The Olympic Prisoners – Robert Ménard

In The Boston Globe, Robert Ménard, executive director of the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, writes about the arrest of activist :

The Olympic Games have their anthem, their rings, their heroes, and their sponsors. Now, with the Beijing 2008 games, they have their prisoners. The Chinese government is not just building fine stadiums, it is also arresting those who dare to condemn human rights violations in China. The political police are getting ready for the Olympics in their own way, bringing charges of subversion against those who remind people of the promises the government made in 2001 to improve respect for basic freedoms.

Late last month, police arrested leading human rights activist Hu Jia at his Beijing home.

Before arriving, they cut his phone lines and Internet connection so that he would be unable to alert his friends in China and abroad. [Full Text]

Read also One Dream, One Prison by Lindsey Hilsum:

… I last saw Zeng Jinyan in December, a month after her baby was born. Jinyan is a sparrow-like woman, who looks even younger than her 24 years. She was in love.

Her mother looked on indulgently as Jinyan told my friend Bessie and me how beautiful the baby was, how perfect, how exceptional – until she giggled in embarrassment at her own enthusiasm.

We saw her again today.

She stood at the window of her fourth floor flat, behind the burglar bars, holding her sleeping daughter and shouting to us below. We couldn’t go in, because Jinyan is now under house arrest.

Her slightly nerdy-looking bespectacled husband, Hu Jia, was arrested on December 27th and charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” a charge known as “counter revolution” in the bad old days. [Full Text]

January 12, 2008, 4:13 PM
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