Nina Wu, sister of the detained filmmaker and blogger Hao Wu, continues to document her ordeal on her blog, Missing Haozi. (Haozi is Hao's family nickname.) Yesterday, in a post about visiting the police station (translated into English here), she wrote:
Outside, I have the support of a husband, friends and lawyers. Inside, my brother cannot read or receive any information from outside. Isn’t he even more alone and helpless? I must remain firm. I can’t break down before my brother does. Just as I believe that my brother has a generous and loving heart, I will always believe that my brother is innocent. I only hope that his honest personality will not bring him too much hardship and suffering.
We will continue to provide full English translations of her blog posts on the Free Hao Wu website.
Drop Nina a line in her comments section and let her know how much we admire her for being so strong. Zeng Jinyan, the wife of the recently released AIDS activist Hu Jia, has been blogging for the past month about her husband's detention, and now the circumstances of his release. How does a Chinese family's life change after one member returns from detention? Today she described how she and her husband are being followed everywhere they go by men with cameras. She also left an encouraging comment on Nina's blog [my translation, corrections welcome]:
Nina, today on my blog I wrote this, in hopes that everybody will come here and support you. Take care of yourself, keep yourself safe, conserve your energy for the long haul.
"What a huge social stage. I've been part of the audience, then I got on stage, now I'm audience and on stage at the same time. After Hu Jia came home, I heard that some other women are suffering similar pain to my own. When I see these two links, http://ethanzuckerman.com/haowu/ (English) http://spaces.msn.com/wuhaofamily/ (Chinese) its clear that the people writing them are going through great unhappiness. Through the words I re-lived the pain, re-lived the cruelty. It's like being betrayed all over again. There's nothing I can do, I can only give Nina a message of support each day. The fact that our blogs have not been shut down is something worth celebrating, but it's unclear if this is a step toward freedom or not."
Can blogs stop human rights violations? Jinyan is right to be skeptical. But will many more Chinese become aware of what's happening to their own countrymen through blogs like Nina's and Jinyan's? It seems likely. Victims and their families now have a direct means to speak out, in their own way. They have a vehicle through which they can receive sympathy from people inside China and people around the world. They can connect with other victims. They "own" and have control over their own stories in a way that was never the case before. In the past, the only way other Chinese people knew about detentions like these were via Western media reports, which sometimes filtered back into China. Such reports are often discounted as exaggerations or Western anti-China propaganda. Many Chinese feel they have good reason to take human rights stories coming out of the West with a grain of salt. But now victimized Chinese can speak directly to their fellow countrymen - without their voices making the double pass through the filter of Western perception and political agendas. This is so much more powerful, and so much more difficult to discount.