Chinese HIV/AIDS and human rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) has been found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and jailed three and a half years (see BBC video report here) in a trial at Beijing’s Number One Intermediate People’s Court. No reporters and diplomats were allowed into the courtroom.
Zeng’s 24 year-old wife, it was reported, came out of the courtroom and burst into tears, saying:
“He’s been kidnapped. He’s been put under house arrest and now they have sentenced him to 3½ years. This is not fair. This is not just”
Hu’s mother, maintaining her son’s innocence, said:
“I am very proud of what my son has done. He was found guilty of speaking his mind.”
John Kamm, executive director of the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation, was disappointed that no outside observers were allowed at the trial:
“It is my understanding no one got in… And that, I think, is really a shame. It certainly gives the lie to the argument that things are becoming more transparent here.”
“I would say they wanted to get it over with quickly. And they did not want this to be lingering as the Games approached,”
Hu Jia’s lawyer, Li Fangping knew he was fighting a losing battle:
Speaking outside the courthouse Thursday, Hu Jia’s lawyer Li Fangping said his client was convicted of charges of inciting subversion. He said the court’s evidence against Hu Jia included Internet articles he had written and interviews he gave to foreign media.
Li says Hu Jia pleaded not guilty, and is relieved the court at least did not charge him with a so-called “severe crime,” which would have meant more than five years in jail.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu has defended the verdict:
‘We don’t accept the criticism at all. China is a country ruled by law. Everyone is equal under it. We can’t abandon the rule of law because of the Olympics’
Danwei makes a great observation:
Interestingly, the Xinhua report that ran in the China Daily was published on Xinhua’s English website this morning, but has since been deleted.
Hu Jia is not a name that will be easy for China’s Net Nanny to harmonize off the Internet: the activist Hu Jia uses the exact same characters as the diving champion and Olympic gold hopeful of the Games: 胡佳.