Activist and Dissident Writer Hu Jia Sentenced to 3.5 Years in Prison
PEN is shocked by the conviction of activist and dissident Hu Jia, who was handed a three-and-a-half year sentence on April 3, 2008, for “inciting subversion of state power” with his critical writings and dissident activities. Hu suffers from poor health and PEN seeks assurances of his well-being. PEN considers Hu Jia to be held solely for peacefully exercising his right to free expression, which is protected under Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. PEN therefore calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Leading Beijing-based human-rights activist and freelance reporter Hu Jia was arrested in his home by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on December 27, 2007, and tried on March 18, 2008, at the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. He was sentenced on April 3, 2008, to three and a half years in prison on subversion charges for online articles and dissident activities. He has decided not to appeal his sentence.
According to his lawyer, evidence presented in court included articles published on banned overseas Chinese web sites and interviews given to the foreign media. He is also believed to be targeted for an open letter he signed, "The Real China Before the Olympics," which demanded an end to human-rights abuses in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Hu, 34, was placed under residential surveillance on May 18, 2007, with his wife, Zeng Jinyan, for their documentary film, Prisoners of Freedom City, about their shared life of harassment and surveillance. In spite of this he continued his dissident activities, reporting on human-rights abuses and publishing online articles, until his arrest in December 2007. Hu is known for his activities on environmental and AIDS issues, and was briefly detained in February 2006.
Hu Jia is held at the Beijing Municipal Detention Center, and there are fears for his health. Hu suffers from long-term problems such as cirrhosis of the liver, and there are fears that his condition could deteriorate in prison. Hu Jia’s family has been subjected to harassment and severe restrictions of movement since his arrest, and there are serious concerns for his wife, Zeng Jingyan, who has a four-month-old baby and has been under house arrest since Hu’s detention.
Write A Letter
- protesting the sentence handed down to activist and dissident writer Hu Jia and calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 35 of the Chinese constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998;
- expressing concern for his health and seeking assurances of his well-being;
- protesting the harassment of Hu’s family.
Send Your Letter To
President of the People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Hu Jintao
Supreme People's Procuratorate
Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People's Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
Please note that there are no fax numbers for the Chinese authorities. PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Chinese embassy in your country, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
Please contact check with PEN if sending appeals after April 30, 2008: ftw [at] pen.org