Some Observations on the Conviction of Hu Jia

From the Dui Hua Foundation

The prominent Chinese rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) was sentenced yesterday to 3-1/2 years imprisonment by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court. According to the Xinhua News Agency’s official report on the conviction, “Hu published articles on overseas-run websites, made comments in interviews with foreign media, and repeatedly instigated other people to subvert the state’s political power and socialist system.”

Hu’s case can be examined from a number of angles-for example, whether China’s laws against “incitement” contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or whether punishing Hu is part of a larger effort to silence dissent in advance of the Beijing Olympics. Here, though, we explore briefly two aspects of the way Hu Jia’s case was handled and try to place his case in a bit more context.

What’s the Rush?

It took only 98 days from the time Hu Jia was detained for the court to render its verdict. This is an unusually short amount of time to investigate and try a political case in China. Although time limits for each stage in the legal process are spelled out in China’s criminal procedure law, numerous provisions allowing for extensions make those deadlines highly elastic.[continues…]

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