‘Xi Will Only Put Chinese People in Dire Situations’

At the age of 29, Haibin Liang became a crewman on international cargo ships. Five years of sailing enabled him to see China outside of the Great Firewall. In June 2020, he was warned by the police after he made an anti-government speech online. A month later, he decided to flee China.

I’m here at a special place. This is the detention center of the Australian Immigration Service. It’s basically in immigration prison.

I’m a Chinese citizen. I’m from Quanzhou in China’s Fujian province.

The education we received since we were kids is that the Chinese Communist Party serves the people. They are the very thing that Chinese people need. But all I’ve seen growing up is how the government suppresses average citizens, sometimes even against the law.

At that time, I had never been abroad. I couldn’t imagine how bad the party was. All the information is censored. All we hear from the websites, from the news, is how great the party is.

But 2015 was a turning point for me. Because of financial reasons, I chose to be a crewman for international cargo ships. I’ve been to more than 30 countries since then.

I started to see a different world, a world that’s completely different from what the Chinese government painted for us.

In 2020, the pandemic broke out in Wuhan. I saw on the news that the government had welded doors, and some people lost their lives because they couldn’t get medical attention. … I was furious. I openly accused President Xi Jinping of killing people.

In June, I went back to China from Iran. Because of my speech, the police came to my house and issued a warning to me, telling me to delete the inappropriate comments on my cellphone. They said if I failed to do so, I would have violated the law, made a bad impact on society, and they would pursue criminal charges against me.

That was July 2020. I felt the danger, and I decided to run. On the next assignment, I fled.

When I reached Australia, I applied for asylum with the Australian government. I asked the officers from Border Control to take me, and I’ve been here for two years. But now, I’m still waiting.

My older daughter is eight, and my younger one is five. I haven’t seen them for two, three years now. What hurts me the most is that even my family doesn’t understand why I chose to do so. My ex-wife said I was a traitor. If questioning and challenging the government’s action makes a Chinese citizen a traitor, then there are big problems in our society.

Under the Chinese Communist Party’s rule, honestly, lots of people now are living in dire situations. I’m actually happy that Xi Jinping got reelected. He’s going to continue with his policy, which will lead to even worse situations. When citizens have trouble meeting their basic needs, that’s the end of the CCP. It will just accelerate the process.