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HKJA and IFJ call for signatures to online petition for jailed activist Hu Jia

(HKJA/IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an HKJA and IFJ joint press release:

IFJ and HKJA Launch Online Petition for China's Hu Jia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), in cooperation with its affiliate, the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA), has launched an online petition campaign in support of jailed Chinese journalist Hu Jia.

The Beijing No 1 People's Intermediate Court sentenced Hu Jia on April 3, 2008, to three-and-a-half years' jail and one year's denial of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power".

Hu, whose writings focused on the Chinese Government's record on human rights and democracy, was accused of accepting two foreign media interviews and publishing five articles from 2001 to 2007 on Boxun, a Chinese-language website based in the United States and banned in China.

The HKJA said the decision was "one of the worst cases in China of anyone being jailed for their writings".

Before his arrest in December 2007, Hu Jia was under house arrest for an extended period, with his wife, blogger Zeng Jinyan, who remains under house arrest along with their baby daughter.

Since his detention, Hu Jia has been denied the right to appeal by the Beijing Municipal Detention Centre. He is currently applying for parole on medical grounds due to chronic illness.

The IFJ and the HKJA are outraged by the conviction and continued mistreatment of Hu Jia in violation of his human rights. Signatures in support of the release of Hu Jia will be presented to China's Government on May 12, a date which marks the birth of Buddha.

"The jail sentence imposed on Hu Jia is a clear demonstration of the Chinese Government's disregard for freedom of expression," said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.

"As the Olympic Games approach, China must show it is serious about allowing a free media."

The Declaration:

We, as individuals and as a group, fully endorse and unreservedly uphold freedom of expression. We are, therefore, angered by the utter disdain of the authorities for the human rights of activist Hu Jia who was sentenced to three and a half years' jail and one year's denial of political rights on questionable charges of "inciting subversion of state power" by the Beijing No. 1 People's Intermediate Court on April 3, 2008 for writing five articles and voluntarily agreeing to two interviews by the media.

We believe this is an instance of punishing a man merely for his words. This case not only violates the constitution of China which enshrines citizens' right to freedom of expression, but also breaches international protocols to which China is a signatory and which clearly state that freedom of expression is a basic human right.

We demand that the Central Government of China release Hu Jia forthwith.

Sign the petition at the following link:

Updates the Hu Jia case:

Hong Kong Journalists Association
International Federation of Journalists

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