Hu Jia Detained on Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion of State Power”

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Hu Jia Detained on Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion of State Power”

Chinese Government Must Stop Pre-Olympics Crackdown

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, December 28, 2007) – Beijing-based activist, Hu Jia (胡佳), has been detained by police on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

CHRD investigated the “disappearance” of Hu Jia and his wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), who could not be contacted since the afternoon of the 27th local time. We now have confirmed that at around 3 pm. on December 27.about 20 policemen forced into Hu Jia’s home. They surrounded Zeng Jinyan and their one month old baby, as well as Zeng Jinyan’s grandmother who was visiting. Police cut off their telephone line and Internet connections, confiscated their cell phones, barring them from contacting others. Then, police took Hu Jia away. Several policemen remain at their home, watching Zeng Jinyan. Police issued a detention order stating that Hu is detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” However police did not explain what activities lead to such suspicion. Hu Jia’s whereabouts is currently unknown.

Since May 18, 2007, Hu and Zeng have been under residential surveillance (jianshi juzhu) by the local district National Security Unit (guo bao) of Beijing Public Security Bureau. Police never produced any legal authorization for this prolonged operation. On November 10, Hu was beaten by police officers who tried to prevent him from visiting his wife in the hospital. The residential surveillance began after the couple returned from a visit to Hong Kong and were about to set off on a tour of Europe to promote their documentary film, “Prisoners of Freedom City.” Prior to that, the couple had been under a long period of residential surveillance without legal authorization from March 28, 2006 to February 26, 2007. Hu Jia also “disappeared” for 41 days and was later confirmed detained in a basement by the Beijing police in February-March 2006.


CHRD demands the immediate and unconditional release of Hu Jia. We believe that Hu Jia was criminally detained solely because of his peaceful activities in promoting human rights, including reporting abuses and posting articles to raise public awareness. CHRD calls on the government to protect human rights defenders as China promised to do so when it endorsed the Declaration to Protect Human Rights Defenders at the UN General Assembly in 1999.

“Inciting subversion of state power” is a vague and ill-defined crime which has been used by Chinese authorities to persecute human rights defenders for exercising their right to freedom of expression. CHRD calls on Chinese authorities to suspend using this crime to prosecute writers and activists like Hu Jia before the Standing Committee of the National People Congress review the law and either abolish it or precisely define its key terms so that it may not be used to persecute individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

CHRD expresses deep concerns on Chinese government‘s on going harassment targeting human rights activists and the increasing trend of crackdown on civil society groups as the country gears up for the Beijing Olympics. On December 22, Beijing police put several dozens of writers, lawyers and activists under house arrest to prevent them from attending a dinner organized by the Independent Chinese PEN. Police disclosed to some of the detainees that the action was part of a larger operation to prevent “troubles” prior to the Beijing Summer Olympics. On December 27-28, Wan Yanhai, the director of the Beijing AIZHIXING Institute, an HIV/AIDS NGO, was detained for questioning by Beijing PSB’s National Security police. Wan is now released, but barred from talking publicly.

Click here for more information about Hu Jia, here for more information about his beating by police on November 10, and here about Zeng Jinyan.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is a non-political, non-government network of grassroots and international activists promoting human rights protection and empowering grassroots activism in China. CHRD’s objective is to build NGO capacities, monitor rights development, and assist victims of abuse. CHRD advocates non-violent and rule of law approaches. CHRD conducts investigation and research, provides information, organizes training, supports a program of small grants, and offers legal assistance.

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