Li Jiaqing's Letter from Prison to a Union Head

By Li Jiaqing, China Labor Watch, 6 February 2001

The following is a February 2001 letter from labor leader Li Jiaqing in prison to the chairman of the labor union of the Paper Manufacture Plant in Zhengzhou, Henan Province.


How are you!

Long time no see, missing you very much. Hear that you are in charge now, and the hard-toiled assets of the workers and staff members are coming home soon. Congratulations! Hear that many workers and staff member shed tears over this [good news]. Although behind the high walls, I feel the same way.

Our home experienced so much hardship. He who is not in charge doesn't realize how expensive everything is. The assets are created and accumulated with hundreds and thousands people's youth, sweat and blood. Aren't there still two workers who are on their last grasps and even worse than being dead? There are also the ghosts of Wang Guiwu, Wu Zhongyi, Wang Jianxin's wife, so forth, about five or six of them. These ghosts are watching us from the netherworld. If [we] can't protect the assets, lose the assets, [they] can't rest in peace.

As for me, it's been thirty years since I came to the factory from Guangzhou. I have devoted my best youthful years to the plant. During the final years of my life, it is a matter of course of me to do something for the safety of the plant's assets and make my final contribution. I have prepared to enter the detention facility on my feet [i.e. alive—Translator], but come out some prison on my back [i.e. dead—Translator]. When a man puts his life out of consideration, any evil force cannot defeat him.

Wish everyone can be like what it has been—sharing both hardship and good fortune. In the past many peoples could share hardship but not good fortune. The days to come are going to be harder for our home. It is a tremendous challenge to restore or even improve a devastated factory. Hope you abide by the principles of the union, unite the masses. You have made great contribution to assets' return. There is also Geng Airong. If not for the two of you who, with great fearless spirit of sacrifice, hid the real estate title in your laps for half a year long, the assets would have been eaten up by those jackals and wolves. The two have endured the heaven falling and earth tumbling kind of pressure. I sincerely thank you two. In my defense paper submitted to prosecutor Ma Huiping in mid-December, I predict that ill-willed and bad-quality acquisitions are surely to go extinct, this is the fit-to-survive effect of the market law, cannot be changed by human's wishes; acquisitions only in forms will surely be eliminated; our factory will be returned. But didn't expect it would come so fast, in less than three months, it is already realized. How can I not be moved!

Hereafter, I have predicted that, those then benefactors of the fraudulent acquisition will conspire to give up factory in order to win the lawsuit. They certainly will spare no cost to sue and to sentence, to push me into hopeless ground, avenge their loss, and use this to knock down the morale of the proletariat class of the paper factory. Grab back a straw.

This situation is already happening. They throw away all scruples under heaven. In the 400-word short accusation, there are 350 words narrating the facts; every word and sentence is filled with all kinds of fabrication, attacks on one point regardless of the whole, making conclusions based one's subjective view, overstepping one's authority illegally, making presumptuous conclusions, etc., and political inciting, sensationalizing, so on and so forth, all kinds of metaphysical idealist trash. [Both metaphysics and idealist philosophy are considered erroneous thoughts under Marxist ideology.—Translator] In merely 350 words, about 50 doubts can be raised, enough to see how holes there are. [They are trying] to play the game of words and tricks on conceptual connotation and logical relationship in order to get an unjust verdict. Official forces people to rebel, force them to go to Mount Liang [a mountain famous for its peasant rebels during the Sung Dynasty]; once in Mount Liang, will become a brave man. If I am force onto the road of fighting, retreat is not the way out. I can only greet the battle with my head held high. At that time, I will request to return the factory for a public trial in order to explain everything to the several hundred workers and staff members of the factory. Let the heaven above, the earth below and the workers and staff members inside the factory be my witness at the trial! I want you and everyone welcome my return. Of course, at the moment the most important thing is to help the lawyer to get evidence. Facts speak louder than words. I prophesize that I will win the truth. The things asked by the lawyer, please make your efforts.

Here is certainly tough, but it can build one's character.

Wish we could have a long talk in the coming year coming day. Please forward my greetings to Airong and all.

The goal of smashing the fraud, saving the factory assets, protecting workers and staff members' rights, and shake off poverty in three years has yet to be accomplished.

Li Jiaqing

From the 2nd Detention Facility of Zhengzhou