Zhu Xiaomei, a young nursing mother, is among the activists currently detained in China for their work helping workers to claim their legal rights. In this diary, Zhu Xiaomei's husband speaks out about what the family has gone through, and updates on their current condition. This is the first of his diary entries.
Translated by “Solidarity with Chinese Workers” from 《朱小梅丈夫日记（一）：幸福美满的家庭在12月3日被打破》 by Zhu Xiaomei's husband, published Dec 15 2015.
This article is part of a series of translations following the events of the recent repression in China. For updates and solidarity actions, follow the Facebook page “Free Chinese labour activists now 馬上釋放中國勞權人士”, and sign the petition here (now in multiple languages). For more information in English, see other translations and writings being compiled on Libcom under the tag “Solidarity with Chinese Workers.”
Hi everybody! First of all, I want to introduce myself. I’m Xiaomei’s husband, and we have a handsome 11-year-old son as well as a daughter who just turned one year old. I had a happy family, which was devastated on December 3rd.
December 3rd 7:50AM, I opened the door planning to take my son to school. Right after I locked the door, I was stopped by a group of people who asked me to open the door again. I asked, “Who are you? Why do you want me to open the door?” One of them relied that they were police officers and showed their ID cards. I then asked, “Do you have a search warrant?” One of them said yes and filled in a search warrant that they had prepared right in front of me. I’m an ordinary citizen who complies with the law, so of course I opened the door, since they had everything ready. After I opened the door, they poured into the apartment, heading towards the bedroom, where my wife Xiaomei and one-year-old daughter were still sleeping. I stopped them, “A bunch of big men can’t just go into the room. My wife isn’t up yet. And please be gentle and don’t scare my daughter.” They heard me and stopped. Two female police officers went into the bedroom and woke up my wife. The others started searching my home, not stopping until 12:30pm. During their search, I brought up twice that I wanted to go to work, but they wouldn’t allow me to. They ended up confiscating two computers (a laptop and a desktop PC) and four cell phones (one of them was broken and one of them was mine) and some other items.
When they were about to take away my wife, one of the police officers called me over in front of my wife and said, “Understand that our target is not you. Don’t make a fuss and turn a days-long issue into a months-long one.” I answered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” As soon as I was done talking, they started taking my wife away, but my one-year-old daughter was still in my wife’s arms. In order to put handcuffs on my wife, they snatched my daughter away from her. My daughter was too scared to even cry. I yelled from the door, “If you want to take her away, my daughter has to stay with her mom. (She is still breastfeeding.) And, you have to give me a hard copy of the official notification to let me know what kind of people have taken my wife away. But they only showed me a certificate of summons. I said that wouldn’t do it and wrapped my arms around my wife. Three policemen then pushed me on the couch, one twisting my arms behind my back. I told him my arms were about to break, and one of the policemen said that didn’t scare him.
They took my wife away by force and left my one-year-old daughter still crying on the floor of the living room. They left my apartment, and two of them guarded the elevator to prevent me taking it. Seeing this, I lifted my daughter from the floor and ran downstairs. (We live on the sixth floor.) When I got to the first floor, one of the officers blocked the stairway door to stop me from going outside. I held my crying daughter with one arm and used the strength my other arm and my body to push the door open. After pushing for three or four minutes, I managed to open the door. I ran outside to see four or five people pushing my wife into a car, while she was struggling and resisting. “If you want to take me, take my daughter with me, she needs to be breastfed,” she repeated over and over. I ran to them and put my daugher by them. I wanted to leave but was stopped by an officer. Another officer grabbed my daughter and push her into my arms. I lifted my arms showing I wouldn’t hold her, but the officer grabbed my body to put my daughter between us. I can’t even describe the face of my crying daughter at that moment. They pushed my wife into the car and left. And what about my daughter? An officer walked over to my 11-year-old son and handed her to him. (My son watched the whole process, and I don’t know if that will leave psychological scars on him.) At the sight of my daughter crying, my son started crying too, but he still took his sister from the officer. I was seven or eight meters away. I told my son to put her on the ground, while the officer told him to hold her. (I think my son really didn’t know what to do and who to listen to.) I cried and yelled, “You put your sister down and let the officer take care of her, otherwise, your sister won’t have milk tonight.” Hearing me say that, he put my daughter down. But as soon as he had he cried, “No! I don’t want to put my sister on the ground.” Listening to him, I felt my heart was stabbed by a knife. (What parent doesn’t feel pain for their children?)
From the moment when the cops came into my home to the moment my wife Zhu Xiaomei was taken away, I didn’t know what had happened. When I asked them, they replied, “You will know later.” Just like that, still completely confused, I had my wife taken away from me. I wanted to leave too, but two officers grabbed me and stopped me. I said, “I didn’t break the law. What rights do you have to stop me?” They replied that they were police officers and they had the power to detain me for assistance. They pushed me back to into the first floor of my apartment building and released me. As soon as they let me go, I ran out from the underground garage. (Because I didn’t know what had happened to my wife, so I wanted to contact a lawyer for her.) Outside the building, I saw a police officer, and I shouted to him, “If anything bad happens to my son and daughter, your police department is responsible!” After telling him, I took off, and the police officers took off too, leaving my 11-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter at home.
I came back home at night. I heard my daughter crying even outside the apartment. I saw her crying when I went into the room, and I couldn’t stop crying either. I asked my son, “How was your sister this afternoon?” My son answered, still crying, “Sister kept crying the whole afternoon.” I told him that she might be hungry and we started looking for food for her. But my daughter, a baby who was still breastfeeding, rejected all of the other food. (We fed my daughter only by breastfeeding before this incident, she didn’t even even take baby formula or rice porridge.) A man like me really didn’t know how to take care of her, and my daughter just kept crying until around 11:30pm, she was so tired that she almost couldn’t make any more noises, so she fell asleep. But she woke up around 1am and continued to cry, looking for her mom. At the time I thought, I would rather the police had taken me away, so that my wife could keep taking care of our daughter (at least, my child wouldn’t have to go hungry). My daughter kept crying until 4am and fell asleep after I fed her with some water. My daughter fell asleep, but how could I? I kept thinking, what will we do tomorrow? If she still rejects other food tomorrow, what will I do? Without food, how can a child grow? Thinking about this, I started tearing up again. That night was the saddest and longest night of my life.