03/14/2008, 00.00
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4-month-old girl, daughter of dissidents, under house arrest

She is the daughter of Hu Jia, under arrest since her birth. She is confined to her home together with her mother, and risks having her growth seriously stunted by lack of milk. The couple's friends are launching an appeal on the internet: do everything possible to bring her at least powdered milk.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese authorities have kept a 4-month-old girl under house arrest since her birth, the daughter of the dissidents Hu Jia and Zeng Jinan.  The little girl risks having her growth seriously stunted through lack of milk.  The mother, who because of stress has stopped producing milk, is kept under surveillance by the police, who do not permit her to leave even to buy food for her daughter.  The friends of the child's father - Hu Jia, currently in prison - have launched a campaign over the internet to buy and bring powdered milk to the girl.

The child, Hu Qianci (in the photo), is the daughter of Hu Jia and Zeng Jinan: for years, the two have been fighting against the spread of AIDS in the country, and to provide information abroad on the Chinese dissident movement.  The last time the father was arrested was last December 27: more than 30 armed agents broke into the house on the outskirts of Beijing and hauled him away.  Yesterday he was formally accused of "incitement to subversion": his lawyers claim that the accusation has been issued without any valid proof.

After the arrest of Hu Jia, his wife was put under house arrest and is now under the direct surveillance of ten policeman, who follow her even when she walks with her daughter in the garden.  This treatment, according to Chinese blogs, has caused a serious calcium deficiency in the girl: her mother, in fact, has stopped producing milk because of the stress to which she is subjected, and the agents do not permit anyone to visit the woman, not even to deliver powdered milk.

The appeal by the couple's friends has been taken up by Radio Free Asia: the "web surfers" invite anyone who can help the child to "find a way to break this police cordon and bring to an end the sufferings of little Quanci, which risk causing grave damage through enormous injustice".

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