Yang Zhanqing is an activist promoting health rights and fighting discrimination in China.

NYR DAILY

China: A Life in Detention

A sketch by Liu Renwang showing his experience being tortured while extralegally detained

Yang Zhanqing, a veteran public-interest campaigner, wrote the following while he was detained in China: Are these gratuitous humiliations really “useless”? Hardly. The goal is to break a person’s will, because a person of broken will is easier to manipulate, and our Center is therefore easier to run. And there is an added benefit: the wardens are, after all, human beings, born with consciences, and it can be psychologically stressful for them to have to “twist” other human beings. But if the others are less than human beings? Only semi-human? It is easier.