Dissident artist Hua Yong was forced to flee Beijing after Chinese authorities cracked down on him for posting videos that publicised mass evictions of thousands of migrant workers from their homes. The eviction were made under a controversial safety campaign.
The videos, which he posted on Twitter, showed rubble from a deadly fire and police officials evicting people. The Beijing police tried to arrest him but, with the help of good friends, Hua fled from Beijing on December 8, going from one city to another until he was ultimately tracked down in Tiajin on the night of December 15.
Before his detention, the artist recorded videos of himself: an emotional message to his two-year-old daughter (above), a video about his standoff (below), and his interaction with the police at the door (bottom).
“Once the apartment door is open, I’ll have to leave with them. Daddy will use this last moment to sing you (his daughter) a song,” he says in the video above, before singing “Happy birthday” to his daughter, whose birthday is on Monday, December 18.
“Everything I did was just for you. So your generation won’t have to go through what your father’s and grandfather’s generations had been suffering. Daddy just wanted our country to get better towards justice, fairness, freedom, democracy and free speech for all,” he says, adding:
“I’m willing to play the martyr. Whether it’s death, torture or prison, I’ll take it with a stride. Come rain or shine, whatever will be, will be. But for the sake of my children’s generation, for my rights as a human being, for the right to tell the truth, it’s well worth it.”
Hua discusses the “high-tech tyranny” and the “invisible sky net” of the Chinese government in the other video, reminding people to remain vigilant about all that is happening in China and the “plight of those who dare to speak the truth”.