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.
For an English translation of Teng Biao and Hu Jia's article on human rights in the lead-up to the Olympics, see:
For more information on Hu Jia, see:
Visit HRIC's Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Olympics Take Action Campaign (http://www.ir2008.org) for more information on on-going human rights issues and how you can make a difference.