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Health of imprisoned human rights activist deteriorating, IFJ and HKJA submit petition demanding his release

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

IFJ and HKJA Submit Petition Demanding Hu's Release

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Hong Kong Journalists' Association (HKJA) today submitted a petition with 1518 signatures to China's Minister of Justice, Wu Aiying, with copies to Premier Wen Jia Bao and the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong, demanding the release of Hu Jia.

Hu was sentenced on April 3 to three-and-a-half years' jail and one year's denial of political rights on charges of "inciting subversion to state power", for articles and interviews critical of China's Government.

Hu, a long-time human rights activist, suffers poor health and his family has told the IFJ that his condition is deteriorating. Hu's family have been denied the right to prison visits since early May, and have not been told of Hu's whereabouts since he was transferred to a new prison.

The petition, calling for the immediate release of Hu, was launched on the internet on April 18. The petition has been signed by 1518 people and 17 organisations.

"We hand in the petition with the signatures today, the day marking and celebrating the birth of the Buddha, to symbolise his early release and to let him start a new life," said Mak Yin-ting, General Secretary of the HKJA.

Signatories to the IFJ and HKJA campaign come from Hong Kong and mainland China. Sixteen Chinese provinces, autonomies and municipalities are represented, amounting to half the administrative regions of China.

The signatories also represent 26 countries, as well as organisations from around the globe.

Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan, and his legal representative told the IFJ that the number of signatories was impressive and they thanked them for their concern. His family urged the authorities to respect the views expressed by the signatories and to release Hu immediately.

"Hu's charge amounts to a criminalisation of free speech," said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park. "China's authorities must stop jailing journalists and activists if the world is to take China's pre-Olympic commitments to a free media seriously."

The petition and the signatories can be viewed at

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