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For better or for worse?

June 27, 2011

Chinese blogger and activist Hu Jia was released from jail on Sunday 26. june, after serving a tree and a half year prison term for “inciting subversion”.

However, his release from prison doesn’t necessarily make him a free man. Hu Jia’s wife Zeng Jinyan has tweeted that the couple has “limited freedom” and that Hu Jia is held under conditions  “equivalent to house arrest”.

Les mer om løslatelsen av Hu Jia på norsk i Dagsavisen.

The release from prison of Hu Jia is of course good news, but it should not be seen as a sign of the brutal Chinese crackdown on dissent coming to an end. Hu Jia was released simply because he had served his jail time. The fact that the Chinese authorities continue to keep him under close surveillance, posting uniformed and plain clothes police officers around his home, shows instead that the Chinese Communist Party is determined to silence critics even when they are released from custody, Beijing-based journalist Damian Grammaticas writes in an analysis piece for the BBC.

“The news of the end of the detention of Hu Jia is uplifting. His work and that of his wife Zeng Jinyan in favour of democracy, the environment and their fight against HIV/AIDS are praiseworthy – they should be supported, not jailed or harassed for their activism. They should now be able to carry on with their everyday life without further hindrance,” European Parliament President Jerry Buzek said in a press release.

The end of Hu Jia’s prison term may be uplifting, but the continued harassment of him and his wife is downright depressing. However, if the international community keeps up the pressure on the Chinese authorities, hopefully, Hu Jia and his fellow activists will one day be able not only to carry on with their everyday life, but also to continue their important work towards a better, freer China.

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