China: Activist and dissident writer Hu Jia detained

English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Hu Jia, the Chinese activist and dissident writer who was arrested on 27 December 2007. PEN fears that Hu Jia may be held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and if so calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN’s information, Hu Jia was arrested from his home by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on 27 December 2007 on ‘suspicion of incitement to subvert State power’. Although no official reason has been given for his arrest, it is thought that he may be charged for his reports and commentaries concerning various social and human rights issues published online. Hu Jia is known in particular for his activities and writings on environmental and AIDS issues.

Hu Jia is currently being held incommunicado at the Beijing Municipal Detention Centre and English PEN is seriously concerned for his wellbeing. Hu Jia suffers from long-term health problems including cirrhosis of the liver and there are fears that his condition could seriously deteriorate in prison. PEN seeks assurances of his well-being as a matter of urgency. 

Since his arrest, Hu Jia’s family have been subjected to harassment and severe restrictions of movement. There are serious concerns for his wife Zeng Jingyan, who has a one-month-old baby and is now under effective house arrest. Hu Jia’s supporters – such as Independent Chinese PEN Centre member Li Jianhong – have also suffered restrictions on their movements and warnings against involvement in the case.

***UPDATE: Hu Jia has now officially been charged with ‘inciting subversion of State power’, which means he may be kept in pre-trial detention for a period extending beyond the Olympic Games. Reporters Without Borders reports that Hu Jia’s lawyer was in fact allowed to visit him on 4 February and that his parents and wife (though not his baby daughter) were permitted to visit him on 10 February. They report him to be ‘tired and stressed’ but showing no signs of serious mistreatment. ***

Hu Jia was previously briefly detained in February 2006. In May 2007, he and his wife Zeng Jinyan were placed under residential surveillance when they were about to set off on a tour of Europe to promote their documentary film Prisoners of Freedom City.

Please send appeals:


– Expressing serious concerns about the detention of activist and dissident writer Hu Jia, and calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998.
– Expressing concern for his health, and requesting that he receive all necessary medical treatment;
– Protesting the reported harassment of Hu Jia’s family.

Appeals to:


His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032

Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People’s Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing

Please note that fax numbers are no longer available for the Chinese authorities, so it may be more effective to forward appeals via the Chinese representative in London:
Her Excellency Mrs. Fu Ying
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 4JL

For a translation of a post from Hu Jia’s blog, dated 29 November 2007, visit:

Originally posted with the url:

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