Imprisoned Chinese Dissident Guo Quan’s Wife Testifies at Congressional Hearing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(Washington, D.C.—Feb. 15, 2012) On the same day that President Obama was meeting in the White House with the presumptive next president of China, the wife of an imprisoned Chinese dissident was on Capitol Hill testifying at a Congressional hearing about the government repression she and her family have suffered.

Li Jing, wife of Guo Quan, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for subversion, was invited by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to testify at its Tuesday hearing on “The Case and Treatment of Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng.”

Emphasizing their family’s Christian faith, Li told the hearing that her husband was simply motivated by his faith and Christian love to speak out on behalf of the weak and the persecuted in Chinese society, and that he willingly paid the price for acting in love. Li’s testimony was warmly received. After the hearing, reporters wanted to interview her and members of congress spoke words of encouragement to her.

Congressional leader Chris Smith (R-NJ) in particular praised Guo for putting his faith into action. He also praised Li, who had just arrived in the United States last month after fleeing the family’s home in coastal China’s Zhejiang province, for being a wife and mother who defends her family’s spirit and kindly encouraged her.

(Photo shows Congressman Chris Smith with Li Jing, wife of Guo Quan.)

The two-hour afternoon hearing was held Room 2118 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Below is the text of Li Jing’s statement, which can also be viewed at:

Distinguished Mr. Chairman,

My name is Li Jing. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak about the persecution of my husband and our family. My husband Guo Quan is currently in prison serving a ten year sentence for peacefully expressing his opinions about democracy and human rights. After several years of harassment, my son and I arrived in the United States three weeks ago. We are exiles in this country, currently enjoying freedoms here that hopefully will someday be enjoyed by everyone in China.

I am here today to ask Members of Congress and the Obama Administration to help reunite my family, free my husband from prison, and to stand firmly with those in China who peacefully seek greater freedoms. Only the United States can make this case to China. It is very important for the world community to raise the case of my husband, of Gao Zhisheng, of Chen Guangcheng and Liu Xiaobo—China must know that the world is united against the imprisonment of peaceful dissidents and rights defenders. But without U.S. leadership on human rights, few in Beijing will be listening.

Because I now have the freedom to speak, I want to tell you a little about my husband’s case. He is an academic and professor at Nanjing Normal University with a degree in law and a doctorate in philosophy. He started to publicly advocate for greater democracy and human rights in 2007, when he published an open letter to President Hu Jinto calling for “multi-party elections under a comprehensive welfare system.” Several days later, he published another letter, this time to Premier Wen Jiabo, defending the rights of 590,000 employees laid off by China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petroleum Chemical Corporation and arguing for the abolishment of the “re-education through labor” system. He wrote several other letters defending the rights of workers laid off by the China Industrial and Commercial Bank and regarding demobilized soldiers and the nationalization of the military.

Because of his public advocacy, my husband suffered. On Dec. 6, 2007, the Communist Party Committee of Nanjing Normal University fired him from his job as professor. He was transferred to the university library to work in data management. He was stripped of his associate professor salary and allowed to work for only minimum wage. Of course, these demotions did not stop his advocacy.

On Dec. 17, 2007 my husband posted the “China New Democracy Party Charter” online, announcing the founding of this party, with himself as the temporary chairman. In less than a year’s time, he published online the “Herald of Democracy,” a collection of 347 articles criticizing one-party dictatorship and corrupt government, defending 10 social groups whose rights had been violated, spreading the ideals of democracy and constitutional government, and systematically promoting his own political views.

On Nov. 13, 2008, Nanjing police detained Guo Quan on the charge of “subversion of state power.” He was formally arrested on Dec. 19, 2008 and sentenced on Aug. 7, 2009 to ten years in prison, with three years’ deprival of political rights. I was forbidden by Nanjing police to go to the trial or speak to international media about his case. He is currently serving his prison term at Nanjing’s Pukou prison.

From the first published letter, my family experienced continuous harassment by police. Our lives have been turned upside down for the simple expression of political opinion. Our home was raided several times in the middle of night. They smashed the locks on our door, ransacked our cupboards and chests, and forcibly confiscated our computers and some of my husband’s manuscripts, which were never returned.

In the apartment complex where I live, police installed surveillance devices in the hallway and in the elevator and monitored by home phone, internet, mail and cell phone. On important public holidays or so-called “sensitive days,” my home phone line and internet access would be cut off. They also required my employer to appoint coworkers to monitor my activities. In October 2009, I was forced to quit the job I had held for many years. But whatever new job I found, I had the same experiences: coworkers avoided me and I had no opportunities to be promoted. Later, I had no choice but to become self-employed, but they used various means to disrupt the normal business activities of my company. Before I came to the US, I had been forced into unemployment for more than a year. With my husband’s imprisonment, my career also came to an end.

My husband’s advocacy also affected the life of our 11 year old son. Since his father is a well-known political prisoner, he has suffered discrimination at school. He is continually mocked by teachers and students. Before his father was arrested, he held some leadership positions in his class and in his school, but he has been stripped of these. Previously active and outgoing, he has become more and more withdrawn and lacking in confidence.

My husband is innocent. He is a college professor and a devoted Christian whose conscience led him to advocate peacefully for rights and freedoms that are universal. For this he was given a ten-year prison term. This is egregious political persecution. His mother is elderly and sick and his son and I miss him greatly. I can’t imagine my son not being able to see his father for another seven years. I am very grateful to ChinaAid for helping us come to the United States to live in exile. I appeal to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government to help reunite my family and to urge China’s leaders to release my husband immediately and without condition, as well as the many other political prisoners who were penalized for speaking out, such as Gao Zhisheng and Liu Xianbin and many, many others.

Thanks be to God! Thank you all.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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