China: Dissident writer Hu Jia’s Health Failing

English PEN is deeply concerned by recent reports of the deteriorating health of imprisoned activist and dissident writer Hu Jia, who is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence for ‘inciting subversion of state power’ and one year’s denial of political rights (sentenced 3 April 2008) for his critical writings of Chinese Government and dissident activities.


According to English PEN’s information, Hu Jia suffers from long-term health problems including cirrhosis of the liver, and his condition is said to be deteriorating in prison. His family reports that he has been denied access to specialist medical care, and that they have been denied the right to visit him since early May, when he was transferred to another prison. His current whereabouts are unknown. English PEN calls for Hu Jia to be given all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency, and seeks information on his whereabouts.


English PEN considers Hu Jia to be held solely for peacefully exercising his right to free expression which is protected under Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. International PEN therefore reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release.


Relevant links
For the earlier Writers in Prison Committee alert on Hu Jia’s case, please see


For English PEN China Campaign, please visit


Please send appeals
• Expressing serious concerns for the deteriorating health and lack of sufficient medical treatment for Hu Jia, and seeking assurances of his well-being;
• Protesting for the refusal of Hu Jia’s family visits;
• Seeking information on Hu Jia’s whereabouts.
• Demanding Hu Jia’s immediate and unconditional release.




The situation in China is still critical after the devastating earthquake in Sichuan area on 12 May, letters sent to the country may not be received or taken as a priority. It is therefore recommended that appeals be sent to the diplomatic representative of China in UK:


Her Excellency Mrs. Fu Ying
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49 – 51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL

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