06/27/2011, 00.00
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Hu Jia: I will continue my struggle for human rights

The well-known dissident freed yesterday after 3 ½ years in prison, in his first statement reaffirms his intention to continue the battle for rights. Like many other dissidents, he is now under house virtual arrest. Police check identities of passers-by within a radius of one kilometer.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hu Jia, a prominent dissident released yesterday after 3 ½ years in prison, has announced that he "will continue the mission" of defending human rights.

A one kilometre area around his home in eastern Beijing, is being closely monitored by police since yesterday, who are identifying every passerby. For some time now dissidents who have been freed have been placed under a veritable house arrest, which police closely checking every movement and preventing them from meeting journalists and giving interviews.

To avoid attention, Hu was brought home during the night at 2.30 yesterday, as his wife Zeng Jinyan wrote on Twitter, adding that both are "safe and happy."

Among the conditions for Hu's release is a ban on giving interviews. He was only able to respond quickly by phone to a television, assuring that he intends to continue in his commitment to the defense of rights, even if "it is sometimes difficult to remain loyal and devoted .... loyal to morality, loyal to citizen's rights, loyal to conscience".

"My parents - he said - have told me: live an ordinary life, don't clash with the regime, because this regime is very cruel and it arbitrarily violates citizens' dignity. But I can only tell them I'll be careful " He added that he needs treatment for his chronic hepatitis B, which did not "not improve" in prison.

Hu's parents, graduates of elite universities, were sent to labour in the countryside after being castigated as "rightists" in 1957 along with other intellectuals who had criticised the government.

Hu was sentenced for "inciting subversion of state sovereignty" because before the Beijing Olympics of 2008 he had given interviews to foreign media, had kept links with activists and dissidents, had defended human rights and religious freedom.

Since mid-February in China the worst persecution of dissidents since 1998 has been unfolding, with dozens of arrests or even "disappearances", for crimes of opinion or even without charge. The release of Hu Jia came as Premier Wen Jiabao began a visit to three European countries: Hungary, Britain and Germany. In December 2008 the EU had awarded Hu the Sakharov Prize for human rights.
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