Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Involuntary transit

From Wikipedia:

Feng Zhenghu 冯正虎 is a Chinese economist and scholar based in Shanghai. Citing Amnesty International, The Guardian said that Feng was "a prominent human rights defender" in China. In 2001 he was sent to prison for three years ostensibly for "illegal business activity". He was released in 2004, has since written critical pieces highlighting alleged malpractice by local governments and forced evictions.

Outside China, Feng is best known for having been refused re-entry into China eight times in 2009. His protest, of refusing to leave the immigration hall of Narita International Airport, Japan, since November 4, attracted concern from Asian activists, and received world-wide media attention.

In early 2009, Feng was inexplicably detained for 41 days; he left China for medical treatment in Japan soon afterwards — in April 2009. On attempting to return home in June, he was refused entry by the authorities. According to Feng's sister, airlines prevented him from boarding a China-bound flight four times; on the four occasions he succeeded in boarding a plane, Chinese authorities at Shanghai turned him away. A Japanese immigration official said Feng arrived from Shanghai on 4 November with a valid Chinese passport and a visa to enter Japan – but has refused to be admitted. He is spending his time on a couch near an immigration checkpoint in the south wing of Terminal 1 of Narita Airport, subsisting on snacks given to him by travelers and activists (including Hong Kong activist Christina Chan).

He has been likened to the Tom Hanks character in Steven Spielberg's 2004 film The Terminal. According to news reports, the airport authorities are embarrassed by Feng's presence, and would prefer that Feng enter Japan. Since Dec. 3rd, 2009, the airport authorities are issuing daily notices to Mr. Feng, requesting him to leave the arrival zone and be admitted into Japan.

Links to more background material:

Mr. Feng’s twitter feed:

Mr. Feng’s homepage:

Mr. Feng’s flickr page

The following are translations of the correspondence between Mr. Feng and a netizen.

Translated by Thomas de Groot and André Holthe.




Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 09:39:24 -0800

Subject: Speechless

Don’t you ever again bring shame to the Chinese people! ! !



Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 11:13:05 +0900

Subject: RE: Speechless

Thanks for the info.




Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 11:10:40 -0800

Subject: RE: Speechless

First of all, to be a Chinese citizen you should create a good image for China, this is the minimum requirement for being Chinese.

What you provide does not explain anything. If you continue like this your just going to make more Chinese feel disgusted. If I was you, I would first return to Japan, then let family and friends in China help you engage in a lawsuit. If you let more overseas media propagate on this it is going to be even harder for you to return home. Because as China becomes increasingly powerful, foreign countries are less and less going to interfere with China’s domestic politics.

Happy New Year!

Feng Zhenghu is not expecting foreign governments to protect the right of Chinese citizens to return home

Response to letter from speechless netizen

Speechless netizen:

Thank you for your letter.

You should advise the relevant authorities in Shanghai not to illegally forbid its citizens to return home and set a create a good image for China.

I do not wish to sleep in the open outside at the entrance of Japan, it's the Shanghai police who kidnapped me with force and put me here. Furthermore, I am not Japanese, I am Chinese, I've already been denied entrance to China 8 times now. As soon as they open the door, I will return home; well, who wants to sleep in the open at an airport in Japan? It's that simple, and you should get that.

If China really is that powerful, then why should we flee from calamity and go to Japan. If one should follow your advise and first return to Japan to drag out this shameful existence, you can't say that Chinese people will feel disgusted, it's going to be the Japanese who will despise the good-for-nothing Chinese; when our rights are violated, we don't dear to stand up and resist.

Perhaps you don't know, I've already entrusted our country's most famous lawyer, Mo Shaoping, to lodge a complaint against the Pudong police and customs in Shanghai, the court has already accepted the case, but the hearing will not be until February, and the case is set to last 7 days. It seems that you don't understand Chinese administration of justice, you're really naive. I know that I have to wait to return home before I can start a real lawsuit.

If China really is that powerful, it should be self-confident enough to welcome supervision by public opinion and not care about whether it's domestic or foreign media, as long as it's reporting that seek the truth from facts. The Chinese government should change what's wrong and make greater exertions. In my case, all the major foreign news outlets are reporting, but not a single domestic one. This is not normal, so it appears as if the overseas media are too many. If domestic media took initiative and took on the responsibility of supervision by public opinion, and dared to supervise the government, then society would have been normal; government officials wouldn't make absurd decisions and humiliate China.

I have more faith in the Chinese government then you have, they look down on anticommunism, underground anti-Chinese media, and in particular a few Chinese tabloids, but they can't ignore the world's major news outlets, not even the all powerful American government dare to ignore them, because the world's major news outlets represent the will of the people. Even though domestic news outlets are silent, they will in the end have to do something. And, you can't seal off the internet, and the masses are spreading my story. I am convinced that the leaders of the Chinese government will sober up.

Furthermore, I want to tell you that the facts that I've been able to live here for 62 days is not thanks to the Chinese or the Japanese government, but thanks to the support of Chinese citizens. People from Beijing, Shanghai and other places as well as overseas Chinese from Hong Kong, Taiwan and America who have brought me food and funds. I've received several thousand letters of support, a majority of them from Chinese people. Every day tens of thousands of travelers pass by me, most of them Chinese people, and they see my unfavorable situation. None of them feel disgusted, they all sympathize with me and support me. Of course, everybody who hear me story are shocked and feel humiliated. This powerful China shouldn't cause scandals where its citizen are not allowed to return home. They feel disgusted and detest these government officials. In many Chinese people's eyes, I am a person who truly loves his country. I know that this is a fact.

I don't know what kind of Chinese people you are talking about. I think it's only the government officials who made this mistake that are disgusted and anxious about being held responsible. All government officials who doesn't have a stake in this will urge the Chinese government to let me return home and end this national humiliation. If you wish to help out, you should let your friends read the article "Feng Zhenghu from Shanghai have been sleeping at the Tokyo airport for 62 days - Not letting Feng Zhenghu return home is a Chinese national humiliation" and see if they feel disgusted? You can also tell your mother about this story and she will definitely say: "There's not reason not to let a child to come home. If the child's been naughty, just give it a beating and that's all".

Some Chinese people are arrogant and think that China is powerful now. Chinese party officials think they can do as they please; not even America can criticize us now. As a matter of fact, this the inferiority complex of villains. Fortunately, the mind of China's leaders is wide-awake: China is not really a powerful country in the world, it's just that our population is bigger, our market demands a bit higher, and that's all. Western politicians are flattering you, cheating you, giving you face; what they want is your lining, the money in your pocket. In fact, the never cared about your domestic affairs in the first place, they don't need the votes of the Chinese people. So, it's not that China is powerful and that people less and less interfere with China's internal affairs. It's just that a few Chinese people think they are so clever.

I really don't expect foreign government to protect my right to return home, I expect the Chinese people to let me return home. A Chinese fleeing China to seek political asylum in a foreign country would require the help of a foreign government, this is just fair and reasonable. A Chinese returning home who needs the help of a foreign government is just ridiculous. There's not a single Western country who would help foreign nationals to return home. Interfering with the other country's internal affairs in a case like this, at most they would declare where they stand and that's it. Actually this foreign national just have to work on his own in order to ultimately return home. If the Japanese government finally can't take it anymore and protest against the Chinese government, demanding that the Chinese government take responsibility and let me return home, they are concerned about my human rights, but about the sovereignty of their own country; it's China who interferes with their internal affairs, by kidnapping me with force and putting me here, throw me away and giving a damn, handing me over to the Japanese people.

You say that what I provide does not explain anything. I don't know, I can't explain why I don't have the right to return home or why I don't have the power to return home? Communicating over the internet I do not know your cultural level, but from your style of writing I can see that you in the end will understand the reasons behind all this. Maybe you already know it. Attached is "Feng Zhenghu from Shanghai have been sleeping at the Tokyo airport for 62 days - Not letting Feng Zhenghu return home is a Chinese national humiliation", "Feng Zhenghu's letter to Hu Jintao, the president of China (01.09.2009)" and "Defend Chinese citizens right to return home - a legal proposal". You can give it to your friends, maybe they see things more clear than you.

This legal proposal is based on Chinese law, I don't know if you are familiar with Chinese law? The spokesman of China's Foreign Ministry told reporters that China's relevant authorities are handling my case according to Chinese law. According to Chinese law, China's relevant authorities are violating the law by prohibiting its citizens to return home.

In order to let more Chinese people know about my thoughts, I will publish this letter.

I wish you a safe and sound New Year, freedom and happiness

Feng Zhenghu

04.01.2010, outside the entrance of Japan



Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2010 23:22:05

Subject RE: Speechless


First I want to clarify that I am not a Chinese citizen anymore, and have no right to gossip about China’s situation. Everything I have said comes from my heart. I believe: everybody can make mistakes, you can resolve this through the legal system; If you believe everybody else are mistaken, should you not examine yourself?

Happy New Year and I hope you can return home soon!

Chinese love China more than anyone else

Response to speechless netizen’s second letter

Speechless netizen:

Thank you for your reply.

I am grateful for your sincerity. You told me: “You are not a Chinese citizen now. By law you are not Chinese, you are a foreigner.”. Few of today’s Chinese, especially Chinese in China have this kind of shameless mentality, they have gotten rights and revolt when their rights are violated.

Actually, you do not need to be afraid of criticizing the shortcomings of the Chinese government, your gossip about China’s affairs doesn't matter, you're a foreigner, not a foreign country’s government, the Chinese government will not censure you when interfering with the internal affairs of China. You have already been gossiping about China in your previous letters in a Chinese tone of voice. We Chinese are used to be able to interact with different views, a fact that might cause you to get reacquainted with China.

You say that everything you say come from your heart. I do believe that you are being sincere, but this makes me feel even more sad, you’re suffering from both one-sided love and phobia. The internet police, the 50 cent party, anonymous posters and people who benefit from all this also express these kind of views, but they know that they are working or cracking jokes, their words do not come from the heart. Without pay or other benefits, they would be cursing the Chinese government, they would not be as moderate and rational and with total lack of objection like you.

You are indeed naive and easy to deceive. Do you really think that the legal system in China is the same as that of the US, Canada and Japan? That you can resolve everything through law? China is a country where the Party is the supreme power, and although most civil law suits can be resolve through law, if you take legal action that ends up interfering with the government or with the interests of party officials you will most certainly fail, even to file a case can be difficulty. Today China is the perfect textbook example of a strengthen legal system, and at the same time it is also a partial administration of justice. This reality might be hard for you to comprehend, most foreigners don't understand China's problems.

You say “If you believe everybody else are mistaken, should you not examine yourself?” I do not believe that everybody else are mistaken, in my case it is only a few officials who have made mistakes. However, your mode of thinking is a typical example. Not to question the responsibility of the offender, but rather that of the victim, why do I not attack others, but you then? You also have faults, right? As a matter fact, asking these kind of questions while pretending to be just and fair is just pure gangster logic, it is the same to dread the thug and not dare to to battle for a just cause, just to console oneself. When our government officials preposterously infringe of our rights without it being in accordance with the law, they all use this logic and deceive the public.

It is said that China's embassy officials use the same logic when not extending its citizens' passports, rather than acting in accordance with the law, they rhetorically ask the applicants: "You know why your passport was not extended". These are not the acts of a government administration, but rather that of the criminal underworld. The behavior of the government administration is not authorized by law, meaning illegal, it has no basis in the law, one cannot just simply act as one pleases or act passive, as legally defined. In China, there is no legal basis for refusing extending citizens' passports, embassy officials do not have the rights to refuse Chinese citizens who apply to extend their passport.

In our country, a small group of plainclothes policemen and a great deal of our security personnel defy laws, human and divine, they do as they please, if they want to kidnap they kidnap, if they want to take you into custody they take you into custody, if they want to block your house door they block it, they do not require to show any legal credentials, they do not require any basis in the law, that the basis of this logic. They openly raise a hue and cry: "We do not understand the law, it is our boss who sent us.". " Victims demand them to provide proof when they restrict people's freedom and liberties, but they all assume a look of local bullies and loafers, even to the point of asking the victims: "Why do I care about you and not others?". If this reasoning of violating people's rights is established, well then we do not need laws, there will be no justice and safety, procuratorial organs and people's courts will exist in name only. The murderer too can say:". Why did I kill you and not others?" The burglar too can say: "Why did I mug you, and not others?". The petty thief too can say: " Why did I rob you and not others?". According to this gangster logic killing, plundering and stealing are all legitimate actions, and the victims deserved it.

Since you have already become a foreign citizen, I think you certainly live in a Western country, and you have been living there for quite some time. You might not be directly affected by the Chinese reality, and rely just on the news in the paper as well as your simple feelings towards the motherland, in the past our countries pickled vegetables were disgusting, so eating pickled vegetables now might make you homesick. I understand that you say all this with sincerity and good intentions. Yet, I wish that you would go native and be a good foreign citizen and be completely Westernized, accept the ideas freedom, democracy, rule by law human rights, these are the main aspects of the Western value system. It is also advanced human concepts and you should not worry about being labeled a liberal because you have already become Canadian, Japanese or some other foreigner, loving your own country, and being loyal to one's country is natural.

The way we Chinese see it, to see those overseas Chinese who have become foreign nationals raise the five star red flag, wear the crown of patriotic overseas Chinese and sing patriotic songs is truly nondescript, it is indeed very strange. Overseas Chinese citizens who are patriotic, even though they are criticizing the Chinese government, they too want their country to become even better, because it is their country. We Chinese in China love China more than anyone else, because we live in China every day, this is our home. By making use of the mental shame and physical suffering that I have to endure by sleeping in the open outside at the entrance of Japan I want to raise the Chinese government’s respect for Chinese human rights, letting the Chinese masses know about this national humiliation, give those who have a sense of shame courage, and get all of us together to once and for all get rid of the evil of not letting Chinese citizens return to their country and home.

Speechless netizen, I have been harsh on you. You have made a couple remarks, I have responded with an essay, and lots of netizens are also discussing this. My response is not directed against you as a person, but against a certain view, or a kind of traditional influence one might say. Yet I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings, and I once again thank you for your kindness.

I wish you a safe and sound New Year, freedom and happiness.

Feng Zhenghu

05.01.2010, outside the entrance of Japan.

No comments: