11 January 2008

Alert

Lawyer for detained human rights activist Hu Jia put under house arrest, foreign journalists prevented from visiting wife and daughter


Incident details

Hu Jia, Zeng Jinyan

human rights worker(s)

detained

This is available in:

English Français
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is accusing the Chinese authorities, especially state security, of violating the new regulations for foreign journalists by preventing them from visiting the wife of detained human rights activist Hu Jia and of violating the right of Hu's lawyers to visit their client. One of the lawyers was placed under house arrest for a few hours.

"Despite all the appeals from within China and throughout the world for Hu's release, the government is taking an even tougher position by depriving his wife and their two-month-old daughter of their freedom," the press freedom organisation said.

On 10 January 2008, one of Hu's lawyers, Li Jinsong, was placed under house arrest for a few hours in a Beijing hotel, after inviting foreign journalists to confirm that it was impossible for him to see Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan. He is under surveillance by the police. His other lawyer, Li Fangping, was not detained but he was strongly urged not to try to approach Zeng's home.

Previously, the authorities prevented them from visiting Hu in prison on 4 January on the grounds that the case had been classified as a "state secret".

On 11 January, the police prevented a group of foreign journalists from entering the Beijing apartment building where Zeng, a well-known blogger, lives with the couple's two-month-old daughter Qianci, saying it was because a "criminal investigation" was under way. After checking their passports, the police allowed the reporters to leave but made the photographers delete the photos they had taken.

On 8 January, Zeng was able to talk to some German journalists through one of the windows of her apartment. She talked about the conditions in which her husband is being held and how the police are preventing all his friends and relatives from seeing her. "The police have searched the apartment several times and have taken our computer and telephones," she said, adding: "I am very worried about Hu Jia."

After that conversation, the police installed a curtain to prevent Zeng from being seen from outside the apartment. More than 20 police officers are permanently stationed around her home. Zeng has been completely isolated since Hu's arrest, when the phone lines and Internet connection were cut off.

A friend of Hu's told Reporters Without Borders he had also been prevented from visiting Zeng at home and that police officers were subsequently stationed outside his own home. On 5 January, the police searched the home of Hu's parents to ensure they did not have documents about his arrest that they could give to the news media.

Hu has been held since 27 December 2007 on a charge of "inciting subversion of the state." Referring to his arrest on 3 January, a foreign ministry spokesman said: "Everyone is equal before the law and no one is above the law. We are handling this case according to the law."

Li, the lawyer who was placed under house arrest on 11 January, was awarded the French government's human rights prize last month. French justice minister Rachida Dati met him when she accompanied President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to China in November 2007.

Fifty-seven Chinese activists and writers released an open letter on 6 January calling for Hu's immediate release and urging the police to ensure that his health does not deteriorate while in detention. Hu has a liver ailment.



Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org


Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
China
 
More from China
  • Freedom on the Net 2018: China

    The level of internet freedom declined due to the new cybersecurity law which strengthened repressive restrictions on online activities.

  • Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China.

    Based on extensive interviews with writers, poets, artists, activists, and others personally affected by the government’s grip on online expression, as well as interviews with anonymous employees at Chinese social media companies, the report lays bare the destructive impact of the Chinese government’s vision of “cyber sovereignty” on netizens who dare to dissent.

  • Ten-Year Edition: A Decade of Decline

    The general trend over the past 10 years has been bleak, with an overall negative trajectory for press freedom. The major turning point was the election of Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in 2012 and President of China in 2013.

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region