RUN-IN WITH YULIN’S POLICE
Perry spent hours every day from April 27 through May 4 sitting outside the dog facility listening and gathering information. “You do have to function, so there is a level of quieting your emotions and knowing you’re going to have to deal with that at a later point,” she says. “I would sit on the floor with my eyes closed listening to screams for hours and just try to keep a clear mind, watch my surroundings, and get all the information needed to prove what’s going on.”
The day came when the cameras were suddenly gone. After the mob dispersed and the three were in Yulin police custody, they were paraded back through the market, where a crowd of nearly 100 had congregated. Hsiung was again kicked by a random crowd-goer and spat on repeatedly before the team’s arrival at the police station. For about 20 hours, the team was separated and individually asked questions ranging from their belief in God to what their mothers did for work. Perry says police attempted to “catalog” every moment and action spent in Yulin.
Eventually, the team was released, but without their passports, which were supposed to be returned the next day. Phone calls with their lawyers led the team to believe they’d be fine as long as they weren’t called back to the police station. But then they were called back in — fortunately only for a little more information, as well as to set up a tail of undercover police and wipe all footage from the cameras. “Anytime we left our apartment, they followed us,” Perry remembers, saying a team of five undercover police took up residence in an apartment three doors down from where the trio was staying. The police followed them for the remaining couple of days they spent in Yulin and all the way to Guangzhou, which was five hours away and from which the team flew back to San Francisco on May 8.
Despite having the cameras wiped, Perry says their arrival in San Francisco was crucial. “Thankfully we can come back to Silicon Valley and have tech experts get it all back,” she says. And they did.
TUCK FOSTERING WELCOMING, OPEN ENVIRONMENT
Even with what she calls an extreme lifestyle, Perry says she’s been able to find a home, love, and support from her immediate family and Tuck family alike. “They are very careful to make sure everyone gets along because you have so many different countries, backgrounds and religions,” Perry says of her professors and cohort at Tuck. “When you think about the word diversity, they’re pretty good at covering the bases.” Despite not a lot of conversation around it, Perry says her classmates have been respectful and “have been pretty understanding even if they don’t share my beliefs.”
Perry this summer is interning at Intel in Sacramento. She says a recent meeting with Suzanne DiBianca, executive vice president for corporate relations and chief philanthropic officer at Salesforce, inspired Perry to look for a role within the philanthropic arm of an influential tech company when she graduates next spring.
As for anyone questioning her willingness to put herself in danger to help dogs and other voiceless creatures, Perry has an answer.
“It’s not the Oppression Olympics. There should be enough care and compassion to go around,” she says. “The number of victims and the level and intensity of the violence and oppression make this the most important issue to me. To anyone who says they’re just dogs, they don’t have feelings, I would say, just watch five minutes of the footage we have. I haven’t met one person who doesn’t break down and beg for us to turn it off.”