Qiao Long | Radio Free Asia
Li Yue is the daughter of the writer Li Tie, who was jailed for 10 years on subversion charges in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in 2012 after he wrote articles online calling for political reform and for the human dignity of ordinary people to be respected. She told RFA following a prison visit earlier this month that her father is being prevented from speaking to family members by phone:
He told me that in the seventh year of a sentence, people normally get the right to speak to their families, to have normal communication, by phone.
But there has been no improvement, several years into his sentence. [He’s not allowed] to buy things in the internal system.
But he is mostly worried about the fact that he can’t speak to us. My father just wants to get the same rights and privileges as everyone else. There is no respect for the rights of the individual.
Everyone else is allowed to call, write letters to and have visits from other relatives. He is the only one who is allowed to do none of this.
There are some things he doesn’t talk about, because the prison authorities won’t let him. He told me that if I knew everything, it would make me very uncomfortable.
He wasn’t looking very well when I saw him. He weighs less than 120 pounds. He is pitifully thin. The visits only last for 20 minutes, and there are also two or three policemen standing behind him whenever we see him.
Zhang Qunxuan is wife of jailed activist Chen Xi and a fellow member of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum in the southwestern region of Guangxi. Chen was jailed just before Li Tie, and is also serving a 10-year jail term for “incitement to subvert state power.” He was detained alongside several fellow Forum members after some of them planned to seek nomination for elections to district-level legislative bodies. She spoke to RFA about traveling 400 k.m. to visit Chen in jail last month:
He’s not allowed contact with anyone. They won’t let him contact those people. All he can do is read, read the Bible. They don’t let him work, because they are afraid he will have contact with other inmates.
He’s in with some illiterate guys who are about to get out of jail, but they’re not allowed to talk to each other. There are eight of them in there.
I told them they should show me where it says in the rules [that he can’t speak to his family by phone or write letters to them]. Then I’ll accept it. But they didn’t.
Why do they have to strip him of his right to communicate freely? He did everything they said, but it’s still not good enough.
[The visits last] 20 minutes. Sometimes, if you start talking about something that they decide is sensitive, then it’s not even that long.
If you carry on talking about it, they just cut the visit short.
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