Video: Prisoner in Freedom City – Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan

Late December 2007, China’s leading human rights activist Hu Jia was arrested at his apartment, located in a residential area called “Freedom City”, in Beijing.

The Boston Globe reported: “Before arriving, they cut his phone lines and Internet connection so that he would be unable to alert his friends in China and abroad.”

British TV Channel 4 broadcasted this news, please see following clips on YouTube:

The following video clips are from a documentary made by Hu Jia and his wife Zeng Jinyan, detailing their life under State Security Police’s surveillance last year, via YouTube:

Also from blogger and Beijing publisher Mo Zhixu’s post, “An open China needs him,” translated by Globalvoices:


t’s risky when there’s political dissent in an authoritarian society, when the rulers can do whatever they choose, this is quite plain. But this is the reason why most dissenters always try to keep a check on what they say and do, and work persistently towards lasting breakthroughs — even if they are just tiny, small breakthroughs. As I see it, the things that Hu Jia does haven’t gone beyond this limit. The information he sends out, even if not sent out by him, could still not be locked away. Don’t forget, this is the the cellphone and internet age. As for the verbal lashing he gives the secret police, it’s nothing more than anger at being kept under illegal house arrest, and compared to illegal house arrest, which after all is the more despicable? Of all the things Hu Jia has done this year, as I see it, there hasn’t been a shred of anything which could be said to be subversive. It’s just been him upholding certain values of his.

And it’s just for that reason that Hu Jia’s actions are fairly well-received. Not long before he was arrested, he even received the “China prize” human rights award from Reporters Without Borders. The common speculation now is that Hu Jia was arrested in order to take out some non-harmonious noise prior to the Olympics. This, though, I don’t get, how a celebration held to send a message to the world — and it stands to be a very intense message — has anything to do with tiny, little Hua Jia being locked away and covered up. Seeing as how China has opted to open up, coming to embrace freedom is inevitable, and within openness and freedom there will always be different voices. Never mind that these kinds of voices will give birth to an even more open and free society, but just say that these voices were void of value and even annoying; isn’t their existence alone simply the most effective defense of openness and freedom? Isn’t their existence alone simply the best propaganda for “an open China welcomes the Olympics”?


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