China bars dissident on rights day

2012-12-10 12:00
Outspoken government critic Hu Jia (R) sharing a light moment with blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng after his escape, at an undisclosed location in Beijing. (File, AFP)

Outspoken government critic Hu Jia (R) sharing a light moment with blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng after his escape, at an undisclosed location in Beijing. (File, AFP)

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Beijing - Chinese police barred prominent dissident Hu Jia from leaving home on Monday after he proposed marking UN Human Rights Day near the home of a jailed Nobel laureate's wife, who is herself under house arrest.

Authorities have detained Liu Xia at home without charge since her husband Liu Xiaobo - the co-author of a human rights petition - won the 2010 peace prize. He was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion and sentenced to 11 years in jail.

The 10th  of December marks the day the Charter 08 petition was signed and the day Liu should have received his Nobel award.

Hu had posted a note on Twitter on Friday suggesting that a park near Liu Xia's home would "be a good place to hold a human rights press conference" to mark the date.

But on Monday he said: "The police are keeping me in my home until Tuesday to prevent me from meeting with people like you so that I will not be photographed or filmed for Human Rights Day."

Hu served three years in jail starting in 2008 after years of campaigning for civil rights, the environment and Aids patients, and has remained under surveillance since being released.

Liu is one of three people to have won the Nobel award while jailed by their government, and his imprisonment elicited international condemnation.

China strongly condemned his Nobel prize as unwanted foreign interference in its internal affairs, and refused to allow him to attend the ceremony in Oslo - where he was represented instead by an empty chair.

His wife has been held under house arrest since the award was announced. The government has refused to specify the charges against her or explain why she has been detained.

- SAPA
Read more on:    china  |  human rights
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