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飘香蒙难记

3 Mar

2011年7月 本文(中、英文双语)由HRIC在美国正式出版

一、 绑架

在东北出差近半个月,白天拍摄,晚上上网,知道晓波获奖后,北京已是风声鹤唳。于是和滕彪商量,回京后先在他位于望京的工作室住一段时间,等有司疯够了再回家。

担心被定位,10月27日中午登上飞机后随即关掉了手机,把电池和电话卡从手机上拆下,中止了与外界的通讯联系。

下午3点左右飞抵北京,在机场和滕彪等人告别,与他的助手欢欢乘机场大巴去望京。在机场高速路上,发现笔记本电脑不见了。我这该死的记性,一定是落在飞机上了。

一到滕彪工作室,放下行李,马上用固定电话联系机场失物招领处,那里的工作人员说,我的电脑信息已有登记。立即出门,去一条街之隔的民航干部管理学院乘机场大巴。

走到民航干部管理学院门口,突然被人从后面按住,仰面架起,一边向后拖,一边黑头套从天而降。脑海里闪过第一个念头:原来黑头套这么厚,有一股脚臭味儿。

救命!听到自己在尖叫,之后是拼死挣扎,希望拖延时间,让更多的人看到我被绑架的一幕,并能报警。挣扎的过程中,黑头套被我挣脱了,在被七、八个大汉头朝下 脚朝上塞进面包车时,记住了这个最后的镜头:我用双脚勾住白色面包车的门框,不肯就犯。一个绑匪变形的脸,恶狠狠地俯视我:再挣巴就弄死你!随后便失去了 知觉。

隐隐约约醒来,感觉车停了下来,以为到了目的地。一会儿车又继续开,再停下。几番之后开始飞速行驶。明白之前在等红绿灯,之后上了通往郊外的高速公路。

不知道过了多久,一盆冷水扑面而来,恍惚中看到一个黑屋子,惟一一盏灯直直地照在我的脸上,许多张脸在眼前晃动,一只手伸过来,抓住我的衣领,把我从地上提起来,重重地扔在一个凳子上。头狠狠地撞着了墙。嘴里很腥,胸口很痛,想到了小说《红岩》里的渣滓洞。

数度昏厥,最后醒来时,躺在一张床上。仿佛潮水从头顶退去,身体虽极度虚弱,意识却逐渐清晰起来:这一切终于来了,好快!不知道现在是什么时间了?朋友们知道了我失踪的消息吗?最晚明天,欢欢会去工作室,她应该知道我离开后没有再回去。她一定会告诉滕彪的。

环顾四周,我判断这是一个郊外的小旅馆。十二平米左右的房间,北面是门和厕所,南面是窗户,东面的写字台和椅子摞在一起,被移到了窗户下面,腾出的地方靠墙放着一张凳子,是我之前撞着头的地方。西面就是我躺的这张床了。有五、六个人走来走去,低声耳语。有人发现我醒了。

在审讯开始前给自己定下了两个原则:一、饿死事小,失(气)节事大,自己的事可以谈,绝不提任何朋友的名字;二、宁为玉碎,不为瓦全,既然来了,就做最坏的打算。

二、 较量

我挣扎着从床上坐起来,靠在床头,不知什么时候被弄伤的背部一阵刺痛。

审讯开始了。其他人都退出房间,只留下“一号”(我把审讯我的人按先后顺序编了号)。他看上去三十岁左右,头发打了厚厚的摩丝,像招手停一样翘着,窄腰的短上衣吊在身上,衣领敞着,露出足有一公斤的银项链。很想告诉他:难看,像拴狗链。

他夸张地活动活动手腕,点上一支烟,套上一个透明烟嘴,用带着银戒指的兰花指捏着,踱过来,一屁股坐到靠近我的床边。我低下头不看他。过了一会儿,他用一根 手指按着我的脑门把我的头顶起来,把耷拉下来的一缕头发挑到耳后。然后深深地吸一口烟,悠悠地吐到我的脸上。显然他是想激怒我,我闭上眼睛,不上他的当。 又过了一会(感觉有一个世纪那么长),他把胳膊轻轻搭在了我的腿上,身体向前倾,几乎是耳语:看着我。啊?你看着我嘛。

我冷冷地抬起眼睛,接住了他挑逗地目光。他一只眉头向上挑起,挤眉弄眼的凑到离我不足一尺的距离。

请离我远点儿!我竭力让自己的声音听起来有力量。

多远?

越远越好!

为什么?

我讨厌烟。

他站起来,踱到桌子那边,掐灭了烟,又靠过来。

你看,烟没了。这下可以说话了吧?你叫什么名字?啊?!

我和你没什么可说的,把你们的头儿找来。

随后闭上眼睛,不再搭理他。

这个小痞子还挺有耐心,自说自话持续了差不多一小时,进来一个人与他耳语了几句,那人走出去。不一会儿,又进来四、五个人,其中一人十分面熟,像是北京东城 区国保大队的周队长。几个月前曾被他约谈过一次,那次他与我隔桌而坐,虽然言语中透着威胁,但始终面带笑容。现在这人板着脸,带着黑色墨镜,个头也比我印 象中矮不少,显然是这次绑架事件的次要角色。所以我一时还不敢确定。

起来,跟我们走!有人发话。

我挪到床边,穿好鞋,脚刚沾地,顿时痛得出了一身冷汗。——我的脚踝也受伤了。顾不上想,黑头套又罩了下来,我被两人连架带拖,踉跄着往外走。走过长长的过道,走出大门,像货物一样被塞进车里。

这次汽车没有行驶多久就停下来,我被带进一个大房间,走了十来步拐进另一个房间后,被按在一个方凳上坐下。随即,房内嘈杂的人声散去了。只留下一个人围着我 开始踱步,静静地房间里只有他的脚步声,一圈又一圈。停下,一把扯下黑头套。也许适应了黑暗,这屋里的亮光刺得我眼睛睁不开。

你叫什么名字?

看清了,是一双登山鞋。我的目光顺着登山鞋慢慢往上移:户外登山裤、蓝色运动型针织衫,披着休闲外套。一个皮肤白净,眼睛大得像瞪眼羚的年轻人——“二号”。看来他喜欢户外运动。

你叫什么名字?他又问了一遍。

你们不知道我是谁就把我绑架来?

我问你什么你就回答什么。

华泽。

眼睛已经适应了环境,环视四周,屋子有二、三十平米,我坐在正中间,前面三米左右有两张椅子和一张桌子,桌子上放着一个四四方方的公文包,是录音设备!电影里常看到的那种经典的审讯场景。

你今天下午刚下飞机?

对。

从哪回来?

丹东。

干什么去了?

拍片子。

去了几天?

三天。

拍什么?

律师办案。

都干什么了?

会见当事人和家属,去法院、检察院复印案卷。

这么点事儿要三天?

时间还挺紧张的。

是哪个律师?

我不想说。

为什么?

我不说别人的名字。

他又踱了几个来回:你看起来很虚弱?

痛、累,坐不住。

搬过来一张椅子:坐着吧。舒服点?

是。谢谢…

我们接着谈?

谈吧。

为什么拍这个律师?

喜欢。

为什么喜欢?

喜欢一定要理由吗?

不要吗?

我喜欢什么不要理由。

听见他运了运气,停顿片刻又重新开始。

拍完到哪里播?

哪里出钱买就在哪里播。中央电视台要买我也愿意。

要是没人买呢。

那就谨以此片献给我喜欢的人呗。

你就拍这一个律师,还是拍一个系列?

不确定。如果还有喜欢的就再拍呀。

你说的喜欢是什么意思?

说了你也不明白。

你是怎么认识这个律师的?

年代久远,不记得了。

在律师和拍片的问题上纠缠许久,他一无所获。

门“呯”的一声被推开。一个高个儿男子在四、五个人的簇拥下隆重出场。

“三号”——四十岁左右,小眼睛,西装革履,皮鞋亮得苍蝇站在上面都会滑倒。他把手里拿着的烟盒、手机往桌上一拍,坐下,二郎腿一跷,一边不停地抖动着,一边气势汹汹地说:

你别难为我的弟兄们。你不是找领导吗?我来了。告诉你,我忙着呢,没空跟你费话。你来句痛快的,能聊不能聊?

我不是一直在和你的弟兄聊吗?

聊不下去了,卡壳了。你一会儿不记得了,一会儿不想说了。这叫聊啊?到这儿来你还想掌握主动权?没门儿!告诉你,来这儿的就不可能随便出去。我问你就答,这才叫聊知道吗?

请把证件给我看看?你们是哪个部门的?

说出来吓死你!(和国保打交道又不是一、两天了,没吓过啊。莫非是国安?)

说出来听听。

现在我不能说,以后再说。

我笑了。“三号”气得咬牙切齿,脸都扭曲了。

我能让你从此在这个世界上消失你信不信?

继续笑着,看戏似地盯着他。这时,外面传来狗吠声。

我把狼狗牵进来和你玩玩你信不信。

行—啊——。我笑得已然力不可支。

一旁的“二号”帮腔:你怎么这么傲慢?有什么好笑的?你应该恐惧,正常人上这儿来都会恐惧。

我为什么要恐惧?你们把我一个手无缚鸡之力的弱女子用暴力绑架到这里来,连自己的身份、名字都不敢说,证明你们更恐惧。你们如此恐惧,我就不必恐惧了吧。

“三号”显然是气疯了,他一拍桌子:最后问你一句,还能聊不能聊?

没什么可聊的。

好,你想当江姐是不是?那我成全你!我向来是先礼后兵,现在礼完了,该兵了。你等着!他说完几乎逃跑一般冲向门口,屋里所有人随他蜂涌而出。

在他临出门前甩给他一句话:被你们绑架到这里,就没打算活着出去!

门“呯”的关上,又打开。进来了“四号”。他冲我大喊一声:站起来!坐舒服了你是不是?

我摇摇晃晃刚站起来。身下的椅子就被他一脚踢倒了。

你有正经营生没有?啊?

不解地看着他?什么意思?

又没男人,又没正经营生。啊?

(明白了)你认为自己干的这叫正经营生?

你住嘴!我们领导问你话,是看得起你,你那叫回答?你那还不如不回答。你那么回答你不如干脆别说话。

跟这个瘦小的委琐男也确实没什么可说的。

你干嘛不找个男人?干嘛不找个正经营生?你什么东西?!

都什么逻辑啊?这人上过学没有?

他又重复了N遍这两句车軲轳话。看来他对我没有男人、没有正经营生这件事耿耿于怀。

我看着他一言不发。

好,你不说话,你不说话是不?!

他刚才不是让我干脆别说话吗?

他 恶狠狠地围着我转了一圈,停在我身后。“礼”完了,要开始“兵”了吧?是什么样的“兵”?传说中的酷刑一件件在脑海里过了一遍。想到某人常说过的话:最看 不起进去就慫,出来就硬的人。我不会给某人机会让他这样评价我的。再说,我这身子骨,估计两下就完,痛苦也不会有多长时间。我准备好了。

他怎么还不动手,时间过去了多久?右脚痛得站不住,全身的力量都在左脚上。我已经开始有些神情恍惚了。别倒下,千万别倒下!别让他们以为我害怕了。

听见有人在和我说话,神智慢慢恢复过来。是“二号”,他把椅子端过来,让我坐下。开始唱白脸:

你为什么发抖啊?

冷!

他出去转了一圈,拿了一个白床单进来:没有衣服,给你这个吧。

我把床单裹在了身上。“二号”拉过来一把椅子坐在我旁边,语重心长的开始聊。

你怎么这么固执啊?其实我们就是要你一个态度。

你们在光天化日之下,把一个守法的公民非法绑架到这里来,还有什么资格和我谈态度?

你要是总追究前面你怎么来的这件事那就没完了。你又改变不了现实。

我是改变不了现实,但我可以不合作。我和小流氓也不可能合作。

小流氓?谁是小流氓?

调戏我的人,要让我从这个世界上消失的人。我可以忍受大流氓,但不可以忍受小流氓。

他们有什么区别?

大流氓竭力掩盖流氓的本质,他们知道那是丑的。小流氓赤裸裸地表演流氓的本质,他们以丑为美。

哦,有道理。但是你也太傲慢了吧?你知道吗?你的态度让人感觉是在挑衅。

我纠正他:不是挑衅,是不屑。让我消失?别跟我来这一套。我越说越生气:不就是死吗?我们纳税人花钱养着你们这些无恶不做的东西,天天看着、听着你们的恶行,我早就活腻了。

他倒很有耐心:你想过没有,可能不会让你死,就让你耗着。你受得了吗?

耗吧。油干了,灯就灭了!

你怎么这么不识时务呢?你做的事不是都光明正大的吗?说说有什么关系呢?

我告诉你了,可以说我自己,不可以说别人。

什么时候了,你还想着别人,你自己能不能出去都还不知道呢。

对我来说,内心的安宁和灵魂的自由,比身体的自由重要得多。你不会明白的。

他愣了好一会:关于这个问题,我也想想,你也再想想。今天太晚了。先休息吧。

我提出要上洗手间。他叫来一个女看守陪我去。从洗手间出来,地上已经放好了一个床垫,上面有一套被褥。女看守说:就在这上面凑合睡吧。

怎么?这就完了?没有酷刑?也不打算耗干我了?不管它,先把自己虚弱、颤抖不止的身体放平、暖和了再说。

一男一女搬来两张椅子坐到床垫旁边。我平生第一次,在足有两百瓦的灯光下,在两个看守的监视下,闭上了眼睛。

疲惫之极,却彻夜难眠,能感觉到心脏对胸口猛烈地撞击。全身开始疼痛,双肩、腹部、四肢,是绑架时使劲挣扎的结果吧,运动量太大了。

听天由命地躺着。看守们换班时走动的脚步声,低语声,椅子发出的吱吱响声,甚至喘气声都那么真切。

不知道几点了?天光透过厚厚的窗帘渗透进来。这是一个靠南的房间。一个身材五短、健壮的男人走了进来(这个打手,昨天绑架我的人之一!),他把手插在裤兜里走到我的旁边,眼露凶光,看着我,用脚踢了两下床垫:起来!请你来疗养的啊?!

我爬起来,整理好被褥,默默地坐在床垫上。

“二号”进来,拉过一张椅子,靠近我坐下。

我们继续昨天的话题。

我再重复一遍:我只谈自己,不谈别人。

这是你的原则?

是。

······

华泽这个名字是什么意思?

意思是花的海洋。古汉语中花、华不分。

他开始问一些我看起来很无聊,也许对他很重要的琐事:家庭背景、成长环境、教育状况···谈话就这样拉拉杂杂、漫无边际地进行着。

从昨天到今天,你们对付我的足有二、三十人了吧?纳税人的钱你们就这么造?我开始提问。

你怎么知道我们花的是纳税人的钱?他饶有兴趣地看着我。

不是吗?

不一定哦。

难道是安元鼎?

说不定哦。

干这份工作一定很痛苦吧?心里会有阴影吗?

你怎么就这么肯定?

看你也是受过教育的,至少是大学毕业吧。你会告诉你的家人你们绑架了我吗?

不能说是绑架。

那是什么?

我们叫,弄进来。

你知道这是违法的吧?

法律包括很多层面,有你知道的,也有你不知道的。

哦,很新鲜,我不知道的也叫法律。好奇地看着他:告诉我吧,你究竟属于哪个部门?

告诉你你也不理解。就算将来有一天,我们在另外的场合见面,你也不会理解。

那就告诉我你的名字吧。虽然你是这个具有黑社会性质的、有组织的犯罪团伙中的一员。但将来你受到审判时,我可以出庭为你作证。证明你在我被绑架期间,没有对我施以酷刑。

他笑笑:你觉得这一天还有多久?

人算不如天算。也许十年,也许一夜之间。我相信,你我有生之年都会看到的。

那你在这之前打算做些什么?

用笔、用心、用摄影机,记录下这个时代的变化。

他点点头,转了话题:你该吃点东西了,你想吃什么?

我要先刷牙,不刷牙不能吃东西。

他用了十几分钟来说服我,用水漱一漱也可以起到清洁口腔的作用。我坚持必须用牙刷、牙膏。

他终于说:其实,找一个牙刷来也不是太难的事,不过你昨晚看起来情绪不稳定,我怕你伤着自已。

原来这样。睡觉有人守在旁边,上洗手间也有人贴身“保卫”,原来是怕我自杀。

是啊,你昨天说到死的时候眼都不眨,你把我惊着了。

这回轮到我笑了:放心,我不会自杀。要死,这笔血债也得给你们留着。

你要在这里被弄死了也没人知道。

那可说不定。你们这二、三十个人就没有一个有良知的?今天不说出去,你能保证十年、二十年后也没人说出去吗?别那么自信。

你真地不怕死?

人怎么活不是一辈子?庸常地活也是一辈子,精彩地活也是一辈子。有什么可怕的?

那你得吃东西,把身体养好,才能精彩地活呀。

要刷完牙才能吃东西。

你这人还真固执。你知道吗?你的许多朋友都比你有智慧。

知道。

最后谈判的结果是,我用手指当牙刷,抹着牙膏刷了牙。然后吃了几根青菜、几块香菇、几口方便面。

“二号”出去了。马上进来两个看守,一左一右坐在两边。看来我可以继续休息了。

这一天的“谈话”就这么结束了。他们这是要干什么呢?如此隆重地把我绑来,就这么呆着?看来,我们相互无法理解。我们不是同类,我与他们之间的差别,比狼和狗的差别大很多吧。

四周真静啊,只有狗叫声。偶然,远处有飞机轰鸣而过。猜测所处的位置应该是在机场的东面。这是他们的一个秘密处所,专门关押我这样的异议人士?他们有多少这 样的秘密处所?关押过多少异议人士?这里有过酷刑吗?那些从这里走出去的朋友还能过正常的生活吗?一年以前,无论如何,我不会想到自己有今天这样的遭遇。 胡思乱想着,捱到天黑,又天亮。

打手又来了,用脚踢床垫。我翻过身,用后背对着他。他一把掀起被子。我仍然躺着,不理他。他火了,围着床垫走了两个来回,开始破口大骂:你个贱B,你以为你是谁呀?装TM什么丫挺的?···继续骂,不堪入耳。

我豁出去了,猛然坐起来:你什么东西?给我滚出去!

他逼近我:你再说?我弄死你!

“二号”夺门而入,我朝他大喊:让这个打手离我远点,等你们要弄死我时再让他进来!

“二号”拦住了冲过来的打手,在出去之前,他指着我:你等着,我把你拖出去挖个坑埋了!

我气得混身发抖:我等着你们把我给埋了。我知道你们做得出来,但是你记住了,总有一天,你们会受到审判!

已经是被绑架的第三天了,怎样才能让外面的朋友知道我的下落?

看守我的人至少有五班,每班两人一男一女,大约两小时一换。每次“二号”一进来,看守立即出去,“二号”一出去,看守立即进来。从看守们简短的交谈中能听出 来,他们是从不同部门抽调来的。他们可能完全不知道我的情况。如果我大声自言自语,让他们知道我是谁,我是如何被绑架到这里来的,他们中间会有人把消息带 出去吗?我不相信这几天接触过的所的人都是铁板一块、铁石心肠。我把头埋在双膝上默默地想着,门“砰”地开了,涌进来一帮人,其中一个紧挨着我坐在了床垫 上。是“一号”,那个小流氓。他用胳膊肘捅捅我的肋骨:

抬头!看我!

我不动,沉默。他捅一下,又捅一下。仍然沉默。他点上烟,吸一口,找准位置,“噗”~把烟从我趴着的头和胳膊缝隙间吐进来。我朝远处挪了挪,继续埋着头。他也跟着挪到床垫中间:

呃,你怎么这么淡定啊?在台湾受过训吧?周围嘻嘻哈哈一片笑声。

从 这句话里,我再次确认他们不是国保,而是国安。他们接受的就是这样的信息吧?我是间谍,是特务,危害了国家安全,是国家的敌人。否则怎么能让这些受过教育 的年轻人下这样的狠手而不会感到良心不安呢?怎么让他们相信自己从事的职业是有尊严的呢?这会儿他们不是来审讯我的,他们显然是闲得无聊来找乐子。我始终 埋着头,一言不发。闹了一阵,实在没什么可乐的。一帮人扬长而去。

之后的时间里,“二号”不时会走进来站一会,和我交谈几句,我知道他在研究我背包里的东西。

你那个双肩背是装摄影机的,还是放照相机的?

都有。

东西呢?放朋友家了。

他想知道那些SD卡是干嘛用的。那卡是专业设备用的,如果他用普通相机看不到里面的数据。

416的纪录片是你制作的?

对。

不怎么样嘛。会讲故事的人都会做,没什么技巧。

谢谢夸奖!纪录片的最高境界就是无技巧。

你为什么关注这几个人?

我爱他们。

你还挺逗,你爱的人那么多,却不结婚。

我说的爱和你说的两码事。

他在看416的片子,那让无数人激动过的场景不知道是不是也会感动他。很想告诉他,那就是爱。

你有几部手机?

好几部。

为什么把它们拆开来?

准备做清洁。

为什么不开机?

省电话费。

他在检查我的手机。我有两部手机,那部专门用来上推的买了没几个月。被他碰过了,脏了···

你过去的生活不错嘛,去过不少国家。

是啊,我的理想就是周游世界。

他在看我拍的照片?U盘里肯定没有。是看我的博客吗?

赚钱不少吧。

我赚的每一分钱都是干净的。

你不想回到原来的生活去吗?

每天都想。就是回不去了。

我可以帮助你。

你帮助我?你怎么帮助我?你能让结石宝宝健康吗?你能让赵连海被释放吗?你能让汶川地震中被豆腐渣校舍砸死的孩子复活吗?···

难道这个国家就没有让你满意的地方?

我只想问你一个问题:为什么把我绑架来?我违法了吗?世界上有任何一个文明国家的政府会这么做吗?

当然会呀。美国中情局也会绑架的。

小伙子,你美国大片看多了吧?美国中情局只对外,不对内,它不可能绑架美国公民。

你从来不知道妥协吗?

不同利益团体可以妥协,不同利益诉求可以妥协。和流氓怎么妥协?和强暴你的人怎么妥协?他说要强暴十次,你说两次算妥协?他说要强暴一小时,你说二十分钟算妥协?

“二号”扭头出去了。

又是一个不眠之夜,早晨起来感觉异常虚弱,身上穿的牛仔背带工装裤整整肥了一圈。穿上鞋,摇摇晃晃站起来,松松垮垮地裤脚竟踩在了脚下。弯下腰去挽起一截,再站起来时,只觉眼前一黑。

听见一片噪杂的人声,感觉离我很远。有人在掐我的仁中,指甲几乎嵌进了骨头。痛得睁开眼睛,看到打手那张幸灾乐祸的脸。软软地仰面躺着,无力反抗。周围站着五、六个人,有“三号”,还有东城区国保大队周队长。对,现在我可以确定就是他。虽然他仍然带着墨镜,一言不发。

走,穿好外衣,跟我们走。

被人架起来,第三次带上黑头套,塞进一辆轿车的后座,一左一右被两个男人押着,离开了这个囚禁了四天的地方。

不知道要被带去哪里,用心辨别着方向。车子不停地拐来拐去,有人打进电话,听出接电话的是副驾驶位置坐着的周国保,听他长长地叹了一口气,大概这趟差事办得有点窝囊。

走了大约两小时左右,传来火车站广播喇叭声:各位旅客请注意···是遣返!

你们要把我送到哪里去?我连换洗衣服都没有。你们必须通知我的家人。我一把拽下黑头套。两个男人大声喝斥着按住我,黑头套立即又被罩上。右边的那个人用手按 住我的头,我的下巴死死地抵在胸前不能动掸,绑架那天被弄伤的背部痛得像要裂开来。我一边喊:放开我!一边反抗。坐在前座的周国保厉声制止。右边的男人狠 狠攥住了我的手,使劲揉搓。你挣!你挣啊!他的声音低得只有我一人能听见。是那个打手,他在报复我!

周国保开门下了车。打手一边将我的手腕往后扣,一边从牙缝里骂:你叫啊,快叫!你不是厉害吗?我就捏死你!捏死你这个贱B!

我大声反击:你这人渣,给我提鞋都不配!有本事你就弄死我!

我的手腕被他拧得和胳膊形成了30度锐角。四肢开始痙挛,渐渐麻木,失去了知觉。

周国保回到车里。车子启动,行驶不远,停下。

下去!

我的腿动不了。

你TMD装什么装?!

打手用脚踢我,接着把我往外拖。在拖出车门前,黑头套被摘了下来。

是站台,就在火车车厢门口。秋日明媚的阳光穿过站台洒在了我的脸上。光天化日、朗朗乾坤下,我被公然绑架,就这样被两个男人在地上拖着···泪水终于夺眶而出。

我哭喊着:放开我!放开我!

有人从后面抱住了我。你们别这样对她。你们放开她。

我抬头看:你是谁?

我是陈明。(作者化名)

啊?陈明,是你吗?

是我。我来接你回新余!

陈明,江西新余广电局办公室主任,我好朋友的丈夫。多年不见了,我们竟以这样的方式相逢。

陈明抱着四肢麻木的我登上了火车。乘客还没进站,软卧车厢里只有我、陈明,和两个自称是街道办干部的便衣警察。

四十分钟后,火车驶离了北京西站,整整68小时,我终于脱离了黑帮的魔掌,开始了被软禁的日子。

三、 软禁

新余,是江西的一座省辖市。二十一年前,我曾是新余日报的一名记者。1989年辞职后,有过一段浪迹天涯的日子。记不得是哪一年了,我回新余办护照,那时我 的户口还在报社的集体户上,开个证明就得千里迢迢跑回去。于是,我和好友,陈明的妻子建建商量,把户口落到他家,这类琐事以后就可以拜托建建帮我办了。就 这样,陈明成了我的户主。

大约在我被绑架前一个月左右,国保找到陈明了解我的情况。他们告诉陈明,我参与了一些重要的维权活动。陈明回家和建建说:不会是华泽吧?她会参与这些事吗?建建肯定的回答:就是她,没错。我了解她。

10月28号晚上,陈明接到领导的通知,让他和市国保一起来北京接我,途中一切费用由陈明所在的单位支付。不知道陈明有没有后悔当年同意我把户口转到他家?不知道领导有没有责怪他“交友不慎”?总之,陈明和他的单位被我株连了。

一登上开往江西的火车,我就要求检查背包。便衣把包递过来,我刚打开背包拉链,手机就掉了出来,女便衣一把抢过:手机我先替你保管。她不知道的是,我另外还 有一部手机。这部手机是专门上推的,我从未用它打过电话,干净得就像初生的婴儿。去东北出差,打电话的那部手机只有一块电池,以防万一,我在这部上推的手 机里,存了两个当时正在拍摄的朋友的电话。依我的记性,自己家的电话号码,如果不存在手机里都是记不住的。这次细心救了我。

我把幸存的手机 悄悄塞在裤兜里。车开后,乘上厕所的机会打了两个电话。第一个打给浦志强,电话响了很久,他没有接。第二个打给滕彪,通话时声音很杂,断断续续,我告诉 他:我被绑架了,绑架我的人中有一个是东城区的国保;我现在正被送往江西新余;我的电脑还在机场,请务必设法帮我拿回来。没说几句电话就断了。这时,浦志 强的电话打了进来,他告诉我,自27号从伊春回北京后他也被软禁着,但是可以与外界联系。我把和滕彪说的话对他重复了一遍,他顿了顿,謓重地对我说:这是 你自己选择的生活。它早晚都要来的。你要学会独自面对。我说:好,我知道了。

后来,50天与世隔绝的日子里,我曾多次想到这句话,我把它当成一个先行者对后进的忠告。因为,这,就是我们的生活。

打完这两个电话,手机还剩一格电。我不知道前面有什么在等着我,我要留着这格电,危险来临时用它呼救。虽然我不知道谁能救我,怎样救我。总之,我不能就这样消失,我要让朋友们知道我的消息。

在火车上,来接我的两个便衣好奇地向我问起了刘晓波。这是自我失去自由后,第一次有人向我提起这三个字。

你和刘晓波是什么关系?

刘晓波是干什么的?

······

我的猜测得到了证实。因为我在《关于刘晓波获得诺贝尔和平奖的声明》上的签名。姓名:华泽,居住地:北京,职业:纪录片导演。就这么几个字,他们绑架了我,接下来他们还要囚禁我。同时得到证实的是,绑架我的就是国安。

这是一个野蛮国家、黑帮政府。文明社会的准则在这里不被遵守。与一百年前的清末相比,惟一的差别是,对异议人士由杀头、流放,变成了绑架、失踪。这一切必须改变!

于是,我开始给他们讲八九六四,讲零八宪章,讲诺贝尔和平奖···说到这些我开始兴致盎然起来——既然有司要用绑架,囚禁的方式让我分享晓波诺奖的荣誉,那么,我不能枉担了虚名,我要一路播散火种。

火车快到终点站时,两名便衣和陈明都对我说:我们只负责接你,到新余后不会再见面了。希望你不要吃眼前亏,该服软就服个软。

我笑着谢谢他们的好意,我的字典里没有“服软”这两个字。

到火车站来接我的新余市国保陈建军(音译)大约四十岁左右,一看就是军人出身,没读过多少书。刚上车他就开始给我上课:

什么家丑不可外扬啊,你们把家丑扬到国际上去,影响了国家形象;

什么你们不能钻法律的空子啊,拿法律做武器,法律又不是一切;

什么你们的出发点可能是好的啊,但是被国外反华势力利用了。

我一点都不擅长这样八股的话题,不过看他被洗脑成这样,只能耐心回应:

就是怕影响国家形象才呼吁释放刘晓波,怎么能把诺奖得主关在监狱里呢?获诺奖是我们的百年梦想之一嘛;

法律是执政党制定的,维护法律的尊严怎么是钻法律的空子呢?不拿法律做武器,难道让我们用坦克做武器吗?

说到国外反华势力,我很想知道它是怎么利用我的?

他说:我不了解你,回头我们再谈。

我严肃的告诉他:不了解就不要乱扣帽子。花点时间了解了再来和我谈。

我最烦不敬业的人,为什么这次让我碰到的都是不敬业的人?为什么不多花点心思了解我,不知道我是吃软不吃硬的人吗?我认为,哪怕是国保、国安这样无耻的职业也应该做得敬业。

到新余后,我被直接送到了消防宾馆。这个宾馆座落在城市北部边缘,六层楼高,最初应该是按三星级标准装修的,不过现在看起来已经有些陈旧了,好在被褥还算柔 软、白净,卫生间也挺宽敝。我住在二楼9207房间,据说这是整个宾馆惟一的三人间。两个女警与我同住,两个男警住在隔壁。每班四人,共两班,二十四小时 一换,我的贴身“保镖”共八人。

一进房间,女国保欧阳就向我宣布了几条纪律:不能与外界联系;不能会见朋友;活动范围不能出这座楼。

“保镖”们自我介绍时,只说姓,不提名。说自己是刑警、经警、治安警,就没有人承认自己是国保。看来这个警种还真是见不得人。不过,我这双已经阅国保无数的眼 睛,一眼就看出了端倪。八个人中有三个市公安局的国保,其余的人都是从各分局抽调来的。我的安保级别高到他们从没经历过,分局的几个人,就连他们的顶头上 司也只知道他们被抽调来执行任务,至于在哪里执行任务,执行什么任务,一律保密。

市国保胡支队长来了——说是领导,没人介绍他的身份。时间长了,我自己琢磨出来的——领导很客气,他说这是公安部统一布置,你在这里呆多久取决于上面的命令。新余方面一分钟都不想让你停留。希望你能配合,他劝我把这当做一次度假疗养。

我向胡支队长提出要给母亲打电话报平安。母亲快七十岁了,没有我的消息她会着急。胡支队长说要向上面请示。

没有人找我谈话,也没有人向我宣布限制自由的理由。总之,我这只知起点不知终点的软禁生活开始了。

进卫生间先给滕彪发信息:我住在新余消防宾馆9207房间。新余警方对我很客气,请放心。——手机只有一点点余电,不敢等回复,赶紧关掉。

然后洗澡。第五天了,这套衣服没离过身,床上睡着也是它,地上躺着也是它。一分钟都不能再忍受。

脱掉衣服,检阅被绑架四天“收获”的伤痛:仁中月牙型的伤口很深。至今轻轻触碰仍有针扎般的刺痛;被撞伤的背部在颈椎下方,晚上睡觉一直不能翻身;四肢和右 手布满青紫色的瘀血,还有扭伤的右脚。仁中和右手的伤是遣返那天打手留下的。其它地方是怎么伤到的?绑架那天曾数次昏厥,怎么也想不起来他们究竟对我做过 什么。

洗完澡已经疲惫不堪,睡在靠窗的床上,透过铁栅栏的隔断看新余的天空。这里没有我任何亲人,它完全是一座陌生的城市,我甚至连宾馆的方位都不知道。

我要习惯和两个“保镖”共处一室。她们睡觉千万别打呼、别磨牙、别说梦话。长期失眠,使我对睡眠的环境要求很苛刻,必须非常安静、非常干净。

计划11月的欧洲旅行是去不了啦,以后说不定会被限制出境,周游世界的梦想或许就此结束了;滕彪帮我拿回笔记本电脑了吗?千万别落在黑帮手里;我第一次有了 不好的银行信用:信用卡过了还款日,去欧洲旅行的机票刷了两万多,那会是一大笔利息吧?每天要吃的药没有带怎么办?身体会出现什么后果?

我想来想去怎么都是身外之事?自由都没有了,这些还有什么可担心的?不能周游世界就不能吧,好些人连北京都没离开过呢;信用不好就不好吧,反正以后也没打算 从银行贷款;笔记本电脑滕彪一定会想办法帮我拿的,即使拿不回来也没办法;药不吃又有什么了不起?被绑架时连死的准备都做好了。惟一不放心的是母亲,她有 心脏病。10月8号诺奖公布那天晚上,许多朋友在庆祝聚餐时被抓,第二天母亲离开北京回江西,在火车站告别时曾向她保证:我不会有事,放心吧!现在我只想 对她说:对不起!妈妈,我没有遵守诺言。

即来之,则安之。烦躁、愤怒都不起任何作用,那会影响我的敏锐性和判断力。我对自已说,很好,就当作是对内心定力的训练吧。

第 二天一早,去火车站接我的国保陈建军推门进屋,一边接电话,一边指着我:你和北京联系了?你还有通讯工具?他扭头示意两个女“保镖”:搜她身,包,床! ——我的手机被搜走了,那是我与外界联系的惟一希望。顺便搜走的还有背包里的一些小型专业设备:无线音频发射器、微型摄像机,他们不知道那是干什么用的, 全都拿走才放心。

包里只剩下一本摄像机的说明书。我自己拿起摄像机拍片子的时间不长,摄像机的一些功能还记不住,随身带着说明书,需要的时候可以查阅。在后来的许多天,这本说明书就成了我惟一的读物。

每天的日子大致是这样度过的:

清晨七点半起床,洗漱后下楼吃早餐;上午看书、写日记,练瑜珈;十一点半午餐;下午看书,练普拉提斯(一种融合了瑜珈和健美操的有氧运动)、洗澡;晚餐后看电视、睡觉。

开始时很不适应。“保镖”们从早到晚开着电视,那些噪音让人心烦意乱。不过,很快我就学会了在电视声中看书、写日记、健身···

一天晚餐后我说要出去散步,陈建军打电话请示领导,得到的答复是:可以散步,但不能离开宾馆的院子。于是,我的生活多了一个项目。

每天傍晚,我上身一件贴身红毛衣,下身是宽松的背带牛仔工装裤,外套黑色风衣(这些是我被绑架时的全部衣装),在四个“保镖”前呼后拥下,绕场二十圈(那阵势一定很可笑)。

这个宾馆入住的人很少,院子呈长方型,东西80步,南北35步。整座楼只有两个窗户是被钢条封死的,其中一间就是我住的9207。第一天散步,就发现了院子东南角一棵不大的桂花树。这个长满黄白色小花、香气袭人的绿色植物,给我孤独而漫长的软禁生活带来了些许生气。

到新余第一天就提出要和母亲通电话。一周后还没有得到答复。11月9日早餐时再次提出要求。陈建军说:本来给你母亲打个电话也不是不可以,但是你藏了一个手机,而且和外界联系了,造成了恶劣的后果。所以不能让你和母亲通电话。

造成什么恶劣后果?

这个我不能告诉你。

我一下就冒火了:即使我是罪犯,你们还得通知我的家人呢。对一个守法的公民你们却连起码的人道都不讲。我有另一个手机,是北京警方交接时没有告诉你们,那不 是我的错。向朋友通报消息是我的权利。你们要以此来惩罚我?好吧。不是怕我与外界联系吗?从现在开始,我宣布绝食!我倒下时你们得送我去医院吧?到医院我 就大声呼救,告诉所有人你们绑架了我。说完,我离开餐桌,扬长而去。听到后面几个人追上来的脚步声。

小陈不懂事,你别和他生气!

不懂事没关系,千万别没人性。谁都有父母高堂。

你要和母亲通话我们也做不了主,得向上面请示。

给了你们九天时间,向联合国请示也应该有答复了。

回到房间,我开始了第一次绝食。争取与母亲的通话权!

上午,胡支队长来了:我这就请示领导,问题不大,但得有一个时间周期吧?你先吃饭。

请示吧,我等着。和母亲通话前我不会进食的。

第二天一早,陈建军笑容可鞠地进来了:上面说你可以和母亲通电话。只是有两个条件:一,你不能说绑架、软禁。也不能说你现在在新余;二,手机要拿在我手里,要打开免提。可以不?

本来我也没打算告诉母亲我的遭遇,只想报个平安让她放心。

他们拨通了我母亲的电话,拿着手机放在我耳边。听到母亲焦虑的声音:你在哪啊?为什么手机一直关机?我们都以为你出事了。

平静地向母亲撒谎:我在欧洲旅行,电话坏了。国际漫游太贵。不能经常给您打。放心吧,国外比国内安全多了。

我以前每次出国旅行,登机前、到达后都会打电话告诉母亲;离京前会把在国外的行程、国外朋友的电话、预订宾馆的地址、购买各种意外险的单号和保险公司名称email给弟弟。这次完全一反常态,不知道母亲是否真的相信了?

此后每周我被允许和母亲通一次电话报平安。为了能和母亲保持通话,我不能冒险向她暗示我的处境。

无眠的夜晚是那么漫长,我用思念充满它们,思念的感觉既温暖又悲伤:

10 年前的圣诞夜,在三里屯的一间酒吧里,我认识了北大在读博士许志永。那天,一票朋友和朋友的朋友们在那里狂欢,喧闹噪杂的环境中,我和志永静静地交谈,他 谈自己的宪政理想,谈他定点做基层选举田野调查的乡村···这些话题深深打动了我,因为他的理想也正是我的理想。十年后他为我争取言论自由的案件做代理, 给予了我许多无私的帮助。

认识滕彪是在一次法律援助研讨会上,志永向他介绍我将要起诉的案件,他毫不犹豫的说:好。支持!第二次见面是在大兴法院声援赵连海,面对用摄像机偷拍我们的便衣,他大声说出那句:我叫滕彪,你敢说出你的名字吗?令现场所有女性倾倒。

一年多来,我参与、拍摄了许多或由公盟发起,或由公盟援助、或由公盟关注的公民行动与法律个案:暴力拆迁、教育平等、74推友日、赵连海案、福建三网民案、 夏峻峰案、冷国权案··· 共同的理念和行动,使我们结下了深厚的友谊。在我的心里,志永和滕彪不仅是我的战友,他们如同我的手足。

去年初,我因发表《寻找中国之路》被国保骚扰,我打电话向庆妈诉说内心的绝望与无助。庆妈是谭作人的妻子,我认识多年的朋友。庆妈说:你需要一名律师,去找浦 志强吧。于是给志强打电话,半小时后在他凌乱不堪的办公室里我们第一次见面。在志强面前,我觉得自己完全不像是个学法律的人,就是个絮絮叨叨的求助者。他 打断我:

这不算什么,你没事。

那么,如果我有事,你能答应做我的律师吗?

我答应。

从此,一遇到 麻烦我就会向他诉说,仍然是絮絮叨叨,直到把他说烦为止,他脸上的表情和神态,明明白白地写着,我就是那个老叫狼来了的孩子。直到10月24日我在伊春与 他分手,去丹东与滕彪会合。短短几天里,他每次打电话、发短信,结尾总有两个字:保重!我突然感到:他在向我预警。而此刻,让我悲哀的是,在这片土地上, 预警,是我的律师惟一能为我做的事情。

第一次知道崔卫平的名字是因为海子。那时我准备为诗人海子做一部传记片。在查找资料时,我看到崔老师 研究海子的系列文章。第一眼,她的文字就打动了我,从那以后,几乎读遍了所有能找到的她的文章。第一次见到她是在送别屠夫去福州的晚宴上。那是416的前 奏,屠夫去福州为三网友案打前站,前途凶险。崔老师高调加入关注团以示声援。她说:今天我们不关心世界,我们只关心屠夫。几天后她写下了长诗《这些义人们 哪》 ,其中有一段竟是为我而作。

还有王荔蕻大姐、屠夫、天天、王译、张辉、阿尔、强本···

每次想到你们都会有一股暖暖的细流划过面颊,那是内心涌出的感动,它无声地融入黑夜,迎来天明。

11 月14日晚餐后,回到房间不久,我正靠在床上看书。听到敲门声,我没有在意,以为是隔壁的”保镖”。女国保欧阳去开门,听到外面有人说:找华泽,欧阳 “咣”的一声关上了门。心里立即明白了是怎么回事。只听到外面有人高声喊:华泽,华泽,你答应一声,让我们知道你在里面。我迅速从床上坐起来,女国保愣愣 地看着我。外面的声音更大了:华泽,我们爱你!眼泪奔涌而出,不顾一切冲向房门。因为欧阳站在旁边,门只能打开一条缝,看到门外一女两男,三张陌生的面 孔。

我是华泽,你们是?

我们是网友,来看你的。

你们从哪里来?

他们是新余的,我是奉新的陈茂森,还记得我吗?

当然记得。

我们在推特上有过交流,记得这个大头照很帅的小伙子,不过本人看起来比照片上更清秀一些。我伸出手和他们一一相握。那种温暖无以言表。女网友递过来一束鲜花,他们说了一些保重之类的话。欧阳从后面把门重重地关上了。

屋内死一般的沉寂,随后欧阳一边换衣服,一边说:那两个人是新钢的,所谓的维权人士,他们很坏,专门挑动别人和政府做对···根本没听清她在说什么。心里只 有一个念头。太好了,欧阳认出了那两个网友,网友也一定认出了她。他们今晚就会在推上公布我的消息。我不可能从这个世界消失而不为人所知了。

欧阳换好衣服,急急忙忙出去了,留下另一个”保镖”和我。她找领导汇报去了。出了大事,我被暴露了,他们一定开始忙乱了。

第二天一早,胡支队长来了,通知我收拾东西转移住处。

新搬去的宾馆离消防宾馆并不远,叫新蓝天商务大酒店。这个酒店没有院子,楼外就是大街,我要散步必须得走出去。其实,在此之前,他们有时也会允许我到大门外面去散步了。

这 个酒店没有自己的餐厅,要到隔壁的酒楼用餐,每顿饭要不得超标,要不就吃得不好。房间里也没有空调,很冷。在这里住了十天,我倒没有什么意见,可”保镖” 们受不了了。看看没什么危险,网友不过是来看望一下,也没打算劫持我。于是第十一天,在”保镖”们的强烈要求下,我们又搬回了消防宾馆。

搬回消防宾馆不久的一天夜里,我做了一个梦。冬日清晨的峨眉山上,大雪缓缓飘落,远近山峦白茫茫一片。晨钟从山脚下的寺院响起,一波一波往上传,一直响到山 顶,此起彼伏。这是1994年春节的真实场景。那年,我第一次到四川,认识了谭作人夫妇。16年后,一模一样的场景出现在我的梦中。而这时,我的生活因谭 叔被判刑已彻底改变。

大约11月底的时候,我听到一个消息,说可能要软禁我到2011年春节后,甚至有人说会无限期软禁。既然我被绑架、软禁是因为晓波获奖,那么12月10日诺奖颁布后必须获释,这是我的心理底线。否则,我将绝食,以死抗争。我必须把这个消息送出去。

平时,我每天都记日记,我的日记记得非常潦草,基本上没有完整的段落,就是一些只言片语,提示我自己不要忘记发生了哪些重要的事情,和当时的内心感受。因为 我知道欧阳常常偷看我的日记。只要我离开房间,我就会在日记上做记号,日记摆放的角度,一根发丝等等。所以,我要送出去的消息必须非常秘密,不能被她发 现。

这个纸条是夜晚躲在厕所里写的,大意是:我被软禁了,不能和家人联系,请帮我将这个短信发给186···和139···(这两个号码是 滕彪和浦志强的手机。在火车上我已经把它们牢牢地记在了心里。这两个电话号码,我一辈子都不会忘记了)。以下是短信内容:1、我的手机已被没收,这是请陌 生人帮忙发的信息。请不要公布出去。2、如果颁奖日之后还不释放我,我会绝食,请设法救我。3、如果可能(我担心他们也被限制了自由),我委托你们做我的 律师。我有一份写给浦志强的委托书放在家中(附具体放置的地方、有我家钥匙的某人联系方式)。4、我在新余国保手中,现软禁在新余消防宾馆9207房间。 我把这张纸条和50元钱放在了贴身的衣兜里。

12月1日晚上外出散步时,我将纸条和钱一起塞给了一位事先物色好的陌生人(恕我不能说出更多的细节)。我并不知道,这个陌生人是否能替我把短信发出去,但我能做到的只有这些了,剩下的就是听天由命。

两天后,我又外出散步时,再次遇见了这个陌生人。他竟然等在那里,并且向我做了一个OK的手势。

离诺奖颁奖日越近,我的内心越焦虑。失去自由的日子,每一天都如一年那么漫长。我感觉自己进入了一个漫无边际的黑暗隧道。我知道前面有光,却总也看不到。

许多个夜晚都被心悸折磨,它总是在刚入睡时向我袭来,难以形容的心慌,四肢发软,想大声喊叫。必须竭力控制自己才不会发狂。那种感觉是多么无助,我不断对自己说:不能崩溃!不能崩溃!

即使到诺奖颁奖日第二天就释放我,我也已经与世隔绝整整45天了。对于视自由比生命还重要的我来说,这样的代价实在是太大了。有时我会想,如果当初被绑架 后,我的态度不是那样强硬,他们问什么我说什么,他们也许会放了我,或者只是限制我的行动,不会让我与世隔绝。是的,这完全有可能。不过,我一点也不后 悔。从他们采取暴力绑架我的那一刻起,他们就阻断了与我谈判的可能。我不是不能妥协,我是不能向暴力屈服。

没有人可以要挟我,暴力不能,利益不能、甚至亲情也不能。不要以为柔弱就没有力量,不要以为渺小就没有尊严。弱者和强者之间的差别不在力量的强弱,而在信念的坚定。

终于熬到了诺奖颁奖日那一天。按照诺奖公布日的时间推测,颁奖应该是在北京时间下午五点左右。按我的情况推测,所有可能去挪威的人都会受到限制。所以,国内 没有人可能到现场。我希望,领奖台上,和领奖台下被邀请的嘉宾席上,是一排排空椅子,镜头缓缓推向这些空椅子。它再好不过的说明了中国的人权状况,说明了 这个奖颁给晓波的伟大意义。想到那个场景,我哭了(在我获释后不久,终于看到了颁奖的录像。那个场景———真是空椅子!)。

12月11日早上,我宣布绝食!

下午,新余市公安局张局长来了。他说昨天已经亲自去江西省公安厅请示汇报了,这一两天就会有答复,希望我有一点耐心。他问我有什么要求。我说,1、告诉我继续软禁的理由;2、告诉我结束软禁的时间。

听天由命的躺在床上,听任意识慢慢消失。身体是飘浮的,没有重量,仿佛另一个我,不,是灵魂,离开了肉体,它升到半空俯视着:

你能坚持多久?

我笑着说:挑战极限。

你要毁掉自己吗?

不。这恰恰是使自己完满。他们想用粗鄙、丑恶、苍白毁掉我,我则以精致、纯净、丰满来对抗。他们可以毁掉我的肉体,但我的内心,他们永远无法毁掉。

12月15日

胡支队长来回复我的要求:1、颁奖日后还有一个音乐会。而且,外地有许多维权人士到北京去了,北京警方忙不过来,所以现在还不能放你回去;2、20日之前一定放你走。前提是你必须进食。

当天,绝食结束。

12月17日晚上,胡支队长再次光临:告诉你一个好消息。20号你就自由了。你要去哪里?

我要回北京。

怎么回去?

火车、飞机都可以。

你让陈明帮你买票吧。

我不是来旅游的,也不是来探亲访友的。你们怎么把我接来,还怎么把我送回去。我身上没有钱了。如果你们不送我回去,我就等在这里,让北京的朋友来接我。

好吧,我向上面请示一下。

第二天我得到答复:20号帮你买好卧铺票,送你上车。

四、自由!自由?

12月19日上午,胡支队长通知我收拾东西,离开宾馆。他说新余买不到去北京的卧铺票,已经请分宜公安局安排。我们今天先去分宜,明天下午从分宜送你上车。

内心开始不安。他说的理由不合逻辑。新余是直辖市,分宜是新余下辖的县。市局连火车票都买不到,还要县局安排吗?

分宜离新余只有30多公里,开车半个多小时就到了县城,两辆车穿过县城的闹市区,向郊外驶去。越走越荒芜,最后开到一个山脚下的度假村。分宜县公安局的人在 这里等着我们。我们一行是这个度假村惟一住宿的人。可能是山里的原因,这里非常冷,比城里气温至少低3度。整个晚上我都裹在被子里胡思乱想:他们是不是要 送我去劳教?会不会逮捕我?今年五月份就有一个在江西因“煽颠罪”被捕,后取保候审的朋友告诉我,江西警方向他调查过我。

“保镖”在一旁玩电脑。我请她帮我查一下从分宜到北京的火车,明天下午到达和离开的时间。她百度了一下,吃惊的说:这趟车在分宜不停。

我开始发脾气:问你们领导,到底要把我送到哪里去。这”保镖”是一个年轻、单纯的姑娘。她说:我们得到的命令就是明天下午任务结束啊。明天一定会放你走的。你不要乱想,领导会安排好的。

一会儿,新余市公安局张局长打电话说要来看我,不知道路怎么走。分宜县局的人开车出去接。等了许久,另一个”保镖”进来说,领导没接到。明天上午一定会来,局长说要为你送行。我感觉情况越来越诡异。

一夜未眠,第二天早晨起床后,没和”保镖”打招呼,我自己开门径直走出去,坐在院子里晒太阳。心里非常乱,怎么也想不通,如果要释放我,为什么把我弄到这里来。几个”保镖”赶紧跟出来安慰我:不会有事的。领导一定会安排好的,如果今天不放你走,我们和你一起绝食。

快到中午时终于出发了,目标是分宜县一家高档餐厅。一桌人等着我们。张局长,胡支队长。另外四人是省公安厅来的。其中一个年长者(领导模样)说:我们接你去南昌,坐飞机回北京。

手机什么时候还给我?我要打电话让朋友来机场接我。

别着急,会还给你的。

完全没有心情用餐。从新余到南昌明明更近,为什么要拐到分宜再去南昌?

省厅来的四个人中有一个女性,姓熊(依然没有介绍自己的身份),客气得让我不忍说她是国保···华老师,您看江西的变化很大吧?您帮我们宣传宣传呀。

我不做宣传,我只负责批评。

华老师不是做历史人文纪录片吗?我们江西历史很深厚啊。

那倒是。我曾经对江西的古代书院做过一点研究,不过当时我所在的部门,认为这个选题收视率不会高,所以最后没有批下来。

那好啊,您提出方案,我们帮您安排。资金、接待,我们提供一切方便。

哈哈哈哈···,好啊。

看这个架式不像是要送我劳教什么的,倒像是要招安。这太有意思了。

午餐后,我和省厅四人及新余女”保镖”一人,乘福特商务车,新余国保陈建军开一辆轿车跟随,一路浩浩荡荡直奔南昌。

快到南昌时,省厅那位年长者说:现在离飞机起飞还有几个小时,我们陪华老师去看看滕王阁。

在滕王阁一层茶室里,进行了一次精心安排的“友好”谈话:

华老师,这次在江西呆了快两个月,我们新余的同志对您照顾还周到吗?

很好。麻烦你们了。

您也是学法律的,我也是。有关法律的问题咱们就不谈了,有些事情留待历史来评价。您看好不好。

我无言,笑笑。

我今天不是以什么身份和您谈话,只是年长您几岁,您能不能听我一句忠告?

请讲。

以后刘晓波的事就不要参与了。

刘晓波哪些事?

比如签名活动。

签名不会总有的。

好,那就好。

还有关于江西警方的事就不要出去说了。

江西警方很不错呀,文明执法。

以后我们就是朋友了。江西有什么事,您只管说,我们一定尽量帮忙。您和我们小熊互相留个电话,以后常联系(她是我的专职客服了?)。欢迎您常回来。但不要以这种方式回来。

会常回来的。我还有家人在这里呢。不过,会不会以这种方式回来可能不取决于我。

您提到的江西古代书院的项目很不错呀,您写个东西给我们,我们马上可以着手办。没有问题的。

好,需要的时候一定找您。

那我们就这样说定了。

晚上七点,我被送到机场贵宾室。小熊要我的身份证去办登机牌。我再一次要求把手机还给我。小熊说:手机我帮您托运吧。

正色对她说:手机是贵重物品,不能托运。你必须还给我。到北京太晚了,我身上衣服单薄,我必须打电话让朋友来接我。

衣服我给您准备了。我知道您身上钱不够,也帮您准备了打车回家的钱。另外,我们厅里还准备了一些礼品,我会把手机包装好一起托运的。

你们是担心我打电话,北京会有欢迎团来机场接我是吗?天气太冷,到达北京的时间也很晚了,我不会让很多人来接我的。这个我可以答应你。

还是托运了吧。

不能答应你的事我不会答应,只要答应了我就会做到,请把手机还给我。

年长者发话了:还给华老师吧。华老师您既然明说了,我也告诉您,我们确实担心再弄出什么事情来,我们也是为您好,希望您平安回家。

飞机八点起飞,七点四十分,我被从贵宾室直接送上了飞机,在登机口,向省厅一行挥挥手,掉头走进机舱,立即打开手机,向滕彪报平安。

这一刻,我才确定,真的自由了!

回到北京的第二天,我知道了江西警方在临近释放我的最后两天费尽周折,把我转来转去的真正原因:滕彪、许志永、屠夫等人已于18日成立了飘香关注团,包括四位律师在内的各地关注团成员已决定前往新余营救我。
获得自由后的第十一天,当新年钟声响起的时候,我写下了这样一段文字:我有一个梦想:希望在不久的未来,我的朋友不要再被绑架、被失踪、被囚禁,不要再颠沛流离、背井离乡。

(全文完)

2011-01-15

http://www.hrichina.org/crf/article/5512

视频下载:

第一部分http://url.cn/37yrG6

第二部分http://url.cn/3bD2Tv

 

HRIC:The Ordeal of a Fragrant Soul

3 Mar

http://www.hrichina.org/crf/article/5512

Hua Ze

The Kidnapping

I have stayed in Northeast China for two weeks, filming during the daytime, and surfing the Internet at night. I know that after Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Prize, Beijing became very tense. After consulting with Teng Biao,1 I decided to stay in his office in Wangjing, a suburb outside Beijing, for a while and return to Beijing after it recovers from the madness.

On October 27, 2010, I board my flight around noon and turn off my mobile phone so that my location cannot be tracked. I take out the battery and SIM card, breaking off communications with others.

Around 3:00 p.m., I land at Beijing Airport, say goodbye to Teng Biao and others, and take the airport shuttle bus to Wangjing with his assistant, Huanhuan. On the highway, I realize my notebook computer is missing. My damned memory! I must have left it on the plane.

Upon arriving at Teng Biao’s office, I put down my luggage and use a landline to contact the “lost and found” office at the airport. I am told that they have information on my computer in their database. I immediately go to the College of Administration for Civil Aviation Officials, a block away, to take the shuttle bus to the airport.

As I approach the college gates, someone grabs me from behind and drags me backwards, face up, as a black hood comes down from above. My first thought is that the black hood is thick and stinks of feet.

“Help!” I hear myself cry and struggle desperately, hoping that I can hold on until the people who witness the kidnapping can report it to the police. During the struggle, the black hood falls off. As seven to eight strongmen are stuffing me head down and feet up into a white minivan, I resist by hooking my feet to the door frame, while a kidnapper’s distorted face stares down ferociously and says: “If you go on resisting, you will die!” A moment later, I lose consciousness.

When I wake up, I feel the minivan stop and think we have arrived at the destination. Soon the minivan starts to move again, and stop again. After several rounds of stopping and going, it speeds up. I realize that we were waiting at traffic lights, and now we are on a highway heading to the suburbs.

I don’t how long afterwards; cold water hits me in the face. In a daze, I see a dark room, with one light, aimed directly at my face. Many faces are swaying in front of me. A hand reaches out, grabs my collar, yanks me up from the ground, and throws me onto a stool. My head hits the wall hard. I taste blood, and my chest hurts. It reminds me of the “Garbage Cave” from the novel The Red Rock.2

After fainting several times, I finally wake up. I am lying on a bed. Although my body is extremely weak, as if a tide has receded from the top of my head, my mind is gradually becoming clear: so everything is finally happening. So quick! I don’t know what time it is. Do my friends know I am missing? Tomorrow at the latest, Huanhuan will go to the office and should realize that I never returned after I left. Surely she will inform Teng Biao.

After looking around, I guess that I am in a hostel in the suburbs. The room is about 12 square meters; the door and toilet are to the north, and a window to the south. A writing desk and a chair, originally on the side facing east, have been stacked together and moved to under the window. In their place, there is a stool against the wall, where I hit my head previously. To the west is the bed I am lying on now. There are five or six people walking back and forth, whispering to each other. Someone realizes that I am awake.

Before the interrogation, I set two rules for myself: First, death by starvation is trivial compared to the loss of integrity. I can talk about myself, but will never name my friends. Second, it is better to be jade smashed to pieces than a tile kept intact. Now that I am here, I have to prepare for the worst.

The Face-off

I struggle to sit up from the bed and lean against the headboard. A wave of stabbing pain comes over my back; I don’t know when I got injured.

The interrogation begins. As other people leave the room, only No. 1 remains (I am numbering interrogators in order of appearance). He looks to be around 30 years old. His hair sweeps up with the help of a thick coat of mousse. A narrow-waisted, short-sleeved shirt hangs on his body, with the collar open to reveal a silver necklace that weighs at least a kilogram. I really want to tell him: it looks like a chain for a dog — ugly.

He twists his wrists with exaggeration, lights up a cigarette, and places it in a cigarette holder that is transparent. He uses two fingers (one with a silver ring) to hold it, as his fingers spread out like an orchid. He strolls toward me and plops down close to me on the bed. I lower my head to ignore him. A few moments later, he uses one finger to press on my forehead to lift up my head, and tuck a lock of my hair behind my ear. He then takes a deep drag of his cigarette and blows smoke slowly at my face. Obviously he wants to provoke me. I close my eyes; I am not fooled. Sometime later (it feels like a century), he puts his arms gently on my legs, his body leaning forward, almost whispering to me: “Look at me.Look at me!”

I look up, unmoved, but make eye contact with him as he stares flirtingly. He raises one eyebrow and moves closer to me, less than one foot away, while making goo-goo eyes.

“Please keep away from me!” I try hard to sound strong.

“How far?”

“As far as possible.”

“Why?”

“I hate smoke.”

He gets up, walks to the table, puts out the cigarette, and comes back.

“Look, no more cigarette. Now isn’t it time to talk? What is your name?”

“I have nothing to tell you. Bring your boss here.”

I close my eyes and ignore him.

This little punk has plenty of patience and begins a monologue that lasts for almost an hour. A man comes in, whispers in his ear, and quickly leaves. A moment later, another group of four to five people comes in. One of them looks familiar. He looks like Captain Zhou of Domestic Security3 in the Dongcheng [Eastern] District of Beijing. Several months ago he summoned me for a “chat.” On that occasion, we sat across a table. Although his words were threatening, he kept a smile the entire time. Now the person before me looks stone-faced, wears sun-glasses, and is shorter than the one I remember. It’s clear that he only has a supporting role in this kidnapping. Therefore, at this moment, I’m afraid I can’t be sure.

“Get up and follow us!” someone orders.

I move to one side of the bed and put on my shoes. As soon as I touch ground, the pain is so excruciating that I’m immediately drenched in cold sweat. My ankle is injured. Before I can think, the black hood comes down again. Dragged and lifted by two men, I stumble out of my cell. We walk down a long corridor and pass through a gate. I am stuffed into a vehicle like merchandise.

The vehicle soon comes to a stop. I am led into a big room, and after ten steps or so, I arrive at another room. I am pressed down onto a square stool. Immediately, the din from the people inside the room subsides. Only one person is left walking slowly around me. In the quiet room, his footsteps are the only sound, one circle after another. He stops and snatches off my black hood. Probably because I have gotten used to the darkness, the light is so harsh that I cannot open my eyes.

“What is your name?”

I see them clearly: a pair of hiking boots. I look up slowly: hiking pants, a blue athletic shirt, a leisure jacket. He is a pale-skinned young man, with eyes as big as those of an antelope — No. 2. He looks like the outdoorsy type.

“What is your name?” he asks again.

“You don’t know who I am, and you kidnapped me?”

“Just answer my question.”

“Hua Ze.”

My eyes have adjusted to the environment. Looking around, I am sitting in the middle of a room that is about 20-30 square meters. There are two chairs and a desk roughly three meters in front of me, with a square briefcase on top. It is a recorder. A classic scene of interrogation you often see in movies.

“Did you just get off the airplane this afternoon?”

“Correct.”

“From where?”

“Dandong.”

“What were you doing?”

“Shooting a movie.”

“How many days were you there?”

“Three days.”

“What did you film?”

“A lawyer working on a case.”

“What did they do?”

“Interview relevant parties and their families and photocopy files in the court and procuratorate.”

“You need three days for all this?”

“We still did not have enough time.”

“Who is the lawyer?”

“I do not want to say.”

“Why not?”

“I do not want to mention names.”

He walks back and forth again, saying: “You look very weak.”

“I am in pain and tired and I can’t sit.”

He brings a chair to me: “Sit down then. Better?”

“Yes. Thanks.”

“Shall we continue?”

“Go ahead.”

“Why did you film this particular lawyer?”

“I like to.”

“Why do you like to?”

“Do you have to have a reason?”

“Why not?”

“I do not need a reason to like.”

I hear him take several deep breaths. He pauses for a moment, and then resumes.

“Where will you broadcast it afterwards?”

“Whoever pays for it will broadcast it. If CCTV4 wants it, I have no problem [selling it to them].”

“If no one wants it, then what?”

“Then I will dedicate it to people I like.”

“Are you just going to film this one lawyer, or do you plan on having a series?”

“I am not sure. If I find someone I like, then I will do it again.”

“What do you mean by ‘like’?”

“You won’t understand, even if I explain.”

“How did you know this lawyer?”

“Too far back to remember.”

He keeps trying to find out more about the lawyer and the filming but gets nothing.

“Pang!” The door is pushed open. A tall man makes his grand entrance escorted by four or five men.

No. 3 is about forty years old, small-eyed, and in Western clothes. His shoes are so polished that even a fly would slip off of them. He plops his cigarette pack and mobile phone on the desk, and sits down. He crosses his legs. He shakes his legs nonstop and says furiously: “Don’t mess with my brothers. Didn’t you say you wanted to see the leader? Here I am. I must tell you, I am too busy to talk nonsense with you. You’d better be forthcoming. Will you chat?”

“Haven’t I been chatting with your brothers?”

“This can’t continue — it’s going nowhere. One moment you say you can’t remember; another moment you say you don’t want to talk. You call this chatting? In here, you still want to call the shots? No way! Let me tell you: Anyone who comes in here can’t get out easily. Whatever I ask, you answer. That’s what we call a chat, understand?”

“Would you please show me your ID? Which department are you with?”

“If I tell you, you will be scared to death.”

I am wondering: I have dealt with Domestic Security for one or two days and have never felt scared. Maybe they are the State Security?5 “Tell me then.”

“I can’t tell you now. Later.”

I laugh. No. 3 becomes so upset that he is gnashing his teeth, and his face is contorted.

“Do you believe that I can make you disappear from this world right now?”

I continue to laugh and stare at him as if watching a show. Then I hear a dog barking outside.

“Believe me — I will bring the wolf dog in to play with you.”

“Okay!” I’m laughing so hard that I can’t collect myself.

No. 2, who is standing next to him, jumps in to help:

“Why are you so arrogant? What’s so funny? You should be scared, like normal people who are brought here.”

“Why should I feel scared? You guys kidnapped a totally defenseless woman and don’t even dare reveal your identities or names. This tells me that you are even more scared than I am. Since you are so scared, there’s no need for me to be.”

No. 3 is clearly furious. He bangs the desk: “I am asking you for the last time, will we chat or not?”

“There’s nothing to chat about.”

“Fine, you want to be Sister Jiang?6 I will lend you a hand. I always show courtesy before using force. Now that the courtesies are over, it’s time for the rough stuff. You just wait!” After he finishes, he charges out the door as if he’s fleeing. All the men in the room swarm out after him.

I throw this sentence at him right before he leaves:

“Since being kidnapped, I have never expected to leave alive.”

The door slams shut and then opens again. Here comes No. 4. He shouts at me: “Stand up! Getting comfortable sitting?”

As soon as I stagger up, he kicks away the chair under me.

“Do you have a proper line of work?”

I look at him, puzzled: what does he mean?

“You have no man, and no proper line of work.”

Now I understand. “You think what you are doing is a proper line of work?”

“You just shut up! Our leader is showing you respect by asking you questions. You call that an answer? That’s worse than not answering. If you answer like that, it would be better that you not talk at all.”

It’s true that I don’t have much to say to this scrawny, cowardly man.

“Why don’t you find a man? Why don’t you find a proper line of work? What are you now?”

What kind of logic is this?! Has this guy ever gone to school?

He repeats numerous times these two ridiculous sentences. It seems that he is very concerned about my not having a man or a proper line of work.

I look at him, speechless.

“Well, you don’t speak. Why don’t you speak?”

I am wondering: Isn’t he the one who just told me it is better not to speak?

In anger he circles around and stops behind me. “Courtesy” is over. Will the rough stuff begin? What kind of rough stuff? All the cruel punishments I have heard of are flashing through my mind. I remember what someone I know often says: the most despicable people are the ones who cower when they’re taken in and act tough when they come out. I’m not going to give this person an opportunity to judge me that way. What’s more, my body would probably give out after a few shakes, so the pain would not last long. I am ready for it.

Why doesn’t he start? How long has it been? My right foot hurts so much that I shifted all my weight to the left foot. I’m now in a daze. Don’t collapse, please, never! Don’t let them think that I’m scared.

I start to hear someone talking to me. I’m slowly regaining my consciousness. It is No. 2. He brings back the chair for me to sit down. He starts to play the good guy: “Why are you shivering?”

“Cold!”

He leaves for a while and comes back with a white bed sheet: “I didn’t find any clothing. Take this instead.”

I wrap myself in the sheet. No. 2 pulls up another chair and sits next to me. He starts talking in a heartfelt way. “Why are you so stubborn? Actually we just want you to have a good attitude.”

“In broad daylight, you guys illegally kidnapped a law-abiding citizen and brought me here. What qualifies you to talk about ‘good attitude’ with me?”

“If you keep trying to find out how you got here, this thing will never end. You cannot change reality.”

“I know I cannot change reality, but I can refuse to cooperate. It is not possible for me to cooperate with even little thugs.”

“Little thugs? Who are the little thugs?”

“Those who harass me, those who want to make me disappear from this world. I can bear big thugs, but not little ones.”

“What is the difference?”

“Big thugs try hard to conceal their nature, for they know it is ugly. Little thugs nakedly play out their thug nature, because they think the ugly is beautiful.”

“Oh, that sounds right. But you are too arrogant, don’t you know? Do you realize that? Your attitude makes people feel provoked.”

I correct him: “I’m not trying to provoke you — that would be beneath me. To make me disappear? Don’t play this game with me.”The more I talk the angrier I get. “It’s just death, isn’t it? We taxpayers spend money to support you evildoers. Seeing and hearing about your evil deeds every day has made me tired of living for a long time.”

With patience, he says: “Have you thought about this? We may not let you die, but just let you waste away. Could you stand that?”

“So just let me waste away. Once the oil dries up, the light will go out.”

“Why can’t you go along with this? Isn’t what you do respectable? Why can’t you talk about it?”

“I have already told you, I can talk about myself, but not others.”

“Even now, you are still thinking of others? You don’t even know whether you can get out of here.”

“For me, the peace of my inner heart and the freedom of my soul are more important than the freedom of my body. You couldn’t understand.”

He pauses in silence for a while: “Let me think about this. You also think about it some more. It’s too late for tonight. You can rest.”

I ask to use the toilet. He calls a female guard to accompany me. When I come out, I see a mattress with bedding on the floor. The female guard says: “Just make do with this for sleep.”

What? That’s all? No torture? No wasting me away? Regardless, let me just lie down and warm my weak and shivering body.

A man and a woman move two chairs to sit beside my mattress. For the first time in my life, I close my eyes under the light of a 200-watt bulb and the watch of two guards.

Although exhausted, I have a sleepless night and can feel my heart pounding hard in my chest. My whole body starts aching: shoulders, abdomen, and four limbs. Probably the result of the hysterical struggle I put up when I was being kidnapped. I exerted too much force.

I lie there resigned. As they change guards, the footsteps, the murmurs, the squeaks of chairs, and the sound of breathing are all so vivid. I don’t know what time it is. Daylight is piercing through the thick window curtain. The room faces south. A short and stout man enters. (I know this hired thug is one of the kidnappers from yesterday!) As he walks towards me, he keeps his hands in his pants’ pockets. He stares at me with a vicious look. He kicks the mattress twice: “Get up! You think you’re here to recuperate?”

I get up, make my bed, and then sit on the mattress silently.

No. 2 comes in, pulls up a chair, and sits next to me.

We continue our topic from yesterday.

“Let me repeat: I will only talk about me, nobody else.”

“Is this your principle?”

“Yes.”

“What does your name Hua Ze mean?”

“It means the ocean of flowers. Classical Chinese does not distinguish between the Hua that means flower and the Hua that means grand.”

He starts to ask me about some trivial things, which seem boring to me, but perhaps are important to him: my family background, my upbringing, my education, etc. The conversation flows aimlessly.

“From yesterday to today, there have been 20 to 30 people who have handled me. Is this how you waste taxpayers’ money?” I ask.

“How do you know we are spending taxpayers’ money?” He looks at me full of interest.

“You’re not?”

“Not necessarily.”

“Don’t tell me that you get paid by Anyuanding.”7

“It’s hard to say.”

“Working this job must be very painful, right? It haunts you, doesn’t it?”

“How can you be so sure?”

“You look educated – at least a college graduate. Will you tell your family that you kidnapped me?”

“You can’t say that this is a kidnapping.”

“Then what is it?”

“We call it: ‘taking in.’”

“Do you realize this is illegal?”

“Laws consist of many layers, some you know about, and others you don’t.”

“Oh, that’s new to me. What I don’t know is also called law.” I look at him with curiosity: “Tell me, which department are you from?”

“Even if I tell you, you will not understand. Even if in the future we see each other on another occasion, you will still not understand.”

“Then just tell me your name. Even though you are a member of this organized criminal gang, someday when you are on trial, I can testify in court that you did not torture me while I was kidnapped.”

He chuckles, “When do you think this day will come?”

“Heaven’s plans outstrip man’s. It may take ten years, or just one night. But I believe in our life time, you and I will both see this day.”

“Then what do you plan to do before this day?”

“To use my pen, my heart, and my camcorder to make a record of the changes of these times.”

He nods and changes the topic, “You should eat something. What would you like?”

“I would like to brush my teeth first. If I don’t brush my teeth, I can’t eat anything.”

He spends the next ten-plus minutes trying to convince me that rinsing with water can also clean my mouth. I insist that I must use a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Finally he says, “In fact, it wouldn’t be too hard to find a toothbrush, but you seemed emotionally unstable last night. I am concerned you would hurt yourself.”

“So that’s how it is! While I sleep I have someone by my side. When I go to the toilet, I also have a ‘bodyguard’ next to me – all because you are afraid I will commit suicide?”

“Yes, you did not even blink an eye yesterday when you talked about death. That scared me.”

Now it is my turn to laugh: “Take it easy, I won’t kill myself. But if I did, my blood would be on your hands.”

“If you are killed here, no one would know.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Is there not one among the twenty or thirty of you who has a conscience? Even if no one speaks out today, how can you guarantee that no one will speak out ten or twenty years from now? Don’t be so self-confident.”

“Are you really not afraid of death?’

“However you live, you only live once. It’s better to live a short and meaningful life than a long and ordinary one. So what is there to be afraid of?”

“Then you must eat something, and take good care of your body, so you will be able to live brilliantly.”

“I must finish brushing my teeth before eating anything.”

“You’re so stubborn, you know? Many of your friends are smarter than you are.”

“I know.”

The result of this negotiation is that I have to use my fingers to brush my teeth with toothpaste. Then I eat a few pieces of green vegetables, mushrooms, and some instant noodles.

No. 2 leaves. Two guards immediately come in and sit on either side of me. It seems I can continue to rest.

That ends today’s “talk”. What do they want? They made such an effort to kidnap me to just let me stay? Clearly, we cannot understand each other. We are not the same kind of people. The difference between us is much greater than that between a wolf and dog.

It’s so quiet, except for the barking of dogs. Occasionally, you hear the rumble of a passing airplane. I guess I am east of the airport. Is this a secret place specifically used to lock up dissidents like me? How many secret places like this do they have? How many dissidents have they locked up? Did they torture people here? Can those who get out of here return to a normal life? Just one year ago I could never have imagined my current situation. My thoughts are running wild. It turns dark and then bright.

The hired thug returns and kicks my mattress. I turn over and show him my back. He lifts off my covers. I keep still and ignore him. He gets mad and walks around my mattress twice. Then he starts yelling and cursing: “You cheap bitch. Who do you think you are? What the fuck are you pretending to be?” He goes on and on with disgusting words that I cannot put on paper.

I gather my courage and sit up suddenly: “What are you? Get out of here!”

He comes closer to me: “Say it again? I’ll kill you!”

No. 2 rushes in. I shout to him: “Keep this hatchet man off me. When you want to kill me, then you let him in.”

No. 2 stops the hatchet man who is rushing at me. Before he leaves, he points his finger at me: “You just wait! I’ll drag you out, dig a pit, and bury you!”

I’m shaking with rage: “I wait to be buried by you guys. I know you’d do it. But keep in mind, there’ll be a day when you are tried!”

This is the third day after being kidnapped. How can I let my friends outside know where I am?

There are at least five shifts of people guarding me. There are one man and one woman in every shift, which changes approximately every two hours. Every time No. 2 comes in, the guards leave immediately; when he leaves, they come back right away. Judging from their brief conversations, they come from different departments. They may know nothing about my background. If I talk loudly to myself, letting them know who I am, how I was kidnapped, will one of them send out a message for me? I don’t believe that all the people I have come into contact with are cold-hearted. I bury my head in my knees and think quietly.

“Pang!” The door is pushed open. A gang of men rush in. One of them sits close to me on the mattress. This is No. 1, the little hooligan. He pokes at my ribs with his elbow: “Raise your head! Look at me!”

I don’t move and keep silent. He pokes again, and again. I still keep silent. He lights his cigarette, takes a drag, finds a perfect spot, and blows the smoke at me through the space between my head and elbows. I move away from him and keep burying my head. He continues to move close to me: “Hello, why are you so calm? Trained in Taiwan?” Laughter breaks out from others.

Judging from this, again I’m sure that they are not from Domestic Security, but State Security. Perhaps they have been told that I am a spy and special agent, have endangered state security, and therefore, have become an enemy of the state. Otherwise, how can these educated young people do such wicked things without feeling a bit of unease in their conscience? How can you make them believe what they do has any dignity? At this moment, they clearly have come not to interrogate me, but to have some fun while they are bored. I keep silent with my head buried. After they have messed around for a while, they lose interest. The entire gang walks out in a drove.

Afterwards, No. 2 comes in occasionally to stand around and chat with me. I realize that he is trying to figure out what is in my backpack. “Is your backpack for a video recorder or camera?”

“For both.”

“Where are they?”

“I left them at a friend’s home.”

He tries to figure out what the SD cards are for. Since these cards are for professional use, he cannot see the data inside by using an ordinary camera.

“Did you make the April 16th documentary?”8

“Yes.”

“It wasn’t that good. Any storyteller can do it. It had no technique.”

“Thank you for your compliment. The highest achievement in making a documentary is the invisibility of technique.”

“Why do you care about these people?”

“I love them.”

“Are you kidding? You love so many people, but are not married.”

“The love I am talking about is different from yours.”

He has been watching the April 16th documentary. Is he moved by the scenes that have affected so many? I want to tell him: that is love.

“How many mobile phones do you have?”

“Several.”

“Why did you take them apart?”

“To clean them.”

“Why keep them off?”

“To save battery life.”

He is examining my mobile phones. I have two. The one I use exclusively for Twitter was bought a few months ago. He’s touched it. It’s dirty now.

“Your life was not bad; you have been to quite a few countries.”

“Yes. My dream is to travel around the world.”

Is he looking at the pictures I took? There is nothing in my USB drive. Is he reading my blog?

“You made a lot of money?”

“Every penny I make is clean.”

“Don’t you wish to return to your past life?”

“I wish it every day. But I can’t go back.”

“We can help you.”

“You? Help me? How? Will you make the kidney stone babies healthy again?9 Will you release Zhao Lianhai?10Will you bring back to life all the school children killed by the collapse of the shoddily constructed school buildings in the Wenchuan earthquake?”11

“Is there a single thing in this country that you are satisfied with?”

“I just want to ask you one question: Why did you kidnap me? Did I break the law? Would any government in a civilized country do things like this?”

“Of course, the American CIA kidnaps people too.”

“Young man, you’ve probably watched too many American blockbuster movies. The CIA only operates abroad, not domestically. There’s no way it kidnaps citizens at home.”

“Do you ever know how to compromise?”

“People with different interests can compromise, but how do you compromise with thugs? How do you compromise with the man who rapes you? If he says he will rape you ten times, do you compromise at two times? He says he will do it for one hour, would you compromise at twenty minutes? ”

Then he turns and walks out.

After another sleepless night, I get up feeling extremely weak. My denim overalls have become loose. I put on my shoes and stand up unsteadily, stepping on the bottom of the jeans’ legs. I bend down to roll it up. As I try to stand up again, I blackout.

I hear a hubbub; it seems very far away. Someone is pinching me just beneath the nose, the fingernails almost piercing to my bone. I open my eyes in pain and see the gloating face of the hatchet man. I am lying there, face-up and helpless. Five or six men surround me, including No. 3 and Captain Zhou from the Beijing Dongcheng District Domestic Security detachment. Now I’m sure that is him, although he still wears sunglasses and doesn’t say a word.

“Get up, put on your jacket, and follow us.”

I am carried away. The black hood is put on me for the third time, and I am pushed into the backseat of a car. With two men sandwiching me on both sides, I leave the place where I have been imprisoned for four days.

Unsure of where I am being taken, I try to guess the directions. The car zigzags continuously. A call comes in. I can tell Captain Zhou is sitting in the front passenger seat answering the phone. I hear a long sigh from him. It sounds like this assignment has not been handled very well. After roughly two hours, I hear the announcement through the train station’s loudspeaker: “Attention please! Passengers… ” I realize they are sending me back to my hometown.

“Where are you sending me? I have no clean clothes with me. You have to notify my family.” I tore off the black hood. The two men yell at me loudly and force the hood back on me. The man sitting on my right pinned my head down with his hands. My chin is pushed against my chest and I cannot move at all. The part of my back that was injured on the day of the kidnapping hurts so much that it feels as if it were splitting open. As I resist, I scream loudly: “Let go of me!” Captain Zhou in the front seat orders me to stay quiet. The man on my right grips my hands tightly and squeezes them. “You want to fight? Then fight!” His voice is so low, only I can hear. It is the hatchet man again. He is getting his revenge!

Captain Zhou opens the door and gets out. As the hatchet man tries to twist my wrist to my back, he curses through his teeth: “You want to shout? Go on! Aren’t you so tough? I’m going to crush you! Crush you, you cheap bitch!”

I struck back loudly: “You, the dregs of mankind, are not even fit to carry my shoes! You can kill me if you dare!”

My wrist is twisted by him to form a 30 degree sharp angle. I have spasms in all four limbs and gradually they become numb and lose feeling.

Captain Zhou returns to the car. The car starts and then stops after a short distance.

“Get out!”

“I cannot move my leg.”

“Damn, what are you faking?”

The hired thug kicks me and drags me out. Before I am dragged out of the car, the black hood is removed.

I am standing on the train platform, just in front of a car. The bright sunshine of late autumn shines on my face.

In broad daylight, in clear view of the whole world, I was kidnapped openly and dragged on the ground by two men. I cannot hold my tears any more. They pour down.

I cry out: “Let go of me! Let go of me!”

Someone grabs me from behind: “You cannot treat her this way. You let go of her.”

I look up and ask: “Who are you?”

“I am Chen Ming.” (A pseudonym.)

“Ah, Chen Ming? Is it you?”

“Yes, it’s me, Chen Ming, to accompany you back to Xinyu.”

Chen Ming is the office director of Xinyu Broadcasting and Television Bureau and the husband of my friend. After many years of not seeing each other, we are meeting here in this manner.

Chen Ming carries me to the train, my limbs all numb. The passengers have not been allowed on board, so there is only Chen Ming, myself, and two Domestic Security officers who claim to be plain clothes policemen working for the neighborhood sub-district office.

Forty minutes later, the train leaves the Beijing West Station. After a total of 68 hours, I’m finally leaving the evil grip of a criminal gang and starting my soft detention.

House Arrest

Xinyu is a provincial city in Jiangxi Province. Twenty-one years ago, I was a reporter for The Xinyu Daily. After resigning in 1989, I went through a period of roaming. I do not remember exactly which year I returned to Xinyu to process my passport application. At the time, since my household registration was still with the collective registration system at the newspaper, I had to travel a thousand miles just to get a confirmation certificate. I asked my good friend Jianjian, Chen Ming’s wife, to let me register my household under hers so that she could help me handle this kind of bureaucratic minutiae. And just like that, Chen Ming became my “head of household.”

Approximately one month before I was kidnapped, Domestic Security agents contacted Chen Ming to get background information on me and informed him that I was involved in some major rights defense activities. Chen Ming went home and asked Jianjian: “Could it really be Hua Ze? Would she be involved in these kinds of activities?” Jianjian was sure: “It’s her, alright. I know her.”

On the evening of October 28, Chen Ming was notified by his superior that he should go with the municipal Domestic Security personnel to pick me up in Beijing, and that his work unit would pay for all of the expenses of this trip. I don’t know whether Chen Ming regretted having allowed me to transfer my household registration to his household. I don’t know if he was reprimanded by his superior for choosing friends carelessly. In short, Chen Ming and his work unit were implicated by me.

As soon as I boarded the train to Jiangxi, I asked to check my backpack. A plainclothes officer hands me my backpack, and as I unzip it, my mobile phone falls out. A female officer in plainclothes snatches it away: “I’ll keep it for you.” What she does not realize is I have another phone which I use exclusively for Twitter, and never for phone calls. It is as clean as a newborn baby. When I was on an assignment in the northeast, I had only one battery for the phone with which I make calls. As a precaution, I saved two friends’ phone numbers on my Twitter phone. If I rely on my memory and don’t save numbers on the phone, I cannot even remember my own home phone number. This precaution will save me from many troubles.

I quietly put the remaining phone into my pants pocket. After the train starts, I go to the bathroom to make two phone calls. First I dial Pu Zhiqiang’s number. It rings for a long time, and he does not answer. Then I dial Teng Biao. As we talk, there is a lot of background noise and we have an off-and-on connection. I tell him that I have been kidnapped and that among my kidnappers was a Domestic Security officer from Dongcheng District. I am now being taken to Xinyu, Jiangxi, and my laptop is still at the airport. I ask him to find a way to get it to me. I can barely finish a few sentences before the phone is disconnected. Then Zhiqiang calls and tells me he has been under house arrest since he returned to Beijing from Yichun on October 27, but he can still make contact with the outside world. I repeat for him what I said to Teng Biao. He pauses and then tells me with a cautious tone: “This is the life you have chosen. This was bound to happen sooner or later. You must learn how to face it alone.” I answer: “Yes, I know.”

Later, over the fifty days of being cut off from the outside world, I thought of these words many times. I regard them as advice from a forerunner to a follower, because this is our life.

After making these two calls, my cell phone battery has only one bar left. I don’t know what awaits me, and must keep this last bar to call for help when danger comes. Even though I don’t know who would be able to help me or how they would help me, I cannot let myself disappear in this way – I must let my friends know about my situation.

On the train, the two plainclothes officers who came to get me ask with curiosity about Liu Xiaobo. This is the first time since I have lost my freedom that someone has mentioned this name to me.

“What is your relationship with Liu Xiaobo?

“What has Liu Xiaobo done? …”

My hunch is confirmed: all this is because I signed the “Statement Regarding Liu Xiaobo Being Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” I gave my name, Hua Ze; place of residence, Beijing; and occupation, documentary director. So it was just for these few words that they kidnapped me and will continue to imprison me. It also becomes clear that my kidnappers are from State Security.

This is a barbaric state and a criminal government. Rules of civilized societies are not followed here. Compared to the end of the Qing Dynasty one hundred years ago, the only difference is dissidents of that time had their heads chopped off and were forced into exile, but now they are kidnapped and made to disappear. All this must change!

Then I start to talk about June 4, 1989, Charter 08, the Nobel Peace Prize, etc. Talking about these topics starts to fill me with excitement. Since the authorities want to use kidnapping and imprisonment to allow me to share Xiaobo’s honor, I must live up to his name. I must continue to sow the seeds of fire.

As the train approaches our destination, the two plainclothes officers and Chen Ming all say to me, “We are only responsible for picking you up. We will not see you again after we get to Xinyu. We hope you will know when to back down so as not to get hurt – bend when you have to.”

I thank them with a smile for their kindness. But the word “bend” is not in my dictionary.

At the Xinyu train station, Mr. Chen Jianjun, a Domestic Security officer from the city, comes to pick me up. He is about 40 years old, and you could tell in a glance that he has a soldier’s background and is not well-educated. As soon as we get into the car, he starts lecturing, saying things like:

“Don’t wash the family’s dirty linen in public. When you bring domestic problems to the international community, you are damaging the country’s image.”

“You shouldn’t exploit the loopholes in the law and use the law as a weapon; the law is not everything.”

“Maybe your intentions are good, but you have been manipulated by foreign, anti-Chinese forces.”

Even though I am not good with clichés, when I see that he is so thoroughly brainwashed, I have to respond patiently:

“It is precisely out of a concern for our country’s image that we appeal for the release of Liu Xiaobo. How can you keep a Nobel laureate in jail? To win a Nobel Prize had been one of China’s dreams for a century!”

“Laws are made by the ruling party. How can you say that to maintain the integrity of the law is to exploit its loopholes? If we don’t use the law as a weapon, then should we use tanks?”

“As for the anti-Chinese forces, I still want to know how they have manipulated me.”

He says: “I don’t understand you. We’ll talk later.”

Then I tell him with a solemn tone: “If you don’t know me, then don’t tag me with an unfair label. Come back to talk with me after you have spent some time trying to understand me.”

I despise those who lack professionalism. Why is it that everyone I have met throughout this ordeal is so unprofessional? Why can’t they at least devote some thought to understanding me? Don’t they realize that I am more easily convinced by softness than by harshness? I believe that even for such shameless professions as Domestic Security and State Security, some degree of professionalism should be maintained.

After arriving in Xinyu, I am sent directly to the Xiaofang Guesthouse, a six-story building located on the northern edge of the city. Initially, it must have been built in accordance with the three-star standard, but now it looks somewhat dated. Fortunately, the bedding is still reasonably soft and clean, and the bathroom is also quite spacious. I am housed in Room 9207 on the second floor, which is reportedly the only room in this guesthouse that accommodates three people. There are two female police officers rooming with me, and two other male officers next door. There are four guards in every shift, and two shifts in total, rotating every 24 hours. All together, I have eight personal “bodyguards.”

As soon as I step into the room, Ms. Ouyang of Domestic Security announces several rules: I may not have contact with the outside world, I may not meet with friends, and the scope of my activities may not go beyond this building.

When the bodyguards introduce themselves, they give only their last names, not their first names. They say they are criminal police, economic police, or public security police. None of them admit to being a Domestic Security officer. Apparently, this kind of police – domestic security – is just too shady. However, having seen so many Domestic Security officers, I can recognize them at a glance. Of the eight, three are from the Domestic Security detachment of the municipal public security bureau, and the rest have all been transferred from different public security sub-bureaus. My security level is higher than anything they have ever experienced. Even their superiors know only that they have been transferred to carry out an assignment. As for where and what the assignment is, that is all classified.

Captain Hu of the municipal Domestic Security detachment has come – he says he is the leader, but no one mentions his position. After a while I figure it out by myself. The leader is very polite and says: “This is a coordinated action by the Ministry of Public Security, so how long you will stay here depends on the orders from above. The Xinyu authorities do not want to keep you a minute longer, and hopefully you will cooperate.” He advises me to regard this as a vacation or recuperation.

I ask Captain Hu to allow me call my mother to tell her I am okay. My mother is almost seventy. She must be worried after not having heard from me for so long. Captain Hu says that he has to consult his superiors for instructions.

No one comes to talk with me, and no one comes to explain to me the reasons for the restrictions on my freedom. In short, my life under house arrest has started, but with no end in sight.

I go to the bathroom and send a text message to Teng Biao: “I am living in Room 9207 at the Xiaofang Guesthouse in Xinyu. The police here have been polite to me, so please don’t worry too much.” My mobile phone has little power left, so I cannot wait for a response. I turn it off immediately.

Then I take a shower. I have been wearing the same clothes for five days, whether I’m sleeping on the bed or lying on the ground. I cannot bear it for one more minute.

I take off my clothes and inspect the painful “rewards” from the past four days since being kidnapped. The crescent-shaped cut on my upper lip is so deep that even a slight touch causes piercing pain. The wound on my back is below my neck, which makes it impossible for me to turn over as I sleep. All four of my limbs, especially my right arm, are covered with black and blue bruises. My right foot is sprained. The wounds on my upper lip and right hand were inflicted by the hatchet man on the day of the kidnapping. But how did I get the other injuries? I fainted several times on that day, so I can scarcely remember what they did to me.

After showering I am completely exhausted. I lie on the bed near the window, peeking at the sky of Xinyu through the iron bars on the window. I have no relatives here, so it is a completely strange city for me. I don’t even have any idea where this guesthouse is located.

I have to get used to sleeping with two bodyguards in the same room. I hope that they will not snore, grind their teeth, or talk in their sleep. After a long time with insomnia, I have become very particular about my sleeping environment. It has to be very quiet and clean.

The trip to Europe I had planned for November has become impossible. Exit restrictions will probably be imposed on me; my dream to travel around the world might have just ended. Has Teng Biao retrieved my laptop? I hope it’s not in the hands of the thugs. For the first time, I am going to have bad credit at my bank: I have missed the payment due date on my credit card. I spent more than 20,000 yuan for the plane ticket to Europe – there must be a lot of interest. What should I do about my daily medicine that I didn’t bring? What are the health consequences?

Why am I worrying about all these mundane issues? Without freedom, what else is worth worrying about? So what if I cannot travel all over the world, since there are so many people who have never even stepped outside of the city of Beijing. So what if my credit is not good, I have no plans to apply for loans anyway. Teng Biao will find a way to get back my laptop, and even if he cannot get it back, I will accept that. What does it matter if I cannot take my medicine – I was already prepared to die when I was kidnapped. My only worry is my mother who has a serious heart ailment. On the evening of October 8, when the Nobel Committee announced the Peace Prize, many of my friends were arrested as they were gathering in restaurants to celebrate. The next day my mother left Beijing for Jiangxi. As I said goodbye to her at the train station, I promised: “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” Now I only want to say to her: “I’m sorry, Mama. I did not keep my promise.”

Now that I am stuck here, I have to take it easy. It’s no use being anxious and angry – that will only impair my sharpness and judgment. I try to comfort myself: “It’s fine. Just take this as an opportunity to train your ability to stay calm.”

The next morning, Chen Jianjun from Domestic Security, who had picked up me at the train station, opens the door and comes in. As he takes a phone call, he points at me: “Did you contact someone in Beijing? Do you still have a communication device?” He turns back and gestures to the two female bodyguards: “Search her body, her backpack, and the bed!” My mobile phone is confiscated, and with it the last hope for me to be able to contact the outside world. With it they also take away some of my professional equipment: a wireless walkie-talkie and a camcorder. They do not know what they are used for, but they take everything away just to be sure.

The only thing left in my backpack is the instruction manual for my camcorder. Since I’m still new at videotaping by myself, I cannot remember all of the functions of the camcorder. I have the manual with me so that I can consult it when I need to. In the coming days, this manual will be my only reading material.

Every day I go through the same routine:

At 7:30 a.m., I get up, wash and brush my teeth, and then I go downstairs to have breakfast. In the morning: I read, write in my diary, and practice yoga. At 11:30 a.m., I have lunch. In the afternoon, I read, practice Pilates (a hybrid of yoga and aerobics), and take a shower. After dinner, I watch some TV and then go to bed.

At the very beginning I couldn’t get used to the environment. The bodyguards would keep the TV set on from morning to night. The noise was unsettling but luckily I soon learned how to read, write, and do exercise with the TV sound on.

One day after dinner I ask to take a walk outside. Chen Jianjun calls his superior for permission. He replies: “Walking is allowed, but not beyond the courtyard of the guesthouse.” So there is one more activity in my life.

Every evening, I wear my red wool sweater, suspender jeans, and a black coat (they are all the clothes I had with me when I was kidnapped) and circle the courtyard twenty times surrounded by four bodyguards. The scene must be very funny.

There are only a few guests in the guesthouse. The courtyard is a rectangle, 80 steps from east to west, and 35 from north to south. There are only two rooms with windows secured with steel bars. My Room, 9207, is one of them. During the first walk, I discover a moderately-sized Osmanthus tree in the southeast corner. This green plant with small white and yellow flowers and a strong fragrance has brought some life to my daily routine.

On the first day of my arrival to Xinyu, I made a request to call my mother. After a week, I have heard no response. On November 9, at breakfast, I make my request again. Chen Jianjun replies: “It would not have been out of the question for us to let you call your mother, but you hid your phone and contacted the outside. This incident has serious consequences. So we cannot let you call your mother.”

“What serious consequences have I caused?”

“I cannot tell you.”

I immediately burst out: “Even if I were a criminal, you would still have to notify my family. But you are treating a law-abiding citizen without the slightest bit of humanity. I had an extra mobile phone and the Beijing police did not inform you about it when I was transferred to you. This is not my problem. Anyway, it is my right to inform my friends about my whereabouts. Are you punishing me for that? Go ahead. Are you afraid that I will contact the outside? Starting now, I will begin a hunger strike! When I collapse, you will have to take me to a hospital – won’t you? When I get to the hospital, I will scream for help and tell everyone that you have kidnapped me.” After I finish these words, I leave the dinner table and walk out. I can hear the footsteps of a few people chasing after me.

“Little Chen does not know much. Please don’t take him too seriously.”

“There is nothing wrong with not knowing much. But you cannot lose your humanity. Everyone has parents.”

“We cannot decide whether you can call your mother or not. We have to send a request to our superiors.”

“I have already given you nine days. Even if you had to go through the UN, it should have been done by now.”

I return to the room and launch my first hunger strike – for the right to call my mother!

In the morning, Captain Hu comes: “I am sending my request to the leader right away. It should not be a problem. But it’s going to take a period of time, right? You first eat your meal.”

“Please send your request first, I can wait. I will not eat before I call my mother.”

The next morning, Chen Jianjun comes in with an exaggerated smile: “My superior has granted you permission to call your mother, but on two conditions: first, you cannot mention that you have been kidnapped or that you are under house arrest. You also may not say that you are in Xinyu. Second, the mobile phone must be held by us and you must use the speaker mode. Agreed?”

“I never had any intention of telling my mother what has happened to me. I just want to say hello to her and tell her not to worry about me.”

They call my mother’s phone and hold the mobile phone close to my ear. I hear my mother’s anxious voice: “Where are you? Why has your phone been off for so long? We were worried that something had happened to you.”

Calmly I lie to my mother: “I have been traveling in Europe. My phone broke. International roaming service is too expensive, so I cannot call you often. Please don’t worry. It’s much safer here in a foreign country than it is in China.”

In the past, whenever I traveled abroad, I have always called my mother before boarding my plane. Before I left Beijing, I used to email my younger brother my itinerary, contact numbers, hotel addresses, all kinds of information regarding accident insurances, and the names and email addresses of the insurance companies. This time is different. I don’t know whether or not my mother believes me.

After that I am allowed to call my mother once a week to say hello. In order to keep in touch with my mother, I take no chances by revealing my real situation to her.

The sleepless night is so long, I try to fill it with my thoughts. The feelings brought on by my thoughts can be warm and sad at the same time.

Ten years ago at a Christmas party in a bar in Sanlitun, Beijing, I met Xu Zhiyong, a Ph.D. student at Beijing University. That night, a group of his friends and their friends were enjoying themselves heartily. Against the noisy and chaotic backdrop, I had a quiet conversation with Zhiyong. He talked about his ideals of a constitutional government and the villages he regularly visited to conduct field research on grassroots-level elections. These topics deeply interested me, because his ideas were the same as my own. Ten years later, he became my lawyer in my lawsuit for freedom of speech and gave me tremendous help.

I came to know Teng Biao at a legal aid conference. When Zhiyong mentioned my lawsuit to him, he said without any hesitation: “Great. I support you!” The next time I saw him was in front of the Daxin Court House where people were showing support to Zhao Lianhai.12 Facing officers in plainclothes who were videotaping us, he shouted out: “This is Teng Biao! Do you dare to say your name?” All the women there adored him.

For the past year or so, I have participated in or filmed many citizen actions and legal cases that were initiated, sponsored, or supported by Gongmeng.13 They cover issues such as forced demolitions and relocation, educational equality, the Day of Twitter Friends on the Fourth of July,14 the Zhao Lianhai case, the Three Netizens case15 in Fujian, the Xia Junfeng case,16 the Leng Guoquan case,17 and many others. Shared ideals and common actions have created a strong bond among us. In my heart, Zhiyong and Teng Biao are not only my comrades, but also my brothers.

Early last year, I was harassed by Domestic Security for publishing my article, “In Search of China’s Path.” I called Auntie Qing, the wife of Tan Zuoren18 and a friend of many years, to express my sense of desperation and helplessness. Auntie Qing said: “You need a lawyer. Go to Pu Zhiqiang.” So I called Zhiqiang and we had our first meeting half an hour later in his very messy office. In front of him, I felt that I wasn’t at all like someone who was law-trained but a babbling seeker of help.

He interrupted me: “This is nothing, you will be fine.”

“If I am in trouble, will you agree to be my lawyer?”

“I agree.”

From then on, whenever I got into trouble, I went to him, still babbling as before, and I often depleted his patience. From his facial expressions I could read explicitly: I am that child who cries wolf. On October 24, he and I parted in Yichun. I went to Dandong to meet Teng Biao. During those few days, he always ended his phone calls or text messages with the words “Take care!” Now I suddenly realize: he was sending me warning signals. At this moment, what saddens me is that, in this land, the only thing my lawyer can do for me is to warn me.

The first time I heard the name Cui Weiping19 was through the poet Hai Zi.20 At the time, I was preparing to make a biographical film on Hai Zi. While researching, I encountered a series of articles written by Cui Weiping on Hai Zi. Upon first reading them I was very moved by her writings. Since then, I read all the articles by her that I could find. Later I met her at a farewell dinner for Tu Fu21 in Fuzhou. That was the prelude to the April 16th Incident.22 Tu Fu was taking a great risk going to Fuzhou to show support to the three netizens who were about to be tried. Teacher Cui openly joined the “Watch Group” to show her support. She said: “Today, let us forget about the world. At this moment, we only care about Tu Fu!” Several days later she wrote a long poem, “These Righteous People!” in which one paragraph is about me.

Along with the stream of my recollections there is also Older Sister Wang Lihong,23 Tu Fu, Tiantian,24 Wang Yi,25 Zhang Hui,26 A’er,27 Qiangben,28 and others.

Every time when I think of them, I feel a warm stream flowing down my cheeks. That excitement from my heart silently blends into the dark night and greets the dawn.

On November 14, I return to my room after dinner. I sit on my bed reading. I hear a knocking on the door. I don’t pay attention, believing it to be the bodyguards next door. Ms. Ouyang from Domestic Security answers the door. I hear someone say: “We’re looking for Hua Ze.” Ms. Ouyang slams the door shut. I understand what is going on. I can hear the loud calls from the outside: “Hua Ze, Hua Ze, please answer! Let us know whether you are inside.” I get up quickly from my bed, while Ms. Ouyang stares blankly at me. The voices outside become even louder: “Hua Ze, we love you!” My tears burst out. I rush to the door with no fear. Since Ms. Ouyang is guarding the door, I can only open the door a crack. But I can see three strangers’ faces: one woman and two men.

“I am Hua Ze. Who are you?”

“We are netizens, here to see you.”

“Where are you from?”

“They are from Xinyu. I am Chen Maosheng from Fengxin, do you still remember me?”

“Of course.”

We had communicated on Twitter. I remember his head shot – a handsome young man. He looks even more refined in person than he does in pictures. I shake hand with each of them and feel indescribable warmth. The female netizen hands me a bouquet of fresh flowers. They all tell me to take good care of myself. Ms. Ouyang pushes the door from behind and shuts it with force.

The room falls into dead silence. As she is changing her clothes, Ms. Ouyang tells me: “Two of them are from Xinyu Steel Mill, so-called rights defenders. They are bad, always looking for an opportunity to provoke people to make trouble for the government. …” I am not sure what she is talking about but I feel happy that Ms. Ouyang recognizes them, so they must recognize her too. They will soon spread word about me on Twitter. I will not disappear from this world without anyone knowing.

Ms. Ouyang finishes changing her clothes and hurries out. She is going to report this to her superior, leaving me to the other bodyguard. This is serious – I have been exposed. This will certainly keep them busy for a while.

The next early morning, Captain Hu comes and orders me to pack up and move.

I am moved to The New Blue Sky Business Hotel, not far away from the old one. This hotel has no courtyard and exits right onto a street. So I have to go outside of the hotel if I take my walk. Actually they had already allowed me to take my walk beyond the gate previously.

The new hotel has no dining service, so we have to go to a restaurant next door for meals. Each meal, we either spend above the limit or eat poorly. The rooms have no heating either. We stay here for about ten days, and I have no problem. But the bodyguards cannot stand the cold. They soon realize that the netizens were just visiting me and have no plans to rescue me. On the 11th day, we move back to the Xiaofang Guesthouse on the insistence of the bodyguards.

One night, not long after moving back to the Xiaogang Guesthouse, I have a dream. On a cold winter morning I was on top of Emei Mountain; snow was drifting down slowly; and the peaks near and far were covered in white. Morning bells rang from a monastery at the foot of the mountain, the sound rising up to the top in waves. This is a real scene from the Spring Festival of 1994, during my first trip to Sichuan, where I met Tan Zuoren and his wife. Sixteen years later the same scene comes into my dream. But now my life has been completely changed by the sentencing of Uncle Tan.29

Around the end of November, I hear that my house arrest may last beyond the Spring Festival of 2011, or even worse, according to some people, indefinitely. Since I know I was kidnapped and put under house arrest in connection with Liu Xiaobo’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I have been psychologically prepared for the worst-case scenario of being released after December 10, when the Nobel Prize award ceremony is held. If that is not the case, I will go on hunger strike and protest with my death. I must somehow send a message to the outside.

I normally write in my diary daily. It is filled with scribbles and does not have complete paragraphs. It consists of disconnected phrases, to remind me of important events and how I felt about them. Because I know Ms. Ouyang often peeks into my diary when I leave the room, I would make a mark in my diary, such as putting it in a particular position, or leaving a strand of hair in it. So, sending a message out has to be done very carefully; she must not find out.

This note is written one evening while I hide myself in the toilet; the general idea is: “I am under house arrest and cannot contact my family. Please help me send a text message to the following two numbers: 186 … and 139 … (these numbers belong to Teng Biao and Pu Zhiqiang, which I had memorized on the train and would never forget in my whole life). The following are the contents of the text messages: 1) My mobile phone has been confiscated and I am asking for help from a stranger to send this text message, so please do not publicize it. 2) If I am still not released after the day of the award ceremony, I will go on hunger strike. Please think of a way to rescue me. 3) If possible (as I am concerned that their freedom may also be restricted), I authorize you two to be my lawyers. I have an authorization letter for Pu Zhiqiang at home (the exact location of the letter, and the contact information of the person who has my house keys, etc.). 4) I am in the hands of the Xinyu Domestic Security detachment, being kept in Room 9207 at the Xiaofang Guesthouse in Xinyu.” I put this note together with a fifty yuan bill in a pocket of my under shirt.

In the evening of December 1, when I take my walk outside, I stuff my note and the money into the hand of a stranger I have chosen beforehand (I am afraid I cannot give more details). I don’t know whether this stranger would send out the text message for me. But that is all I can do; I leave everything else to fate.

Two days later when I take my walk outside again, I see the stranger. He is actually waiting there, and he gestures OK to me.

As the day of the Nobel award ceremony approaches, I become more and more anxious. Every day without freedom is as long as a year. I feel I am entering a boundless dark tunnel. I know there will be light ahead, but I still cannot see it.

Many nights I am tormented by heart palpitations, which always hit me as I am about to fall asleep. The anxiety is beyond words; my limbs become weak, and I feel like screaming. I have to do my utmost to control myself in order to not go crazy. Facing this strong sense of helplessness, I keep telling myself: “You cannot have a breakdown! You cannot have a breakdown!”

Even if I am released the day after the Nobel award ceremony, I will have been cut off from the rest of the world for a full 45 days. For me, someone who values liberty over life, this is too great a price. Sometimes I wonder, if I had not been so unyielding after I was kidnapped and told them whatever they asked, they might have already released me or just restricted my movement, and not cut me off from the rest of the world. This might have been entirely possible. But I do not regret what I have done. From the moment they used violence to kidnap me, they foreclosed any possibility of negotiating with me. Not because I cannot compromise, but because I cannot yield to violence.

Nobody may blackmail me – not with violence, interest, or even familial love. Don’t mistake fragility for powerlessness, and don’t think that the insignificant ones have no dignity. What differentiates the strong from the weak is not the intensity of their power; rather, it is the firmness of their belief.

Finally the day of the Nobel award ceremony has come. Based on the time of day when the announcement was made, the award ceremony should be around five o’clock in the afternoon, Beijing time. Based on what has happened to me, I expect that everyone who could possibly go to Norway is being restricted. Therefore, no one from China can attend the ceremony. I hope there are rows and rows of empty chairs both on the podium and below the podium for the honored guests, and the camera slowly zooms in on these empty chairs. There is no better illustration of the current human rights in China than this, and this also shows the great significance in awarding this prize to Liu Xiaobo. When I think of that scene, I start to cry. (Not long after I was released, I saw the video of the ceremony. There was really an empty chair in the scene!)

On the morning of December 21, I announce my hunger strike!

That afternoon, Director Zhang of the Xinyu Public Security Bureau comes. He tells me that the day before he personally reported to the Jiangxi Provincial Public Security Bureau and he will receive instructions in a day or two. He wants me to be more patient. He also asks whether I have any requests. I tell him: First, tell me the reason for my continued house arrest; second, tell me when my house arrest will end.

I lie on the bed, resigned to my fate and letting my consciousness fade away. My body is floating, weightless, as if it is another me; no, it is my soul that has left my body and is looking down from midair:

“How long can you keep this up?”

I smile back: “To the extent of the challenge.”

“Do you want to destroy yourself?”

“No. This is precisely what will make me perfect. They want to use coarseness, wickedness, and emptiness to destroy me. I will resist with fineness, purity, and vitality. They can destroy my body, but never my heart.”

On December 15, Captain Hu replies to my requests: “First, there will be a concert the day after the award ceremony. Moreover, many rights defenders have gone to Beijing, and the Beijing police are overwhelmed. Therefore, we cannot release you yet. Second, we will definitely release you before December 20. The condition is that you must eat.”

That day, I end my hunger strike.

In the evening of December 17, Captain Hu comes again: “I have some good news. You will be freed on December 20th. Where do you want to go?”

“I want go back to Beijing.”

“How?”

“Either by train or by airplane.”

“You can ask Chen Ming to buy a ticket for you.”

“I am not here for vacation, or to visit my family. How you have brought me here is how you will send me back. I don’t have any money on me. If you don’t send me back, I will wait for my friends in Beijing to come get me.”

“Wait, I will ask for instructions from above.”

The following day, I get a reply: We have bought a sleeping berth ticket for you on the train on December 20; we will take you to the train.

Freedom! Freedom?

On the morning of December 19, Captain Hu tells me to pack my things and leave the hotel. He says that he could not get a ticket for a sleeping berth on the train to Beijing and has asked the Fengyi County Public Security Bureau to make arrangements. “Today we go to Fengyi first, and tomorrow afternoon we will see you to the train.”

I start feeling uneasy, because what he says does not sound logical. Xinyu is a city directly administered by the provincial government, and Fengyi is a county administered by Xinyu. A municipal bureau can’t even get a train ticket and needs a county bureau to make arrangements?

Fengyi is only thirty some kilometers from Xinyu, and it takes half an hour to get there. We are in two cars going through the central area of the county and heading toward the suburbs. The farther we go, the more deserted it gets. Finally we stop at a holiday resort at the foot of a mountain. The police officers from the Fengyi Public Security Bureau are waiting for us. We are the only group staying at the resort. Probably because we are in the mountains, it is very cold, and the temperature is at least three degrees Celsius lower than in the city. The entire night I wrap myself tightly with a comforter, my thoughts running wild. Will they send me to a Reeducation-Through-Labor camp? Will they formally arrest me? In May of this year, a friend of mine was arrested in Jiangxi for “inciting subversion.” After he was released on bail he told me that the Jiangxi police asked him for information about me.

A bodyguard is playing with her computer next to me. I ask her to look up the arrival and departure schedule for the next day’s Fengyi-Beijing train. She checks it on Baidu.com and is startled: “The train to Beijing does not stop at Fengyi.”

I start to throw a tantrum: “Go ask your leader: where is he sending me?” This bodyguard is a young and simple girl. She says, “The order I received is that our assignment will be over tomorrow afternoon. You will be released for sure tomorrow. Don’t worry! The leader will arrange things well.”

A moment later, Director Zhang of the Xinyu Public Security Bureau calls and says that he will come to see me, and asks for directions. Someone in the Fengyi county bureau goes in a car to pick him up. After a long time, another bodyguard comes and tells me that the director did not come: “He will come tomorrow morning for sure. The director says he will see you off.” I feel the situation is getting more strange.

A sleepless night. After I get up in the next morning, I do not say hello to the bodyguards; I open the door myself and walk straight out, and sit down in the yard to get some sun. I feel extremely disturbed, and I cannot figure things out. If they are going to release me, why bring me here? Several bodyguards come out to me and start assuring me: “There won’t be problems. The leader will arrange things well for sure. If you are not released today, we will go on a hunger strike together with you.”

Almost noontime, we finally leave, heading to an upscale restaurant in Fengyi county. A whole group of people is waiting for us at a table. They include Director Zhang, Captain Hu, and four people from the provincial Public Security Bureau. Among them, an older person who looks like a leader says: “We came here to take you to Nanchang, where you will fly back to Beijing.”

“When will you give me back my mobile phone? I need to call my friends to pick me up at the airport.”

“Don’t worry. We will give it back to you.”

I am in no mood to eat. Isn’t Xinyu closer than Nanchang? Why go there via Fengyi?

Among the four from the provincial Bureau is a middle-aged woman, Ms. Xiong (she didn’t introduce herself though), who is so polite that I cannot think of her as a Domestic Security officer. She says: “Teacher Hua, you see big changes in Jiangxi, right? Please help us spread the word.”

“I am not a publicist, I only do criticism.”

“Teacher Hua, don’t you make historical and cultural documentaries? Our Jiangxi has a long and rich history.”

“That’s true. I once did some research on classical academies in Jiangxi. Unfortunately, the department that I belonged to at the time did not think this program would get good ratings, so it was not approved.”

“Fine, then. If you propose it to us, we will help you plan it. We can provide funding, facilities, and all the amenities.”

“Ha ha ha ha … that’s good.”

This is fascinating. It does not look as if I am going to be sent to a Reeducation-Through-Labor camp; it looks more like amnesty.

After lunch, I get in a Ford minivan with the four from the provincial bureau and a female bodyguard. Behind us is a car driven by Chen Jianjun, the Domestic Security officer from Xinyu. We drive as if in a parade toward Nanchang.

As we are approaching Nanchang, the older provincial official says, “We still have several hours before the flight departure; let’s accompany Teacher Hua to visit the Tengwang Tower.”

In a Teahouse at the Tengwang Tower, they conduct a carefully pre-arranged “friendly conversation” with me:

“Teacher Hua, you have been in Jiangxi for almost two months. Have the comrades in Xinyu taken good care of you?”

“Very good. Sorry for troubling all of you.”

“You have a law background. So do I. Let’s put aside the legal issues. Some things have to be left for history to judge. Do you agree?”

I do not say a word, keeping a smile.

“Today I am not talking to you in any capacity, just as someone a few years your senior. Will you listen to a word of advice?”

“Please, go ahead.”

“From now on, don’t get involved in matters related to Liu Xiaobo.”

“What kind of Liu Xiaobo matters?”

“Such as the signature campaign.”

“That sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.”

“Good, that’s good. Also, as for matters related to the Jiangxi police, you don’t need to mention them.”

“I think the Jiangxi police have done well, enforcing law in a civilized way.”

“From now on, we are friends. If you have any business in Jiangxi, feel free to contact us. We will do our best to help. You and our Little Xiong can exchange phone numbers, so we can keep in touch. We welcome you to return often, but, of course, not in this way.”

I am wondering, so Little Xiong is going to be my special agent? I answer: “I will come back often; I still have family here. But it is beyond my control whether I will come back this way.”

“Your project on Jiangxi classical academies is a very good idea. You can send us a proposal; we can get it started immediately. There should be no problem.”

“Good, I’ll contact you when I need to.”

“Then it’s settled.”

At seven o’clock in the evening, I am taken to the VIP waiting area. Little Xiong asks me for my National ID to get the boarding pass. I once again ask her to return my mobile phone. Xiao Xiong says: “We will put it in your checked luggage.”

I become serious: “The mobile phone is a valuable item and should not be checked. You must give to me. It will be late when I arrive in Beijing; I am only wearing a thin layer of clothing, so I have to call my friend to pick me up.”

“I have prepared extra clothes for you. I know you don’t have enough money on you, so I have also provided taxi fare. In addition, our Bureau has prepared some gifts for you, so I will pack them together with your phone and check them.”

“Are you worried that I will call my friends in Beijing, and a welcoming party will meet me at the airport? It is so cold and it will be very late when I arrive in Beijing. I won’t make many people come meet me, I promise.”

“It’s better to check it.”

“I don’t promise anything that I am not able to promise. Once I have promised, I will keep my word. Please give me back my mobile phone.”

The older person intervened: “Okay, give it back to Teacher Hua. Since Teacher Hua has already been so clear, I also want to tell you: We are indeed concerned about any new snafus. We are also looking out for you and wish you a safe journey home.”

The airplane takes off at eight o’clock. At 7:40 p.m., I am escorted directly from the VIP waiting area to the airplane. At the gate, I wave to the people from the provincial bureau and enter the airplane. I immediately turn on my phone and call Teng Biao to tell him I am safe.

At this moment, I finally feel that I am truly free!

The day after I returned to Beijing, I find out why the last two days before my release the Jiangxi police went through so much trouble to transport me from one place to another. On December 18, Teng Biao, Xu Zhiyong, Tu Fu, and some other friends organized a “Fragrant Soul Watch Group.” The group’s members from different parts of China, including four lawyers, had decided to go to Xinyu to rescue me.

When the bell rings in the New Year, eleven days after I regained my freedom, I write down the following words: I have a dream. I dream that in the near future my friends will never be kidnapped, disappeared, or imprisoned. I dream they will never live in exile as sojourners far away from their homes and country.

Translated by Ming Xia. (The translator wishes to acknowledge the contributions from Alex Feng and Julia Xia.) Translation edited by Human Rights in China.

The Ordeal of a Fragrant Soul