BEIJING-The official sign at the entrance to the new housing complex inspires: “BOBO Freedom City” it proudly proclaims. But for the occupants of Apartment 542 in Building 76 there is no freedom.
Zeng Jinyan and her tiny, 6-month-old daughter, Qianci, are prisoners in their own home – kept under round-the-clock surveillance by Chinese security police.
The cops mill about the courtyard. They block the entrance. They even occupy the apartment above.
Zeng and her baby have done no wrong. They have broken no laws.
But they are the wife and daughter of one of China’s best known human rights activists, 34-year-old Hu Jia – and that has made them a target.
This spring, Hu was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” He had dared to criticize the state in media interviews and in articles on the Internet.
And in a Web presentation to a European parliamentary committee, he criticized the government for not keeping its promises to improve human rights before hosting the Olympic Games.
Hu’s residence had long been under close watch.
But since he was sent to jail, Chinese security police have stepped up surveillance of his wife and child, transforming day-to-day life into a living hell.[continues…]