China Aid Association
Jan 16, 2008 – 3:37:57 PM
AIDS, journalism, and human rights groups continue to press for the release of Hu Jia, a well-known activist detained by the government in Beijing on December 27, 2007 who has recently sought to link activism across a number of areas, including AIDS activists and civil rights lawyers. Deputy Secretary John Negroponte is travelling to China and Vietnam January 16 — 20; the U.S. State Department labeled the case “disturbing” at a Monday briefing.
Hu Jia’s wife, one-month old baby, and the baby’s grandmother are all being held under house arrest. Hu Jia has been prevented from seeing his attorney. Video of Hu Jia’s family under house arrest last summer can be viewed at http://shanghaiist.com/2007/09/28/hu_jia_surveill_1.php
Stephen J. LeBlanc, an attorney with the US-based AIDS Policy Project, pointed to the frequent harassment of Hu Jia as not in the best interests of China’s image in the world. “The government detains Hu Jia because he is embarrassing them, and then there is an international outcry that spotlights their deplorable treatment of dissidents. Currently, the police are holding Hu Jia’s one-month old baby under house arrest. It’s hard to see how this is helping China’s reputation in the international community. It’s difficult to keep track of the international human rights principles China is violating with this case.”
The AIDS Policy Project, a human rights and AIDS organization, demands the following:
1. Immediate and unconditional release of Hu Jia.
2. Hu Jia’s immediate and private access to his lawyer.
3. Hu Jia’s family members should immediately be released from house arrest.
4. Police should cease harassing his lawyer.
The group also noted that Chinese New Year is coming up: “That baby’s first holiday should not be under house arrest,” commented LeBlanc.
Below is a press release from last week from Reporters Without Borders–
Hu Jia’s lawyer put under house arrest, foreign journalists prevented from visiting wife and daughter
Reporters Without Borders today accused the Chinese authorities, especially state security, of violating the new regulations for foreign journalists by preventing them from visiting the wife of detained human rights activist Hu Jia and of violating the right of Hu’s lawyers to visit their client. One of the lawyers was placed under house arrest for a few hours.
“Despite all the appeals from within China and throughout the world for Hu’s release, the government is taking an even tougher position by depriving his wife and their two-month-old daughter of their freedom,” the press freedom organisation said.
On January 10th, one of Hu’s lawyers, Li Jinsong, was placed under house arrest for a few hours in a Beijing hotel, after inviting foreign journalists to confirm that it was impossible for him to see Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan. He is under surveillance by the police. His other lawyer, Li Fangping, was not detained but he was strongly urged not to try to approach Zeng’s home.
Previously, the authorities prevented them from visiting Hu in prison on 4 January on the grounds that the case had been classified as a “state secret.”
The police today prevented a group of foreign journalists from entering the Beijing apartment building where Zeng, a well-known blogger, lives with the couple’s two-month-old daughter Qianci, saying it was because a “criminal investigation” was under way. After checking their passports, the police allowed the reporters to leave but made the photographers delete the photos they had taken.
On 8 January, Zeng was able to talk to some German journalists through one of the windows of her apartment. She talked about the conditions in which her husband is being held and how the police are preventing all his friends and relatives from seeing her. “The police have searched the apartment several times and have taken our computer and telephones,” she said, adding: “I am very worried about Hu Jia.”
After that conversation, the police installed a curtain to prevent Zeng from being seen from outside the apartment. More than 20 police officers are permanently stationed around her home. Zeng has been completely isolated since Hu’s arrest, when the phone lines and Internet connection were cut off.
A friend of Hu’s told Reporters Without Borders he had also been prevented from visiting Zeng at home and that police officers were subsequently stationed outside his own home. On 5 January, the police searched the home of Hu’s parents to ensure they did not have documents about his arrest that they could give to the news media.
Hu has been held since 27 December on a charge of “inciting subversion of the state.” Referring to his arrest on 3 January, a foreign ministry spokesman said: “Everyone is equal before the law and no one is above the law. We are handling this case according to the law.”
Li, the lawyer who was placed under house arrest today, was awarded the French government’s human rights prize last month. French justice minister Rachida Dati met him when she accompanied President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to China in November.
Fifty-seven Chinese activists and writers released an open letter on 6 January calling for Hu’s immediate release and urging the police to ensure that his health does not deteriorate while in detention. Hu has a liver ailment.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]