China charges rights activist with inciting subversion

[JURIST] Chinese human rights activist Hu Jia has been formally arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power, his lawyer said Friday. His lawyer said that Hu's father had been allowed to visit Hu in jail recently, marking the first contact Hu has had with his family since he was taken from his home [JURIST report] in December in connection with what Chinese Human Rights Defenders called [press release] "his peaceful activities in promoting human rights, including reporting abuses and posting articles to raise public awareness." Hu's lawyer also noted that the government had not provided any evidence or reasons for the charge of subversion.

Last year, Hu made public [JURIST report] letters and recordings from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. Reporters Without Borders has called for Hu's release [press release], saying that "the political police have taken advantage of the international community's focus on Pakistan to arrest one of the foremost representatives of the peaceful struggle for free expression in China." In November, rights group Dui Hua reported that the number of political arrests in China more than doubled in 2006 [JURIST report]. China has been criticized in recent months for cracking down on human rights activists and political dissidents [JURIST report] ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. AP has more.

 

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