Human Rights in China (HRIC) condemns the formal arrest of rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳) on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” Hu’s family was informed of his formal arrest on January 30. Police had reportedly told Hu's family that they were investigating him for articles he had posted online, including some that criticize the Beijing Olympics. “It is ironic to see people being punished for criticizing the ‘People’s Olympics’ and for expressing their opinions,” said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China. “If China does not want the world to remember the Beijing Olympics for the wrong reasons, it must not equate criticisms of the Games with inciting subversion.”
Hu Jia is a long-time HIV/AIDS activist and an internationally recognized Chinese rights defender. Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, received a 2007 special press freedom award from Reporters Without Borders, and were also nominated for the EU Parliament Sakharov Prize for work in human rights.
Human Rights in China urges the Chinese authorities to drop the politically-motivated charge against Hu Jia, who was simply exercising his right to freedom of expression as protected in international human rights law and the Chinese Constitution. The authorities must also comport with international standards on the treatment of detainees and ensure adequate medical treatment for Hu Jia, who is in the early stages of cirrhosis of the liver. The authorities should release Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan and their new-born baby from house-arrest restrictions, and ensure that Hu Jia enjoys full access to legal counsel.