China: Six months countdown marred by repression

Amnesty International fears for human rights activist

Amnesty International is gravely concerned that the Chinese authorities are putting pressure on human rights activist Hu Jia to plead guilty to crimes against national security.

This comes on the day of the six-month countdown to the Beijing Olympics on 8 August 2008 and is the latest attempt by the authorities to silence domestic activists’ public criticism of China’s human rights record.

Catherine Baber, Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific programme, said:

“The potential for a positive human rights legacy for the Beijing Olympics is swiftly being eroded by the Chinese authorities repression of dissenting voices, including the targeting of activists’ families and associates. This goes against the spirit of the Olympic Charter, which places the preservation of human dignity at the heart of the Olympic movement.”

After months under house arrest, Hu Jia was formally arrested on 27 December 2007. He was charged with “inciting subversion” on 28 January 2008. There are fears that he may not be receiving his prescription medication for liver disease resulting from Hepatitis B infection.

Furthermore Hu Jia's wife, Zeng Jinyan, is still under house arrest with their newborn baby. She is not permitted to leave their home and her telephone line and internet connection have been cut.

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