Chinese Dissident Hu Jia Questioned by Police over Internet Comments

Posted January 12th, 2012 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia said Thursday police have raided his home and called him in for questioning related to comments he made on the Internet in support of a fellow human rights activist.

Hu, a prominent campaigner for the rights of HIV/AIDS patients and other civil liberties, was released from prison in June after serving three-and-a-half years on charges of subversion ahead of the 2008 Olympics.

He says a group of police raided his home Wednesday night, confiscating two computers. Early Thursday, police in Beijing summoned him for questioning, warning that he faces possible detention on additional charges of subversion.

Hu says the investigation likely stems from his recent statements on Twitter in support of Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer who was recently sent back to prison.

Hu was barred from speaking to foreign journalists or making controversial online statements following his release from prison. But he has vowed to continue his work, despite the government's orders to keep a low profile.

The 38-year-old activist was honored in 2008 with the European Parliament's highest human rights award, the Sakharov prize.

Phelim Kline, an Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, says high-profile Chinese dissidents likely face increased police surveillance, harassment, and detention ahead of a leadership transfer by Communist Party officials later this year.