Hu Jia is a human rights activist who has been concerned with social affairs, AIDS, environmental issues and defence of the weakest groups in society. Before his arrest by the Public Security Bureau at the end of Dec 2007, he had been under house arrest for a long time. Before he finally lost complete freedom he had been kidnapped, detained for a short period and physically tortured by the police in China. Hu, however, did not bow to these brutalities; instead, he overcame all obstacles and succeeded in disseminating details of human rights abuses within China to the outside world.
Hu Jia was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” by the Beijing No 1 People’s Intermediate Court on April 3, 2008, for voluntarily accepting two foreign media interviews and publishing five articles from 2001 to 2007 on Boxun, a banned Chinese-language website based in the United States . This is one of the worst cases of anyone being jailed for what he had written in China. His conviction and imprisonment drew a lot of attention and criticisms abroad. The Beijing Municipal Detention Centre denied Hu his right to meet with his lawyer to lodge an appeal against his jail sentence right to the very end of his period of appeal.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association and International Federation of Journalists have been outraged by the verdict and are launching this signature campaign for justice. We hope that the Central Government of China understands our anger and will release Hu Jia as soon as possible. We will present these signatures to the authorities in China on 12th May, 2008 which marks the birth of Buddha.
Hu, 34, is applying for a medical parole after he lost his rights to appeal his sentence . Hu has been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver for years. His wife, Zeng Jinyan, has also been under house arrest for years and gave birth to a baby girl a few months ago.
In 2007 Hu and his wife were awarded a special “China” prize by Reporters Without Borders—Fondation de France. Hu was commended by one of the panelists as an exemplary fighter for freedom of expression in China through peaceful methods.
聯署聲明 The declaration
We, as individuals and as a group, fully endorse and unreservedly uphold freedom of expression. We are, therefore, angered by the utter disdain of the authorities for the human rights of activist Hu Jia who was sentenced to three and a half years’ jail and one year’s denial of political rights on questionable charges of “inciting subversion of state power” by the Beijing No 1 People’s Intermediate Court on April 3, 2008 for writing five articles and voluntarily agreeing to two interviews by the media.
We believe this is an instance of punishing a man merely for his words. This case not only violates the constitution of China which enshrines citizens’ right to freedom of expression, but also breaches international protocols to which China is a signatory and which clearly state that freedom of expression is a basic human right .
We demand that the Central Government of China release Hu Jia forthwith.