Detained Activist Hu Jia Denied Access to Lawyer, His Family Harassed

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Detained Activist Hu Jia Denied Access to Lawyer, His Family Harassed

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, January 5, 2008) – Hu Jia (胡佳), the Beijing-based activist, Detained on Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion“ on December 27, 2007, is denied access to lawyers by police, citing the case’s involvement of “state secret.” Hu’s family also suffers police surveillance and harassment.

“‘State secret’ is so vaguely defined in the Chinese law, allowing police broad powers to keep detainees incommunicado, while torture and mistreatment are most likely to take place behind doors at the detention centers,” said Zhong Yan, a CHRD researcher who spoke to Hu’s family. “Restricting freedom of family members who have not been suspected of any crimes is also a common police practice for intimidation and punishment.”

On January 5, when Hu Jia’s parents were preparing to visit his wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), the police arrived at their home. The police were looking in Hu’s parents’ home for writings about Hu’s detention, which they suspected Hu’s parents had given to the media. The police threatened to take “further measures” if Hu’s parents are to release further information to the public.

Around the same time, Zeng was also questioned by the police in her apartment. The police warned her against releasing further information to the public about Hu and herself. The police also shortly detained her friend who was visiting her. Later, the police searched Zeng’s home again to look for written materials about Hu’s detention. Since Hu’s detention, as many as six policemen have stayed at Zeng’s apartment at a time to keep her under residential surveillance (Jianshi Juzhu). Zeng is barred from leaving her home and has to negotiate with the police for matters such as taking her 1-month-old baby out for air.

On January 4, Hu’s lawyers Li Jingsong (李劲松) and Li Fangping (李方平) contacted the Beijing Municipal Detention Centre at Dougezhuang in Chaoyang District, where Hu is detained, and asked to meet Hu. However, police refused to allow the visit on the grounds that the case involves “state secrets.”

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