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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Hu Jia’ Category

Hu Jia, AIDS activist

Freed China critic Hu Jia says wants to resume activism

Posted by Author on June 27, 2011


BEIJING — Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia wants to resume his activism but he is weighing up the impact on his family, according to his first reported comments since being released from prison at the weekend.

During a phone interview with Hong Kong’s Cable TV, Hu stressed the importance of “loyalty to morality, loyalty to the rights of citizens”.

“You should be loyal to your conscience,” he said in a broadcast aired late Sunday.

One of China’s leading rights activists and government critics, Hu returned to his Beijing home early on Sunday, his wife Zeng Jinyan said on Twitter, after completing a more than three-year sentence for subversion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fear for the life of 2008 Sakharov Prize winner Hu Jia who is in prison in Beijing

Posted by Author on January 21, 2011


Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Activist Hu Jia, detained since December 2007 for defending human rights, has been denied proper medical care and his life is in danger. Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan has made a dramatic appeal to the international community after she met him in a Beijing City Prison on January14.

According to Zeng, Hu Jia appeared pale, sweaty, and complained of sharp pain on the left side of his abdomen; he was so ill that he was unable to spend all of the time allotted for the visit with his wife, and had to leave early. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jailed Chinese AIDS Activist Hu Jia’s Health Failing

Posted by Author on January 17, 2011


Jailed Chinese AIDS activist and rights campaigner Hu Jia’s health is deteriorating badly, according to his wife Zeng Jinyan, who visited him in a Beijing prison on Friday.

“When we were talking, he suddenly had a seizure, with his face and lips turning pale and his head sweating,” Zeng wrote on the microblogging site Twitter.

“He said his left abdomen was hurting. Then he could no long sit upright, so we let him lie down, and we saw that his shirt was wet from perspiration. The guards sent him to the prison hospital, and my visit had to end early,” Zeng wrote. Read the rest of this entry »

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China rejects medical parole for jailed activist: wife

Posted by Author on April 12, 2010


AFP, Apr. 12, 2010-

BEIJING — Chinese authorities have turned down a request for medical parole for jailed activist Hu Jia, who is suffering from a serious liver disease that could lead to cancer, his wife said Monday.

Zeng Jinyan told AFP that her application for the early release of her husband on medical grounds had been turned down and that her husband had been taken back to prison after a stint in hospital.

“The head of the medical institute of the Beijing prison told Hu Jia’s mother by phone that Hu Jia’s… cirrhosis does not conform to regulations on medical parole,” Zeng explained on her blog.

Hu was taken to hospital on March 30 because of suspected liver cancer, she said.

Prison officials have refused to give the family Hu’s written medical report despite her request, Zeng said.

Hu, 36, was jailed in April 2008 for three and a half years on a charge of inciting subversion, a vague charge critics say is used to silence dissenters.

A campaigner for human rights and AIDS victims in China, Hu was a key source of information for foreign media on human rights and environmental violations, government abuses, judicial injustices and mistreatment of dissidents.

He was taken into custody in December 2007, not long after he spoke via video conference to the European Parliament, criticising human rights violations in China.

Seen as a possible winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, Hu was awarded the Sakharov Prize, a major human rights award, by the European Union six months after he was jailed in 2008.

Hu and his wife have a two-year-old daughter.

AFP

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Sakharov Network calls on EU Requiring Chinese Activist Hu Jia’s release

Posted by Author on April 10, 2010


The Sakharov Network calls on the European Parliament’s president and the countries of the European Union to take energetic action to obtain the release of imprisoned Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia on health grounds, as Hu is seriously ill.

Winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2008, Hu has been hospitalized in Beijing since 30 March, when his condition worsened. His family fears he may be suffering from liver cancer. The authorities have refused to inform the family about the results of several analyses he has undergone.

In a message to the Sakharov Network (the network of past winners of the Sakharov Prize), his wife, Zeng Jinyan, said: “I am very worried about what could happen to him if he is not treated and released as soon as possible.”

Zeng, who has herself been under house arrest in Beijing for years, yesterday formally asked the prison authorities to release Hu on medical grounds. Hu was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2008 on a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority.”

A total of 35 European Parliament members (MEPs) of the Greens, ALDE, EPP and S&D groups, including Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Graham Watson, are the first signatories of a Sakharov Network petition calling for Hu’s photo to be hung outside the parliament building in Brussels. A photo of Burmese democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who – like Hu – is a Sakharov Prize laureate, is already displayed on the building’s facade.

“When one of the Sakharov Prize laureates is in danger of dying, the European Parliament and, through it, all of Europe must use all possible means to save them,” the Sakharov Network said. “Today there is an urgent need to save Hu Jia.”

The Network added: “If China wants the Shanghai 2010 Expo, which is supposed to embody universal values, to be a success, then it must show compassion and tolerance towards its dissidents.”

The Reporters without Borders

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Jailed China activist Hu Jia may have cancer: wife

Posted by Author on April 8, 2010


Reuters via The Washington Post, Apr. 8, 2010-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Imprisoned Chinese AIDS activist Hu Jia is suffering from a serious disease, possibly liver cancer, his wife said Thursday after making a formal appeal to security forces to release him on medical parole.

Hu’s mother saw a suspected diagnosis of liver cancer on a consent form she was asked to sign when he was taken to a prison hospital for tests on March 30, his wife Zeng Jinyan said.

Hu, 36, who already suffered from cirrhosis of the liver, has been in ill health for months, she told Reuters in an interview, but was unexpectedly kept on in the hospital after the tests.

The results were supposed to be released on April 2, Zeng said, but his family have been told that they are not out yet.

“I suspect there are two possible reasons why we haven’t received results — either it is a difficult and complicated disease that is hard to diagnose, or this is a situation that will be very hard to resolve with an outlook for the patient that is not very optimistic,” she said.

If Hu, due for release in 2011, is suffering from cancer it will come as a blow to China’s dissident community, after a string of high-profile detentions and sentences and a tightening of finance rules for non-profit groups.

A practicing Buddhist, Hu started with advocacy for rural AIDS sufferers and went on to become one of China’s most vocal advocates of democratic rights, religious freedom and of self-determination for Tibet.

He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by a Chinese court in April 2008, for “inciting subversion of state power.” Since 2004, he had also spent long spells under house arrest and in what rights groups describe as illegal detention……. (more details from The Washington Post)

Posted in Activist, China, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Jailed China activist Hu Jia may have cancer: wife

China Dissident Hu Jia Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Again

Posted by Author on June 26, 2009


Epoch Times Staff,  Jun 26, 2009  –

Chinese dissident Hu Jia,
who was nominated for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has once again received a nomination for this year. The decision has aroused much attention around the world.

In December 2007, Hu Jia participated in many social and human rights movements.  He was detained by the Chinese regime on charges of “overthrowing state power”, and was sentenced to three years and six months in prison in March 2008.  According to a report from AFP on Oct 9, 2008, when Hu received his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in September 2008, the Chinese regime pleaded the prize committee not to consider awarding the prize to a “criminal.”

In 2008, the Nobel Foundation granted a nomination to another Chinese person, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.  However, when the prize was finally awarded to former Finland President Martti Ahtisaari, criticism arose that the Nobel Foundation failed to put enough emphasis on the Chinese regime’s suppression of Tibet and human activists.

According to The Nobel Foundation on June 22, the winner of the Nobel Prize Peace will be announced between October 5 to 12.  This year, 205 people and associations have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, setting a record.  Competitors for the Nobel Peace Prize include U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Ingrid Betancourt, a former French hostage in Colombia.

The Epochtimes

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European Parliament Rewards Jailed China Rights Activist Hu Jia

Posted by Author on December 17, 2008


DPA , via earthtimes.org, Wed, 17 Dec 2008 –

Strasbourg – The European Parliament on Wednesday awarded its Sakharov Prize to jailed Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia, rebuffing warnings from Beijing that doing so might damage the European Union’s relations with China. The prize, which each year honours worthy human rights activists around the world, was given to Hu in absentia.

“I would like to express my deep concern that our laureate Hu Jia could not be here today with us and receive the award in person as he remains imprisoned for defending human rights in China – freedom of speech, freedom of thought and the basic right of access to the health service,” said Laima Andrikiene, the conservatives’ spokesman on human rights issues.

The award ceremony in Strasbourg came against the backdrop of souring EU-China relations.

Beijing cancelled an EU-China summit, due to have taken place earlier this month, over a meeting between the rotating chairman of the EU, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual and political leader, in Poland.

The wife of the jailed Chinese dissident has thanked the European Parliament and others in the West for their support.

“It is not only for us, it is also for all Chinese human rights defenders,” Zeng Jinyan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

“It is important, it makes us feel warm and encouraged,” she said in an interview via the internet, which is normally the only way she can communicate with foreign journalists without police interference.

Attending the ceremony in Strasbourg, which also marked the 20th anniversary of the Sakharov Prize, were a number of former winners. Among them Wei Jingsheng of the Chinese Democratic Movement and the leader of the Belarusian Democratic Opposition, Aliaksandr Milinkevich.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and two Cuban dissidents are among other former winners to have been prevented by their national authorities from receiving the prize in person.

Hu was rewarded by the European Parliament over his efforts to spread knowledge about the AIDS virus and his campaigns to protect the environment.

The Chinese authorities have sentenced him to three and a half years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”, European lawmakers said.

– DPA, Via The Earth Times: European Parliament rewards Chinese dissident Hu Jia

Posted in Activist, China, Dissident, Freedom of Speech, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Speech, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on European Parliament Rewards Jailed China Rights Activist Hu Jia

US presses China to free EU prize-winning Chinese dissident

Posted by Author on October 26, 2008


AFP, Oct. 23, 2008-

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Washington said Thursday it hopes Beijing will move to free Chinese dissident Hu Jia from prison, after the European Parliament awarded him a human rights prize on the eve of an EU-Asia summit.

“We are deeply concerned about the imprisonment of human rights activist Hu Jia and have pressed the Chinese authorities for his immediate release on many occasions and at the highest level,” said State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid.

“We hope that the recognition the European Parliament has given Hu Jia by awarding him the prestigious Sakharov Prize will demonstrate to China’s leaders the enormous esteem the international community holds for his important work as a human rights defender and that China will release him immediately.”

The European Parliament named Hu, 35, its Sakharov laureate for this year despite pressure from China, which denounced it as “gross interference” in its domestic affairs a day before a two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Beijing.

Duguid said: “We will continue to work with others in the international community to encourage China to bring its human rights practices in compliance with international human rights standards.”

“No one should be imprisoned for expressing his or her views or for working within China’s legal system to improve the life of his or her fellow citizens,” the spokesman added.

“We look forward to the day when China will recognize the contribution of Chinese human rights activists who work on some of the most difficult problems facing Chinese society.”

Separately, the State Department urged China to swiftly release Beijing house church leader Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan after he was reportedly detained in southwest China and his two sons were beaten in Beijing…….

(more details from AFP)

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European Rights Prize to China Activist Hu Jia hailed as “great victory for Chinese prisoners of conscience”

Posted by Author on October 25, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, Oct. 23, 2008-

Today’s decision by the European Parliament to award the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Hu Jia, a Chinese human rights activist held since December 2007 for posting articles online and giving interviews to foreign journalists, is welcomed with enthusiasm by Reporters Without Borders.

“Europe is sending a very strong message of solidarity and hope to Chinese prisoners of conscience, of whom Hu Jia is one of the best known,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Chinese government should heed Europe’s appeal for the release of Hu and other political prisoners. The Chinese authorities are making a big mistake by treating him as a criminal and by threatening both the Nobel Peace Prize jury and the European Parliament’s members.

“The time has come to release Hu and those he defended peacefully, including Chen Guangcheng, Shi Tao and Xu Zerong. This prize is also being awarded for Hu’s tireless work on behalf of the environment, AIDS suffers and prisoners of conscience. China needs men and women like Hu.

“Our thoughts go out above all to Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, and their daughter, who is about to celebrate her first birthday. Watched and harassed by police officers stationed permanently outside her Beijing apartment building, Zeng Jinyan will receive the news of this award with great emotion and dignity, as she has always supported her husband’s fight for human rights.

“We also hail the active support that Hu has received from the European Parliament’s members, especially those in the Greens and Alliance for Liberals and Democrats groups that nominated him, and the courage of the parliament’s president, Hans Gert Pöttering.”

It was Pöttering who announced to a full session of the parliament at noon today that Hu Jia was this year’s winner of the Sakharov Prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony in Strasbourg in December.

The Chinese ambassador to Brussels warned that giving the Sakharov Prize to Hu would have negative consequences for the European Union’s relations with China. “If the European Parliament should award this prize to Hu Jia, that would inevitably hurt the Chinese people once again and bring serious damage to China-EU relations,” the ambassador wrote in a letter to Pöttering.

Aged 35, Hu was recently transferred to Beijing municipal detention centre after spending five months in Hubai prison in Tianjin, 200 km east of Beijing. He has not been getting the medicine he needs for a liver ailment and has been punished several times for defending the rights of fellow inmates.

Arrested on 27 December 2007 on a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority,” Hu was tried on 18 March before a Beijing intermediate court for posting information about matters of state on websites based abroad. The court sentenced him on 3 April 2008 to three and a half years in prison.

A humanitarian activist since the start of the 1990s, Hu was involved not only in HIV prevention and helping HIV/AIDS sufferers, but also in protecting the environment and defending prisoners of conscience. He used the Internet, especially his blog and videos, to expose the regime’s repression of those who defend human rights.

He was arrested and held incommunicado for 40 days in the spring of 2006 and, on his release, he was placed under house arrest. Police stationed around the couple’s apartment building prevented him from going out while his wife, Zeng, was followed whenever she left the apartment.

Hu and Zeng were awarded the Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France special “China” prize in December 2007. Time magazine named Zeng as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2007.

Reporters Without Borders

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Jailed China rights activists Hu Jia wins European Parliament’s rights prize

Posted by Author on October 24, 2008


By David Brunnstrom, Reuters, Oct. 23, 2008-

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Parliament, in a move that immediately drew a tart rebuke from Beijing, awarded its top human rights prize Thursday to a Chinese dissident who was jailed for subversion after testifying to the assembly last year.

Announcing the award of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering called Hu Jia “one of the real defenders of human rights in the People’s Republic of China.”

“By awarding the Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia, the European Parliament is sending out a signal of clear support to all those who defend human rights in China,” Poettering told the EU assembly.

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Liu Jianchao, expressed strong dissatisfaction that such an award had gone to a “jailed criminal” even though China had made numerous representations on the issue.

Liu called the award a meddling in China’s domestic affairs and a violation of international norms, but he also said it would not overshadow an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of 43 nations in Beijing that starts Friday.

“Relative to so many pressing international affairs, it’s too trivial to dwell on,” Liu said at a briefing on the two-day ASEM summit.

Starting with advocacy for rural AIDS sufferers, Hu emerged as one of China’s most vocal advocates of democratic rights, religious freedom and of self-determination for Tibet, which was shaken by protests and a security crackdown earlier this year.

He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in China in April. Hu, 35, had already spent many months under house arrest with his wife and child.

JAILED AFTER TESTIMONY

He was arrested and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” following his testimony on human rights in China via conference call to the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee on November 26 last year.

Hu’s jailing drew condemnation from Washington, across Europe and from human rights advocates.

His wife, Zeng Jingyan, was delighted by the news of the award when told of it by Reuters in Beijing. “At last some good news,” she said. “Hu Jia would be very happy if he knew.”

She visited her husband Wednesday evening. He had been transferred on October 10 to a “model jail” in Beijing from a prison in the port city of Tianjin.

Poettering said Hu was sick with cirrhosis of the liver and added: “As far as we know he is not being allowed proper medical care.”

A source who met Hu in September said his health was poor and he had been placed in solitary confinement in chains at least once.

As a devout Buddhist, he was sticking to a strict vegetarian diet, which caused him nutritional problems in prison, the source said.

Other prisoners were not allowed to lend Hu reading material. His letters to his family were read by prison officials who demanded that he rewrote them if they did not like the contents, the source added.

The annual EU prize is named after Soviet rights activist and dissident Andrei Sakharov and was first awarded in 1988.

It was given last year to Sudanese human rights lawyer Salih Mahmoud Osman. Previous recipients include Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The formal award ceremony for the prize, which includes a check for 50,000 euros ($64,280), will take place on December 17 in Strasbourg, France.

Reuters

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China Should Immediately Release Jailed Olympics Dissident Hu Jia, Says HRW

Posted by Author on October 5, 2008


Human Rights Watch-

(New York, October 2, 2008) – The Chinese government should immediately exonerate or grant medical parole to imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia, Human Rights Watch said just ahead of the sixth-month anniversary of his flawed conviction. Human Rights Watch also called on the government to cease the harassment and surveillance of Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan and infant daughter Qianci.

A leading HIV/AIDS advocate, Hu Jia became an outspoken critic of human rights abuses related to the preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was sentenced to a three-and-a-half-year prison term on April 3, 2008, for “inciting subversion against the state.” Authorities have limited his access to his lawyer, thus violating Hu’s fundamental rights and resulting in proceedings that did not meet international fair trial standards. He suffers from liver cirrhosis linked to chronic hepatitis B infection.

“Hu Jia was incarcerated for doing nothing more than exercising rights expressly guaranteed by China’s constitution,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “If the government won’t exonerate Hu, it should at least release him to get proper medical care.”

Hu, a long-time activist who originally focused on violations of the rights of Chinese citizens infected with HIV/AIDS, was formally arrested on January 30, 2008. He was charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” which criminalizes criticism of the government and the Communist Party of China. Hu’s criticisms included a September 2007 letter written with Teng Biao, a fellow human rights activist and leading civil rights lawyer, entitled “The Real China and the Olympics.” The letter detailed specific and wide-ranging violations of human rights by the government, and called on the international community to hold Beijing to the promises it made when bidding to host the Olympic Games, including improving human rights.

Human Rights Watch said that Hu’s arrest and conviction was part of a systematic crackdown on Chinese citizens critical of human rights abuses linked to the preparations for the 2008 Beijing Games. Other activists targeted by the Chinese government include Yang Chunlin, a property rights activist detained in July 2007 for his involvement in a petition, “We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics,” signed by farmers protesting land seizures; Ye Guozhou, serving a four-year prison sentence for organizing protests against Olympics-related forced evictions; and Wang Ling, sentenced to 15 months of “re-education” in November 2007 for opposing demolition of her property for an Olympics-related project.

Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, has documented the decline in Hu’s health since his arrest in December on her blog. But, despite a 2006 diagnosis by Beijing’s Ditan Hospital of “acute liver cirrhosis,” the Chinese government in June 2008 rejected Zeng’s April 2008 application for Hu’s medical parole. Authorities told Zeng that Hu is not “critically ill,” and that any such applications can only be filed after he has served one-third of his sentence. On July 25, 2008, Zeng wrote that “[Hu’s] eyesight had declined greatly in his time at the detention centre. … [He] also said that because his right hand was handcuffed so tightly, it was digging into his flesh, and leaving marks.” On September 16, 2008, a national security officer told Zeng that medical parole for Hu was impossible because he had been “disobedient” and refused to be “quiet,” thus violating prison rules.

On September 8, 2008, Zeng also noted in a blog entry that prison authorities were confiscating letters that Hu had written and that they were refusing to allow Zeng and other relatives to visit Hu in line with prison regulations. Zeng said that police had told her they were linking an improvement in Hu’s prison conditions with an end to his activism for better conditions inside the prison. “He had put forward suggestions about how to improve the prison, and he wouldn’t drop the issue of human rights, thus making things difficult for the prison’s staff and management,” Zeng wrote in her blog.

Zeng has been under house arrest in Beijing since May 18, 2007, and continues to be the target of police surveillance along with her 10-month-old daughter Qianci. House arrest without charge is an extrajudicial punishment that has no legal basis in either Chinese or international law. Beijing police, who closely monitor Zeng’s activities and restrict her movement outside her apartment, escorted her and her daughter from their home on August 7, 2008, the day before the start of the Beijing Olympics, and kept her incommunicado in the coastal city of Dalian until August 23, the day before the end of the Beijing Games. “For 16 days, I knew nothing of what was going on in the world,” Zeng wrote in her blog. “Home remains the same – there are still plainclothes police officers in the courtyard and at all the exits.”

“The authorities’ relentless harassment of Zeng Jinyan and her young daughter not only violates their basic rights, but is essentially collective punishment for Hu Jia’s activities,” said Richardson. “Is this Beijing’s definition of the ‘rule of law?’”

China: Release Jailed Rights Activist Hu Jia, by Human Rights Watch

Posted in Activist, Beijing Olympics, China, Dissident, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on China Should Immediately Release Jailed Olympics Dissident Hu Jia, Says HRW

China Dissident Hu Jia Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Author on October 2, 2008


By Lillian Chang, Epoch Times Staff Sep 30, 2008 –

Chinese dissident Hu Jia has been nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, but it is unlikely he will be able to receive the prize should he win.

Mr Hu, who became an activist advocating for rural aid sufferers, has become one of the most internationally recognised human rights advocates in China today. However, he has been in detention since earlier this year.

Suggestions that a Chinese dissident has been nominated, has also brought condemnation from Chinese authorities who say Beijing will not be happy should Mr Hu be selected.

Hu Jia, a democracy, environmental and AIDS activist was first detained in July 2006, when he was on the way to Europe with his pregnant wife Zeng Jinyan to promote a film they had both made about being activists in modern China.

The couple remained under house arrest until December last year, at which point Mr Hu was removed to a detention centre.

In April this year, he was officially charged and found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” for criticising the Chinese Communist Party. He is now serving a three-and-a-half year sentence in Tianjin prison, not far from Beijing.

Reports from unnamed sources say he has been put into solitary confinement and his health is suffering.

Zeng Jinyan and baby remained under house arrest until the week before the Olympics at which point neighbours reported her disappearance. She has not been seen since.

Zeng was named one of Time Magazines 100 most influential people in 2006 for her blog detailing her life as an activist.

Nobel Peace Prize

Rumours that Mr Hu had been nominated for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, which is to be announced in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on October 10, surfaced last week when a number of selectors hinted that a Chinese dissident could be the winner.

Janne Haaland Matlary, professor of international politics at Oslo University, suggested that it could be time a Chinese dissident received an award for their advocacy of human rights, although she suggested that a Russian rights activist was also in the running.

Head of Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute Stein Toennesson, however, was more specific saying jailed democracy activist Hu Jia would be his first choice for nomination.

According to Reuters, Chinese authorities have reacted with customary posturing saying Beijing would not welcome a Chinese dissident winning the award.

“So we hope that related parties make the correct choice on this issue and do not do anything that hurts the feelings of the Chinese people,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was reported as saying.

There has been only one award linked to China in the 107 year history of the Nobel Peace Prize. That was 19 years ago when the Dalai Lama was selected as the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

The Epochtimes

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video: Spending the China Olympics in Jail: Activist Hu Jia

Posted by Author on July 30, 2008


Youtube video, by Amnesty International-

See how the state security police monitor and harass activist Hu Jia and his wife.

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, Sports, Video, World | Comments Off on video: Spending the China Olympics in Jail: Activist Hu Jia

A Chilling Message China Sends Out

Posted by Author on April 4, 2008


John Gittings, via The Guardian, UK, April 3, 2008-

What is the message sent by Beijing in sentencing the human rights activist Hu Jia to three and a half years in jail? A decision of this magnitude and its timing, just as the Olympic flame has started its journey around the world, doesn’t happen by accident.

Hu Jia has been harassed for the past two years, whisked away from home by security police, stopped from flying abroad, kept under house arrest with plainclothes thugs lurking outside, while his wife, pregnant until their daughter was born last November, was followed and threatened. After he was formally arrested at the end of December, the authorities waited until March 14 (the fourth day of the Tibetan protests) to announce that his trial would start on March 18. That was the final day of the National People’s Congress which is supposed to display politics as normal in China.

Hu’s persecution began when he was campaigning solely on environmental and social issues. He first became active in Friends of Nature and campaigned to protect the Tibetan antelope from being hunted for its fur. (I met him early on at a small demonstration to protest against building plans on Nanjing’s Purple Mountain.) He then became deeply involved in efforts to help the victims of the commercial blood scandal in Henan province when donors and their families were infected with HIV.

It is a mark of Hu’s determined character that the effect was not to silence him but to broaden his critique. The joint manifesto (pdf) which he published last September with fellow activist Teng Biao is a remarkable document which ranges from the way that houses have been destroyed without proper compensation for the Olympics to the torture of Falun Gong followers in jail – and it deals with repression in Tibet too.

The Chinese government could still have handled this by continuing to keep Hu under house arrest and preventing any outside contact with him – the way that dozens of other dissidents will be dealt with during the Olympics. So why the high-profile trial and conviction at such a sensitive time?

The charitable view is that the state security apparatus is semi-autonomous and cannot be easily restrained. This alibi has been used in the past – for instance during Clinton’s visit to China in 1998 – to distance the top leadership from nastiness.

It is much more likely that the decision to jail Hu was taken deliberately by the politburo standing committee, or a sub-committee under party and state leader Hu Jintao, to send a clear message to the world.

This might be expressed as follows: “China will say no to foreign critics and interference. We are the ruling party, we will not be shaken and will stifle protest with full dictatorial power when our rule is threatened. That for us is still the lesson of Tiananmen Square whatever you may think. We also be as tough as we like in Tibet – and by the way you now depend on us for global economic and financial stability. So just shut up.”

Beijing has spoken: how will we respond? And how much longer can Gordon Brown carry on insisting that he will go to Beijing for the Olympics, and when he gets there just lie back and think of two-way trade?

– Original from John Gittings’ Comment: A chilling message

Related:
Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

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Hu Jia’s trial confirms the government’s policy of labeling criticism as subversive: Human Rights in China

Posted by Author on April 4, 2008


Human Rights in China, April 03, 2008-

Human Rights in China condemns as deplorable today’s conviction by a Chinese court of long-time HIV/AIDS activist and rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳) on politicized charges of “inciting subversion of state power.”

“Hu Jia’s sham trial, and his conviction, confirms the Chinese government’s policy of labeling criticism as subversive, thereby creating a climate of fear and self-censorship,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “The government’s deplorable use of authoritarian tools of social control to silence its critics during the run-up to the Olympic Games has made a mockery of the rights to freedom of expression protected under China’s Constitution and international human rights law.”

Hu was convicted by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. The court also ordered him to be deprived of his political rights for one year following his release from prison.

According to the court, the charges against him stem from his communications with the foreign press and from articles critical of the Communist Party and of the human rights situation in China, posted to the Internet as the country prepared for the 2008 Games opening on August 8.

Xinhua, China’s official state news agency, reported that the Court said that Hu was given a “lenient” sentence because he had confessed his crime and showed remorse. However, his lawyers denied that he had made any confession.

Hu now has 10 days to decide whether to appeal. His wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), and his mother were present as the verdict was given but foreign observers and media were prohibited from attending the hearing. Zeng, who along with the couple’s baby remains under house arrest, was reportedly escorted from the hearing by police.

Hu Jia is a long-time HIV/AIDS activist and an internationally recognized Chinese rights defender. He has actively fought for rights improvement in China through his timely international reporting of major rights abuses. Hu and Zeng received a special press freedom award from Reporters without Borders in 2007. They were also nominated for the Sakharov Human Rights Award of the European Parliament.

Human Rights in China urges the international community to press the Chinese authorities to release Hu Jia and other rights defenders. Human Rights in China also calls on the Chinese government to live up to its promises to demonstrate respect for human dignity, which is at the heart of the Olympics movement.

– Original report from Human Rights in China: HRIC Statement: HRIC Denounces Conviction of Prominent Activist Hu Jia

Related:
Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

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3.5 Years Jailing– A Punishment For Hu Jia’s Public Critics of China’s Human Rights Violations: Amnesty

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008


Amnesty International, 3 April 2008-Hu Jia

Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia has been convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

After months under house arrest, Hu Jia was detained on 27 December 2007. He was formally charged on 28 January 2008 and went on trial on 18 March at the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

(photo: Hu Jia/ from Amnesty International)

“This verdict is punishment for Hu Jia’s public critiques of human rights violations in China and a warning to any other activists in China who dare to raise human rights concerns publicly,” Amnesty International said.

“It also makes a mockery of promises made by Chinese officials that human rights would improve in the run-up to the Olympics.”

Prior to his formal detention, Hu Jia had publicly expressed concerns over human rights abuses by police in Beijing, including the arrest of activists without the necessary legal procedures. This included the case of land rights activist Yang Chunlin and human rights defender Lu Gengsong, both also detained on subversion charges.

While detained, Hu has been subjected to 47 lengthy and repeated interrogations. He was denied access to his lawyer, members of his family and medical treatment, including necessary daily medication for liver disease resulting from a Hepatitis B infection. His wife, Zeng Jinyan, is still under house arrest with their newborn baby.

Amnesty International considers Hu Jia a prisoner of conscience and has demanded his immediate and unconditional release. The organization urges the International Olympic Committee and world leaders with a stake in the Olympics to publicly express their concern about his plight – and that of numerous other peaceful activists in China who have been silenced in the run-up to the Games. A failure to speak out would be a “conspiracy of silence” that will be perceived by the authorities as a tacit endorsement of such repression.

Hu started his activism as an AIDS activist in 2001. He is the co-founder of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education and of Loving Source, a grassroots organization dedicated to helping children from AIDS families.

However, due to his activities and outspokenness, Hu Jia was repeatedly harassed and beaten by police. According to his wife Zeng Jinyan: “Not counting one time in 2002, when Hu was detained by police while interviewing AIDS village inhabitants, he will have been under various forms of imprisonment for exactly four years on 3 April 2008.”

Hu’s focus broadened and he began reporting on wider human rights violations and giving interviews to foreign media. In November 2007, he participated via webcam in a European Union parliamentary hearing in Brussels in which he stated that China had failed to fulfill its promises to improve human rights in the run-up to the Olympics.

In an article on his blog dated 10 September 2007, Hu Jia says: “Everyone should know that the country that is about to host the Olympics is one without democratic elections, freedom of religion, independent courts or independent unions. It prohibits protests and labor strikes. It is a state that carries out widespread torture, discrimination, and employs a large secret police system. It is a nation that violates human rights standards and human dignity, and is not ready to fulfil its international obligations.”

In a joint press conference with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Beijing on February 28 2008, China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi said: “No one will get arrested because he said that human rights are more important than the Olympics. This is impossible.”

Amnesty International believes this verdict makes a mockery of the notion that Chinese citizens are free to hold opinions and to speak their mind without retribution from the authorities, and serves as a warning to other activists in China who might dare raise human rights concerns publicly.

– Original report from Amnesty International: Hu Jia jailed for three and a half years

Related:
–  Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

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Outspoken Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Jailed Ahead of China Olympics

Posted by Author on April 3, 2008


AFP, via Times of India, 3 Apr 2008-

BEIJING: Activist Hu Jia was sentenced on Thursday to three years and six months in jail for subversion, his lawyer said, amid what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the Olympics.

The verdict against Hu, 34, was delivered at a court in Beijing after he pleaded not guilty to “incitement to subvert state power” during his one-day trial on March 18, lawyer Li Fangping said.

Li said the charge had related to Hu posting information on the Internet and speaking with foreign reporters.

“The evidence was publishing articles in and outside of China and accepting interviews with the foreign press,” Li told reporters outside the court.

“As lawyers we propose that Hu Jia appeal this sentence but it is up to him and we will wait for his decision. We have not had a chance to exchange ideas with him so far.”

Hu had for many years been one of China’s most active human rights campaigners, and the European Union had called for his release following his detention on December 27 last year.

Hu’s sentence came less than two weeks after another critic of the Chinese government, Yang Chunlin, was jailed for five years on similar charges after speaking out on human rights issues ahead of the Beijing Games.

Rights groups have regularly criticised China’s use of the subversion of state power charge as a tool to silence anyone critical of the Communist Party, a campaign they have said has intensified ahead of the Games.

They have argued this is in contravention of the pledges China made to win the Games that it would improve its human rights record.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last month denied that Beijing was cracking down on dissidents ahead of the Olympics.

“As for the critics’ view that China is trying to increase its efforts to arrest dissidents before the Olympic Games, I think such accusations are totally unfounded. There is no such question at all,” Wen told reporters.

– Original report from Times of India: Chinese activist Hu Jia jailed ahead of Olympics: Lawyer

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China Authorities Getting Ready To Try Activist Hu Jia Without Guarantees of Fairness

Posted by Author on March 13, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 12 March 2008-

Reiterating its call for the immediate and unconditional release of activist Hu Jia, Reporters Without Borders today urged the international community to keep up the pressure in order to prevent him being tried on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority.

“Everything indicates that the authorities plan to begin Hu’s trial very soon although no guarantees of fairness or transparency have been given,” the press freedom organisation said. “The recent abduction of one of his friends, lawyer Teng Biao, is an especially disturbing sign. If the trial nonetheless goes ahead, diplomats and journalists must be free to attend it.”

One of Hu’s lawyers, Li Fangping, was told on 7 March that the subversion charge against Hu had been registered by the Beijing prosecutor’s office. The evidence file submitted by the political police reportedly weighed more than 4 kilos. The Beijing people’s intermediate court No. 1 could begin his trial soon, one that could end with him getting a long prison sentence.

The police investigation has reportedly concentrated on articles by Hu that were posted online, especially on the overseas Chinese-run website Boxun, and some of his statements to the foreign press about the Olympic Games. “It is just a matter of time,” Li Fangping said.

Hu’s other lawyer, Li Jingsong, told Radio Free Asia the trial could start this week and that the hearings could be open to the public because the authorities have not so far ruled that the case involves state secrets.

Human rights lawyer Teng Biao was released by the authorities on 8 March after being held and interrogated in complete secrecy for two days. A close friend and supporter of Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, he was arrested by police on the evening of 6 March and was bundled into an official car with a bag over his dead. “This is all I can tell you for the moment, it would not be appropriate to say any more,” he said.

Another lawyer, Li Heping, was attacked by public security officers at he was driving his son to school in Beijing on the morning of 7 March. The police car that had been following him from his home deliberately drove into the back of his car. As a result, he has been suffering back pains. Li, who is under permanent police surveillance, was kidnapped and beaten on 29 September, and was warned against continuing to support Hu Jia.

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

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Police Occupied Neighbour Room To Monitor Zeng Jinyan With 4~8 Stationing At The Entrance of The Building

Posted by Author on February 22, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 20 February 2008-

After imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia was formally charged on 29 January, police stepped up surveillance of the home he shares with his wife in a Beijing apartment building. The police took over an apartment (No. 552) near the couple’s apartment (No. 542) and three security cameras were installed in the grounds of the complex. Between four and eight policemen continue to be stationed permanently at the entrance to the building.

Hu received a visit from his lawyer Li Jinsong in prison on 4 February. The lawyer said Hu showed no sign of being mistreated. His three cell-mates are non-political detainees.

Hu’s parents and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, were able to visit him on 10 February, but Zeng was not allowed to take their baby daughter. Several prison guards monitored the meeting. Zeng said Jia appeared “tired and stressed.” The prison has given him the medicine he needs.

Zeng has received permission to leave the apartment three times in the past two weeks. On two of these occasions, she took the baby to see a doctor. Each time she went out, neighbours said they saw policemen enter the apartment.

On 11 February, Zeng recovered several items previously confiscated by the police, including her mobile phone.

– Original report from Reporters Without Borders: Hu Jia allowed visit by family, surveillance of home stepped up

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Reporters Without Borders Condemns China Regime On the First Day of the Chinese New Year

Posted by Author on February 8, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 7 February 2008-

There are just six months left until the opening of the Beijing Summer Olympics. The world’s biggest sports event will get under way in the Chinese capital on 8 August. The Chinese authorities gave very specific promises in 2001 in order to win the games for Beijing. They said the holding of the games would “help improve human rights” and that there would be “total press freedom” before and during the games.

None of this has happened. About 80 journalists and Internet users are currently imprisoned in China. Some have been detained since the 1980s. The government blocks access to thousands of websites and the cyber-police watch Internet users closely. A total of 180 foreign reporters were arrested, attacked or threatened in China in 2007.

There are no grounds for claiming that the situation has improved. The number of journalists imprisoned in China in 2001 was 14. Currently there are 32 journalists and more than 50 cyber-dissidents and Internet users in prison in China. The overall number of political prisoners runs into the thousands.

The International Olympic Committee and the sponsors of the Olympic Games meanwhile remain silent, thereby discrediting the Olympic values.

We do no think it is too late to get people released. There was evidence of this just two days ago, when the Hong Kong-based journalist Ching Cheong was freed two years before completing a five-year sentence. Some journalists, many well-known figures and even the authorities in Hong Kong had long been pressing for his release.

The repression is continuing without any let-up, sidelining all those who dare to call for concrete improvements before the start of the games. Blogger Hu Jia, for example, is being held on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power” despite an international outcry. He is facing the possibility of a long prison sentence. Human rights activist Wang Guilin, who took part in a campaign with the slogan “We want human rights, not Olympic Games,” has just been sentenced to 18 months of reeducation through work in northeastern China. But IOC president Jacques Rogge keeps silent. And the Chinese government condemns attempts to politicise the games.

Families, the forgotten victims

Today, the first day of the Lunar New Year, Reporters Without Borders would like to draw attention to the wives and families of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents. As well as the financial problems they must face, they are often the victims of threats and sanctions. At the moment is that of Hu Jia’s young wife, Zeng Jinyan, who is under house arrest in Beijing with their three-month-old daughter. Zeng cannot leave their apartment or communicate with the outside world. One of their friends, Yuan Weijing, the wife of imprisoned human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, is permanently watched by the police and by thugs recruited by the local authorities who recently threw stones at a German TV crew trying to interview her.

The wives and partners of dissidents often lose their jobs. This has been the case with the partners of cyber-dissidents Yang Zili (held since 2001) and Ouyang Yi (held from 2002 to 2004). The wife and son of the publisher Hada, imprisoned in Inner Mongolia since 1996, have been subjected to all sorts of harassment. The son, Uiles, even served a two-year prison sentence for alerting international organisations about his father, who was given a 15-year jail term. The authorities refuse to give him ID papers as long as he “continues to create problems.”

Protest in Paris

Tomorrow, on 8 February 2008, Parisians will be invited to join Reporters Without Borders in condemning repression in China. Reporters Without Borders activists will station themselves in one of Paris’ busiest districts at midday and ask passers-by to let themselves be photographed wearing the “Beijing 2008” campaign T-shirt, on which the Olympic rings have been turned into handcuffs. A video about imprisoned journalists will at the same time be shown on a large screen.

Some 30 leading European sports personalities and actors have already agreed to take part in this campaign by wearing the “Beijing 2008” T-shirt.

Reporters Without Borders hails the announcement on 28 January that Britain’s Prince Charles has decided not to attend the Beijing Olympics inauguration above all because of the violation of basic freedoms in Tibet, where free expression is even more restricted. Three Tibetans were given long prison sentences last year because of reports about repressions they had sent abroad.

More information about Reporters Without Borders’ campaign: http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=174

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

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China: Systematic Crackdown Violates Olympic Promises

Posted by Author on February 8, 2008


With Six Months to Go, Countdown is No Cause for Celebration

Human Rights Watch, February 6, 2008-

(New York, February 6, 2008) – With just six months to go before the Olympics open in Beijing on August 8, a systematic crackdown on dissent has significantly worsened respect for fundamental rights in China, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Beijing has given virtually no signs that it intends to keep the promises made to the international community in exchange for hosting the Games,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “On the contrary, we have witnessed a systematic effort to silence, suppress and repress Chinese citizens who are trying to push the government into greater respect for fundamental rights.”

Human Rights Watch pointed to a growing pattern of using loosely defined subversion charges to suppress dissidents and activists ahead of the Games. On February 4, the writer Lü Gengsong was sentenced to four years in prison for “inciting subversion against state power,” becoming the sixth high profile dissident in less than a year to be arrested or sentenced under these charges.

The other cases include:

* Hu Jia, a leading human rights activist, was formally arrested on January 30. Hu, who had become a principal source of information about the situation of human rights defenders inside and outside China, was taken away by the police from his home on December 27, 2007, shortly after he gave testimony via webcam to the European Parliament in which he expressed his desire for 2008 to be “the year of human rights in China.” Hu Jia, who has so far been denied contact with his lawyers on the grounds that his case involves “state secrets,” faces up to five years of imprisonment.

* Chen Shuqing, a dissident writer and member of the banned Chinese Democratic Party, was sentenced to four years of imprisonment in August 2007.

* Yang Chunlin, an activist from Heilongjiang province, was arrested in July 2007 for his involvement in a petition, “We Want Human Rights, not the Olympics,” which was signed by farmers protesting land seizures. He is currently awaiting trial.

* Yan Zhengxue, a writer from Zhejiang province, was sentenced to three years in jail in April 2007 for having “used the internet, discussion forums and speeches to publish distorted facts, attack and vilify the state power, and incite subversion of state power and overthrow of the socialist system.”

* Zhang Jianhong, a poet and political essayist, was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in March 2007 for publishing more than 100 “articles defaming the Chinese government and calling for agitation to overthrow the government.”

Human Rights Watch said that the increasing use of subversion charges, a state security offense, to silence dissent is consistent with official statistics from the Ministry of Justice, which reflect an almost 20 percent increase between 2006 and 2007 in state security convictions.

“Charging people with ‘inciting subversion’ has become the weapon of choice to silence dissent ahead of the Games,” said Richardson. “Hu Jia’s only ‘crime’ was to speak honestly about the tightening chokehold on dissent ahead of the Games, and his arrest sends a stark message to other Chinese activists: lie low ahead of the Olympics or face the consequences.”

In another disturbing development, Human Rights Watch said that the repression of dissidents and human rights activists has broadened in recent months to include systematic intimidation, surveillance, and confinement of dissidents’ close relatives. Such tactics keep the dissidents’ cases out of sight and prevent relatives from mounting legal challenges.

Since the arrest of Hu Jia on December 27, the police have confined Hu’s wife, fellow activist Zeng Jinyan, and their 2-month-old daughter to the couple’s home and cut their telephone and internet connections. Yuan Weijing, the wife of jailed blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, is under permanent surveillance and has been prevented from traveling; Ye Guozhu, the brother of activist Ye Guoqiang who is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for organizing protests against Olympics-related forced evictions, is also under police surveillance, and was detained at least one time under subversion charges.

In addition to the sharp deterioration of the situation of human rights defenders and dissidents, Human Rights Watch also noted a host of serious and uncorrected problems linked to the preparation of the Games, including forced evictions, land seizures, suppression of petitioners, closure of migrant children schools, heightened internet censorship, and the use of “hard-strike” anti-crime campaigns to prepare the eviction from Beijing of undocumented rural migrant workers, beggars, vagrants, and sex workers.

“Repression will only increase through the opening of the Games unless foreign governments, the International Olympic Committee, and national Olympic committees make it clear to China that such abuses are a threat to the success of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,” Richardson said. “International silence in the face of these Olympics-related human rights violations is tantamount to giving the Chinese government a green light to intensify its pre-Olympic crackdown.”

Original report from Human Rights Watch

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China: Journalist Ching Cheong’s release must not to divert attention from arrest of Hu Jia and and Lu Gengsong

Posted by Author on February 7, 2008


Reporters Without Borders, 5 February 2008-

Reporters Without Borders is relieved that Hong-Kong based journalist Ching Cheong, a correspondent of Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper, was freed on parole this morning from a prison in the southern city of Guangzhou where he was serving a five-year sentence on a spying charge. He arrived back in Hong Kong at midday. Arrested on 22 April 2005, he had just over two years of his sentence still to serve.

“Ching should never have been arrested and imprisoned,” Reporters Without Borders said. “His release is very welcome, especially as it will allow him to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his family, but he is still not completely free. The Chinese government should continue down this road by releasing, before the start of the Olympic Games, all of the 32 journalists and 51 cyber-dissidents who are currently held.”

The press freedom organisation added: “We pay tribute to the extraordinary efforts made by Ching’s family, his friends of the Ching Cheong Concern Group and the journalistic community in Hong Kong, who always defended his innocence in the face of the Chinese government’s unjust accusations.”

Ching’s release must not be allowed to divert attention from the plight of human rights activist Hu Jia, who has been held since 27 December on a charge of “inciting subversion of state authority,” or from the four-year prison sentence passed on 4 February on writer Lu Gengsong in the eastern city of Hangzhou on the same charge.

Li Changqing, the former editor of Fuzhou Daily, was freed on 2 February on completing a three-year sentence for “spreading alarmist reports.”

Mak Chai-ming of the Ching Cheong Concern Group told Reporters Without Borders he was “very happy” about Ching’s release and hoped Ching would now be able to explain the circumstances and reasons for his arrest. The Hong Kong Journalists Association said it hoped this kind of arrest would not recur. The management of The Straits Times said it was “delighted by this long-awaited release.”

When a Reporters Without Borders representative met with Ching’s wife, Mary Lau, in Hong Kong in December, she described his prison conditions: “He is in a cell with 12 other inmates, most of them criminals serving long sentences. There are two factories in the prison. He has to work eight hours a day, with additional hours twice a week, until 9 pm. He makes police uniforms. The prisoners are not paid.”

Lau added: “Ching had a problem with high blood pressure before his arrest, but it flared up only two or three times a year. Now he has it all the time. He is suffering as result of the military discipline in the prison. He has lost 15 kilos since his arrest. You already know that the first month, when he was held in Beijing, was extremely tough. The way he was treated could be regarded as mental torture.”

Ching has had heart and stomach problems, and doctors reportedly discovered a duodenal ulcer. He was hospitalised on more than one occasion, but the family was not told until several weeks later.

The holder of a “British National Overseas” passport, Ching was arrested on 22 April 2005 while visiting Guangzhou and was sentenced on 31 August 2006 to five years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros for allegedly spying for Taiwan. The official news agency Xinhua published a report claiming the Ching sold business, political and military information to Taiwanese agents for millions of dollars between 2000 and 2005.

Ching worked from 1974 to June 1989 for the Hong Kong-based daily Wen Wei Po, which supports the Beijing government. He resigned after the Tiananmen Square massacre and set up an independent political magazine called Contemporary. He joined the Singapore-based Straits Times in 1996. He has written many articles and books about the Communist Party of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Reporters Without Borders and the Hong Kong Journalists Association launched an appeal for Ching’s release on 2 June 2005. The petition, which can be accessed at http://www.petition-chingcheong.org, had been signed by more than 30,000 people.

– Original report from Reporters Without Borders: Ching Cheong’s release hailed, although it is eclipsed by Hu Jia’s arrest and Lu Gengsong’s sentencing

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