That is my hometown, yet I can only gaze from afar. There lives my family, yet I cannot be close. For so many years I wander alone, in a strange land far from home.
On occasion I meet fellow villagers in this strange land. I cannot wait to ask if my family is well. When they ask where I come from, I am quiet, and only say, I wander alone.
I don't return to my hometown, because she has given me too much sorrow. I don't return to my hometown, because she has forgotten her own children.
Just for keeping the last sacredness in my heart, just for saving the last bit of kindness in humanity, just for letting the seeds of truth, compassion, and tolerance break through the frozen soils, just for giving our children a beautiful place to play and grow, I was driven away from my own hometown.
In this strange land, the locals have shown their kind hearts. They have not turned me in for a promotion, a bonus, or a meal ticket. Perhaps they have read me through their wrinkled faces. Again and again, they hid me and protected me, so that the police have not captured me. Again and again, they helped me return to safety. They observed my thoughts and my actions, and knew that I was not like what the official news said. They welcomed me, just like I cherished them. Though from the same country, our people can take such disparate paths.
Shock and grief struck my heart, when I learnt the arrest of another young woman, teacher He Jiao, in my hometown. My hometown, you have hurt too many of your children, and the tragedy must end. Do you know what your fate shall be, when heaven accounts for everything you've done?
My hometown, your son yearns to return to you. My family and friends are all there. Your son hopes you can return from your strayed path. No amount of money can purchase health and peace.
I don't like to talk with others about my hometown. I am embarrassed and sad. Because even today, when over 3 million people have withdrawn from the Chinese Communist Party, our hometown is still turned upside town, like a drunken man who has lost his judgement and sold his soul to the devil. Darkness covers the sky, turning the city into hell. The bonuses have not given joy to the perpetrators of the persecution, such as the police or the judges; instead the pain of the poison they have drunk has driven them crazy. They wave their whips at the most innocent, pure-minded people, committing immense crimes.
My hometown, did you know that where I am, the people are kind-hearted and peaceful? They treat me like their own son. Although not wealthy, they live with respect and dignity. They do not hide behind masks when they talk. The children here are innocent and pure; the elderly kind and caring. Even the air smells like flowers. Because they protected cultivators of truth, compassion, and tolerance, their lives will be full of sunshine.
Hometown, my hometown. I gaze at you from afar. You weigh heavily on my mind. You are a wound on my heart that has not healed. I send my tears to you, my faraway hometown.
[Postscript] This article is especially dedicated to residents of Shiyan City, Hubei Province. I hope you can speak your conscience and courageously rescue He Jiao who is detained at the First Detention Centre. Every voice shall call for kindness, and every hand promotes justice. Let dignity, justice, morality, and conscience awaken again in our hearts. A new future awaits us.
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