This article was originally published by Radio Free Asia and is reprinted with permission.
A woman locked up in a psychiatric hospital by authorities in Hunan province for splashing ink on a poster of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping in a social media protest has spoken out against her incarceration following her conditional release.
In a video uploaded to Twitter on Nov. 30, Dong Yaoqiong said she has no mental illness, and still has considerable restrictions on her personal freedom following her release from the hospital.
After Dong Yaoqiong splashed ink on a poster of Xi Jinping in 2018, the CCP put her in a mental hospital. She reappeared last night with this video. Since then, her tweets have been deleted.
She says, “I no longer fear the CCP. I want to fight for my freedom. If I die, I die.” pic.twitter.com/pkyWYNBZuM
— Things China Doesn’t Want You To Know (@TruthAbtChina) December 1, 2020
“What did I do wrong? Did I break the law?” Dong said. “Before I splashed that ink, I had a job in a company in Shanghai … did my colleagues there think I was mentally ill?”
Dong said she had been assigned a job working for the local government following her release.
“At least, they call it work, but really it’s just another form of surveillance,” she said. “I have to make phone calls for them and type and write stuff out for them, stuff like that.”
“But there are still restrictions on my movements, so I want my freedom back, my freedom to choose where I work,” Dong said. “I don’t care if they put me back in the psychiatric hospital and never let me out for the rest of my life.”
“I want the freedom to contact my friends. I don’t have any freedom at all right now,” she said. “There are restrictions on everything right now. If I have contact with someone, they always ask me questions about it.”
“They don’t threaten me or anything, but the aim is to stop me making contact with others, even my father,” Dong said. “I don’t want to live like this any more; maybe I should just die.”
Angry and emotional
Dong said she wasn’t even told that her father Dong Jianbiao had been involved in a mine flooding accident at Yuanjiangshan in Leiyang on Nov. 29, and had heard about the incident through rights activist Ou Biaofeng.
“Dong Yaoqiong is likely to have gotten very angry and emotional when she heard about the incident,” Ou told RFA. “That’s probably why she went public.”
Dong also posted text tweets hitting out at Xi and other Chinese leaders for using the machinery of the entire state to suppress her freedom.
The video and the tweets have since been deleted.
Artist Hua Yong, who was detained after he spoke up for Dong, said he had told her to try to keep a low profile.
“I told her … not to fight against this … that she should calm down and delete her tweets of her own accord,” Hua said. “But she said she can’t stand it any more.”
Hua, who is currently in Thailand, said Dong had been force-fed psychiatric medication during her incarceration, which had caused her physical and emotional trauma.
“It is utterly disgusting,” he said. “This is no longer just a matter of freedom of speech; it is total fascist persecution.”
“Splashing a bit of ink should be regarded as [no more than] vandalism,” he said.
Dong Yaoqiong was sent for “compulsory treatment” after she streamed a live video of herself splashing ink on a poster of President Xi in protest at “authoritarian tyranny” on July 4, 2018.
#紧急关注这位女士# 刚刚微信朋友圈看到这个视频，为这位女士担忧，担忧她的安全，这个直播视频已经在国内流传，我想知道她的名字，请上海的朋友多打听她现在的状况，拜托大家关注，不要让她无声无息地消失，“捍卫宪法，言论自由无罪！” pic.twitter.com/idwO8lxNwj
— 華湧 (@HuaYong798) July 4, 2018
She was then committed as a psychiatric patient in a women’s ward in Hunan’s Zhuzhou No. 3 Hospital. Her father, Dong Jianbiao, who was detained when he tried to visit her, has suggested the authorities put extreme pressure on her mother to sign the committal papers.
Dong ‘s incarceration in the Zhuzhou No. 3 Hospital, a psychiatric institution, came after she accused the authorities of “persecutory brain control,” an allegation some activists have said could be linked to attempts to disorient her through psychiatric medication or even technology.
“There is a portrait of Xi Jinping behind me,” she said in the July 4 live streamed video protest. “What I want to say is that I am using my real name to oppose Xi Jinping’s tyranny and dictatorship, and the oppressive brain control perpetrated on me by the Chinese Communist Party.” She then threw the ink across Xi’s image on the poster and shouted her slogans again.
Dong, who had reported being under surveillance by the authorities for around a year, later said via her @feefeefly Twitter account that there were uniformed men outside her apartment. Her Twitter account was later deleted.