The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Hong
Kong Journalists’ Association (HKJA) today submitted a petition with 1518
signatures to China’s Minister
of Justice, Wu Aiying, with copies to Premier Wen Jia Bao and the Liaison
Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong,
demanding the release of Hu Jia.
Hu was sentenced on April 3 to three-and-a-half
years’ jail and one year’s denial of political rights on charges of “inciting
subversion to state power”, for articles and interviews critical of China’s
Hu, a long-time human rights activist,
suffers poor health and his family has told the IFJ that his condition is
deteriorating. Hu’s family have been denied the right to prison visits since
early May, and have not been told of Hu’s whereabouts since he was transferred
to a new prison.
The petition, calling for the immediate release of Hu, was
launched on the internet on April 18. The petition has been signed by 1518
people and 17 organisations.
“We hand in the petition with the signatures today, the day
marking and celebrating the birth of the Buddha, to symbolise his early release
and to let him start a new life,” said Mak Yin-ting, General Secretary of the
Signatories to the IFJ and HKJA campaign come from Hong Kong
and mainland China.
Sixteen Chinese provinces, autonomies and municipalities
are represented, amounting to half the administrative regions of China.
The signatories also
represent 26 countries, as well as organisations from around the globe.
Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, and his
legal representative told the IFJ that the number of signatories was impressive
and they thanked them for their concern. His family wished the authorities to
respect the views expressed by the signatories and to release Hu immediately.
“Hu’s charge amounts to a
criminalisation of free speech,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
Jacqueline Park. “China’s
authorities must stop jailing journalists and activists if the world is to take
pre-Olympic commitments to a free media seriously.”
The petition and the signatories can be viewed at
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries