01/07/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Hu Jia arrested, Beijing “is ignoring promises made to get the Games”

The world renowned activist, who for years has been fighting against the spreading of AIDS, was arrested on December 27th and is now in prison accused of subversion. The Chinese Human Rights Defenders accuse China of its ferocity against dissidents and asks for a revision of the law which punishes subversion against the State, a smoke screen which hides abuse and violence.

Beijing  (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government “continues to break those promises made to the world to obtain the Olympic Games” and in particular “it is ignoring peoples human rights, using a law as a repressive instrument and censorship as a way to safeguard its own image”.  This is why, “all Chinese dissidents ask that concrete steps are taken, which show Beijing’s goodwill: a revision of the infamous article 105 of the penal code”.

This was carried in a statement released this morning by Chinese Human Rights Defenders (Chrd).  According to the text, “the arrest of the well known anti-Aids activist Hu Jia, which took place December 27th last, shows that charges of subverting the State, punished by art. 105, serve as a smoke-screen to cover internal criticism of the government”.

Hu Jia is world renowned for his battle to fight the spread of HIV AIDS within the country, a problem the government tries to ignore.  Moreover, Hu, has always been active in informing the press regarding the arrest of other activists and has gathered precious information regarding the situation of political detainees.  His wife has also been under police surveillance for some time now.

Having lived mostly under house arrest or residential surveillance in the two years leading up to the detention; a few days ago, about 30 police officers broke into Hu Jia’s home and took him away. His wife, fellow activist Zeng Jinyan, is now under house arrest. At least 10 security personnel guard her home.  According to his arrest warrant, Hu was detained on article 105. suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” 

The Chrd statement maintains that these charges, “show that the law has become an instrument which police use to do what they want.  If the government wants to make the world believe in the promises it made then it really has to re-address the text of the law and specify what “subversion” means.  Only then will abuse of power and  the violation of human rights be avoided”.

The reference is to promises made by the Foreign Minister to the International Olympics Committee during the run up to the assigning of the 2008 Olympics: China committed itself to improving the human rights situation in the country, to reduce pollution and to review its stance on Tibet.  So far these promises have been simply ignored.

Chrd underlines that the situation, “is getting worse: currently there are 41 cases of arbitrary and unjustified arrests of Human Rights activists all according to article. 105. As the Games approach it can only be summarised that the grip is tightening even more; anyone who dares criticise the government or denounce the current climate in China risks prison”.

 

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