Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Five children among seven killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

Activist Hu Jia jailed ahead of Olympics

Latest update : 2008-04-03

A Chinese court sentenced Hu Jia, a prominent dissident, to three-and-a-half years in jail for subversion, a day after Amnesty International accused China of trying to silence dissent before the Olympics. (Report: C. Norris-Trent)

Activist Hu Jia was on Thursday jailed for three years and six months for subversion, his lawyer said, amid what rights groups charge is a campaign by China to silence dissent before the Olympics.
  
The verdict against Hu, 34, prompted an immediate response from the United States, which described the charge against him as wrong and called on China to improve its record on human rights ahead of the Beijing Games in August.
  
The European Union also hit out at the verdict and called for Hu's immediate release.
  
Hu, for many years one of China's most active and high-profile human rights campaigners, was found guilty at a Beijing court of "incitement to subvert state power" following his one-day trial last month, lawyer Li Fangping said.
  
Li said the subversion charge had related to Hu posting information on the Internet and speaking with foreign reporters.
  
"The evidence was publishing articles in and outside of China and accepting interviews with the foreign press," Li told reporters outside the court, adding he believed the verdict was unjust.
  
"As far as his lawyers are concerned, three and a half years is unacceptable."
  
Li said he would advise Hu to appeal, but he had not had the chance to speak with his client following the verdict.
  
Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan, 24, who recently gave birth to their first child and is also a prominent rights activist, said the verdict was the culmination of four years of harassment by authorities.
  
"He's been kidnapped. He's been put under house arrest and now they have sentenced him to three and a half years. This is not fair. This is not just," Zeng told reporters outside the courthouse as she broke down in tears.
  
Hu's sentence came less than two weeks after another critic of the Chinese government, Yang Chunlin, was jailed for five years on similar charges after speaking out on human rights issues ahead of the Beijing Games.
  
Yang, 52, a former factory worker, was jailed after he collected more than 10,000 signatures for a petition entitled: "We want human rights, not the Olympics".
  
Hu's verdict also came as China's communist rulers remained under international pressure over its handling of a crackdown on more than three weeks of unrest in Tibet.
  
Rights groups have regularly criticised China's use of the subversion of state power charge as a tool to silence anyone critical of the Communist Party, a campaign they have said has intensified ahead of the Games.
  
They have argued this is in contravention of the pledges China made to win the Games that it would improve its human rights record.
  
The US embassy spokeswoman in Beijing, Susan Stevenson, described the charge against Hu as "specious".
  
"We are dismayed by this verdict," Stevenson told AFP.
  
"In this Olympic year, we urge China to seize the opportunity to put its best face forward and take steps to improve its record on human rights and religious freedom."
  
The European Union's spokesman in Beijing, William Fingleton, said Hu should never have gone on trial.
  
"We said very clearly before the trial that he should not have been detained in the first place and that he should be released, and this remains our position," Fingleton told AFP.
  
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last month denied that Beijing was cracking down on dissidents ahead of the Olympics.
  
"As for the critics' view that China is trying to increase its efforts to arrest dissidents before the Olympic Games, I think such accusations are totally unfounded. There is no such question at all," Wen said.

Date created : 2008-04-03

COMMENT(S)