Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zhu Chengzhi: the Nirvana of the Phoenix

Author: Li Huaping (Norwegian Forest)

“My wife claimed that I have a 60 something’s age, 40 something’s body, and 20 something’s spirit”

About a year ago, during a banquet gathering, Zhu Chengzhi said the above words with a smile. He looked much proud. Before that event, we never met in face and only communicate through the internet.

Zhu Chengzhi, a father figure, a Chinese citizen, was born in Shaoyao City at Hunan Province in 1950. I also know that he is of the same age of Li Wangyang, the late activist and one of the China’s longest -serving political prisoners. Both Zhu and Li graduated from No. 4th Middle School of Shaoyang. If you meet Zhu in a street, he is one of the million ordinary elders of China. If you pay attention, you’ll notice this elder possesses wisdom.

Photo 1: Zhu protests at the gate of Yunan Province admin.

2012 Spring Festival, Guangzhou

Zhu Chengzhi speaks slowly. From the calm words, one can feel how firm his belief is. We chatted the inescapable fear: our land, air and water are all ruled by the only ideology. We agree that encouraging more and more people to overcome the fear is an important task. A most important task is that we should be role models. Through ourselves, we can encourage more people to overcome their fear and break silence. When talking about Li Wangyang’s sister Li Wangling, Zhu clearly stated that “The foremost important task for us is to help Wangling overcome her fear.”

I completely agreed  with his idea. It is of great insight. Li Wangling was sentenced three years of “labor and education” just because she helped her brother to fights for the rights of living by speaking to the foreign media after he was released from jail. The rulers crushed her, an apolitical woman,  by putting her into jail, banning her husband from a decent job, and confiscating their house. Nobody can be unfearful should he/she be treated the same way. (When Li Wangyang was released from the jail on May 5, 2011, Zhu Chengzhi traveled from Yunnan Provice to Shaoyang to pick him up from the jail. He and others arranged Li’s life after the prison and informed me immediately.)

Photo 2: Feb. 22, 2012 Changsha. from left: Zhu Chengzhi, Liu Xiaoyuan, “General Bao Jun”, Wei Zhongping, Liu Ping, Norwegian Forest, and Lin Hongnan.

Zhu said that just a few years ago ( before 2008), he should be counted as a standard tamed Chinese ordinary person, who has no other thoughts but following the Party’s words.

The change occurred due to a personal matter.

Zhu Chengzhi started a manganese mine at Funing, Yunan Province. Due to conflicts in terms of bringing funds to explore the mine with his business partners, he and his partners were involved into two law suits. In a civilized country with law abiding as the fundamental necessity, such suits are pieces of a cake. Matters can be solved by the verdicts of the court.

People in a lawless country are not that fortunate. The simple rights issue became a cruel game of torture with all parties involved. I listened to the case once and can feel the pain from both the plaintiff and the defendant caused by the unfair verdicts randomly reached by the court. To the court, this is just another game and chance to collect money. All involved in the case are victims and wasted their energy and money.

I have no intention to discuss and judge this lawsuit which lasts many years. All I wanted to say is, due to the dissatisfaction towards the verdict, both parties wasted enormous time and money. To date, there is no conclusion. Based on the “hidden rules”, Zhu Chengzhi has traveled to the capital to spend funds, establish connections and seek help. The other party did the similar things. After all, this is a case related to tens of millions of RMB.

Due to the case, Zhu Chengzhi became a petitioner in Peking and he was illegally detained for 40 days. The most miserable protest happened in the courtroom of Yunnan Province High Court: Zhu Chengzhi drank poisons for agriculture use upon hearing the verdict. All acts did not change the verdict because his opponent has more powerful economic and political support. The lawyer said frankly, whatever the case is, criminal or civil, there is no justice in the court. The winners of the lawsuits are the most powerful, always. From this case, we can observe the miserable life of Chinese ordinary people.

Jan. 28, 2012 Foshan, Guangdong Province

The pioneers of rights protesters are ordinary citizens whose rights were violated. Starting from his law suits, Zhu started to pay attention to the dark side of the society. From his own fate he started to care about others’ suffering. In the three netizens case of Fuzhou, Zhu told the court police: I am Chinese citizen Zhu Chengzhi; When Ms. Wang Lihong was detained and sentenced, Zhu traveled to Peking several time to show his support. In mainland China, you can always find this slim built elder who stood in the front.

When encountering the secret police, Zhu uses plain language and speaks calmly and patiently about common sense and facts. He told the secret police that the activists are working/expressing publicly with open hearts to make the society better. In such society, everyone including members who now serving secret police can live with dignity.

Each time I met Zhu, I would check how his lawsuit goes. After all, this relates to tens of millions RMB. Zhu Chengzhi said with coolness: Norway (that is what he called me), the lawsuit is no longer important to me. The most important is that I got to know you people. It is okay to say that because of this lawsuit, I know that life has more meanings. For me, this is the Nirvana of the Phoenix. I have got a rebirth.

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