Veteran activist Zhang Lin is currently serving his fifth detention for his renowned pro-democracy advocacy. When the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred, Zhang Lin bravely refused to leave his post as the leader of the pro-democracy protests in Bengbu City, Anhui Province. Immediately after June 4, he was jailed for a year and then spent two years in a Chinese forced labor camp. During this time, and in subsequent detentions, he was beaten and tortured. His health has been broken to the point that when he was most recently released, his daughter Anni, who was eight years old at the time, had to care for him because he could not move.
When the Chinese Communist Party could not silence the indomitable Zhang Lin with multiple incarcerations and tortures, they went after his young daughter, Anni. When she was just ten years old, unidentified men whisked her away from her elementary school and detained her overnight. Once freed from detention, she was not allowed to return to school. When her father exposed this abuse of his daughter, the two of them were placed under house arrest. Ultimately, Zhang Lin was detained again, on July 18, 2013. His sentencing has been delayed twice and he remains in jail today. Because there was no one to take care of Anni, last September Women’s Rights Without Frontiers was able to obtain safe passage to the United States for Anni and her older sister Ruli. We did this with the help of Congressman Chris Smith, Jing Zhang of Women’s Rights in China, and many other brave people in the United States and China. Four people remain in detention in China today because they helped Anni.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers now releases the Open Letter of Ruli and Anni Zhang, pleading for the release of their father, Zhang Lin. (The English translation is below.)
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “As the American parents of the Anni and Ruli Zhang, it is heartbreaking to witness their anguish over the ongoing detention of their heroic father, Zhang Lin. They cannot help but compare their lives of freedom and opportunity in the United States with their father’s harsh and unjust imprisonment. His crime? He exposed the fact that his ten-year-old daughter Anni was detained overnight and denied an education. The persecution of young children to silence their parents is official child abuse. It is the ultimate act of cowardice.
“It is our joy and honor to be able to help pro-democracy hero Zhang Lin by raising his daughters in our family. As he languishes in prison for his bravery, at least Zhang Lin has the comfort of knowing that his precious daughters are safe, happy and free in the United States. And I hope that he feels proud that Anni and Ruli are continuing to fight for democracy in China, from U.S. soil.
“Zhang Lin is innocent. We join his daughters in demanding his immediate and unconditional release.”
Read the text of the Open Letter of Ruli and Anni Zhang, translated into English:
Release Our Father, Tiananmen Hero Zhang Lin!
Read the original Chinese text of the Open Letter: