Her Peirong, best known as @pearlher, helped the blind dissident Chen Guangcheng to escape from his home in Dongshigu. She is a 40 years old english teacher and she lives in Nanjing.
When did you begin to deal with Chen Guangcheng’s case?
My first dealing with Chen’s case is on Jan 10th, 2011. I drove alone to Dongshigu village to visit him. I’m the first one to visit him after his releasing. And I went to Yinan County on May 30th-June 10th again which is the second time there being a person going to shandong for Chen. After that I kept campaigning for his freedom. What I did is to make him famous just like Kony2012 did. There are series of activities during last year: series video on outspeak for Chenguangcheng with Guo Yushan); call on netizen visit Chen since Sep- Dec; have a birthday party for Chen; Freecgc Car stick (with Rou Tangseng and Qianmao). I never knew him or saw him before taking him to Beijing but Chen did know I visited him. And his friend and relatives trust me.
Why did you decide to fight for his freedom?
Chen is always helping others and trust his friend and he is trusted. I think we should not let such people disappointed when he in need.
How did you feel when you knew Chen was escaped?
It’s a big surprise! I cannot believe.
When you went to Chen’s village by car to pick him up, how did you find him?
I didn’t went to his village and picked him up out of Linyi City. He did know i have gone to rescue him.
What are the first words you told him and he told you, once Chen climbed in your car?
Are you Pearl? Thank you, Thank you very much.
Would you call yourself an “activist”? What does it mean to be an “activist” in China today? Chen Guangcheng always struck me because he is a normal man not an epic hero. But anyway he suffered a lot to promote justice and freedom.
I call myself accidental activist. “Activist” is a dangerous term in China. I really agree with you. His story is legendary, I don’t know if now is the beginning or is the end of the saga.
Do you think China could change?
Yes. China could change. With more Chinese people awakening of civic consciousness, the growing middle class etc. China will achieve democratization.This is an unstoppable trend, but we need to be patient. The freeCGC bumper stickers campaign shows that more and more upraising rich middle class in China will pay their attention to civil right and be willing to fight for freedom and just.
Will Chen’s escaping change in some ways China, its people or the Party?
Both. We hope the authorities will change the cruel way to dissents and the ordinary people will encourage by Chen: He could escape from the village, and what else is impossible? More people will stand up and fight for their rights.
I read you undergo some restrictions by police. Have you ever beaten or something like that? Aren’t you scared by the reprisal of the police?
When I went to Shandong visiting chen I was beaten, robbed and kidnaped by identified painclothes guys, but no police beaten me. They treat me politely.
Do you think the party will let Chen go? What does China lose with his leaving?
I think chen will go or stay as he wish. No comment about what China lose with his leaving. I think whether China will make change is depend on more and more ordinary people out speak and fight for their freedom and rights but not one or two heroes.