Update on Imprisoned Activist Hu Jia and His Wife Zeng Jinyan

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, August 25, 2008) – CHRD learned today that imprisoned human rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳), who suffers from liver cirrhosis, has been made to perform manual labor under the hot sun for seven hours every day. Meanwhile, prison authorities have confiscated Hu’s letters to his family and a book on human rights sent by his wife.

Hu has been ordered to rake up leaves in the prison grounds under the hot sun for seven hours everyday. Hu was given the task after he had publicly pointed out that certain punishments used by Chaobai Prison, where Hu is held, violate basic human dignity. It is unclear how long Hu has been forced to perform the task. Hu, in poor health and suffers from liver cirrhosis, requires plenty of rest and regular check-ups with liver specialists. It appears that Hu has been given neither. (See Imprisoned Activist Hu Jia Still Denied Access to Adequate Medical Care)

Since August 1, Hu’s weekly letters to his family have been confiscated by Chaobai Prison. The prison authorities have also intercepted a book on the rights of prisoners, sent to Hu by Zeng. Hu’s family has had limited access to the activist. The National Security police, which have arranged sporadic visits to Hu, frequently use these visits as bargaining chip—Hu’s family has been told that if they do not remain silent, they would be denied access to Hu. Since Hu was sentenced on April 3, Hu’s lawyers have rarely been allowed to visit him. Whenever Hu’s family or lawyers confront Chaobai Prison, the authorities always cite “internal regulations” as justifications for denying requests to visit him.

CHRD also learned that Zeng and their child have been returned to Beijing by police on August 23. On August 7, Zeng was taken by the police from her home, first to visit Hu at Chaobai Prison and then to Dalian, where Zeng was detained in a hotel. Since her return to the capital, Zeng continues to be under residential surveillance by Beijing police.

For more information, please see:

Beijing Activist Zeng Jinyan Disappeared on Eve of Olympics Opening Ceremony (August 9)
Imprisoned Activist Hu Jia Still Denied Access to Adequate Medical Care (June 12)
Hu Jia, Found Guilty for Criticizing Pre-Olympics Abuses, Sentenced to 3 Years & 6 Months (April 3)
Hu Jia on Trial: Rights to Free Speech and Due Process Violated
(March 18)
Hu Jia’s Trial for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” Scheduled for March 18 (March 13)

On Eve of 6-Month Countdown to Olympics, Police Stepped up Harassment on Zeng Jinyan (February 7)
Hu Jia Formally Arrested: Authorities Impervious To International Protest (January 3)
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)

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