As part of the Amnesty International’s Letter Writing Marathon this past December, AIUSA featured Shi Tao as one of the cases in its Write-a-thon. The AIUSA office in DC acted as the hub to collect solidarity cards for Shi Tao. Before Christmas, the office collected and sent 444 solidarity cards to Shi Tao. The cards kept coming after the holidays. Another 520 cards were collected. Per the advice from one of the AI research staff, 50 cards will be sent to the AI office in Hong Kong in order to get forwarded to Shi Tao’s mother. The rest of them will be sent to Shi Tao along with a small batch of cards (total count TBD – the last I heard we got 52) collected from the Chinese New Year action that ended in February. All in all, AIUSA collected over 1,000 solidarity cards for Shi Tao from December 2009 to February 2010.

All the cards are being sent to a prison address. Replies from prisoners are rare. I had the fortune to receive a response from a prisoner in Turkey couple of years ago. It is a well-known fact that prisoners in China do not receive all the mail sent to them. But we also heard that some mailings have resulted in improvement in the treatment of prisoners. I hope the massive packages of cards will deliver something positive to Shi Tao in the Year of Tiger.