China - Hu Jia's trial called "parody of justice"

    MONTREAL, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is outraged
by the way human rights activist Hu Jia was tried today on a charge of
inciting subversion of state authority. The Beijing court did not issue a
verdict at the end of a single hearing lasting just a few hours. The
international community must react by continuing to demand his unconditional
release and an end to the harassment of his family, the organisation said.
    "Prime Minister Wen Jiabao vainly claimed today that dissidents are not
repressed," Reporters Without Borders said. "Hu Jia's trial is a dramatic
example of how the rule of law is flouted in China. International condemnation
has failed to stop the steamroller that has been given orders to silence one
of Beijing's most courageous human rights activists."
    Hu's trial was held the same day that Reporters Without Borders issued a
call for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
    Hu's friends and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, were not allowed to attend this
morning's trial before a Beijing people's intermediate court. One of his
lawyers, Li Fangping, was pessimistic when he left the court at the end of the
hearing, saying his client faced the possibility of a five-year prison
    Li told Agence France-Presse that the court was expected to issue its
verdict later this week. "Since we are now trying to establish a harmonious
society, we should allow different voices to be heard," Li said. "We hope the
government will become more tolerant."
    European diplomats and foreign reporters told Reporters Without Borders
that they were prevented from attending the trial. "The court told me that the
room was too small," one journalist said. "Our requests were refused on the
grounds that the courtroom was too small," a Beijing-based European diplomat
    The prosecution case focused on articles about the human rights situation
in the run-up to the Olympics which Hu wrote for overseas Chinese websites
such as Boxun, and on the interviews he gave to many foreign news media and
embassies. Aged 34, Hu is a well-known activist on behalf of people with HIV
and AIDS.
    Hu has often written about other imprisoned activists such as Chen
Guangcheng (
and Guo Feixiong
( in articles
for Boxun or in blog entries.
    Asked about Hu's case today, Premier Wen Jiabao denied that China was
stepping up arrests of dissidents. "As for the individual case you have raised
now, I want to make it very clear, China is a country under the rule of law
and all those cases will be dealt with in accordance with the law," Wen said.
    Slovenia, the current holder of the European Union presidency, yesterday
said the EU was "deeply concerned" about Hu's continued detention.
    Hu was at his Beijing home with Zeng and their then six-week-old daughter
on 27 December when about 20 policemen burst in, disconnected their Internet
connection and phone lines and left with Hu. He has been detained ever since.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)

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