From Russell Streur
Many of you are aware of, and have participated in, the Saloon’s support for the imprisoned Chinese poet, Zhu Yufu. He has now spent 953 days in custody and still has years to serve until his sentence is scheduled to end in 2019.
News comes this weekend that Chinese authorities refused to allow an activist US physician to evaluate Zhu’s medical condition. The American doctor risked the unorthodox intervention after hearing descriptions of the dissident’s ill-health. Prison officials gave the bum’s rush to the gray-haired grandmother, Devra Marcus of Virginia. The story can be found here:
The Saloon has recently heard from Maggie Wenzhuo Hou, Director of Friends of Conscience and a friend of Zhu Yufu’s sister, Zhu Xiaoyan. Through Maggie, Xiaoyan gives some additional details of Zhu’s harsh treatment:
Zhu Yufu’s living condition is really very bad. His food does not have any nutrition and not giving anything like meat or egg. He is not given even minimum standard of nutritious food. in the prison where there are 240 people, there are only 12 shower, and they were told to finish shower within half an hour. So, Zhu Xiaoyan said, one person only got 1.5 minutes of shower time. Zhu Yufu, being old, poor health, and couldn’t even walk steadily, -could never get a chance to compete with the other inmates for shower -which is why during the summer, his whole body had terrible rash and bleeding during hot summer days.
Zhu Yufu, as a prisoner of conscience is treated very badly. He was told to sleep close to the toilette (note that there is no separate bathroom) -several inmates urine in the same toilette -he was intentionally humiliated to sleep in that place;
He was not allowed to any minimal prisoner’s rights. the prison recently announced that, because the prison is overcrowded, they would give medical parole or allow “community service” to release some –people who have illness, and people who are older than 60 etc -both conditions apply to Zhu Yufu. but Zhu Yufu was told that he would not be allowed to register and would not be considered -because he is a political prisoner.
His mental health is in a very difficult situation.
I learned through Maggie that while Zhu Yufu is best known in the West as a poet, writer, he is also a calligrapher and an artist. Some of his work on fans can be seen at this Chinese-language website:
The struggle to gain Zhu Yufu his freedom continues. Here are some things you can do to help:
Let Maggie Wenzhuo Hou know of your support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Send Zhu Yufu a card. Select one with a positive image on it—a flower for instance, or a bird or rainbow. A short message in English would be appropriate—“I am thinking of you” or “You are not forgotten” would work. Nothing complicated or lengthy, and nothing against the Chinese government or any message that could bring him trouble. Pay attention to colors: red means good fortune and joy; yellow represents good luck; green, health and prosperity. He may never receive it—but the prison grapevine might bring him word of it. Include your name and return address on the envelope so the authorities know the world-wide breadth of his support. Do not send money and do not expect a response. The international postage will be less than the cost of the card—the US Post Office issues Forever Global stamps for $1.10. The address to use is:
Zhejiang Provincial No.4 Prison
P.O. Box 50, Hangzhou City 311100
Write the Chinese ambassador to your country expressing your request for his release. A source for embassy locations can be found at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/gjhdq/
Zhu Yufu is just one of hundreds of imprisoned writers around the world. For more information from English PEN, click http://www.englishpen.org/campaigns/international/
Russell Streur is a born-again dissident residing in Johns Creek, Georgia. His work has been published in Europe, certain islands and the United States. He operates the world’s original on-line poetry bar, The Camel Saloon, catering to dromedaries, malcontents and jewels of the world at http://thecamelsaloon.blogspot.com/