Category Archives: Part 5: What about Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan now?

Zeng Jinyan: Short Family Reunion

From Just Recently

Zeng Jinyan met Hu Jia in prison yesterday, after more than three months. Her impression is that he looks much older than last time. “Maybe he sees me the same way!”, she notes. Hu Jia passed the work security tests and will start working soon, either welding or other heavy-industry kind of work. He had a medical examination on Febr. 4 (but still doesn’t know the result).

The supervision mode has been changed from tight (严管) to normal (普管). Ms Zeng explains that theoretically, this means that could make three phone calls or send text messages. On February 26, one third of Hu Jia’s prison term will be over.

Ms Zeng had brought their daughter Bao Bao with her, and the family had some happy moments together.


Zeng Jinyan: a Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

A Confession from the Prisoner at Freedom City

by Zeng Jinyan

The 22nd letter from Hu Jia has arrived. But the 19th and 21st letters have both been confiscated. Hu Jia finally received the diary that I wrote on behalf of our daughter Baobao, even though two of the pages had been torn off and confiscated. Hu Jia had almost refrained from talking about things that had happened in the prison. He mentioned briefly that he had influenza and a temperature, and therefore could only sit for one examination. During my visits and in our letters, we mostly talked about small details of our everyday lives, including the way in which our child is growing up. As soon as we started to talk about something else, our conversation would be terminated, or our letters confiscated.

Today I took Baobao to Grandma and Grandpa. In the afternoon, the state security wanted to have a chat with me. As soon as we met, I told them that I was tired and was on the verge of a breakdown. So if it was good news, they could go ahead and tell me. Otherwise they should not bother.

But the state security insisted on talking to me…

On the way home at the Si Hui Bus Station, I burst into tears over some trivial matters. I can’t remember the last time I cried. Perhaps it was on the day when Hu Jia was sentenced.

I was back at Freedom City in the evening. When I entered the courtyard, I caught sight of some plain-clothed police; they were watching me from a well-illuminated spot. There was also an ordinary infrared camera on the roof above the gate. Every time I raised my head I could feel the blood red colour of the light blinding my sight.

What I’m writing now can be used as a confession to the state security police. It’s also a confession I made to myself and to Hu Jia. When Hu Jia has a chance to read it in future, he will understand.

I will object to any plan to extend Hu Jia’s prison terms or to impose harsher penalties on him, even though I am aware that there is little I can do to reverse the decision. I would be most delighted if he would be released ahead of schedule, because I so much look forward to his return. We may not have carefully thought through the way we handle our work on environmental protection, on AIDS, and on human rights. We therefore welcome criticisms and suggestions. But we are not members of any military establishment or political party. And we are definitely not a part of any conspiracy. We are simply a couple of naive, unsophisticated and powerless individuals who are trying our best to give a hand to those who need help. We are not too concerned about whether we are making a huge impact; we are only helping one person at a time.

You want me to persuade Hu Jia to correct his thoughts, as a way to speed up his release and his return to society. How would I not want him to come home soon? It is just that I don’t have a chance to do so. Whenever I write to Hu Jia about what happens in society, my letter will be confiscated. What else can I do? I don’t have much to live for. I only struggle to stay alive for my child. If what you want is my life, then go ahead and take it, but leave me with my independent spirit and my free will. You are wrong if you think that you can solve your problems by taking away my independence and my will. For me, the simplest solution would be for you to end my life. I have no right to abandon my life; only the Divine can do that. Not all evil and wrongdoings in the world involve one life form taking away its own life or the lives of others; it is also wrong and evil to enslave others, be it physical or spiritual enslavement.

I am exhausted. I am far too busy looking after my child. She seems to have developed a deep sense of insecurity and is clinging to me so closely as if she is afraid that she may lose me if she let go. It is so bad that sometimes I can’t even enjoy a proper hot meal. I am suffering from severe back pain. My arms have no strength. I am not sleeping well and have become absent-minded … I can’t find the strength to respond to many things happening around me. So those of you with grievances against an organization, a person, or someone’s opinion, would have to go directly to them to have things sorted out. I have neither the power nor the right to demand others to say something or not to say something. Those who do good deeds; they will get praise. Those who do evil; they will sooner or later be condemned. This is a common practice everywhere in the world, including China. It goes without saying.

I have just read from Xinhua News that the Chinese government has decided to establish a national human rights action plan to map out the development of human rights in China for the next two years…

China will take United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review

Foreign ministry: Chinese government will continue to work for human rights

[Links in Ms Zeng’s post are all in Chinese.  China Digital Times has more details about China’s human rights action plan.]

There is nothing more basic than to respect human rights, to show concern for humanity and to honour the dignity of mankind. Do you dare to look on what you have done? What you have done to us – the misery and sufferings you have brought to us – has been done on the foundations of human rights abuse.

I’m invoking the Almighty Buddha to give me faith, to guide my trembling hands, to give me his mercy, to end my tears and sorrow, and to keep my feeble heart from losing hope.

from: zengjinyan

HuJia’s award causes a backlash from China

Following the award of the Sakharov Prize to Hu JIa from the European Union a series of negative feedbacks have been recorded from china government. Below are some of the articles dealing with them;

Sakharov Prize to Hu Jia angers Beijing, makes activists happy
China’s government slams “award to a jailed criminal”. Human rights activists praise the choice as “a huge encouragement”, urging Beijing to recognise basic human rights “to become a great modern power.”

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China reacted angrily to the European parliament’s decision to award the prestigious Sacharov Prize to Hu Jia, a distinguished fighter for human rights and freedom. Chinese human rights responded instead with enthusiasm at the announcement….China says EU human rights award winner a criminal…

BEIJING (AP) – China’s government reacted angrily Thursday to the European Parliament’s decision to give its top human rights prize to jailed Chinese dissident Hu Jia, with Beijing calling him a criminal and the award interference.

The harsh reaction to Hu’s winning the Sakharov Prize contrasted with the friendly atmosphere Beijing was trying to project as it welcomed leaders from the European Union and Asia for a summit to tackle the global economic crisis.

Adding to Beijing’s fury, the European Parliament bucked a Chinese pressure campaign against giving the award to Hu, an outspoken advocate on human rights, the environment and social fairness. Hu is in a Beijing jail serving a 3 1/2-year jail term for sedition. The charge stems from police accusations that he had planned to work with foreigners to disturb the Olympic Games in August.

Hu Jia’s prison transfer confirmed

last week I received a prison entry notification which confirmed that Hu Jia had been transferred to Beijing Municipal Prison (北京市监狱) on midday, October 10th. I made a phonecall to the prison staff and was told that I can’t see Hu Jia this month and should wait for notification about when I can see him. I will strive for seeing Hu Jia, I will strive for going there with our child every month.

Baobao will soon be one year old, she can make a dozen or so staggering steps of her own, got her ninth tooth, likes cats and goes to see the wild cats in the courtyard almost every day. When she sees them, she laughs happily, she would like to touch them but is also very nervous about it, putting her small hand into her mouth. If Hu Jia could see her, he would certainly be very glad!

From Justrecently,, October 19th

China: Zeng Jinyan resurfaces with news of visit to Hu Jia

Since stating [zh] on August 3rd that she was going to be made to leave Beijing and soon after falling silent on Twitter, home-arrested blogger Zeng Jinyan has returned! She posted several tweets today about where she was held after having been taken to meet with her husband Hu Jia.

Previously Zeng Jinyan had posted a photoshopped picture of the Adidas ad showing former Olympic diver Hu Jia wearing a t-shirt showing Zeng and her husband made by a friend of the couple. There was also a birthday celebration held for Hu Jia on his 35th birthday last month which was ‘attended’ by a small number of Chinese and foreign Twitter users who changed their avatars to display headshots of Hu, but Zeng’s post today, titled simply ‘The latest situation,’ shows there hasn’t been anything of late worth celebrating:

On August 7 I was taken to Tianjin to see Hu Jia, taken to Dalian on the 8th, and brought home to Beijing on the 23rd. Sixteen days I’ve been out of the loop, and I’m thankful to all friends who have been looking out for us, but the baby and I have safely returned home. Things are still the same here, there are plainclothes police officers in the courtyard and at all the exits.

August 7 I met with Hu Jia and learned that letters he’d been recently sending home were getting confiscated by the prison. I still haven’t received those family letters, so it’s possible the situation has not improved.

One of the staff at the prison affairs office told me that while a public trial meeting was being held for one of the convicts (based on what that prison staffer said, public trial meetings are a way of maintaining total control over convicts who make mistakes or break the law once they’ve already landed in prison; all convicts are made to watch and learn, as a kind of education), and Hu Jia had said that the prison’s methods infringe upon convicts’ dignity and human rights. He didn’t just make his disagreement known to the prison, he also began spreading his views around among other convicts, which created difficulties for the prison staff; they hoped that his family members would work with the prison and persuade Hu Jia to stop looking at things so one-sidedly, to stop repeating the same things, and to stop having “undesirable influence”.

Then I found out that Hu Jia had been “arranged” to go rake up leaves in the sun by himself, for seven hours every day, later with another inmate being sent out to assist. A book I’d sent Hu Jia before, “International Human Rights Treaties and the Protection of Prisoner’s Rights” (a legal book, published by China Procuratorate Publishing House), had been confiscated by the prison and was returned to the family. The letters that were confiscated were not returned to Hu Jia.

Hu Jia normally writes at least one letter a week each to his mother, me, and the baby. But from August 1 until now, we haven’t received a single letter. which is very unusual. Right now we don’t know when we’ll be able to meet again with Hu Jia, we can only fight for that to be as soon as possible. Even to this day the prison has yet to send our family the notice needed to arrange a visit; on previous visits, the guobao would only say each meeting was a “special occasion”.

Zeng also today uploaded a picture of her baby, Hu Qianci, to TwitPic:

from: global voices advocacy

Hu Jia spends his 35th birthday alone in prison


Leading human rights activist Hu Jia today spent his 35th birthday alone in his cell in Hubai prison in Tianjin (200 km southeast of Beijing). His wife, Zeng Jinyan, his mother and his sister were not allowed to see him. The police told them they were “too busy to make the necessary arrangements.” The last time his mother and sister were allowed to see him was on 4 May.

“The police have behaved disgracefully,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is unacceptable that Hu Jia’s family has not been allowed to visit him on his birthday. We are worried about his health which is worsening steadily. He suffers from cirrhosis, as a result of an attack of hepatitis, but he has not had a single medical examination since his arrest. It is appalling that, just a few days before the start of the Olympic Games, a prisoner of conscience is not even being allowed to see his wife on his birthday.”[continues…]

Jailed China activist barred from seeing family on birthday: wife


Jailed Chinese rights campaigner Hu Jia is in deteriorating health and police have barred relatives from seeing him on his birthday on Friday, the activist’s wife has written on her blog.

Police also prevented AFP reporters on Thursday from visiting his wife, Zeng Jinyan, despite China’s promises to allow foreign journalists freedom to report in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics.

The police action comes amid reports of a steady stream of arrests of dissidents and rights activists in the run-up to next month’s Games.

Zeng, who is confined to their small home in the “Bobo Freedom Village” apartment complex in Beijing with the couple’s nine-month-old baby, wrote on her blog that in a July 9 visit with Hu, he showed possible signs of anaemia.[continues…]