Waiting at the Peking Public Security Bureau where he planned to question the arrest of friends, Liu was given a warning by an officer: "Any time the Public Security Bureau makes arrests, it's legal. What's the significance of a few articles or speeches by democracy activists ? At most, they will be published abroad. But, mind you, one slip and you could get 15 years imprisonment , 15 years. Just remember 15 years of your life."
While at the station, he ended up being put on the defensive by interrogators who brought him into a small room and asked questions.
"Despite my numerous protests they treated me as if I was on trial. The form they chose to investigate this matter was more like a military court. So I made it very clear, 'If you want to try me through a military court, you must follow the normal procedure. I must have a courtroom indictment. Without this I refuse to answer. I made it very clear. Without legal procedures, to arrest people is against the law. I refuse to compromise with them.' They replied with authority: 'This is the place for dictatorship.' Now I finally realized who I was dealing with."
During an interrogation at the Peking detention home, "when I asked the first interrogator which public security regulation I had violated, he fumbled around for awhile and then said, 'Why are you so obstinate? Just admit your mistakes. Being obstinate will do you no good. We do not want to detain you even for a minute. It all depends on your attitude.' "
After spending several months in solitary confinement Liu realized the aftereffects: "One day I saw a great pile of hairs on my blanket. I walked over to the mirror on the door and saw I was bald on top. My left side was swollen and painful, possibly because of the coldness and dampness of the room and the long hours of crouching in my corner. My already severe nearsightedness deteriorated even further."
When interrogators proved their ability to monitor private conversation he had with his colleagues, Liu pondered, "This kind of surveillance made me think of a comparison between China and America. Nixon was a capable president, but because of Watergate he had to leave the presidency and hide in San Clemente, Calif. The American people would not sacrifice this richest right privacy even to have a capable president. American people know that law will bring long-time guarantees. If they allow one president to exceed the law, then everyone in the country faces danger."
"Man is responsible for history's advance. If he sees an injustice then lacks the courage to disclose it, there is no progress. The nation would be doomed if it just tolerated injustice without protest. China is not such a nation. There has been no lack of China's sons who have risked their lives to speak out in her darkest, most tyrannical hours."
"I swear, as soon as it is possible, I will expose their interrogation techniques," he wrote after an interrogation session. "You should never be cowardly toward the highhanded. The more timid you become, the more arbitrary they become."
"The public security people are really very funny. What they fear the most is procedures of the law."
Regarding efforts by the interrogators to get Liu to inform on his fellow dissidents: "Interrogators took a long time but received little information. They received a very bad harvest."
After he was moved from solitary confinement to a large cell, he said, "To me this is a great change. I'm really being promoted. This shows things are changing and they are starting a new policy of how to break me down through kindness ."
At his first day at the Lotus Flower Temple camp he concluded, "To survive here was quite different. Labor was quite heavy. You had to carry big rocks. Some lighter work was done by older men trusted by the guards, but the new prisoners did all the heavy work." "It would be very nice to go back to society," he wrote after interrogators offered him a chance to leave prison if he admitted his mistakes. "But if I have to repudiate my own views before an arbitrary power, I'd rather stay in prison for a lifetime."