These had been the primary phrases that the households of a few of 12 younger Hong Kongers heard from them on Thursday, three months after they had been detained by Chinese language authorities whereas making an attempt to flee the crackdown of their house metropolis.

However relatively than offering their family members in Hong Kong with assurances, the letters, which current a rosy image of Chinese language detention, served to spotlight the isolation of the 12 detainees, who’ve been denied the fitting to decide on their attorneys and prevented from straight contacting their family members. Their households are pushing authorities in Hong Kong and mainland China to grant such rights and entry.

The Hong Kongers, aged between 16 and 33, had tried to flee by speedboat to Taiwan in August, fearing political persecution after they had been arrested in reference to anti-government protests. Amongst them was Andy Li, a outstanding activist arrested beneath China’s new nationwide safety regulation for Hong Kong, which punishes broadly worded crimes corresponding to “overseas interference” and “secession” with as much as life in jail.

The group, who spent months plotting their escape, had been intercepted by the Chinese language coast guard shortly after departing on the morning of Aug. 23.

They’ve been held by the Yantian department of the Shenzhen Public Safety Bureau, and had been formally arrested in October. Two are accused of organizing an unlawful border crossing between Hong Kong and China, whereas the opposite 10 had been arrested for illegally crossing into mainland waters. Calls to the Yantian detention heart on Friday went unanswered.

Human rights teams and attorneys have warned that the 12 are vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment in China’s opaque justice system. In Hong Kong, their case has reinvigorated calls to safeguard the territory’s impartial judiciary and authorized system from political interference as Beijing tightens its grip on the previous British colony.

The detainees’ households — who acquired letters from seven of the 12 — stated in a joint assertion that they had been suspicious of the letters. Although they acknowledged the handwriting, elements had been written within the simplified Chinese language characters utilized in mainland China, relatively than conventional characters utilized by individuals in Hong Kong. The letters, the assertion added, appeared to reply “to the doubts of the skin world about China” and featured related descriptions of life in detention.

“It’s seemingly that the letters are written in accordance [with] some templates,” the assertion stated.

The accounts of benign circumstances in detention in China are additionally at odds with beforehand documented experiences about Chinese language jails, the place prisoners have described enduring compelled labor and torture. China has denied these experiences.

A member of the family of 30-year-old Tang Kai-yin, one of many detainees,stated they believed the letter was written by him, as they acknowledged his handwriting.

“However as to what situation he was writing these letters beneath, and the way a lot he actually meant what he stated, that’s 50-50,” the member of the family stated, talking on the situation of anonymity out of concern for his or her privateness and security.

Tang’s letter talked about that his bronchial asthma and preexisting pores and skin circumstances weren’t flaring up. His household has publicly urged authorities to make sure he can entry treatment, and has raised his well being points in information conferences. Tang, they stated, wants to make use of an inhaler for his bronchial asthma daily, however they’ve acquired no affirmation that an inhaler has been made accessible to him in detention.

“Though he stated he lives properly, we gained’t totally imagine it,” stated the member of the family, who added that it was however a consolation to listen to from him.