and the people; the wintry bareness and the muddy slush underfoot. It was just like my hometown, or thousands of other Chinese towns. It was China. To my ears, the first winter after the summer of ’89 was as silent as death, the roar of bulldozers and dump trucks were yet to arrive, and I was preparing to leave the country. I had always known the path I could take would be narrow, but I didn’t know I would be up against the wall in only a few short years after college. About the place I was planning to go I had not the faintest idea and, therefore, no fantasy of it to speak of; the only thing I knew for certain was I had to go, anywhere I could. The year after, I left China and came to the United States.
In the following days, I talked to Mr. Sheng via telephone and email. I learned that, when his brother was arrested the second time in the north, he was a student of astronomy in Nanjing University with a focus on celestial mechanics. I asked how he would describe celestial mechanics to a layman like me, he said, “It is the mathematics dealing with the motion of the three bodies—the Sun, the Earth and the Moon.” I said I still couldn’t imagine what mathematics that would be, but I liked the words the sun, the earth and the moon. He said, the broader question was the “n-body problem,” or, to predict the motion of celestial objects under mutual gravitation. It was a problem unsolved for the past three hundred years, said Mr. Sheng, and probably wouldn’t be in another three hundred years, but I was determined to do just that! He chuckled in self-mockery, but I was very much affected by the young mathematician’s ardor. Mr. Sheng escaped the cataclysm that had befallen millions of China’s educated class, university students included, during the Anti-rightist Campaign in 1957, but it stoked fear in him as he came to the realization that everything about him, his family background, his disgraced brother and his own education, could be a liability. He said he woke up every morning not knowing what the day would bring and went to bed every night worrying about what awaited him tomorrow. He was one of the top students but not selected to join the faculty of Nanjing University, nor for graduate study. He was assigned to a teaching job at Anhui University in Hefei and has stayed ever since.
I told Mr. Sheng about my trip in early 1990 that took me to Shanghai and Hefei, two places I have come to associate with through writing this story. I learned from Mr. Sheng, not without a small sense of wonder, that the Shengs’ in Shanghai was only a short walk from the train station except that, at that time, their home at No. 426 Lane, N. Jiangxi Road, had long been empty. At the Mathematics Department of Anhui University, Mr. Sheng found a certain solace and security in pure mathematics. After the ten-year Cultural Revolution, in the early 1980s, he passed the selection exams for faculty studying abroad. He studied and researched in the Université de Strasbourg in France and the Universitat de Barcelona in Spain for three years. I asked Mr. Sheng when he had learned French, and he told me he started in his boyhood when attending the affiliated secondary school of the Université l’Aurore, a French Jesuit institution in Shanghai before the communist liberation, and later in the famed Li Da Institute. In college and later on, he read mathematical literature in French that he could get a hold of. For the first seven years of the 1970s, when he and some of his colleagues, including his department chair, were sent away to the countryside on the bank of Yangtzi River, he worked in the fields, coached a basketball team on loan to the county’s Sport Committee, and took part in the Peasants’ Propaganda Team.
And he also kept up with his mathematics. For entertainment, he tried his hand at translating French literary classics that he had bought from the Foreign Language Book Store in Shanghai published by the Russians for language learning purposes. Carmen, Colomba and Ninety-three were some of the titles he ventured into. With The Lady of the Camellias, he did the novel as well as the play. He enjoyed it a lot, sharing his translations with his old school mates in secret. When I asked about his life in retirement, he said reading, writing and playing basketball. Since retirement, he has published a dozen or so papers and written two books, one was Mathematics in the Social Disciplines that had been printed twice and sold out twice; the other is Geometry of Election that he hopes would be published soon. I said jokingly, from the titles of your books, it seemed that you had turned from the celestial to the earthly.
When Sheng Shuren returned to the Xinhua News Agency in 1956, he went alone. He was thirty-six years old, father of four, the youngest a newborn. His wife, a head nurse at a children’s hospital, had not wanted to move to Beijing the first time and, with the two years in Beijing ending the way they did, she wouldn’t go this time. At Xinhua, Sheng Shuren resumed his old job of translating foreign media. There is no way to retrieve the products of his work except for three articles in his name in Journalistic Practices, a monthly published by the Xinhua News Agency, in 1957. Two of them are translations, one is his own writing. Both translations are from Russian, one describing “the Central Home for Journalists” in Moscow, how it was “a place for all journalists to engage in creative activities.” Another relates how, during what it calls “the Hungarian Incident” broken out on October 23, 1956, “political adventurists” (they become “gangsters” and then “an anti-revolutionary group” as the article progresses) occupied media apparatuses and controlled newspapers and journals, and how, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, to which the article avoids making direct reference, Hungarian newspapers were printed more beautifully and, more importantly, how freedom of the press was better serving the interest of the people and socialism without falling into the hands of the enemies of the people and freedom. His translation is smooth, unfolding with clarity when there are multiple modifiers. But what is more telling is probably the unhurried tone with which he writes. When I mentioned his translation from Russian to Mr. Sheng, he was very surprised because he had no idea his brother knew Russian, but he obviously did.
Sheng Shuren’s own piece appeared in the September issue, and the title, when I first saw it, almost made me jump: The Headquarters of American Fabrications and Intelligence—the U.S. Information Agency. In the few hundred words that followed, he presented USIA from its budget, setup to its operations, using the same composed language and with the same clarity, except here and there, words like “flagrant”, “fabrication” would stick out like thorns from an otherwise smooth surface. Then, in the very last sentence, also the concluding paragraph, the tone rises sharply and the language turns into the kind of abusive language that I saw everyday in newspapers when I grew up and still is the standard language of China’s state media to threat, to vent and to express displeasure. “It is therefore clear that the USIA is a spy agency that robs over a hundred million dollars from the American people each year to engage in fabricating lies and collecting intelligence.” He might have written this himself, or the editor did. In any case, he had to learn to talk like this in the Xinhua News Agency. For a man with a liberal arts education like he had, it had to be a steep remaking of himself even just linguistically. If this article tells anything at all, it shows he still had a long way to go to adjust.
In March 1958, Sheng Shuren and Uncle Erning, part of a large group of Xinhua personnel, were sent to Xushui, a county some 200 kilometers away from Beijing in Hebei Province, to help the Great Leap Forward campaign there. Xushui at the time was a national model of the Great Leap Forward promoted by the Central Committee of the Party, and universities and cultural institutions in Beijing, Xinhua included, had been sending their people to participate in this great leap forward to a communist society. In the previous winter, the impoverished county with a population of 300,000 had built more than two hundred reservoirs in response to the call for water management from the Center in Beijing, declaring that, for the first time in history, the county had once and for all eliminated both flood and draught. Literature about the Great Leap Forward in Xushui abounds, and from it I learned people in Xushui lived the life of the People’s Commune, eating together in the Communes’ canteens and marching with their hoes and baskets in military formation to the fields. They worked twenty-four hours a day in three shifts. The earth was dug as deep as three feet in order to use more fertilizer for higher yield; and grain was planted in improbable density to create agricultural miracles. I also learned that factories sprung up like bamboo shoots, and, overnight, each commune and each village claimed to have dozens of them. By the time the Steel and Iron Production Campaign peaked, “every household built a furnace and everyone was participating.” Xushui dared itself to open up universities, and lo and behold, it announced the establishment of 101 universities one day in July. Xushui also had a “Committee for the Movement of Writing” that covered the streets and walls with poems singing the praises of life in the People’s Communes and pictures in which farmers picked cotton on ladders, tall silos pierced through clouds, and pigs, as big as cows, were bursting their sties.
If all this does not sound busy and tiring enough, study sessions and debates were held frequently. For study, there was the People’s Daily that sent the Center’s directives everyday. But what was to debate? People—whoever expressed any doubt about the Great Leap Forward and whoever was perceived as being halfhearted or lazy were the objects of the debate. According to documentation, the debatees were encircled, “shoved and pushed…until they were bruised and dizzy, kowtouing to admit they were wrong.” The debates were indeed effective, and, according to a piece in the People’s Daily on April 17, 1958, that promoted Xushui’s practices, “before the debates, 1,400 workers only dug 300 meters of irrigation channel in 14 days; after the debates, 1,000 workers dug 500 meters in 3 days.” In July that year, the Party mounted a nationwide campaign called “Bare Your Heart to the Party” and everyone in the Xinhua group was required to describe his or her thoughts and actions during the recent Anti-Rightist Campaign and the Rectification Campaign. During the Purge of Anti-revolutionary Within Campaign in 1955, Uncle Erning, a young man in his twenties, had been reviewed for the uncompleted drafts of poems and stories that he had scribbled during the post-Korean war days when he was still stationed in North Korea as a war correspondent for the Xinhua News Agency, and conclusions had been made that “the ideas behind his works are reactionary and his own thoughts backward.” Now, asked to speak his mind to the Party, he hesitated. He was scared, “knowing that …the consequences will be serious.” Yet he didn’t want to hide it from the Party, “feeling that it would constitute unloyalty and dishonesty to the Party and therefore a crime.” So he bared himself: “I am still unable to accept the conclusions made about me by the Agency, but I am willing to be tested by the Party for as long as needed, reform myself and prove myself through my actions.” Days after that, Uncle Erning was arrested without warning during an often-held mass gathering of ten thousand people. He was dumbfounded, for he had no idea why they were arresting him (he had committed no crime) and how, in a matter of days, he had been incriminated a step higher to “a reactionary” and expelled from his job at Xinhua. Three hundred people were arrested on the same occasion, including Sheng Shuren. Now I know that, Xushui had newly built three labor camps that year and a local leader had ordered, “Each camp needs 1,000 workers, hurry up to arrest people and send them to the camps.” Within a few months, more than four thousand people had been arrested in the same manner in Xushui.
Uncle Erning and Sheng Shuren were sent to the August First Camp to receive their “education through hard labor.” Behind the barbed wire enclosing the Camp, they were organized, just as people outside, to create “Satellite Fields”—fields that would have such unheard-of high yield that it would be like launching a satellite. They dug, composted, moved rocks, and made cotton-padded shoes in the winter for perhaps the army. Outside the barbed wire, Xushui was becoming the center of attention in all China. Waves of visitors, from leaders of the country to the leaders of the provinces to the generals of the Republic, from the Congress of People’s Representatives to members of the People’s Consultation Committee, from scientist to literary figures, from foreign diplomats to friendly foreign news reporters, swarmed the place to witness the spectacular new look of a communist county. The People’s Daily touted that “the People’s Communes in Xushui will bring their members, in the near future, to the most wonderful arcadia in human history, that is, the free kingdom where ‘everyone does his best and takes whatever he needs.’” The frenzy peaked in August 4, 1958, when Mao Zedong visited a village in Xushui, only a few miles from the Camp where Sheng Shuren and Uncle Erning were confined. Local officials answered the Great Leader’s questions and briefed him about their goals: 10,000 kilos of millet and 500,000 kilos of potato per mu (about 0.16 acre), so on and so forth. “How are you going to eat that much food? What are you going to do with it?” Mao asked. When the officials conceded that they had not thought about that, Mao laughed and continued, “It’s certainly good to have a lot of food. The state doesn’t want it, others don’t need it, and the farmers can eat five meals a day!” We all know what followed was not the question of eating three meals or five meals a day, but a famine that lasted for a few years, resulted in the death of millions, and was labeled “the three-year natural disaster” by the official history book. In Xushui, the famine started as early as in 1959, people left en mass to search for food, and the government set up barriers and checkpoints on roads to stop them from leaving. At the end of 1960, the August First Camp was disbanded, and Uncle Erning and Sheng Shuren, greenish and edematous, were dismissed and told to go back to their respective hometown.
I must add now that, while Uncle Erning was in the camp, in Beijing, meetings were held to criticize and “educate” his young wife, my aunt, who was given the choice of being associated with a reactionary or “drawing a line” between him and her. She had been expelled from the Youth League for dragging her feet. Finally she wrote a letter to Erning in the Camp, telling him she had signed the divorce certificate which was brought to her by two men, all filled out and dated already, bearing the name and the seal of the People’s Court. The couple then had only been married for eleven months.
I’ve been working on transcribing the diary of a missionary doctor who lived in Hefei (then called Lu Chow Fu) around the turn of the century. This passage, written by the doctor’s wife, struck me as particularly interesting for several reasons. Firstly, by the sheer number of people the doctor and his two assistants were able to treat in a year, and secondly by the fact that malaria had been such a major concern in central China. Last year there were only 24 deaths from the disease, and it has been eradicated in Hefei, this is a noteworthy achievement that is rarely mentioned. According to Wikipedia, the population of Hefei in 1930 was ~30,000. The following entry gives us an interesting glimpse of both the period, and the work done by missionaries in China.
While his surgical work alone was enough for one man with his surroundings, it constituted a very small part of his work. For every operation there were hundreds he treated medically. All sorts of diseases came to him, but malaria was the most common. Ordinarily this trouble was very easy to treat for it usually yielded to a few doses of quinine and did not give cause for much uneasiness.
One year (1907), though, while we were still in the mountains, word came to us that a dreadful malady had seized the people of Lu Chow Fu. Deaths were occurring on every hand. The fields were left unreaped because the well ones were all occupied in caring for the sick. Coffins could not be made fast enough to carry out the dead.
The Doctor hastened us all down that he might be there to see what he could do. He studied the trouble with microscope and found it to be a most virulent type of malaria. He went to the homes where he was called. Often he found the patient unconscious and had been for several days. Everything would be in readiness for the burial. The funeral clothes even already put on. Doctor would inject quinine hypodermically and leave. The next day he would call to see the patient and find him conscious and able to sit up. Though he might not be asked to come again by the friends, he went again and again of his own accord, without charging for his visit. So interested was he that he wanted to see his cases clear through until they were entirely recovered.
These words quoted from a written report by him show us his great concern, “Some of the cases were very sad, many having been starved by the native doctors till, when the disease ceased of itself, or was arrested by treatment, they were too weak to assimilate food and recuperate. One Chinese doctor of good reputation, who was the only support a large family died in this way. He had tasted no food for forty days.”
Well do I remember that busy year. Night and day, he was called out to save the dying. He became so tired, I felt quite alarmed. I expressed my fears to him. He said to me, “don’t worry, it will not always be this way. I will get a chance to rest after awhile.” So tired and so much in need of rest was he, that I would get up and answer the call. If it was an opium suicide (overdose), I would not awaken him, but ask the assistant to attend to the case. He had instructed the assistant to call him always, no matter what the case might be. They were trained however, to save opium cases and it was not necessary for himself to go. One night the assistant came to inform him of such a case, Doctor gave the usual orders and returned to his bed. The next morning the fee was handed to him. He was surprised and asked what it meant. He was told it was for the case in the night. He had no recollection of such a case, and would not believe it until I verified the statement. He had been so tired he had not realized he had arisen and given the orders.
The visits he made this year numbered between eleven and twelve hundred with thirty-three thousand treatments having been administered at the clinic held daily except on Sunday. Some days there were three hundred fifty. To be sure he could not see all of these himself. He had two trained assistants who saw them as he would, and they were rushed almost to death. They put their shoulders bravely to the wheel and bore their share of the burden willingly. It was these two men who took care of the hospital work the year we went to America on furlough. They ran a large clinic and collected a creditable sum of money. The sick were cared for, which was a source of satisfaction to us while we were absent.