CPJ welcomes release of Hu Jia

New York, June 26, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Hu Jia, the journalist and activist who was unjustly jailed in December 2007. He was freed after serving his three-and-a-half-year sentence on charges of inciting subversion.

“Hu Jia’s release is welcome, though bittersweet. He served three and a half years in prison not for a crime but for daring to criticize the Communist Party’s policies, ” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “He was unjustly punished with a needlessly harsh sentence, and the government showed no leniency in his case.”

Hu was scheduled for release on June 26. Police and security officials had severely restricted his wife, human rights activist and blogger Zeng Jinyan, during Hu’s three and a half-year imprisonment in Beijing for inciting subversion.

Hu, now 37, was jailed in 2007, charged with “incitement to subvert state power” based on six online commentaries and two interviews with foreign media in which he criticized the Communist Party. On April 3, 2008, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

A prominent human rights activist, Hu had advocated for AIDS patients, defended the rights of farmers, and promoted environmental protection. His writings, which appeared on his blog, criticized the Communist Party’s human rights record, called for democratic reform, and condemned government corruption. 

Editor’s note: The original version of this statement was modified in the first paragraph to correct the charge under which Hu was convicted.