“Who Is Hu Jia?”

Xujun Eberlein writes in her blog about the recent European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought award to Hu Jia. However, given the reaction on Chinese cyberspace, it seems that many people do not know who Hu Jia is:

A website for Chinese bloggers that I regularly visit is www.bullog.cn. Yesterday a post there titled “Congratulating Hu Jia, Congratulating Zeng Yan” led me to the Sina.com page that reports Chinese government’s protest to the European Parliament, which awarded activist Hu Jia of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. That is not the interesting part, because we have already read about the news from CNN and alike. The interesting part is, as I saw yesterday, there were over 4000 comments on that Chinese report, while only about 200 were visible. When I looked again this morning, it’s “5311 commented, 357 displayed.”

BBC has hailed Hu Jia as “the best-known of China’s imprisoned dissidents.” However, if you take a closer look at the displayed comments on Sina.com, lots of Chinese are asking “Who is Hu Jia?” “What did he do?” Apparently, my relatives (who I talked to) in China had not heard the name either.

Hu Jia (胡佳) wearing a t-shirt of another activist, Chen Guangchen(陈光诚)/Getty Images

Hu Jia (胡佳) wearing a t-shirt of another activist, Chen Guangcheng(陈光诚)/Getty Images

The author points out the irony of the Chinese government protesting the award that creates attention to a topic that they didn’t want people to know about in the first place. The blog continues with this contradiction:

A Chinese blogger put it more incisively in a post titled “Our criminal, world’s hero”: “Sometimes I feel sad for [the government]. On one hand they continuously produce candidates [for international prizes], on the other they are scared into a cold sweats by their own production of such candidates.”

October 24, 2008 3:24 PM
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