Hu Jia Formally Arrested: Authorities Impervious To International Protest

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Hu Jia Formally Arrested: Authorities Impervious To International Protest
China must be held accountable for its Olympic pledge “to improve human rights”

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, January 31, 2008)– Hu Jia (胡佳 or 胡嘉), the Beijing-based human rights defender detained since December 27, 2007, was formally arrested and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” (the crime for which he was originally detained) by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) on January 28, 2008. Hu’s family was notified on January 29. Hu may face trial and receive a harsh sentence.

Since Hu’s detention, the Beijing PSB has denied repeated requests by Hu’s lawyers to visit him, citing that the case involves “state secrets.”

Hu suffers from a liver disease and must take medication daily. However, not only has the Beijing PSB refused the medication Hu’s family brought him, it has also failed to supply all the medication Hu needs. Despite Hu’s lawyers’ calls for his release for medical treatment, the authorities have denied his application for release.

Since Hu’s detention, his wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) and their two-month old daughter have been under tight surveillance. Ms. Zeng is not allowed to walk out of her apartment building. Except Zeng’s parents, all other visitors are barred from visiting her. Some visitors have been taken to the Beijing PSB and questioned, warned and detained. Reporters are also barred by the police from interviewing Zeng. Hu’s defense lawyers and other lawyers who have attempted to visit Zeng to provide her with legal assistance have been followed, monitored, threatened and warned. In addition, Zeng is prevented from accessing the baby food and other articles sent to her. Her phone, mobile phone and the internet have been cut.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders is concerned about Hu’s right to legal council and his health, fearing that he is subjected to mistreatment since no one has been allowed to see him.


1. We demand an immediate end to the illegal and unconstitutional incarceration of Hu Jia. We believe that Hu was criminally detained solely because of his peaceful activities in promoting human rights. The authorities have abused Hu’s rights to freedom of expression guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed (but not yet ratified). This right is also enshrined in the Chinese Constitution.

2. We urge the Beijing authorities to end deprivation of Hu’s right to legal counsel. The Chinese laws barring legal access to those accused of state-secret-related crimes violate international conventions such as the ICCPR and the Johannesburg Principle, an international guideline regarding criminal procedure related to state secrets.

3. We call for the Chinese government to honor the Convention against Torture, which it signed and ratified, to ensure that Hu is protected from torture or other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment. The Beijing authorities must ensure that Hu has access to medical treatment.

4. The Beijing authorities must end the illegal house arrest and interference of communication of Hu’s family. His wife and daughter should not be penalized for Hu’s human rights activities. The authorities have violated Zeng’s rights to freedom of liberty, of movement and of expression.

5. Immediately end the threats and harassments directed toward Hu’s lawyers and supporters.

6. We call for the International Olympics Committee to make enquiries into China’s failure to keep its pledge to improve human rights, as illustrated by Hu’s arrest and the many other human rights violations committed in the name of the Olympics (for example, forcible demolitions, arbitrary detention of petitioners and tightened monitoring of the media).

7. We call for the U.S. President Bush, French President Sarkozy and President of the European Union José Manuel Barroso, and other leaders who have accepted official invitations to attend the Olympics opening ceremony, to speak up publicly about the degenerating human rights conditions as illustrated by the situation of Hu Jia and his family.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is a non-political, non-governmental network of grassroots and international activists promoting human rights and empowering grassroots activism in China. CHRD’s objective is to support human rights activists in China, monitor human rights developments, and assist victims of human rights abuses. CHRD advocates approaches that are non-violent and based on rule of law. CHRD conducts research, provides information, organizes training, supports a program of small grants to human rights activists and researchers, and offers legal assistance.

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Human Rights and the Beijing Olympics 2008: “What can I do?”

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