Freed China critic may resume activism

2011-06-27 11:06
Beijing - Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia said he wants to resume his activism but was weighing the impact on his family in his first reported comments after being discharged from prison at the weekend.

During a phone interview with Hong Kong's Cable TV broadcast late on Sunday, Hu stressed the importance of "loyalty to morality, loyalty to the rights of citizens".

"You should be loyal to your conscience," Hu said.

One of China's leading rights activists and government critics, Hu returned to his Beijing home early on Sunday, his wife Zeng Jinyan said on Twitter, after completing a 42-month sentence for subversion.

Chinese police have blocked access to his home, suggesting he may have been place under some form of house arrest.

Aside from his jail sentence, Hu also faces one year of "deprivation of political rights" - essentially a ban on political activities which typically includes not talking to media.

Strict curbs

Hu said during the phone interview that his family was pressuring him to stay out of trouble.

"They have told me: 'Live an ordinary life and don't clash with the regime because this regime is very cruel and it arbitrarily violates the dignity of its citizens'," Hu said in the taped conversation.

"I must try to console my parents and do what I can to console them... but I can only tell them I'll be careful," he said, in an indication that he would like to return to activism.

Hu's release came after outspoken artist Ai Weiwei returned to his Beijing home last week from nearly three months in police custody amid a government crackdown on dissent.

Hu is widely expected to be hit with the same strict curbs as those applied to Ai and a range of other activists and rights lawyers, who have apparently been ordered to keep quiet to gain their freedom.

"During this time, he must treat his cirrhosis and take care of his family," Hu's wife Zeng said on Twitter last week.

Hu suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and Zeng has said the ailment has worsened during his time in jail, blaming the Beijing prison for providing inadequate medical care. The couple have a young daughter.

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