Following is a letter to the Chinese government from XU JIN, daughter of arrested pro-democracy activist XU WENLI.
JANUARY 5 — On Monday, November 30th, you jailed my father, Xu Wenli, yet again. This time you accuse him of "subverting the government".
I grew up without him. In 1981, when I was eight years old, you imprisoned my non-violent father for 12 years because he advocated free speech. He was in solitary confinement for his entire term. For three of those years he was kept in a room not much wider or longer than a coffin and was allowed no visitors.
All he has done is to try to register a new political group, the Chinese Democratic Party. There is no law against forming a political party. If you don't want him to do this, you certainly have the power to stop him, you do not need to jail him.
Since his release in 1993 and for five years incessantly, you have had a team of police watching our house. Several stand near the front door while others sit in the apartment next door. We have no back door, just a window facing a schoolyard. Several police sit in the schoolyard and stare at the window.
Every time my father left the house, he was followed by a car, motorcycle and men on foot. In April and July of this year, and again on Monday, your police raided the house. In these raids you have taken three fax machines, three computers, two photocopiers, one typewriter, a portable telephone, address books, my mother's personal journal, some novels, and any papers you could find.
I am in school here in Boston University because you won't allow me to attend college in China. I earned the money to buy those computers by washing dishes and waiting tables. Why are you afraid of my father and me?
My father has ideas about democracy and freedom but he has no soldiers and no secret police. He cannot hurt you. Let him go.
The newspapers here report that you recently signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Show the world, my mother, and myself that your signature means something.
[Reprinted from Hong Kong Voice of Democracy, on the web at <http://www.democracy.org.hk>.]