Letter from an Aid Recipient


We are grateful that the Shiyuan Project has provided financial assistance to our families every year, and the donated amount has gradually increased.  I believe your record of the total amount is correct.

As for myself, since 2005, most of the financial relief my family received came from the Shiyuan Project.  When I was in prison, I knew many people cared about me.  However, because all conversations were monitored, my family decided not to tell me about your assistance.  When I was released and read letters forwarded by my relatives, I realized that many overseas friends had combined their love and made donations to the victims of political persecution in China.  Although the dollar amount was limited, these contributions were a big relief to our four low-income families – especially mine and Haike’s family.  They are located in poor, remote villages.  The support from the outside world provides comfort to our parents and relieves the depression that came with their sons being held in lengthy imprisonment.
After my release, I read the thank-you letters from my ex-wife who is not naturally aggressive or particularly interested in politics. She survived many years with support from others, and showed great courage in fighting the authorities on my behalf.  For those who sit in prison cells because of their beliefs, the most important thing is to be sure that their values and belief are respected and supported by others in the outside world, and by their own family members.  Our parents may not understand what exactly we did, but with support and acknowledgement from outside, they know that their sons' good work, with the goal of improving society, was worth the sacrifice.  Despite the dark powers that suppress our voices, we know that people will one day know the truth.

I was especially moved that the Shiyuan Project was established to provide relief to help the four of us;  but, of course, other political prisoners also benefitted. It is ironic that we were regarded as democracy activists, and we were sentenced for trying to overthrow the government;  but, in truth, we are rather ashamed that we advocated only for the livelihood of ordinary people, not for democracy.   When the secret police needed names, some sacrificial victims, to demonstrate that they had democracy forces under control – and to win awards and promotions – they threw us in jail.

Our story demonstrates two attitudes towards young intellectuals who dedicate themselves to social development:  the government represses and tortures them,  while others, like supporters of the Shiyuan Project, support and encourage them.  No wonder the dictators are facing more and more enemies.

Along with Xu Wei, Jin Haike and Zhang Honghai, I say thank you again to the Shiyuan Project and all those gneerous people who support human rights in China.  We urge the Shiyuan Project to expand and contribute more to the cause of democracy and human rights in China.


Yang Zili


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