CHINA - Authorities getting ready to try activist Hu Jia without guarantees of fairness

    MONTREAL, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reiterating its call for the immediate
and unconditional release of activist Hu Jia, Reporters Without Borders today
urged the international community to keep up the pressure in order to prevent
him being tried on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority.
    "Everything indicates that the authorities plan to begin Hu's trial very
soon although no guarantees of fairness or transparency have been given," the
press freedom organisation said. "The recent abduction of one of his friends,
lawyer Teng Biao, is an especially disturbing sign. If the trial nonetheless
goes ahead, diplomats and journalists must be free to attend it."
    One of Hu's lawyers, Li Fangping, was told on 7 March that the subversion
charge against Hu had been registered by the Beijing prosecutor's office. The
evidence file submitted by the political police reportedly weighed more than 4
kilos. The Beijing people's intermediate court No. 1 could begin his trial
soon, one that could end with him getting a long prison sentence.
    The police investigation has reportedly concentrated on articles by Hu
that were posted online, especially on the overseas Chinese-run website Boxun,
and some of his statements to the foreign press about the Olympic Games. "It
is just a matter of time," Li Fangping said.
    Hu's other lawyer, Li Jingsong, told Radio Free Asia the trial could
start this week and that the hearings could be open to the public because the
authorities have not so far ruled that the case involves state secrets.
    Human rights lawyer Teng Biao was released by the authorities on 8 March
after being held and interrogated in complete secrecy for two days. A close
friend and supporter of Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, he was arrested by
police on the evening of 6 March and was bundled into an official car with a
bag over his dead. "This is all I can tell you for the moment, it would not be
appropriate to say any more," he said.
    Another lawyer, Li Heping, was attacked by public security officers at he
was driving his son to school in Beijing on the morning of 7 March. The police
car that had been following him from his home deliberately drove into the back
of his car. As a result, he has been suffering back pains. Li, who is under
permanent police surveillance, was kidnapped and beaten on 29 September, and
was warned against continuing to support Hu Jia.

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Fargues, Assistant to the Secretary
General, Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521 4111, Cell: (514) 258 4208,

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