Category Archives: How is this all affecting Hannah and I?

A Year On After WU Yuren’s Illegal Detention – where is the case now?

Sneaking up on me like a snake in the grass, International Children’s Day is today and is a day of great celebration for our little friends all over China, if not the world. However, for our family, the memories resonate with the ‘anniversary’ of Wu’s illegal and unjustified detention, well, official detention. In fact, he was taken in on the late afternoon of May 31st, harshly beaten, and kept in the police station over night. He was moved by police van to the Chaoyang District Criminal Detention Center on June 1, 2010, where he stayed until April 3rd, 2011, when he was released on ‘parole’ – the same day that Ai Weiwei and Wen Tao were taken in, kind of like a revolving door.

So, here we are a year on and Wu is still in legal limbo land. The authorities took in his passport and have not told him when his parole is up. It seems weird, however, that he should be on parole really, as he was never actually sentenced. Isn’t parole for good behavior AFTER a sentencing? I suppose that this is their way of ‘dealing’ with his case, as they were never able to produce any evidence of ‘violence against public service’ during BOTH trials – one that took place on Nov 17th, 2010 which resulted in being adjourned due to lack of evidence. The trial was reconvened on January 28th and after an hour of talks, that trial, too, was unable to produce reasonable evidence. We have been waiting for a sentence since. Parole being the sentence? Who knows.

Where am I? I see the long stretch as being somewhat over, just turning now into the last 1/4 mile … but there is the ‘fear’ that he could be dragged in again as they have him by the short and curlies, to be sure. I am off to Canada this July, sort of leaving China for awhile, going back to school, and getting on with my life. Dawu will stay here for the time being, as he can’t legally leave the country, and decide what he wants to do, work on his art and revitalize his art career. Hopefully the government will allow him ‘space’ to do that.

Hannah as been a super trouper through out all of this, and now even in knowing that we are leaving China for a while sans baba. She loves her baba and wants to be with him all the time, playing, reading, doing homework, clowning around, riding her bike, swimming, and hearing stories of where he was for the past year. Despite the parole being somewhat of a legal anomaly, it has allowed for Hannah and her baba to reunite and get back into their groove. As a mother and pr campaigner for Wu for almost 10 months, I can say that I was somewhat successful in achieving my goal. It was by far the most emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially draining ‘job’ I have ever had.

Thank you, everyone, for your love and support for the three of us over this past year, both on line and in person.

Stay tuned for more updates.


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Wu Yuren tells daughter bed time stories …

Wu Yuren and his 6 yr old daughter tonight before bed discussing why some good people can be mistakenly detained by authorities. She is trying SO HARD to understand how and why her baba disappeared from her life for close to a year … priceless to over hear this.

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Wu Yuren and a ‘guasha’ treatment – painted red!?

Took Wu Yuren today for a massage and guasha (traditional Chinese medicine, using oil on back and scrapping with a flat bone tool thing) session and he broke out like some one had slapped red paint all over his shoulders and back! Easy to see how this result could happen, given his beating almost a year ago and after sitting on a wooden bench for 6 hours per day for 10 months, restricted sunlight and no exercise/physical activity. I thought he had died and gone to heaven … Wu is enjoying his time out, helping his daughter with her homework, reading stories to her at bed time, drinking tea for the first time in ten months, and many other ‘firsts’.

Wu Yuren handed in his passport, as per parole regulations, and is still under strict supervision of the court (phone checks on a regular basis). He is still unavailable for comment, interview or phone calls.

Thank you for your support over the past many months.


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An appropriate quote to describe the climate here in China right now …

“These are dangerous days,

To say what you feel

Is to make your own grave”

– Sinead O’Conner, BLACK BOYS ON MOPEDS.

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Wu Yuren’s Incarceration Update

Still no word on Wu’s pending verdict and sentence, it has been almost two months since the completion of his trial (the trial had two parts, one on November 17th 2010 and on January 28th 2011). Thank you to all for your support and patience.

Wu Yuren’s daughter, Hannah, is getting impatient these days more than before. To deal with her wait, she writes little sentences and draws lovely little pictures and puts them all in a plastic, expanding document organizer. This folder she actually won last fall when she got 300% on her three exams in Maths, Chinese and English! She will present the folder and other gifts, presents, items to her baba when he is released – whenever that is!

Stay tuned.

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Time out R&R – KP and HW head to Thailand in February

Close to the eve of Wu Yuren having been in detention for close to 8 months, I decided that a travel break outside of China was in the cards … it has been a tough crawl for both of us, especially that the law does not allow family visits to detainees until after the sentencing. We sort of thought, expected (hoped?) that the sentencing would come sooner than later, and that the second half of the trial would not have taken close to 2.5 months re-convene. But, we were not so lucky. Why not head to Thailand and get away from it all? So, we did.

We left right after the second trial date, in the afternoon of January 28th and it was such a relief to just get on that airplane and zoom down to Hong Kong, our first stop on our 3.3 week trip. Basically, HK was about seeing a friend in Discovery Bay and visiting Disneyland. Funny, but the flight was overall cheaper to go through HK with Dragon Air and Cathay than to fly straight from Beijing to Bangkok. So, we also did some camera shopping and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at Disneyland. We were there for 9 hours and took in as much of the rides and shows and fun as we could – we even bought the ears and had our names engraved on the back (just like THE Mickey Mouse Club from the 60s and 70s, Annette would have been proud!). I was also surprised that Hannah endured the 9 hours without once asking to go home or complain that she was tired. Of course, she wondered what it would have been like if her baba was with us.

Over to Thailand, where we stayed exactly three weeks and had a blast in the different areas and hotels we stayed in: Bangkok Boutique Hotel (one night); Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa (4 nights, awesome swimming pool!); Asia Hotel (4 nights, convenient for transport within Bangkok); Lom Lae Beach Bungalows on Koh Yao Noi (8 nights, a special spot, not very touristy); Imperial Adamas Beach Resort and Spa (4 nights, close to airport on Phuket Island, amazing pool). I suggest you go to to pick up some last minute deals on accommodation, not just Thailand.

During our trip, we just hung out and did as little as possible. As long as there was water and a deck lounge chair, Hannah and I were happy – I read books while Hannah swam.  Of course, we did some day trips and saw some interesting things, such as bathing/swimming with elephants and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, and boat trips, snorkeling, etc. But, generally, for me, it was important to really not been engaged with the internet (facebook, email, twitter, Wu’s blog, etc) and to have very minimal contact on my cell phone, which I left open to receive a text from the lawyer if there was any news about Wu’s case. In fact, it was quiet as there was no new news at all about Wu’s case, no sentence, etc.

How did leaving China affect Hannah and I? For me, it was great to get away, unwind and to think about things without major Beijing life distractions. I think for Hannah too, but for slightly different reasons. In her mind it was just about seeing new things, meeting new friends, and the like, as you do when on holidays at 6 years old. However, she was very clingy to me, and would walk on the outside of us if we were walking down a small road, saying, “Mom, I don’t want you to get hit by a car, because how would I get back to Beijing and Baba is in jail”. Cute, but also shows an underlying fear of being left behind, or abandoned by her other parent. Also, she brought along a small note book and everyday she would draw pictures of what she did, saw, ate, all as a record to eventually show her Baba when he is released and she can be with him. The book was for him, not for me. It was great to see her committed to including him in our trip vis-a-vis her little notebook and drawings. Not a day goes by really when he isn’t mentioned or referred to by her, regardless of what is going on in our lives. Life goes on, but in small ways he is still very much a part of her world.

Back to Beijing and we are now back to our routine.  I am very well rested and ready for the next phase of what shall come our way. Hannah is at school, second semester of grade one and I am in between closing down all of my small businesses and looking for work either in Asia or back in Canada. I have also applied for an MA in Intercultural and International Communications, starting hopefully in September, 2011, a 2 year online program.

Stay tuned. Enjoy some photos.

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‘Tommy Hilfiger’ Wool Vest for Wu Yuren-rejected by staff at center!

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.

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