Why blog? To know what freedom is

And to know what it isn't.On Global Voices, a lengthy translation of a Chinese blog is featured.  The purpose:  to point out the lack of freedom that still exists in China, where the state has the power to intimidate and uses it, even (or especially) to the point of attempting to silence legitimate questions being raised about AIDS infections.An excerpt:

June 20My first time to be tailed by twelve people in three carsAt home after work I was puzzled. Half thinking about what to cook, half thinking why on earth I was kept under house arrest yesterday. All day today I was followed by two to three cars and about eight to twelve people.Who am I? I pondered, half washing vegetables, half thinking. I’m a newly-wed housewife. I’m twenty-two years old. Height just falls short of 160 centimeters and weight just below 45 kilograms. My appearance is nother pretty nor ugly, my face is pale. I like kids, that’s why I volunteer in the AIDS village helping to raise over two hundred orphans. I love writing, and every day pour my heart on onto my blog. Until my husband disappeared, then instead of biting my nails I started writing the facts and not emotions. Weak and sickly, post-meningitis leftover problems often make me forget people and things. Because of this I can’t do anything with out my hands, some paper and a pen. Thoughts are simple, temper is stubborn, tend not to see the big fish eating the small fish, or people taking advantage of other people, often cry when feeling incompetent.What did I do? Every day I go to work at the company and earn my rice bowl. Every day I volunteer for the AIDS work organization. Every day I write in my blog and express my state of mind. I rush about weeping trying to get my missing husband back. On the eighteenth I was announced as the Victims’ Family Members Award. Hearing Chen Guangcheng’s wife voice and news on the telephone, I can’t take it and quietly start to cry.Yesterday morning just after six a.m. Hu Jia left home, planning to go to the hospital in the morning to get some medicine and in the afternoon go to the ‘The Blind man Chen Guangcheng Incident’ press conference. At seven I gave him a phone call and learned that he was still down below in the courtyard, arguing with two dozen-odd built guys. I went downstairs only to see that they were the Beijing central and plainclothed Tongzhou district State Secrecy Bureau [SSB] detachments. Among them were those who took part in kidnapping Hu Jia for forty-one days, police responsible for the small community police station as well as some faces I didn’t recognize at all. These secret police circled around Hu Jia, trapping him in, and closed the iron gate to the outer yard. Not only did they violently stop Hu Jia from leaving, they also forbid me from leaving. Early that morning the neighbors heard a loud ruckus, and slowly came from all over to crowd around and watch. One of the SSB guys said, “no matter what happens, the two of you cannot go out today.” What kind of reasoning is this? No legal documents, no displaying of credentials, just the lone one-liner, “the two of you cannot go out today” can deprive us of our freedoms? Previously, even when Hu Jia was under house arrest and then later missing, I had never been put under house arrest. Why? I demand an answer but the SSB guy pretended he didn’t know, just spat out some mumb-jumbo. I phoned some friends, and they all said the friends and lawyers who were supposed to be at the Chen Guangcheng Incident press conference were under similar conditions, being held against their will all over town, forcing the press conference to be called off. But Hu Jia was out of medicine, prescribed by the doctor such that it could only be gotten at the hospital. After fighting for over hours, we refused to leave the courtyard. Neighbors far away could all hear the arguing. Seeing that we weren’t willing to budge, the SSB guys made some phone calls to their superiors and in the end had no choice but to take Hu Jia to the hospital to fulfill his prescription, but only on the condition that I stay at home. Hu Jia had to be taken in an SSB detachment police car, and a few SSB people in a few other cars followed him there, rushing him back home as soon as his prescription was filled and not allowing him any contact with the outside world.This morning when I went downstairs to go to work, I noticed a car following me closely, all the way to the office. No matter where I went, there were earpiece-wearing people watching. At lunch I stepped out of the office only to notice there was one more car following me now. To put it another way, there were twelve people in three cars tailing me. Of these twelve there were men and women, all of whom were taller, stronger and older than me. One modern white car’s license plate number was 京F B8233, one license plate in front but none in the back. One grey Mazda with a front license plate number 京F E6034, but the rear license plate was not clear. One deep gray Japanese Bluebird car with the number 京F C9288 in the front and 京E 09288 in the back. I phoned a friend, he asked if I was scared. Not scared, I said, just quite anxious.***Sitting in front of the computer, breathing deeply, calming myself down. What are they afraid of? Why would they be afraid of a powerless girl? Things have been so abnormal recently! My husband was kidnapped by the police for forty-one days, something until today nobody has taken responsibility for. Big, solemn Shandong province. Not only is it afraid of a blind man, it’s also afraid of his bare-handed wife, kidnapping, beating and putting them under house arrest, dragging the weak young new mother away along the ground. Now they seek to harm this blind man with a fake accusation and send him to prison. The most abnormal is how jittery the great capitol Beijing has gotten just over the telling of a blind man’s encounters. The city wide illegal obstruction of people’s personal freedoms is the most ironic. Of the friends put under house arrest, half of them are outstanding Beijing lawyers, more than a few of whom have PhDs in law. So who is there still able to safeguard the sanctity of the law? The most absurd part is that as those friends whose personal freedom was illegally constricted regained their freedom, in a random spot on Beijing’s east side are twelve people and three cars following closely a young, weak woman. Are they so scared of a woman not yet even twenty-three years old?Since 2004 my husband, Hu Jia, has experienced being tailed, put under house arrest, beaten and kidnapped countless times. But today is the first time they’ve targetted me with restrictions and tailing, which I think is very disgusting. To be disgusted is the instinctual reaction any woman would have in these circumstances. Try and think. No matter where I go there are always pot-bellied men wearing earpieces following closely and eavesdropping, taking cameras and video cameras and sneakily filming me, watching me with sleazy gazes as they phone back to make reports. Even when I’m in public toilets they look in the direction of the toilet to see ‘what conspiracy I’m up to.’ When I go home, they park below my balcony. If I don’t close the curtains, they watch everything I do. This is what I mean by disgusting.This behavior of theirs makes me feel ashamed. Every month I work my butt off for less than 2000 yuan in wages, and I still have to pay taxes to the government. But this money is actually used to support a group of tall sturdy guys in tailing and surveilling every movement and action of small, weak people like me. How much are twelve people’s wages? How much for twenty-four hour surveillance and overtime pay? How much is the gas for three cars? Even more so, how many resources are being consumed to keep the air conditioning in their police cars running non-stop on these hot days? How much does it cost for the cameras, video cameras and listening devices used to spy on me? And the mobile phone charges? I don’t dare go on thinking. I feel ashamed for my country. I also feel sorry for myself, using my taxpayer’s money to support components in the state apparatus in monitoring the weak.I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Many friends why they can’t open my blog. I also cannot open my own blog. My husband Hu Jia forces a smile and says ‘those police aren’t following me, now they’re following you. What does that say?’ I’m young and I don’t have any influence, so I don’t know why, and my followers won’t give me an answer. I can only ask my friends to help me figure it out.

It's worth a read.