China Charges AIDS Activist With Subversion

China Aid Association

Video documentary made by Hu and Zeng last summer, while Hu was still under house arrest. Courtesy of Hu Jia.
(HONG KONG—2008.03.11) Authorities in Beijing have formally charged AIDS activist Hu Jia with “incitement to subversion” after he wrote articles online critical of China’s hosting of the Olympics, his lawyers said.
Hu’s lawyers, Li Jingsong and Li Fangping, received the indictment from the court late Tuesday, they told RFA’s Mandarin service. He is formally charged with “incitement to subvert state power” and is likely to face imminent trial.
Hu Jia and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, January 2007. Photo courtesy of Hu Jia.
“It was almost 4 p.m. by the time we finished copying the indictment and other related documents,” Li Jingsong said. “On Monday, March 10, a judge telephoned me and said that Hu Jia’s case had been sent to the court. He said that he had met with Hu Jia and informed him”
“I have notified Hu Jia’s family of this development. No date has been set for the trial. They should notify me three days before the trial is to take place. The content of the indictment is similar to the content of the ‘document of recommended charges’ issued by the public security bureau that I received last Friday,” he said.
The National Security police told me that Hu’s detention came after he had written more than 100 articles, and that this was the problem.
Zeng Jinyan, wife of Hu Jia
“For our part, we submitted all required documents to the court, including paperwork showing that Hu Jia had authorized us to represent him. And they were accepted by the court. There is still work left for us to do, though.”
Li, said the trial at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court “should be open.”
Baby under house arrest
“I expect the trial to take place soon. It should be an open trial, because the court documents do not say that the case involved state secrets. But we won’t know for a fact until three days before the trial when the court is supposed to officially notify us,” Li said.
Hu, a well-known AIDS activist who also suffers from Hepatitis B, was detained Dec. 27 after spending months under virtual house arrest because of his civil rights lobbying.
His wife, blogger Zeng Jinyan and the couple’s four-month-old daughter, remain under house arrest at their Beijing home.
Hu and Zeng’s baby, Hu Qianci, at four months. Photo: Zeng Jinyan
Hu’s arrest came after he published a number of articles online calling for human rights in a campaign that was linked to Beijing’s hosting of the Olympics this summer.
Zeng, herself an AIDS activist and blogger who won an award from Paris-based Reporters Without Borders alongside Hu Jia last year, recently posted an audio update on her blog, the first in several weeks.
“The National Security police told me that Hu’s detention came after he had written more than 100 articles, and that this was the problem,” Zeng said. “Another one told me it was 200, and another said 800. The point being that the sensitivity of the authorities seems to be around the sheer number of articles published by Hu Jia.”
Baby milk donors
She called for Hu’s immediate release, and her own release from house arrest.
“We have basically been without freedom since 2004, more or less, shut up at home€¦Thinking about it really makes me sad now€¦They are threatening us, using us as hostages€¦I am really very sad. I am worried about Hu Jia’s health,” Zeng added.
Zeng’s house arrest with her baby daughter has prompted a wave of support among China’s netizens, with bloggers vying with each other to get through the tight security cordon at the couple’s apartment complex in Bobo Freedom City in Beijing to deliver baby milk formula to Zeng.
Zeng’s daughter is said to be suffering from calcium deficiency owing to her long confinement indoors since birth.
Original reporting by Zhang Min for RFA’s Mandarin service. Service director: Jennifer Chou. Additional reporting by Luisetta Mudie. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

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