Local advocates criticise jailing of mainland activist

Sunday, April 6, 2008
Issue 305, Page 3
Word count: 382
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Macau Joint Commission of Democratic Development yesterday released a statement criticising political persecution in China and the conviction of mainland human rights activist Hu Jia.

Born in Beijing in 1973, Hu’s work focused on the country’s democratic and environmental movement as well as HIV/AIDS inflections.

He was sentenced to three and a half years on April 3. He had pleaded not guilty to charges of “inciting subversion of state power” during his trial in March.

The statement, which demands the release of Hu and and a comprehensive examination to eventually abolish laws that convict people because of their speech, was sent to the Chinese Central Government Liaison Office in Macau on Friday.

The Macau joint commission said that they “deeply regretted” and “vehemently protested” against the imprisonment of Hu Jia, “the mainland’s renowned human rights activist”.

“Hu has been framed as trying to subvert state power and given three and a half years in jail which was obviously a conviction resulting from what he had said,” the statement reads.

“He was accused of publishing articles on foreign websites and giving telephone interviews to foreign media, in which the works had later been re-produced as videos or re-organised as texts and then linked and uploaded to a number of other international websites between August 2006 and October 2007.”

The joint commission continued in the statement that it condemned the Chinese judicial institute’s “acts of political persecution that suppress civil rights and completely violate justice”.

In addition, the Macau advocates urged the national leader, President Hu Jiantao, to issue an amnesty order that allows an immediate release of Hu Jia, and other human rights activists and dissidents “in order to show China’s respect of civil rights and also to encourage actions that plead for human rights”.

In the year which Beijing competed to be the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, the joint commission said the government had committed to improve its human rights conditions.

“The Games is approaching soon, however dissidents and activists continue to suffer from political persecution. This has severely damaged the international image of China and is unjustified to the world,” the statement says.

“The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) should activate the system immediately and examine the elimination of such kind of oppressive law.”

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