Imprisoned Democracy Activist Hu Shigen to Be Released in August

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, May 22, 2008) – Hu Shigen (胡石根), imprisoned political prisoner and democracy activist, has reportedly been granted an earlier release and may leave prison as early as this August. Officials from the Legal Office of Haibin District, Beijing, contacted Mr. Hu’s friends and said his imprisonment would be shortened by more than three years.

“We welcome this gesture of openness by the government, even though it’s likely for the sake of improving its image prior to the Olympics,” said Zhen Yan, a CHRD research associate in Beijing who obtained the information.

Hu, 54, a lecturer at Beijing Language Institute (now Beijing Language University), was detained by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) on May 27, 1992. Hu was arrested on September 27 of the same year for organizing China Free Democratic Party (中国自由民主党) and establishing China Free Labor Union (中国自由工会). On December 16, 1994, he was convicted of “organizing and leading counter-revolutionary groups and counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement” and sentenced to twenty years in prison and five years’ deprivation of political rights by the Beijing Municipal Intermediate Court. On June 14, 1995, the Beijing Municipal Higher Court rejected Hu’s appeal. Hu’s defence lawyer was Mo Shaoping (莫少平) from Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm.

Hu is incarcerated at the Beijing No. 2 Prison in Chaoyang District (P. O. Box 2357, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100023). Hu was tortured during his imprisonment, which broke the middle finger of his right hand and left it permanently disfigured. Hu also suffers from a number of illnesses including problems with his nervous system, heart, liver, stomach and ears.

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