- Title: CHINA: AIDS activist Hu Jia due to be released
- Date: 25th June 2011
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (FILE - JUNE 2009) (REUTERS) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE ON COMPUTER SCREEN PHOTO OF HU JIA AND ZENG JINYAN ON WEBSITE
- Embargoed: 10th July 2011 13:00
- Location: China, China
- Country: China
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9NMIXMQLWANYNIOKVRZ5G1B7F
- Story Text: China's prominent AIDS activist Hu Jia, is set to be released from prison on Sunday (June 26), after more than three years in jail.
Hu's anticipated release from the Beijing Municipal Prison comes just days after Chinese artist activist Ai Weiwei was released after a three-month detention, and less than a week before the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1.
Starting with advocacy for rural AIDS sufferers, Hu emerged as one of China's most vocal advocates of democratic rights, religious freedom and of self-determination for Tibet.
Hu was sentence to three-and-a-half years in prison by a Chinese court. Since 2004 he had spent long spells under house arrest or in illegal detention in unknown locations.
Hu was awarded the European Union's top human rights prize in 2008, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of thought.
His wife, Zeng Jinyan, also an AIDS activist, visited her husband in late May, and said he was in good spirits, though suffering from a liver ailment that needed attention.
Zeng has cared for the couple's three-and-a-half-year old daughter while living at times under house arrest as well as under constant surveillance. She felt the chances of a normal life returning were slim.
"If we were living in a country with a sound legal system, when Hu Jia comes home, we would still be able to live and work normally even though he would be deprived of political rights for a year. But recently I feel the political atmosphere here is dark. The political space and social environment is very hostile towards NGO workers and human rights activists. So I am very worried, we might be placed under house arrest or Hu Jia will be arrested again," she said.
Zeng looks forward to her family being reunited but has no plans to leave China.
"Hu Jia has no plans to leave the country. Actually, we have thought about this, to occasionally go abroad to study or travel to broaden our horizon. This will be very helpful to us, we like the idea very much. But if we leave the country and are not able to come back, then we wouldn't make this decision," she added.
To see what Hu Jia might face upon his release from prison a look at another activist could provide a clue.
For a man who has made his name for bold, outspoken art and words, dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been curiously silent since his unexpected release from more than two months of detention.
He emerged to speak to reporters outside his studio on Thursday (June 23) but kept it short. His brief appearance speaks volumes about the government's success at silencing a man who had been a thorn in its side with his bitingly satirical art and criticism of contemporary China.
Ai's release came days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao heads to Europe, where Berlin and other capitals have been critical of Beijing's secretive detention of Ai and dozens of other rights advocates, lawyers and dissidents.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Video restrictions: parts of this video may require additional clearances. Please see ‘Business Notes’ for more information.