HIV/AIDS activist and rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳) was released from Beijing Municipal Prison on the morning of Sunday, June 26, after completing a three-and-a-half year sentence. He is now subject to one year’s deprivation of political rights. According to media accounts, police have blocked the entrance to Hu’s home. Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) has been posting updates on Twitter (@zengjinyan) and has told reporters Hu’s current medical condition is uncertain. She has also stated that Hu is slowly re-adapting to society and circulated a photo of him taken on the evening of his return.
A prominent rights defender in Beijing told Human Rights in China that he has been under house arrest since Saturday, with police stationed inside his apartment. He was told, “Hu Jia is being released from prison, so we have to set guards for you” (因胡佳出狱，我们必须上岗). He was restricted from going to a Sunday church service. He has also learned that some of his friends in Beijing were similarly put under house arrest. Another rights defender told HRIC that he was unable to reach Hu Jia’s family, and that those in their circle were warned by the authorities last week to not attempt to contact Hu Jia. The authorities’ strategy appears to be to cut off connections and communication among rights defenders.
A recipient of the European Parliament’s 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Hu is a vocal critic of the Chinese government’s human rights violations and the Communist Party of China. Prior to his imprisonment, Hu was under police surveillance and had been detained and placed under house arrest on multiple occasions. In September 2007, Hu and law lecturer and then part-time lawyer Teng Biao penned the essay “The Real Situation in Pre-Olympics China” (奥运前的中国真相), which Hu posted on his blog.
Hu was detained on December 27, 2007, and formally arrested on January 29, 2008. He was convicted of inciting subversion on April 3, 2008, and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison and a subsequent year of deprivation of political rights. The court based its ruling on his communications with the foreign press and on articles he wrote that were posted on the Internet in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. Hu entered prison in ill health, and his health continued to deteriorate. Several applications for medical parole were denied.
In spring 2011, Zeng Jinyan and their three-year-old daughter moved from Beijing to Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. They were then evicted from their apartment in Shenzhen in June, and Zeng returned to Beijing on June 19. She was briefly detained by unidentified persons upon arriving in Beijing, and permitted to meet with Hu in prison on June 20.
From the Regulations on the Supervision and Administration by Public Security Organs of Criminals Who Have Been Put Under Surveillance, Deprived of Political Rights, Given Reprieve, Given Parole, or Released on Bail for Medical Treatment
[Translation by HRIC]
Article 12. Public security organs shall announce to the criminal whose political rights are being deprived that he must abide by the following provisions during the deprivation period:
- Abide by national laws and regulations and relevant Ministry of Public Security regulations;
- Shall not enjoy the right to vote or stand for election;
- Shall not organize or participate in any gatherings, marches, demonstrations, or forming associations;
- Shall not accept interviews or give speeches;
- Shall not issue, publish, or distribute discussions, books, or recordings which are detrimental to the state's honor and interests or otherwise endanger society domestically or abroad;
- Shall not hold a position in any state organ;
- Shall not hold a leadership position in any enterprise, state-run institution, or civic organization;
- Abide by the specific supervision and administration measures set out by the public security organs.
For more information on Hu Jia, see: