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Hu Jia ( ; original name 胡嘉, Hú Jiā; born July 25, 1973, in Beijing) is an activist and dissident in the People's Republic of China. His work has focused on the Chinese democracy movement, Chinese environmentalist movement, and HIV/AIDS in the People's Republic of China. Hu is the director of June Fourth Heritage & Culture Association, and he has been involved with AIDS advocacy as the executive director of the Beijing Aizhixing Institute of Health Education and as one of the founders of the non-governmental organization Loving Source. He has also been involved in work to protect the endangered Tibetan antelope. For his activism, Hu has received awards from several European bodies, such as the Paris City Council and the European Parliamentmarker, which awarded its Human Rights prize to him in December 2008.

On December 27, 2007, Hu was detained as part of a crackdown on dissents during the Christmas holiday season. Reporters Without Borders said that “The political police have taken advantage of the international community’s focus on Pakistan to arrest one of the foremost representatives of the peaceful struggle for free expression in China.” The decision to take him into custody was made after peasant leaders in several Chinese provinces issued a manifesto demanding broader land rights for peasants whose property had been confiscated for development. On April 3 2008, he was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail. Hu pleaded not guilty on charges of "inciting subversion of state power" at his trial in March 2008.

Biography

Hu's parents were students at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Nankai University in Tianjin in 1957 when they were labeled as rightists during the Anti-Rightist Movement under Mao Zedong. They were assigned to work in remote provinces of Hebei, Gansu, and Hunan. His parents often had to live apart until 1978, when Deng Xiaoping came to power and political label held against them was dropped.

In 1996 Hu graduated from the Beijing School of Economics (now Capital University of Economics and Trade, 首都经济贸易大学), where he majored in information engineering.

In January 2006 Hu married Zeng Jinyan, with whom he has an infant daughter, and who was included in Time Magazine's 100 Heroes and Pioneers for her blogging after his arrest in February 2008 for voicing his indignation at China as the host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Both his wife and daughter were held in house arrest and harassed by the Ministry of State Securitymarker, and eventually disappeared one day before the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing.

Hu is a Buddhist of the Tibetan tradition.

Activism and funding

Hu became interested in environmental issues while in university and participated in several environmental organizations including the Friends of Nature, led by Liang Congjie,--> and the 1997 Green Camp university student environmental camp led by Tang Xiyang.--> In 1998 Hu Jia was involved in rescuing some wild elk that were threatened by severe flooding that year. Hu was subsequently involved in efforts to protect the Tibetan Antelope that were being slaughtered for their fur.

In July 2000, the writer Wang Lixiong introduced Hu to AIDS activist Wan Yanhai. Afterwards Hu Jia became involved in AIDS prevention work and took an active part in the AIZIBING Institute of Health Education AIDS, which Wan Yanhai had founded. As one of the founders Loving Source a non-governmental organization and advocacy group for individuals with AIDS, Hu Jia has been involved in helping people suffering from AIDS and AIDS orphans in Henanmarker province. He has criticized the government over its treatment of people with AIDS. According to Amnesty International, Hu has since resigned from Loving Source to prevent the authorities from harassing the group.

Hu has also been involved in campaigns to release political prisoners, including the Wan Yanhai in August–September 2002, the cyber-dissident Liu Di ("The Stainless Steel Rat"). In 2003, Hu Jia lodged a letter of complaint to the European Court of Human Rights over German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's refusal to meet with the Dalai Lama. In 2005 he participated in anti-Japanese demonstrations.

Hu insists on his rights as a citizen of the People's Republic in China. When police detain him (often for planned activities and sometimes to ensure that he is not active at sensitive times such as June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989marker) Hu demands that the police state what provision of Chinese law he is being held under. Hu says that the security officers are generally unable to do so.

In 2006, Beijing Zhiaixing Information Counseling Center (formerly called Aizhixing Institute of Health Education), a human rights advocacy group with which Hu was affiliated, received combined grant of $179,113 from National Endowment for Democracy and US State Departmentmarker for conducting programs within China.

On February 16, 2006, Hu was detained for 41 days. His detention was not acknowledged by the Chinese government. After his return to his apartment in Beijing, where he lives with his wife Zeng Jinyan (also an AIDS activist), Hu Jia was kept under house arrest until March 2007. Two months later, on May 18, 2007, Hu Jia and his wife were placed under house arrest again on charges of "harming state security." Hu Jia has remained active via emails and blogs while under house arrests.

Using a web camera, Hu participated in a European parliamentary hearing in Brussels in November 2007 about human rights in China. At the hearing he said: “It is ironic that one of the people in charge of organizing the Olympic Games is the head of the Bureau of Public Security, which is responsible for so many human rights violations. It is very serious that the official promises are not being kept before the games.”

On December 30, 2007, Hu was arrested at his home in Beijing by the Chinese police for "subverting state authority" . His trial began in March 2008 on charges of "inciting subversion of state power and the socialist system", stemming from interviews he gave to the foreign media and political articles he wrote and published on the internet. The crime carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. On April 3, 2008, Hu was sentenced to three years and six months in prison. Hu's wife Zheng Jinyan, after an April 2009 prison visit with Hu Jia, noted that his health is deteriorating because of inadequate nutrition and medical care..

Awards and honors

Hu was made an honorary citizen of France on April 21, 2008, the same day as was the 14th Dalai Lama. On October 23, 2008, the European Parliament announced that its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be awarded to Hu Jia in December 2008.

See also



References

  1. Chinese Environmentalist Liang Congjie On NGO Life
  2. "Tang Xiyang Writes About 1996 Green Camp and the Loss of His Wife"
  3. A Section Censored from Tang Xiyang's Environmental Book "A Green World Tour"
  4. "Hu Jia: China's enemy within", The Independent, April 2008
  5. Item 10.
  6. "Concerns for Health of Hu Jia in Beijing Prison" translation of Zeng Jinyan blog entry of April 22, 2009 posted on China Digital Times
  7. Sakharov Prize 2008 awarded to Hu Jia


External links




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