China: Ill-treatment of Mr. Hu Jia during interrogation

Comments Off on China: Ill-treatment of Mr. Hu Jia during interrogation

Originally published in OMCT on March 20, 2013


CHN 002 / 0313 / OBS 026
Arbitrary arrest / Ill-treatment / Harassment
People’s Republic of China
March 20, 2013

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the ill-treatment during interrogation of Mr. Hu Jia, an HIV/AIDS activist, co-founder and former Director of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute for Health Education[1] as well as winner of the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.According to the information received, on March 14, 2013, police officers from the Tongzhou District Station of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrested Mr. Hu Jia at his home, where he had been put under house arrest since February 26, 2013. The police officers took him to the Zhongchang Police Station, citing suspicion of “creating a disturbance”, and repeatedly insulted, beat and tortured him during an eight-hour interrogation, which left him with serious injuries.From the beginning of the interrogation, one security officer reportedly insulted Mr. Hu Jia in an attempt to provoke him. At one point, Mr. Hu Jia eventually lost his temper and threw a paper cup with cold water at the officer, giving other policemen a pretext to attack him. Two policemen shoved him to the floor, pushed his head to the ground, and pressed his face against a wall. They then kept him prone as the interrogation continued by holding him to the back of a chair and lifting his arms behind his back, an extremely painful position. During the interrogation, they questioned Mr. Hu Jia about details of a visit in late December to Mrs. Lia Xia, the wife of jailed writer and Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiabo, under house arrest since October 2010. They also asked him about his recent tweets and online postings expressing his views about the new Communist Party leaders and the National People’s Congress.

The Observatory recalls that the annual “Two Meetings” – the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – convened during the first week of March in Beijing. The legislative sessions, where authorities heavily deploy “stability maintenance” resources, were seen this year as especially “sensitive” and significant to the Chinese Communist Party, with the country’s new top leaders formally taking their positions. In that framework, many Beijing activists who regularly live under surveillance have faced closer monitoring and tougher restrictions since late February, including Messrs. Hu Jia, He Depu, Xu Zhiyong and Jiang Tianyong.

Moreover, when Mr. Hu Jia was finally brought back home by the police officers, they warned him not to go to the hospital and said that his house arrest would continue until the National Peoples’s Congress annual session was over. Mr. Hu Jia could hardly walk up the stairs to his apartment due to the injuries he suffered during the interrogation. His head was bleeding, his skull swollen and he suffered severe pain in his lower back.

The Observatory strongly condemns the detention and ill-treatment against Mr. Hu Jia’s, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and urges the Chinese authorities to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity.

The Observatory also recalls that Mr. Hu Jia has been repeatedly harassed because of his human rights activities over the past few years. On December 27, 2007, he was arrested and sentenced in April 2008 to three years and six months’ imprisonment and to one year of deprivation of his political rights for “inciting subversion of State power” by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. The court’s only ground for convicting Mr. Hu consisted of his articles, press interviews, personal letters, testimony to European Parliament through Internet, and an open letter he signed, demanding an end to the pre-Olympics human rights abuses. While in detention, Mr. Hu Jia’s health condition seriously deteriorated. However, several applications for release on medical parole were all denied.On June 26, 2011, Mr. Hu Jia was released from Beijing Municipal Prison, after completing a three-and-a-half-year sentence. Yet, he was then subjected to a one-year deprivation of his political rights.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Hu Jia as well as of all human rights defenders in the People’s Republic of China;

ii. Carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the above mentioned acts in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Hu Jia and more generally against all human rights defenders in the People’s Republic of China;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, its article 9, which states that “[…] everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to benefit from an effective remedy and to be protected in the event of the violation of those rights” and its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the People’s Republic of China.


  • Mr. Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Guojia Zongli, The State Council General Office, 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Ms. Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Sifabu, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345, /
  • Ambassador He Yafei, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, P.O. Box 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.intEmbassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 463 1160 Auderghem, Belgium, Tel:  + 32 2 663 30 10  /  + 32 2 663 30 17  /  +32 2 771 14 97  /  +32 2 779 43 33 ; Fax: +32 2 762 99 66 /  +32 2 779 28 95 ; Email:

 Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.


Geneva – Paris, March 20, 2013

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail:
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 /  + 41 22 809 49 29
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 /  +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1]A grassroots organisation that aims at educating the public about HIV/AIDS and at advocating for the rights of persons suffering from AIDS.

Also published in


Back to Top