Hu Jia, Found Guilty for Criticizing Pre-Olympics Abuses, Sentenced to 3 Years & 6 MonthsComments Off on Hu Jia, Found Guilty for Criticizing Pre-Olympics Abuses, Sentenced to 3 Years & 6 Months
Hu Jia, Found Guilty for Criticizing Pre-Olympics Abuses, Sentenced to 3 Years & 6 Months
CHRD calls for the activist unconditional and immediate release
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, April 3, 2008)- Hu Jia (胡 佳), the detained human rights activist, who went on trial on March 18, has been sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment and one years’ political rights deprivation for “inciting subversion of state power” by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court today. The sentencing hearing started at 9am local time. The verdict was read at 9:30am.
Hu’s lawyers, Li Jingsong (李劲松) and Li Fangping (李方平), Hu Jia’s wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) and his mother were present at the sentencing hearings.
“This is a classic case of political persecution! Hu Jia expressed his dissent from the government’s handling of the Olympics. For that, he is convicted of ‘inciting subversion against state power.’ For the Chinese authorities, the Olympics is a political Game – if you criticize violations committed in the name of the Game, then, you are an enemy of the State,” said Renee Xia, international director of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
Hu has earlier expressed his preference not to appeal. He has ten days to decide whether or not to appeal after discussing it with his lawyers and family. Lawyers and supporter understand Hu Jia’s decision not to appeal – they cite the notorious inhumane conditions at Chinese detention centers, the pressure from police interrogations to confess, and the lack of any credibility of the Chinese judicial system as possible reasons for his decision.
CHRD calls the verdict unfair and demands Hu’s immediate and unconditional release.
The court’s only ground for convicting Hu Jia consists of his articles, press interviews, personal letters, testimony in European parliament by Internet, and the open letter he signed: “The Real China Before the Olympics,” which demanded ending pre-Olympics human rights abuses. CHRD believes that Hu is being prosecuted solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and to defend human rights. The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, which China has signed but not yet ratified).
CHRD is alarmed that three prominent human rights defenders—Hu Jia, Yang Chunlin (杨春林) and Lu Gengsong (吕耿松) have been imprisoned and convicted of the same charge, “inciting subversion of state power” in the past two months. The Chinese authorities, which routinely use the crime to persecute those exercising their right to freedom of expression, has used it more frequently this year to silence dissidents in the name of pre-Olympic security and “social harmony.”
The imprisonment of Hu Jia, once again, indicates that China has dishonored its promise to the International Olympics Committee to “promote human rights” when it bid to host the Olympic Games. World leaders who stand firm on their plan to go to Beijing to attend the Olympics opening ceremony in August are signaling to the Chinese leaders that China need not fear for destroying its international prestige as it continues its political repression. The International Olympics Committee must stop turning a blind eye to China’s political persecution in the name of the Olympics. The IOC can no longer maintain its moral integrity in upholding the Olympics principles if it continues to pretend that China is handling the Olympics in a non-political manner.
Hu, 34, started his activism as an AIDS activist in 2001. He is co-founder of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education and Loving Source, a grassroots organization dedicated to help children from AIDS families. Due to his criticisms of the government’s failures in AIDS prevention and care, he had been repeatedly harassed and beaten by police. Hu’s activism extended beyond AIDS. He had insisted on reporting human rights violations, giving interviews to overseas press and writing about other activists’ plight. Prior to his detention on December 27, Hu and his wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) had been put under “residential surveillance” (Jianshi Juzhu) without any legal authorization since May 18, 2007. Police never produced any legal authorization for this prolonged operation.
Despite under residential surveillance, Hu refused to be silenced and he continued to report on rights violations prior to the Games. Hu was taken from his home on December 27, 2007 and formally arrested on January 28 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”.
Hu was tried on March 18 by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. Hu’s trial was neither free nor fair. During Hu’s detention, he has been subjected to lengthy and repeated interrogations especially during the first month of his detention: he has been interrogated 47 times and each time, he was interrogated between 6 and 14 hours, usually at night.
For more information, please see:
Court to Announce “Olympic Detainee” Hu Jia’s Verdict on April 3 (March 31, 2008)
Giving Thanks: Blog Entry by Zeng Jinyan (March 29, 2008)
Hu Jia’s Trial for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” Scheduled for March 18 (March 13)
Hu Jia Formally Arrested: Authorities Impervious To International Protest (January 31)
Detained Activist Hu Jia Denied Access to Lawyer, His Family Harassed (January 6 )
Beijing Activist Hu Jia Detained on Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion of State Power” (December 28, 2007)
For more information about “inciting subversion of state power”, please see:
“Inciting Subversion of State Power”:A Legal Tool for Prosecuting Free Speech in China (January 8, 2008)