hu jia wins sakharov prize for freedom of thought

25Oct08

hu jia (胡佳) is in a human rights activist in china who has worked extensively on civil rights issues, environmental issues, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. he has been detained since december 27, 2007 for criticising the chinese national security bureau regarding the one million people persecuted for fighting for human rights who are being held in prisons, camps or mental institutions. he was arrested for “inciting subversion of state power”, pleaded ‘not guilty’ sentenced on april 3, 2008 to 3 and a half years in jail and 1 year without political rights.

zeng jinyan (曾金燕) is an activist and political blogger and is married to hu jia. she has been put under indefinite house arrest since august 2006 and blogs about being under constant surveillance and also the infrequent visits she has with her husband. before the beijing olympics, she and their daughter were taken away by state authorities in order not  to disrupt the games. she was selected as Time Magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World in 2007.

yesterday hu jia was awarded the sakharov prize for freedom of thought, the european union’s top human rights award, despite pressures from china that his selection would seriously damage relations. he is the second chinese activist to win this prize. (wei jingsheng (魏京生) in 1996).

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