December 16, 2010
Tuesday when the lawyer, Li Fangping, went in to see Dawu, we learned that he is in need of a some winter clothes. So, despite the fact that he was fitted out in thick padded cotton clothes for winter on the day of his trial, apparently that was a bit of a show, as they are not given jail issue winter outer wear. So, last night I was at the Sunny Gold Street clothing and accessories market at 7 pm buying a set of cotton long underwear and a cozy woolen ‘Tommy Hilfiger’ vest, steel grey in color. Finely fake, 60 RMB.
This morning as it was the number plate restriction for my car, I had to drive about 5 miles out of the way to avoid driving within the 5th ring road to reach the detention center. I arrived in time (clothing and money drop offs between M to F, 8:30 to 11:30 am), and there was no line up, awesome!
Mr. Li, the friendly man who always greets me politely and in a teasing/fun way, making my visits that much more bearable, was there as usual. We nodded and I could tell he was smiling from behind the face mask that he is always wearing. It appears that his duty is receiving, checking, re-packaging and distributing the clothes that come in for the inmates. I am not sure whether I have mentioned this before, but they remove ALL snaps, buttons, zippers, strings, tags, brands, labels from the clothes. I guess you could choke on a button, or slit someone’s throat or wrist with the zipper if you were so inclined.
But, today I thought I was in the clear, as I had specifically choosen a long underwear set without any attachments or labels, and a lovely vest in wool without any trappings. However, accepting the vest they would not – why?
Mr. Li was the one checking my goods and he pointed at the vest and shook his head, indicating a clear ‘no’. I then asked why. He replied that it can happen for some desperate inmate to go to the trouble of unraveling the entire vest, and with the skeens of yarn, creating a noose, with which to hang oneself. So, no to the vest. That had not crossed my mind while shopping last night. Very interesting.
Next week I will find a cotton Chinese coat without buttons and bring it in, as I didn’t have time these past few days to go and locate one from his possessions.
Stay tuned for more news from behind the bar.