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Health of detained writer Hu Jia deteriorating, his family subjected to harassment

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of activist and dissident writer Hu Jia who was arrested on 27 December 2007 on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power". It is thought that he may be detained for reports and commentaries published online on various social issues. Hu suffers from poor health, and PEN seeks assurances of his well-being as a matter of urgency. International PEN fears that Hu Jia may be held in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory, and if so calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN's information, leading Beijing-based human rights activist and freelance reporter Hu Jia was arrested in his home by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on 27 December 2007 on "suspicion of incitement to subvert state power". Although no official reason has been given for his arrest, it is thought he may be charged for his online reporting on human rights issues. Hu and his wife Zeng Jinyan were placed under residential surveillance on 18 May, as they were about to set off on a tour of Europe to promote their documentary film "Prisoners of Freedom City". Hu is known for his activities on environmental and AIDS issues, and had been briefly detained in February 2006.

Hu Jia is held incommunicado at the Beijing Municipal Detention Centre, and there are fears for his health. Hu Jia suffers from long-term health problems including cirrhosis of the liver, and there are fears that his condition could seriously deteriorate in prison. Hu Jia's family have also been subjected to harassment and severe restrictions of movement since his arrest, and there are serious concerns for his wife Zeng Jingyan, who has a one-month-old baby and is now under effective house arrest.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals to authorities:
- expressing serious concerns about the detention of activist and dissident writer Hu Jia, and calling for his immediate and unconditional release if held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China became a signatory in 1998
- expressing concern for his health, and seeking assurances of his well-being
- protesting the reported harassment of Hu's family

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People's Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032
P.R. China

Procurator General Mr. Jia Chunwang
Supreme People's Procuratorate
Beiheyan Street 147
100726 Beijing
P.R. China

Please note that fax numbers are no longer available for the Chinese authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for China in your country to forward your appeals.

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 31 January 2008**

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